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There are a large # of drawers, and about 100 lego tubs (22 and 11 L versions) used to provide the majority of the material. Additional storage is found in the little 25 drawer containers from Canadian tire.
I get lots pretty sorted when I get around to it, if there is enough I like to have one part/one colour in a bag. If not then I will sort by primary colours, grey scale, black/white, odd colours. With odd colours I tend to group all the different element types together because there is so little and they are more useful grouped together that way. My criteria is if it's too big for a sandwich bag then I have to break it down.
That said, I also have a lot of unsorted to go. I have very little raw mix left, most of my collection has had a rough sort of bricks, plates, slopes, bionicle, figs and fig related stuff taken out. Then I take that slurry and sort it by about 4 different sizes. When I get enough of the different bags of each size then I start breaking those down, usually taking out something like all technic first, wheels, trans, etc. Then I would break down the remaining between modified plates and bricks, taking out super uncommons. Then.... I get around to sorting that soup out but I usually only go there every few years and I'm coming up on that soon.
Here's the end result for the slopes:
left to right back row
1) common slopes: 2x2, 2x3, 2x4, 3x4 and those inverted ( except 3x4 )
2) big slopes: all large odd slopes and inverted. Some of the green and brown is here
3) wine red: been scrounging this colour for several years and it has it's own sub sort by type. Bag of rounded slopes sorted mostly by colour instead of type
left to right front row
4) odd shapes, odd colours: corner slopes, roof caps, weird things, and all odd colours bundled together
5) small slopes: 1x2, 1.x3 and inverted
This doesn't include other green, brown & orange already sorted, trans slopes or cheese wedges which are in the floss tray section mostly.
All of it in a tower. This lets me know how much shelving I need to allocate and where it goes based on priority usage. Slopes are always being used, like plates, so I want them more handy than say doors or hinges. I'm in the process of also auditing the layout of where everything is.
I spend a lot of time on this but.... when I have time/inspiration/motivation to do a build I have next to zero downtime looking for parts. If I am spending more than a minute looking for something then the system is not working and my flow is broken. My build time is just that, pure building and I can find what I want, and if I can't then it might be in the random bins.... which that gives me that random chance to find some unthought of opportunities or solutions that are also essential for creativity
I've been using ziplocs really actively for the past 5 yrs and much happier for it. Before I was limiting my sorting to whatever sized container I had, and if I ran out of containers then I was done... and not really that better organized then when I started. I just had a less vague idea where stuff was but still needed to do lots of sifting.
From what I can tell from this method, a good enough approach is best because you can micro sort if you want to and that's not helpful either. Too many bags in the bags and you lose the transparency benefit. Pull out the most plentiful stuff so you can see what's left and then start grouping really uncommons together.
I only sort by colour if it's something I don't have a lot of.... or inversely at lot of. If I have 100's of one part in one colour eg.Peach James wrote:Really, you have to consider how you build to consider what is the best way to sort. I tend towards part/colour division, but remember, it is usually easier to seperate out by colour than by part...(don't sort by colour, is my strong suggestion !)
I have colour sections, so all my basic bricks are in their own bags, but it's broken down by type in those.
By type is my major consideration. I think Rod sorts primarily by colour, so he'll have bins of just various size stuff in each colour.
Having searched though some of those bins I can tell you it is painful. Trying to find a part smaller than a 2x4 brick in a bin of all the same colour takes 10 - 20x the length of time to find a red one in a bin of all the same part in all colours.joseph wrote:I think Rod sorts primarily by colour, so he'll have bins of just various size stuff in each colour.
That said, I still have all (OK most) of my tan, brown and grey parts separated by colour. Why? In the case of grey I like to build "stone" or "concrete" walls or features which means I just pull out my rubbermaid bin full of grey parts in ziploc bags or containers and have at it. The other colours I separate because they are still so "rare" for me that all I have takes up one "half"-sized rubbermaid container.
It's a bit chaotic but it works for me for now. Someday I would like to have the kind of space/system John has with floor to ceiling shelves filled with the shoebox-sized clear plastic containers.
