While I do love LEGO® (and the way it keeps the boys creatively busy!), I get weary of the little pieces everywhere. Both couches have LEGO® bricks under them, and I bet that at any given time I could find some type of LEGO® piece in every room of the house!
We recently moved Jonathan into Aidan’s room, and since we have been moving things around, we’ve also been reconsidering all of our toy storage and organization. There are so many awesome LEGO® organization ideas on Pinterest, but the reality is that I have only one son who likes his LEGO®s semi-organized and two sons who aren’t organized in the slightest!
So here is our reality-based (ha!) approach to LEGO® management…
Aidan (age 10) keeps his LEGO® sets separate. Some of his sets are kept put together, and he displays them on the top of his dresser and on one shelf in his room. The rest (smaller sets) are kept put together in a storage tub.
The castle sets are together in their own storage tub.
For minifigures, Aidan has this three drawer storage unit that we bought at Walmart:
He keeps accessories for minifigures in this box that we found at Target. It’s also a great box for taking a few Legos on the go.
Gresham and Owen (8 and 5) each have a storage tub for the LEGO® sets that belong specifically to them, but the problem is that neither of them do a very good job of keeping track of their parts! Their sets start out together, but unlike Aidan, they both enjoy building and re-building over and over (which is not a bad thing). Eventually all of their pieces migrate to our big tub of basic blocks (or under the couch, or in the van, or under the bed…). I don’t mind their bricks just being in the big basic tub, except that then they fight over the pieces whenever one of “their” LEGO® pieces is played with by someone else in the family.
Oh the drama…
After many brick fights, we have developed the following system:
- The three boys each have their own tub for LEGO®. They may not help themselves to pieces out of someone else’s tub without asking first.
- If they don’t want to keep up with their pieces and return them to their personal tubs, that’s fine. But if their pieces are in the basic tub, then anyone may play with them.
Basic bricks (including wheels, windows, and specialty pieces from the boys’ sets) are stored in this large rolling tub that we found at a garage sale for $2. Pretty sweet deal!
Update: LEGO® Table!! We now store all of our basic bricks in our new Lego table that we built out of IKEA storage. Each boy has their own tub for their parts in the Lego table, and there are two tubs for basic bricks, plus tubs for other things. Check out our Lego table post for more details!
When everyone is playing LEGO®, the room ends up a LEGO® explosion! And, like I said, we run into problems when someone has someone else’s piece that they found in the basic tub. Or, they fight over pieces that they were using but that someone else took because it wasn’t in their hand at that moment. This has led to the next rule…
- When the boys are playing with LEGO® together out of the big basic tub, they each have a tray for the projects they are working on. If they find a piece they want to use, they need to add it to their tray to communicate to the others that that piece is spoken for.
The trays I purchased are Rubbermaid Clever Store Organizing Trays for 30 quart storage tubs – they’re designed to sit inside the big tubs to provide smaller areas or organization. I got ours at Target and can’t remember what I paid – less than $5 per tray. These trays are the perfect size for holding a base plate, which is very convenient for putting away projects that are still in progress! The trays go on a shelf in our game room, and it’s a great way to contain things they are not ready to take apart yet.
Instruction booklets: We have a small storage tub just for instruction booklets.
Can we ever rebuild Gresham and Owen’s sets that they mixed together? It would be a challenge, for sure. I would prefer to have kept the sets separate, but I don’t have the time to enforce that rule since it’s not important to them. The huge tub has made life easier for all of us!
About pieces that fail to find their way back to the box:
We have tried taking away LEGO® bricks that were left out, and that really didn’t work too well. The boys don’t leave out the parts they really care about – just odds and ends. So they don’t care if they get those pieces back or not! A friend of mine gave me some inspiration in this area. She said that if her children have gotten into a pattern of not bothering to pick up all of the pieces of a particular toy, then they lose the entire toy for a while. This has worked well for us with LEGO®! If the boys have gotten into the habit of being lazy with their LEGO® clean-up, then they lose ALL the LEGO®s for a week or more. After the break, they are usually ready to take better care of their LEGO®s.
Amazon links to what we’re using:
(These are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through the links I will earn a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.)
- Rubbermaid Clever Store Organizing Trays – These hold the regular 10 x 10 inch base plates really well.
- Red Lego Rolling (and Stackable) Storage Tub
- Minifigure Storage Case
How do you organize your kids’ LEGO®s?
LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO® group of companies which does not sponsor. authorize, or endorse this site.
