I’m away prepping for, or possibly enjoying, my new baby boy today (I’m not sure yet as I’m writing this several weeks in advance of publishing it). Either way, I haven’t forgotten you guys.
I’ve asked Holly of the kid play mega site, Kids Activities Blog, to stop by and share her best DIYs and tips for finally getting those LEGOs under control.
This is a challenge we’re starting to face in a very real way around our house and I absolutely love all of Holly’s ideas – especially the DIY easy clean-up play mat (totally brilliant). I hope you try them all!
I have three boys ages 8, 10 and 12 which means I have nearly 7 years of LEGO brick accumulation times three.
My boys are LEGO crazy. If I removed all other indoor toys and just left the LEGO bricks, it is likely my boys wouldn’t even notice. Every allowance penny is saved for more sets. Every birthday means the invasion of additional bricks.
The bottom line is that if I didn’t come up with some sort of organization system, the playroom floor would never be seen again. It took several years of kid-testing and organization re-working to come up with what has worked for us.
How to Organize LEGO Bricks
The key is to think about organization in three areas:
- Block storage
- Building space & easy clean-up
- Display space
Step 1: Creating LEGO Brick Storage
This was the area where we had the most failures before I found something that seems to work. We started with using the toy boxes that the boys used as toddlers, but soon found that they were too deep and immobile.
Brick storage is best when it is shallow and movable. A shallow container will allow piece searches without dumping out the entire box. When the container can be taken to the building area, it is much easier to clean up.
Once I found a size of clear plastic container that seemed to work, I then went on a search to create a shelving system that would efficiently hold the boxes inside the playroom closet. A garage shelving unit from a home improvement store was the right size, but there were only 4 very deep shelves included in the set.
Because the shelves were adjustable, I was able to buy two units and then create a unit that had 7 perfectly spaced shelves. In the end, combining these two low-cost units was much cheaper than a semi-custom shelving unit. It holds 14 shallow boxes and all our loose bricks.
The boys have wanted to keep the LEGO instruction books, so there is a separate box for those. I tried putting them into a file folder or magazine storage, but we have found one location that is large enough to hold them is the best playroom fit.
Step 2: Creating LEGO Building Space & Easy Clean-Up
In our house, no LEGO bricks are allowed downstairs. When a set comes into the house it must immediately migrate upstairs to the playroom where all the bricks are corralled. If your kids don’t have a dedicated space for play, creating a LEGO storage mat may help you stay organized.
There is space on the floor in our playroom for building and each boy has a LEGO table. I modified an inexpensive IKEA table with LEGO baseplates. We started with one table and soon realized that 3 would work better so each kid had his own space.
Step 3: Creating LEGO Set Display Space
Each of the boys are in charge of their own LEGO table. There is space to display their favorite completed sets or the ones that they are currently playing with.
There is also a bookshelf unit on one end of the room with assigned space for each child to display sets that are not to be touched. I have a friend who built a higher shelf all the way around the room to keep younger siblings from playing with completed sets, which I think is a great idea for families with younger kids.
This system has worked for us for over a year without modification. I hope it is helpful in getting YOUR playroom brick collection under control!
Holly Homer is mom of three boys ages 8, 10 and 12. She has found out (the hard way) that one of the secrets to raising boys is keeping them tired, which is why she writes Kids Activities Blog with Rachel Miller featuring kids activities, learning adventures and tips for maintaining parental sanity.
Their book, 101 Kids Activities that are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! will be in bookstores this spring.