LEGO Storage for Medium Collections

CHAPTER 4: LEGO Storage for Medium Collections

Your LEGO collection no longer fits in one box? Can’t find the parts you are looking for? Admit it, your growing LEGO collection requires more organization, and a better storage solution.

This chapter looks at the best storage options for LEGO collections which are sorted into broad categories. Sorting your collection into categories is a great next step when your collection has grown too large for a single storage container. It’s also a practical choice if you have a modest collection but are finding it hard to find the pieces you need.

If you aren’t sure if sorting by category is right for you, or can’t decide if you should sort by color or by categories (such as bricks/plates/tiles/minifigures), go back to Chapter 2: Organizing your LEGO Bricks.

Plastic drawers

A cabinet with plastic drawers allows you to quickly slide out the parts you need, then push them out of the way. It’s an ideal solution if you don’t have a lot of space to store your parts and build models.

Iris 5-drawer Activity Chest

Iris 5-drawer Activity Chest

Best for:

  • Economical
  • Modular systems can grow with your collection

Also good for:

  • Storage for instructions, small boxes, and accessories.

Capacity – 5,000 pieces or more. Because there are so many choices and they are modular, it is possible to add additional storage as your LEGO collection grows.

Dedicated LEGO Area Although you can carry a single drawer to another part of your house, these solutions work best if you want to keep all of your LEGO in one area. A cabinet with wheels might be more convenient in some rooms (although small plastic wheels do not work well on carpet.)

Recommended Products:
  • Iris 5-drawer Activity Chest – These drawers are a large enough to store a LEGO baseplate, but shallow enough that parts won’t be too difficult to find.

    This version is almost identical to a popular LEGO-branded storage cabinet that Iris stopped selling a few years ago.

  • Sterilite 3-Drawer ClearView Organizer – Sterilite offers a wide range of inexpensive plastic drawer cabinets. Look for cabinets like this 3-drawer model with drawers that are not too deep.

    Remember that clear drawers are more convenient, since you can look for hard-to-find pieces by looking through the bottom.

Modular LEGO Workstations

If you are able to dedicate space to your LEGO Collection, you can build or buy a LEGO Workstation with multiple drawers. The Ikea Trofast system is the most commonly used system as it is readily available in most countries, and economical. The configuration shown below is less than 100$.

Ikea Trofast Storage with Shallow Drawers

Ikea Trofast Storage with Shallow Drawers

Best for:

  • Durable
  • Dedicated space in your home
  • Modular systems can grow with your collection

Also good for:

  • Quickly Sorting Bricks if you have a very large collection

Capacity – 5,000 pieces or more. Because these systems can be built in multiple configurations, it is possible to add additional storage as your LEGO collection grows.

Dedicated LEGO Area Although you can carry a single drawer to another part of your house, these solutions work best if you want to keep all of your LEGO in one area. Thankfully, you can create a modular solution which combines storage and a place to build your models.

Recommended Products:
  • Ikea Trofast Storage cabinets can store anywhere from 6 to 24 shallow drawers.

    I always recommend the shallower drawers; they allow more categories, and it’s easier to find a specific part in a shallow container. (You can get lids for Trofast bins, allowing you to stack them or take them outside of the house without losing all your parts.)

Toy Trundle

If you have space under a bed and a pretty large bedroom, why not use that space to hide a huge LEGO collection? It’s the same ideas as a trundle bed, except instead of hiding a second bed, you are hiding a well organized LEGO collection.

Using a single plastic under-bed storage unit was also suggested in Chapter 3: LEGO Storage for Small Collections. If you want to organize your pieces into categories, you need more than one storage unit, or a larger unit with multiple compartments.

DIY Underbed LEGO Storage, by thehappyhousie.com

DIY Underbed LEGO Storage, by thehappyhousie.com

Best for:

  • Do-it-yourself Crowd
  • Large bedrooms – you still need enough space to sit next to it.

Capacity – 10,000 pieces or fewer. A twin-sized trundle should be able to hold a lot of bricks.