I thought you guys might like to know how I sort my Lego. I'm brand new to this forum and don't know how you guys load pictures onto these threads, so I will just have to explain and show you pictures another time when I see you. It will come across as a little OCD, but it seems to work for me and whoever else has used my collection.
When I was young we started the sorting system with ice cream pails. They could stack inside each other and a top could be placed on them. This was fine when I was a kid since I was always using it and for putting it away we just had to put it on a shelf.
We had up to 12 pails when I was a kid, each with a specific piece type. It is always easier to find the colour you are looking for when all of the pieces are the same than when you are looking for a piece type in a group of all of the same colour.
Since I would have only sets the system of sorting seemed to work for how Lego distributed pieces back in the day. Our normal breakdown of piece types was as follows:
1. Std 2xs - This one would move up in size of container faster than most of the others. We would also stack the bricks in triangular stacks of 10 in the same colour. This also made it easier to build something large in the same colour because you had a hand full of 10 bricks ready to go.
1-a. Std 2x2s and 2x3s - there were usually a number of these in most sets and so soon had their own bucket.
2. Std 1xs - Standard 1x anything bricks
2-a. Std 1x1s and canisters - The 1x1s were quickly set aside to their own bin since they came in greater quantity and would always end up on the bottom of the 1x pail.
3. Odd pieces -This had all specialized pieces such as space chairs and antennas.
4. thin (Plate) - 1x and 2x plates went here, but I soon found that they had to be split
4-a. 2x thin (Plate)
4-b. 1x1 thin (Plate) - this had all round thin plates, clips, lights, and basically all those little bits that would normally get lost in most collections. It was quite useful to get these into 1 bin.
5. thin pieces (Plates) - Usually 4x plates, but now there are 3x plates available too
6. People - This bucket would have all people parts and accessories including chairs, animals, and tools. Trees and such were originally in this one but soon got their own bucket.
7. Doors and Windows - Self explanatory
8. Wheels - Again Self explanatory
9. Roof slopes - Anything that looked like a roof part or had a slope on it fit here. Even airplane sloping part fit here.
10. Decal pieces - Anything printed or had decals on would go here. This would also make it easy to set asside if small children came to play Lego.
11. Train - All train parts including buffers, wheels, and train doors which were different. The track could be broken down in the 80s when we did this. I later separated the track
12. Technic - All Technic related parts
Now this system worked well for what was considered a large collection in the 80s. As the collection grew (now approaching 180,000 parts), I found I could decide on certain piece types that I could split out and turn one bin into 2. I've also switched to clear 20L tubs rather than ice cream pails so that I can see the piece type and parts through the bottom, plus they held a lot more than a 4L ice cream pail. Mind you, these bins start to cost money at this point.
I've split Technic apart quite a bit now that I have beams with studs and beams without studs. In recent times I've started using divided tackle boxes to put gears, pins, and other smaller components in their own tray.
With everyone getting excited over the Minifigure, I have pulled out the "Collectible figures" such as licensed figures and started trying to put those in tackle boxes. This has opened up a little space in my people bin so that I can fit more accessories and animals. The larger ones, such as the Rancor and Trolls still have to go in the bin.
Even the standard pieces have had to be split. The 1x2s both std and plates now have buckets all to themselves. I include the parts which have clips or other parts attached.
The odd pieces had to split majorly with the advent of BURPS, LURPS, and other large pieces coming along. Soccer and basketball plates are with boat hulls and hull type parts. Some of those ship pieces just don't fit with the roof parts and get in the way when you are digging for something.
The instructions which used to take up a single file box, now takes up a full lateral file cabinet drawer and I'm thinking of taking over the next one. All boxes are stored inside the larger boxes and then placed in large storage boxes. If you plan on keeping the boxes, I would suggest getting wardrobe boxes since they can take up a lot of the awkwardly large boxes and you want as many of them in the same box as possible if you plan on ever moving or placing things in a storage locker.
Hope you guys get something out of my experience.