Have the bricks taken over the house? Ready for some amazing Lego storage ideas to get your collection in shape? Then you need the Ultimate Lego Storage Guide. Here we will cover everything to get you the right type of storage and the right size. (Based on your bricks and what you do with them)
Find out the best storage for younger builders and how to store your favorite display models. Learn tips on sorting your collection and how that will affect your storage. Take your time with this and you will come out confident and ready to buy the right Lego Storage.
Planning Your Lego Storage
Planning your storage is one of the most important, often overlooked steps. If you skip this step you will probably buy the wrong storage for your collection. You need to understand how your collection is going to be sorted, and how much you have, before choosing your storage.
You also need to consider your space. Do you have to tuck your bricks under the bed, or can you dedicate a corner of the room. What do you like to build? Do you design custom Lego sets or make mosaics on a Lego wall?
This will have a big impact on how you want to sort your collection. I will explain some of the big mistakes to watch out for, so that you end up with Lego storage you love.
Lego Storage Tip
Make sure you choose Lego storage that can grow and change as your collection does. Otherwise you may end up having to remodel your entire Lego room when you buy a new bin of bricks. Using moveable bins or modular wall storage can make this much easier. To learn more check out our guide to Lego Organizers.
How is your collection organized?
First of all, is your collection organized? If everything is still in one big bin, then you are really planning your storage and organizing together. This can be a huge advantage, since you get to match everything together from the start.
Most builders will be doing some sorting by color and some by function. This means you will need different Lego storage containers for each group. You need to figure out exactly how many groups you will use, and how many bricks will go in each, before you start shopping.
Measuring Your Bricks
Measuring your bricks is a way for you to figure out how much space your collection needs. I explain this method in detail in the Sorted By Sunday Lego System. It is designed to match the right size storage containers to your building style.
Before ordering any storage you need to sort your whole collection. Otherwise you will end up with bins that are too small/large your bricks. I like to measure each group in gallon ziploc bags. These are inexpensive and make measuring easy. (1/2 bag, full bag, etc.) Keep each labeled (they can be easy to confuse) and then pull together a list of each group and volume at the end.
Think about how your collection is likely to grow. Do you build more Technic than you used to? If so I would make those storage containers larger to help fit your future collection. Also consider if you want extra space in the bins, or can they be filled to the top?
My collection is sorted into 8 categories with 4 sizes each. This leaves 32 total bins for bricks. With this setup I have about 100-200 different elements in each bin. Because of this I leave the bins only 1/2 full or less. This gives me room to easily dig around and find the part I need, without dumping the bin out.
Storing Complete Lego Models
Storing complete models is really a subject all its own. Often they are kept whole and used as display pieces. Others just want to keep the bricks together so that they are easy to rebuild or sell. I don't personally display any of my models. We don't have space in the house, and the kids play with everything. I have heard from other builders that plexiglass cases are the best option.
Shop POP displays has a great selection of custom cases. These can be open to view from all sides, or backed with a color/mirror. They are all made of acrylic so you can stack these cases if needed without worrying about them breaking.
If you are keeping your set together, but not assembled, then bags are your best option. I know many collectors who keep everything organized this way. They store hundreds of different sets in heavy duty plastic bags. Then line them up in tote bins like a filing cabinet. This way sets are separate, but easy to find.
Storing Complete Lego Models
This is what most of us need Lego storage for, our loose bricks. On average a pound of loose bricks contains about 400 elements. With typical Lego collections being 10,000 or more bricks, an average collector has at least 25-30 Lbs of loose bricks.
When storing loose bricks the #1 thing to consider is how many groups will you have for your bricks. Groups tell you which bricks go together, and what ones have their own bins. Here are a few examples. Do you keep all of your angled pieces in one bin, or do the inverted slopes get their own container? Do you separate each group by type and color (2x6 plate - red) or keep all of the colors in one. Or maybe you just keep all of your 2x (2, 3, 4, 6, 8, etc) plates together.
Each of these decisions needs to be written out before starting to purchase your storage. Writing them out will help make it crystal clear how many different storage containers you need and what size they should be. This, plus the space you have to build/store will determine the best Lego storage for your collection.
Where are you keeping your bricks?
It seems kinda obvious, but often people overlook this when buying Lego storage. The space you have to store your bricks can have a huge impact on what storage options make sense.
If you have to put your bricks away in the closet at night, then you need something mobile, that doesn't spill. This means that the Lego organizers with hundreds of little drawers will not work. These need to be in a fixed place and preferably mounted to the wall.
If you have a dedicated room for your Lego, how do you want to use it? Is it mostly for building, or do you want to display your builds, or even build a huge city? I have found that most typical Lego builders need far less complicated storage than they think. Using a Lego sorter is a great way to speed up the process.
Your Lego storage needs to fit your home and build style
My favorite storage system is to just use Sterlite tote bins. They are inexpensive, sturdy and flexible. Find out more in our free sorting guide.