Keeping bricks in the bedroom. Unless your final solution includes small removable bins, it won’t be easy to move the bricks to another room. (If you are getting this for kids, that might be a good thing.)

Do-it-yourself designs:

Large Plastic Containers with Lid

While I generally recommend cabinets with drawers when sorting LEGO pieces by category, there are some cases where plastic containers with lids are more convenient, most notably when portability is a priority. There are a lot of brands out there, so be sure to do some research before buying the cheapest option at your local department store.

You may want to pick one system and buy only that product, as the plastic containers will stack more easily. Some brands, including Really Useful Boxes offer multiple different heights with the same size lid, making it easy to stack containers of different sizes. That said, remember that it’s easier to find the part you need in a shallow container!

Really Useful Box is a popular choice due to latching lid and easy stacking options.

Really Useful Box is a popular choice due to latching lid and easy stacking options.

Best for:

  • Portable
  • Easy to add more storage

Also good for:

  • Storage for instructions, small boxes, and accessories.

Unlimited capacity You just need to buy more containers when you run out of space.

Portable Models with a tight-fitting lid and latch are very portable, perfect if you need to take your LEGO collection around the house, or to a LEGO convention.

Recommended Products:
  • Really Useful Boxes – These are a premium Plastic Storage bin which is readily available in both the United States and Europe. It’s both durable, and has a lid with latches on either side that can be snapped shut, making it a great portable solution.

    The 8.1 Liter box would be perfect for around 1,500 bricks, or the 17 Liter box would be great for up to 3,000 bricks.

  • Iris 41 quart Storage Box – This is a really large box that would be great for more than 5,000 bricks.

    I would avoid the larger 46 or 62 quart versions because it would be frustrating to find specific LEGO pieces as the container would be too deep.

Do you have other suggestions for storing a collection which is sorted by category — let me know! If it’s time to sort your collection by part, check out the next chapter.

5 Responses

  1. Ted A. says:

    I’ve used a mix of containment as my collection has evolved. I have a suggestion that would probably fall into your “Medium” zone, and I don’t think I’ve seen many other people use these besides myself: photo organization cases.

    They are great for portability, and great for sorting too (up to a certain number/size of parts). I use them to store mainly small plates, tiles, special parts, etc. and whatever I might need to bring along with me somewhere. No spillage issues. I rank these higher than those small “tackle boxes” with dividers (as those are difficult to reach into and find parts without them spilling into other sections).

    http://www.michaels.com/recollections-photo-box-16-cases/10174559.html
    https://www.lakeside.com/Books–Crafts–Office-Supplies/Crafts–Hobby—Photo/1,600-Photo+Organizer+Case/prod1130379.jmp?

    • tomalphin says:

      Ted,
      I’m hesitant to recommend these until I try them, but this seems like an interesting alternative to the Tackle Box solution. I’ll see if I can find them locally to see how it might might work LEGO bricks.

      Is each small removeable container used for just one part type, or do sort by both part + color?

  2. Jon Martin says:

    Thanks for putting this guide together as it will be nice to point people in your direction when the “how did you sort this?” question comes up. I have a larger Lego collection, but I still use the Ikea Trofast system with the taller frame http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10308693/ and ziplock bags to sort the Lego pieces inside each bin. Ikea also makes lids for the Trofast bins http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/57454500/ which help keep dust off loose (i.e. to be sorted) Lego and makes the bins easily stackable.

    • tomalphin says:

      As you saw, Trofast is definitely one of my suggested products, especially for medium-sized collections. I’m sure it works pretty well even for a large collection if you don’t mind using ziploc bags to sort pieces into more categories.

      The Trofast lids are a great tip – I added a note to the guide!

      —tom

  3. Michael J says:

    For the IRIS drawers I prefer the 6 draw scrap book variant. Mainly because the scrapbook boxes have lids.
    http://amzn.to/2yRvanH
    I assume it is the same for both the one you show above and as it is for mine you can remove the top tray and stack another tower on top.
    they make fantastic dividers that fit in the cases too but I can’t find the ones I use online at the moment

Leave a Reply to Jon Martin Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please solve this math problem (to prove that you aren't a robot.) * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.