Angela Bergeron Mar 26, 2014
Thank you for sharing! I struggle with organizing them because how I think they should be organized isn't how my 6 year old thinks they should or even my husband, but when I ask them they offer no ideas lol. I also wanted to say that I love your blog! As a new homeschooling mom to a 6 year old boy and 5 year old girl I can use a lot of your ideas, so thank you!
Aubrey Mar 26, 2014
I love these ideas! Since my Lego-crazed son is only four (and a half, as he'd be quick to tell you), we have been pretty successful at the rule that they need to stay in his room. He has great incentive for keeping them away from Baby Sister!! But as they grow and begin to play Lego together I can see us needing to tweak our system so it's more like yours. Thanks for sharing!
Sandra Mar 26, 2014
Very nice ideas. I have one other one for when the kids want to dump out their containers: I have an old baby bed sheet that they spread on the floor. For clean-up they just take the four ends of the sheet and dump it back into the container.
JJ Mar 26, 2014
I have woke in the morning (more than once or twice) to find that I had slept the night with Legos in my bed! My 7 year old will play with Legos on my bed so that his little brother can't get to them (my bed is raised high).
Linda Mar 26, 2014
Great ideas! Love the tip on using a tray for individual projects. We use some of the same storage techniques, but you've given me a few more ideas that will really help. My 7 and 9 year old boys are adding to the collection we already have from when our 21 and 27 year old boys began collecting. That's a lot of lego!
sajmom Mar 26, 2014
That is amazing, you have just described our house! I have three boys (plus two girls) who fight over legos all the time. In our house they fight over their "lego ships"-who touched whose, who took a piece off their ship! They fight over whose sword that is or whose minifig belongs to their set. At first I kept the backs of the lego boxes, but we have too many sets to keep up with that. We have a very very small house, so little storage room. Then I thought it was smart to look them up online-but too often the sets have the same or very similar looking pieces! If we ever move to a house big enough to do this, I will definitely use your ideas and I will be sending silent thank yous your way!
Tobi Mar 26, 2014
I SO recognize the Lego explosion you described! I'm impressed with your organization! I take a much lazier approach: I built a HUGE (but really cute--and cheap) Lego table for their room, and the boys store their Legos either scattered on its surface, or in one of two storage tubs under the table. For some reason, though, they always want to build and play on the floor - and bookshelves and bed, and every other conceivable surface. Maybe I could get them to buy into your work tray idea... I've also got a clean dustpan (or two) on my shopping list. I saw on Pinterest that it makes a great way to "sweep" up bricks off of a wood floor. Here's a link to pics of our Lego table: http://ryanandtobi.blogspot.com/2014/01/lego-table.html
Gina Mar 27, 2014
We have three boys (11,10, and 8) and one girl (6). All are LEGO lovers. We use two IKEA Trofast benches with a total of 18 bins (or drawers). The bins are sorted by color. Then, there is a bin for wheels, a bin for figures and weapons. Finally, each child has a bin of their own with their extra special pieces. Above the benches we have two floating shelves to hold their special creations. They also have space on top of the Trofast benches to place their creations too. In the boys room they have a shelf that holds box sets they want to display and keep out of reach when guests come visit.
Jill Apr 2, 2014
Could post or send me a picture of your set up! I have 4 boys that we go thru the same thing with. I am extremely organizationally challenged so all pics and posts I collect like crazy!
Sheryl Oct 6, 2014
Gina, If you have a picture I'd love to see it as well. We're in a similar situation. I love what I'm reading on the blog here and I'd appreciate a visual of what you have done as well. Thanks!
P.S. I pinned this post 6-12? months ago and I'm finally going to do something about our Lego room disaster. I have the storage figured out, just not the how to stop the arguing and the Lego bomb from going off. I love these ground rules!
Amy Jun 8, 2015
Do you have a picture of this storage that you describe? I would love to have more space for current projects and it sounds like you have quite a bit.
Rachael Mar 27, 2014
I ahve a stackable bin that we store legos in. Each draw is for a differebt color. We have found this make it easier to rebuild sets. If it ccalls for a blue piece you can find it in the blue drawer etc. It took some practice but my boys got it after a while. The original sort was a pain but woth it!