22 Kinds Of Lego Storage
So now that you have everything planned and measured, it is time to pick out your storage. Lego bricks can be stored in just about any container. I have seen everything from huge rolling tool chests down to hundreds of small mason jars. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
I will give you a brief overview of the most popular choices in each category, as well as the types of builder and collection they are best suited for.
Lego Storage Containers
This is the most broad and general category of storage. Lego storage containers are usually separate bins (not shelving or a rack). There are hundreds of different options available from locally as well as online. These can have snap off lids or hinged tops and can come with or without wheels. If you have limited storage these are probably your only option as they can be fit into almost any space.
One of the least expensive of these (and the one I use) is the Sterilite line of tote bins. These are available at Target or Walmart for between $1-5 each. There is nothing fancy about these, but they are cheap, they stack easily, and you can easily look inside to find the part you want. I use about 30 total in my collection and was able to get all of my bins for under $50.
IRIS USA makes a similar sized line of storage containers. These are a little more expensive than Sterilite (20-30%), but most come with a snap on lid. This can be nice if you are moving your containers around a lot. They also have some different sizes and shapes depending on where you are storing your bricks.
A popular choice for the younger kids are the Lego stackable drawers. If you have a lot of bricks these can get expensive ($20-30 each). They have nice big drawers and can be easily moved around. If you are sorting your collection detailed these wont work, but if you just need 5-8 categories they are a fun option. Along with this Lego sells the stackable heads for storage. I don't like these as much since they are about the same price, harder to open and don't hold as much.
The most popular choice for Lego Organizers is the Akro-Mils line of hardware/craft cabinets. These vary from 15-64 drawers per cabinet with 2 sizes of drawers. If you decide to break your collection down to the element (part + color) then these are a great option. I don't think this is necessary for most collections and in fact will lead to you building less. For details on this read the article on Lego Organizers.
There are lots of similar hardware cabinets out there. Craftsman, Fleming and Tafco all make comparably priced products with different sizes of drawers. This can be helpful to mix and match so that you have different spaces for different elements. The hard part is that the drawers will only fit the unit they came with and can not be rearranged. If you decide to go this route make sure you know exactly how you plan to organize before you buy.
The next set of Lego Organizers are the home/craft style. The large rolling carts from Michaels are a popular choice for kids rooms. They come with either 5 or 10 large drawers are easy to put away and kid tough. IRIS also makes some nice rolling carts. These come with large open drawers which are great for bigger groups. You can also purchase extra compatible drawers which have drawers with 19 smaller compartments. This gives you some flexibility to reorganize.
Lego Tables With Storage
Lego tables often seem like the best combination. A place to build and storage for bricks all in one. But they don't work out so great for most builders. The main problem is that storage is very limited. You will probably have between 3-6 different bins and that is not enough. For this reason I only recommend combining building and storage for the very youngest creators (under 6).
For young builders there are two tables I really like. The Time-2-Play Lego Compatible table is great for building and cleanup, but lite on storage. This is why I like this, it gives kids a big surface to build and an easy bag to scoop all their bricks into. This allows unsorted bricks to stay at the table, but keep the rest in a different storage system.
If you really want to store all your bricks at the table, the Adventure Deluxe Lego Table with Storage by creaTABLE is the best I have seen. It has a sturdy large single drawer, with 4 easy to remove bins inside. This makes playtime and cleanup easy while giving you a little room to sort some bricks.
Lego Minifigure Storage
Minifigures are a little different than the rest of your Lego. Some builders just view them as another brick in their collection. Others focus on collecting certain lines of figure and keep them separate from their bricks. Because of this, some unique storage just for Minifigures has been created. If you are looking for Lego storage specifically for Minifigures there are really 2 types.
The first are the display cases. Lego makes one that sells for $25 and holds 16 figures and one that sells for $18 and holds 8 figures. Both are stackable and work with the other Lego storage products. Most other Minifigure display cases are custom made. There are lots on Etsy holding anywhere from a few, up to hundreds.
The other type of Minfigure storage are storage boxes. These look like fishing tackle boxes but are sized to fit Minifigures. Minifigures-storage.com has a whole line for each series and sells them as a bundle, but they only ship to the UK. The AIMEI jewelry organizers work great too. They hold 36 in each case and a pack of 3 is only $17 on Amazon.
Lego Minifigure Storage
The last few types of Lego storage are the bags and travel cases. I think these can be useful for some builders. If you are planning to keep all of your bricks mixed together, the playmats are the way to go. These give you lots of space to spread out your brick. They also make packing up and cleaning really fast. For very small collections they could be great.
Keys To Lego Storage You Love
I hope this has helped you think about the different Lego storage options out there. Some are better for young builders while others are setup for a Lego Master Builder.
Each is different and has different advantages. To make sure you are happy with your final choice, don't forget to do these 4 things:
- Think about where you will store your bricks
- Plan for the growth of your collection
- Decide how you will organize first
- Sort and Measure before you buy