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Sorting your bricks

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Sorting your bricks

Postby Sir Bragallot » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:30 am

What have you found to be the best way of sorting your bricks so you can find whatever you need quickly and easily when you're building a MOC? I've so far sorted by colour but that really isn't so great except for colours you don't have so many of.
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Re: Sorting your bricks

Postby Hayden. » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:55 pm

For a simple but effective way, sort big bricks by colours and smaller but more useful bricks should be kept together.
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Re: Sorting your bricks

Postby Bruce N H » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:45 pm


This is a topic that has been covered here many times, like here,, and here. The old Lugnet site had a whole sub-forum devoted to the topic. Everyone should read the hilarious Evolution of LEGO Sorting by Remy Evard. Basically put there are four main systems:

1. No system at all, everything in one big tub.
2. By set - keep sets together (either assembled or as pieces)
3. By color
4. By part type (this could be as broad as 'bricks here, plates there' or as specific as '1x1 bricks here, 1x2 bricks there, 1x3 bricks over there)

You can also combine these types. For instance, if you've got a whole lot of 1x2 plates, you might further subdivide them by color.

Once you decide on an overall system, there is also the question of what containers to use - original LEGO boxes, plastic storage bins, stackable drawer units, tackle boxes, Ziplock baggies etc.

Personally I break up by major part category, then by subcategory, then further. I've got, for instance, a plastic bin for all of my bricks, another for plates, another for slopes, another for figs, one for "nature stuff" (animals and plant pieces) and one for "random stuff" (technic bits, big bag of wheels, boat hull, windshields etc etc etc.). Within the bricks bin I use gallon ziplocks to further subdivide. For instance, there is one for all of my 1x1 bricks, a couple for my 1x2 bricks, one for my longer 1xn bricks, one for my 2x2 and 2x3 bricks, a few for 2x4 bricks, one for longer 2xn bricks, and one for bigger nxn bricks. Within those I further subdivide with sandwich bags. For instance within the 1x2 bricks, I've got separate sandwich bags for various modified bricks (e.g. the ones with a technic axle hole, the ones with clips, printed bricks, etc) and then the others are broken down into sandwich bags by color. For those colors that I don't have a lot of, I try to combine very contrasting colors. For instance, I have my yellow and blue 1x2 bricks in one baggie.

Minifigs are a special case - do you keep them whole, or break them down. Personally I break all of mine down, then combine the torsos into baggies by theme or subtheme. Sometimes these get broken up in odd ways. For instance, one baggie for all of my Star Wars torsos that would work well in a castle setting, and one for all the other Star Wars torsos. Printed legs go in one bag, specialized legs in another (stubbies, springy legs from basketball figs, a couple of mermaid tails, printed slopes used as dresses, etc), and then a big bag of plain legs. Heads and accessories are fairly elaborately sorted into a few tackle boxes with lots of little compartments. But then there are some favorite figs that I always keep together (some from my MOC stories, plus the main characters from the SW OT, some of the comic book characters, etc.)

Then, of course, there's the kids' collection, that is (so far) separate from mine. Someday when they're bigger these will get merged, and then all hope of organization will be out the window until after they move off to college and one of their rooms becomes my LEGO sorting room. :)
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Re: Sorting your bricks

Postby Knight Man » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:08 am

I organize mostly by part then if there was like 2 or 3 of a piece I'd put it with another piece that theirs 2 or 3 of. My brother had some pieces in his collection that were like half of his 1x2s were white so he put those in a separate section which works good(Sadly I don't have that issue:( ). But I put all the base plates in a container and the Wall pieces, 1x2 and 1x4 logs each in there own Ziploc bag. For minifigs I separated by theme then all the accessory's I put together I sort then the Town and Johnny Thunder get put together in the container. ... hotostream.
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Re: Sorting your bricks

Postby ffilz » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:57 pm

In a related note, I've been considering it would be cool to get image files for every piece/color combination I have, and then create a directory tree that mirrors my storage system. Assuming the image file names are reasonable to understand, I could then use the unix "find" command to find out exactly where any part is...

Parts that have multiple locations just need to have copies of the image file.

It would be easy to track re-organization. If a ziplock bag that holds some particular group of parts is moved to another bin, just move the folder. If a bin is moved from one cabinet to another, move that folder.

If anyone has a quick way to get all the image files, I might give this a try...

A cool addenda would be to add directories for each creation, and then when I wonder where all my XYZ parts went...

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Re: Sorting your bricks

Postby Canoehead » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:57 pm

The basic large pieces I sort by color then by the most popular, 1x2 flat for example I have all colors of those in one container. I got all my tiny pieces like 1x1 round or square contained.

My weapons and people pieces I got a basic tackle box for to further separate them.
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Re: Sorting your bricks

Postby OverLoad » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:35 pm

About a year ago I started sorting a lot of my collection. I gave up within a week and went right back to spending hours at a time digging through my LEGO drawers, bins, and boxes.

Part of me likes the mess, I could be looking for a certain piece and find another piece instead that either works better or gives me a new idea. On the other hand, looking for any piece whatsoever is a hassle, and that little bit of inspiration doesn't always occur. i've thought about sorting, maybe I will this summer when i have more free time.
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