Sarah Mar 27, 2014
I have boys -- 8 and a 4 1/2; they not only have their Legos, but also their dad's from his youth (can you say SOOO many bricks!) For the ones from my husband, we put those in a plastic drawer system with the top row being minifigures/figure parts and accessories, the second drawer is windows and doors, third drawer is wheels/steering wheels/axels/vehicle accessories, and the bottom two larger drawers are miscellaneous other bricks. My oldest has his own smaller plastic bin that holds his special mini-figures. He also has his own bin of bricks that are for special bricks that are part of a set (like Ninjago, Chima, or Star Wars.) Neither boy is allowed to go and take from the other's room without permission. While we somewhat organize by function, we do NOT organize by color.
Angela Mar 27, 2014
So what we did with our Lego was bought clear containers from Walmart and labeled them by piece, as in flat, rectangle, big weird pieces, little weird pieces, wheels etc. then maybe 6 months later we took over a bedroom, which means our kids are now doubling up. My husband built a simple L shaped table that fills the outer perimeter of the room. One side is for Lego, one side is for playmobil. This has made our Lego/playmobil situation so much more enjoyable. When small guests come over they don't even know the room exists, which is great for kids who dislike having their creations ruined. I know this seems extravagant but it is really nice.
Emalia Lavemai Mar 27, 2014
I'm way too lazy to sort between LEGO sets/ colours/ functions... I struggle to get my 10 1/2yr old to keep LEGO separate from other toys in the drawers/ bins allocated to them. He's a creator - the box sets get built once when they first arrive in the house (or even before) then all the pieces get used forever after in other creations...
Once, while he was still an only child, we did make all the sets again (I always keep instructions) and I was astounded that I hadn't vaccumed up any vital pieces for any of the sets - now, since we have more children (and way more LEGO sets) and have moved house 3 times I doubt we could - but it was a really fun, "play LEGO with me, Mama?!?" ALL long rainy weekend activity...
MY main gripe, as I've heard echoed a MILLION times, is the fact that Lego pieces migrate... seemingly by themselves... to the four corners of our universe... I usually don't really mind but was wondering if any one had any solutions that might keep our new baby boy safe from eating, swallowing, choking on his big brothers creations?? Their sister wasn't the type of kid to put stuff in her mouth really and if we have little visitors the LEGO gets ushered behind closed door...
Betsy Mar 27, 2014
To organize our children's legos, we use fishing tackle boxes. Each section contains comparable pieces, so all the two piece big in one section, 2 bump flat in another, four bump big in another, etc. Another tackle box holds all the figures and their extra parts, another for the weird shapped pieces, etc. I think we have 6 tackle boxes total. Then we have a crate for when a lego set breaks, they can just throw all the pieces in there and put it back together next time they feel like building. We usually end up with several thrown in the crate before rebuilding.
Shannon Hamm-Jenkins Mar 28, 2014
I looked into the Ikea trofast storage, then discovered that Ana White had the plans for cheaper ;-) However, then I found the best solution ever http://ana-white.com/2010/12/plans/mom%E2%80%99s-lego-table
Sarah Mar 28, 2014
We have the rolling storage Lego bins, and iris makes 12 by 12 containers and a stacking organizer for 6 to go in. Zulily put Lego storage on sale in November cheaper than I could get bins at Walmart or target, so the Christmas gift to Mom was storage. The 12by 12 containers come with a huge green base plate, which is so helpful. They build on the open side and then close it up and pieces stay together. I banned Legos to our playroom in the basement and that has kept me from finding them everywhere, it even stopped the laundry pieces!
Becca :: Making Room in Sicily Mar 28, 2014
This is such a great post with so many wonderful ideas, both about organizing and playtime rules. My kids are a ways away from this yet (ages 3 and 1), but the toy storage and rules are already an issue. Thank you for sharing!
Shirley Mar 28, 2014
The Lord sent me this post to save my children I am quite sure! I love the idea of putting plates with projects that are incomplete in a storage container. That is such an issue for my boys with one of them taking pieces off an partially completed piece.
Laura Mar 28, 2014
LEGOS - Gotta love them and the boys who spend hours building. Great ideas here. Here is one more: we keep a solid blanket next to the Legos so boys can dump out hundreds of pieces and rummage thru to find the perfect one. Then when done, they just gather-up the ends of the blanket and carefully pour the pieces back into the bins. I've seen specialty made mats for this, but a blanket works just as well for us.
Mom of 4 boys (5, 7, 9, 11)
Jill Mar 28, 2014
This is SO my family- three boys, same ages... they all love lego, it's all over my house, and they frequently fight over it! I've been saying for months that we need a system. Thanks so much for the practical tips!!
Christina Mar 31, 2014
Love these ideas! Legos take over our house as well. My oldest hates to take them apart, his creations cover every inch of his bookcase. Thanks for this post!
Marcia Ambler Apr 2, 2014
As a homeschooler mom with 3 kids at home, plus countless pals from the neighborhood who would only play at our fun fun fun house, I spread a big white sheet onto the huge dining table (a ping pong table would also work), then poured the very large container of Lego pieces onto that. These were called "The Community Legos" and it was first come, first use it. 4 to 10 kids would sit and or stand there every day and play their hearts out. "Pieces in progress" went into shoe boxes or corrugated cartons, depending on their size, for the night, with the kid's name on it. When done, we'd scratch off that name, and add the next kid's name. A finished Lego structure could only be kept for 7 days, then it was taken apart and returned to "Community Legos". Before we ate dinner, I'd gather up the entire sheet filled with legos, and plop the whole thing into the lego container, which was quite large! Such fun! This went on for about 10 years, so I would say it is "tried and true."
Sarah Apr 2, 2014
Great ideas. We've tried the sheet thing on the floor, and it just doesn't work - the blocks don't stay on the sheet! I like the idea of putting the sheet on a table! Also love the shoebox idea for projects in progress.
Sunshine Jan 4, 2019
This is beautiful!
Cerise Apr 5, 2014
Thanks for all the tips! My eldest likes all the kits kept together, but we have plenty of loose brinks. This will totally help keep those organized.
We've taken the legos away for a week before because of clean up and it totally works. They are MUCH more likely to clean up when they get those bricks back.
Jo Todd Jun 5, 2014
Love your great ideas. My 7yr old has several boxes of loose assorted Lego and now also Lego Technics for general building. He also has lots of sets that we keep separate. The instructions and any spare pieces are all in Zip lock bags and the complete items in big boxes or on his shelves. We recently made some towers to give us more display space. http://mothersmessymadness.blogspot.ch/2014/05/lego-display-towers.html
Rebecca Saha Jun 9, 2014
I am (also) a kindergarten teacher (my biz is kids' clothing online) and the Lego Duplo centre in my kindergarten classroom has taken me years to build up and is the heart of the program. I've chosen Duplo because I find that all 3-5 year olds can succeed with it regardless of their fine motor development, BTW. I am inspired by Maria Montessori's philosophy that sorting and putting away the materials is part of the learning/working with them. I also find that more creative building happens when each session "starts fresh" with loose pieces that were separated at tidy-up the previous day. I stick sample pieces on the outside of my bins in the rack, and all the "6-dots" pieces go in one bin, the "4-dots" in another, and so forth. I have a bin labelled "characters" and another labelled "vehicles" and so on. Sorting and caring for the materials is as valuable a lesson as working with them can be -- however you do need to allow time for a methodical clean up, and make it part of "what we do when we work with Lego."
Amanda Jun 18, 2014
I love the idea for the project trays. We currently only have two creative brick sets and a few actual building sets that are all mixed up. They are all kept together in one bin right now. We took them to the Lego store for the first time to buy their own this weekend, but told them they would be sharing them to avoid the fights. I had no idea how to control this. This I think is the most realistic option for us and I am so happy to find this idea before birthdays and Christmas rolls around. And the project tray is an amazing idea. We had had so many fights over this exact problem the last few weeks. Thanks for the ideas!!!
celine Nov 12, 2014
In Belgium we have discovered the Play&Go storage and playmat. My kids use them for organizing their lego's. Simple fast and effective. You have choice in different prints! www.playandgo.eu
Have a Nice day
Becky Nov 14, 2014
for mini figures I use jewelry organization (bead) tupperwares. I found them for $5 or something at hobby lobby
Jen Jan 2, 2015
Thank you for your post. our 5 from ages 6-14 enjoy legos. Your project bin idea is a fantastic solution. Another strategy I learned from my mom is putting a blanket on the floor for them to dump out their legos on. Can keep builders' sest separate, if needed, and then clean up is so easy-fold the blanket and put it in the bin. Thank you for the post.
Jason Feb 12, 2015
This is the best thing that I found and you can't beat the price. Makes clean up easy!
mammaalcubo May 1, 2015
Love your Lego table!
We have reorganized recently our Lego corner with Ikea Trofast http://mammaalcubo.altervista.org/organizzare-lego-ultima-crociata/
Do you like it?
Joan Oct 1, 2015
Thank you! Thank you! I have four boys as well ages 10, 8, 5, and 3 and watch a 1 1/2 year old during the week. We have Lego wars galore at our house. Thank you for the suggestions!! So glad I stumbled on your blog!
Lynn Oct 5, 2015
As a Professional Organizer, I am always on the search for ways to help my clients with their needs. At present, I am working with a mother of two young boys with lots and lots of Legos. Your website offers a wealth of information that I can pass onto my clients.
Nicole Dec 26, 2015
You are a genius - and right now, you are my very favorite person on this planet. I've been going crazy trying to figure out how to contain the LEGO chaos from my five kiddos. I appreciate this so much - it's the first organization solution that makes sense for all of our builders. Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you!!!!
Sarah Dec 30, 2015
Ha ha, you're welcome! Yeah, those sort-by-color ideas just don't work if the kids aren't on board. But something has to be done! Glad it helped.
Crystal Oct 5, 2016
We bought a storage organizer from Michaels. It has 10 drawers and it rolls. ALL of the bricks are sorted by color. There is also a drawer for Lego man body parts (does anybody else have boys that like to dismember their Lego people????), and their accessories. And there's a drawer for wheels, tires and the means of building them.
They keep completed sets on their Lego table, or on the shelf.
We also bought another storage organizer but this one has three larger drawers. They keep in progress sets in two of those. In the third, I keep the instruction manuals, each inside of its own ziploc bag, with the pieces for that set, assuming those pieces aren't in "general population".
Every so often, I sit with them and we rebuild all of the sets, if we can.
Jessica May 13, 2017
I would love an update on how this is working for you years later and whether you've updated /changed things as the collection has grown. I want to scream every time I walk into my boys' room because OMG Lego!!!!
Steve Jul 6, 2017
Thanks for all the great tips!
p.s. Lego never ends in an "s" ;)
random-charm Sep 21, 2018
We have three kids spanning 6-15 with varied interests so there are a lot of Legos. Our system has evolved and expanded but I mostly use the categories from Bricklink. I have two five-drawer Rubbermaid storage containers on wheels that fit under the table and about ten of the little drawers. Also a three drawer unit that holds Technic, wheels and vehicle parts. The big drawers are labeled to hold bricks by size/shape/specialty like one just for slopes, another for plates, tinies (anything smaller than a 1x2 brick. The little drawers hold various minifig pieces and accessories such as one drawer for food, one for weapons, etc. Each kid has a huge binder for storing the instructions for their sets in sleeve protectors. Each kid has a shelf for Lego sets or their own creations that they don’t want taken apart. They free play on the tabletop until it gets too full and then I have them take everything apart and sort it back into the drawers. They like being able to find the type of piece they want when they are building so they are self motivated to keep most of the free Legos in the correct drawers.
Becky Jan 20, 2021
Thank you for your advice. I now realize I am blessed as both of my boys, 14 & 11 now, have always been able to tell every single part and who it belongs to. Thankfully they enjoy collecting different themes so I’m sure that helps. If. I find a piece in the couch, I say So&So whose is this? And they rattle off who and what it belongs to with a big thank you mom I was missing that. We however have adjusted our collection to a section of the basement. We were given three 5ft wooden folding tables and fluorescent lights and before that we started with a big 18 gal tub, a few display shelves from Home Depot and have since added 5 sterilite 3 drawer units and found a whiz guy who created a pdf and .zip file of all the different common and uncommon pieces of lego to be organizable separately if you want. That is where we are next. Thank you Covid for the time to spend with my boys to do this for them. Still a lot of years left for lego-ing with them.
Becky Jan 20, 2021
...in addition..our collection and playtime days started on a baby crib sheet for easy cleanup and then later we transferred the train table to the lego table then when their knees started cramping as they grew we got them a counter height two seated island with storage shelves from Kmart/Sears then when their collection grew past those and the dressers and shelves we transferred to space in the basement. Our daughter, 9 was never into lego until we moved it to the basement where it was more “neutral ground” and her collection is growing exponentially! They will have a city before summer, I’m sure! Extra chores (since basic chores are expected and not money-paid) earn them money, helping neighbors and becoming entrepreneurs, birthdays and christmases monies have all gone to the brick! Of course Covid making outside of home fun near impossible to find and enjoy, I have thoroughly enjoyed joining them on this journey they’ll remember forever. Great bonding! They needed it! BTW I don’t feel like I said it enough but rather rambled over and over again, your excessive organization with your boys will pay off too! Keep adding and adjusting as they grow older and you too will find their individuality through their bonded time together. Greatest. Toy. Ever.
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