LEGO Storage for Small Collections

CHAPTER 3: LEGO Storage for Small Collections

Tired of stepping on your kids’ LEGO? New to the LEGO hobby? Let’s take a look at some of the best storage solutions for ‘small’ LEGO collections.

This chapter focuses on the best LEGO storage solutions for ‘small’ LEGO collections. How small? Small enough that you do not need to organize your bricks at all because they fit in a single container, and you (or your kid) can quickly find what you need. This typically means a collection of less than 2,000 pieces, but might be as large as 5,000 LEGO pieces.

Remember that the perfect LEGO storage solution isn’t only determined by the number of pieces you own — it varies based on the age of the builder, the size of your collection, and many other factors. For example, older builders typically prefer a more organized collection.

Finding a specific LEGO piece in a pile of over 5,000 bricks is like finding a needle in a haystack – If your collection has grown too large, skip to Chapter 4: LEGO Storage for Medium Collections.

To make sure that you do not want to organize your LEGO collection at this time, go back to Section I: Organizing, Sorting, & Storing LEGO Bricks.

Cloth Drawstring Bag

One of the best storage solutions for a small collection is the cloth drawstring bag. This is perfect for children who like to build LEGO creations on the floor. The idea is simple, it’s a huge fabric bag with a lip to keep the bricks inside while building. It’s a great way to ensure that LEGO bricks don’t get lost, and it’s easy to pick up when you are done — just pull on the strings and the whole thing collapses into a pouch.

Swoop Bags. Made right here in Seattle, USA.

Swoop Bags. Made right here in Seattle, USA.

Did you know?
Cloth Drawstring bags aren’t a new idea — LEGO sold this small bag back in 1977.

Capacity – 2,000 bricks The largest cloth drawstring bag by Swoop and other manufacturers can hold as much as 3,000 bricks, but the whole point of this design is for you to build your model within the bag while keeping all of your bricks inside the bag as well. With 2,000 bricks or less, you can spread the bricks out and still have room to build your model on one side of the bag.

Portability – Around the house It is the perfect solution for quick pick-up, and moving to another room in the house. Because it has drawstrings, you can hang it from a coat rack when it’s not in use. Unfortunately, LEGO parts will fall out of the larger bags if it ends up upside-down; put the whole bag inside a large plastic box with a tight-fitting lid if you need to take it outside of the home. (The “mini” bag doesn’t hold nearly as many bricks, but closes tightly.)

There are several different brands, but my favorite is Swoop Bags, which come in two sizes and a wide range of bright colors. I strongly suggest the larger bag, as it’s difficult to build your models within the smaller bag, as you need some empty space when the bag is opened up to construct the model.

Recommended Products:
  • Swoop Original Bag / Swoop Super Bag – Both models have a 44″ diameter when opened. The Super Bag has a deeper 6″ lip, making it easier to keep bricks inside the bag while building something awesome.
  • Swoop Mini Bag – The smaller version is perfect for a very small LEGO collection of between 600 and 1000 bricks. (Even if you have a larger collection, it’s a good way to assemble a small LEGO set without worrying about losing the pieces, or you can use it while sorting bricks.)
  • Bow-tiger Bag – This is a lower-cost option that is well reviewed. That said, it doesn’t look quite as well made as the Swoop, and I’m concerned that the mesh pouches on the inside of the bag would get in the way.
  • Lay-N-Go Cinch – While it doesn’t completely eliminate my concern of LEGO bricks getting lost when the bag is turned upside down, this is the only option I could find that includes backpack straps for easy transportation. As long as you put the backpack on correctly, the opening will be pointed upwards reducing the risk of losing pieces.

Under-bed storage

When your LEGO collection is not sorted by category or part, the best way to find the piece your are looking for is to spread them out. That’s why under-bed storage solutions are great — because they are only a few inches deep and very wide, you don’t have to dig through a deep pile of LEGO bricks to find what you are looking for. Clean-up is also a breeze – slide the storage back under the bed and you’re done.

Iris 40 Quart Underbed Storage

Iris 40 Quart Underbed Storage

Capacity – 5,000 bricks This is one of the best storage solution for a young kid with a really large LEGO collection. If you pack a really large underbed storage unit to the brim, you might be able to store around 10,000 bricks — but it would become really hard to find the parts you are looking for, and parts would spill over the edge while digging for the perfect piece.

Portability – Not portable Being so large, this solution is not very portable. If you need to add portability, you could put shallow plastic bins inside the under-bed storage unit.

This might also be a good storage solution if you decide to move from no organization to organizing the LEGO bricks by category (more info in Chapter 4: LEGO Storage for Medium Collections).

Recommended Products:
  • Ikea Under Bed Storage Boxes – Ikea offers several under bed storage options, including the Hemnes product which includes one large wooden box and one smaller wooden box.
  • Iris 40 quart Underbed Storage – A larger underbed storage option with low-friction disks to slide more easily.
  • Sterilite Underbed Storage Box – Since they are only 16 inches wide, you could fit several of these under one bed.
  • Do-it-yourself – It’s easy to build a custom under-bed storage solution if you are handy with basic tools or know someone that can help. The simplest versions are made with a large piece of plywood, short walls to keep the bricks inside, and four casters attached to the bottom. (Make sure it fits between the legs of your bed.)

LEGO Activity Table

Another option that some parents choose is a dedicated LEGO-compatible table. Most versions have a tabletop with LEGO studs, so kids can build models right on top. Some models have a hole in the middle so kids can slide unused bricks into an integrated storage bag or plastic tub when it’s time to clean up.

This Melissa & Doug Playtable has a nice storage drawer.

To be very clear, these products are designed for very young children. Most of them have very little storage space, and some options are outright badly designed. For example, with this KidKraft 2-in-1 Activity Table, you can’t access the storage when the tabletop is in place. (not to mention the risk of pinched fingers, ouch!)

Capacity – varies, but generally under 3,000 bricks While most LEGO-compatible tables have some storage space, they can’t hold that many bricks and the storage solutions aren’t very well designed. There are some clever DIY solutions which can store a lot more LEGO.

Portability – Not portable If you want to keep all the LEGO in one place, keeping it in a storage solution which is not portable could be an advantage.

Recommended Products:

Large Plastic Container with Lid

Large plastic containers are the cheapest option on this list, making them a popular choice for LEGO collections of all sizes. A large plastic container can hold a ton of LEGO bricks. I recommend clear containers because you can lift it up in the air to find the smaller parts that always fall to the bottom of the bin. While a deep container can store even more LEGO bricks, a wide and shallow box is best suited to LEGO storage since you can dig through a shallow container to find the right piece more easily.

Really Useful 8.1 Liter Box

Really Useful 8.1 Liter Box

Most plastic storage containers indicate the number of Liters they can store. At about 250 bricks per liter, a 20-liter container could store as much as 5,000 bricks when it is completely full. As with most LEGO storage solutions, it’s easier to find the part you need when the container is not completely full.

Capacity – Up to 5,000 bricks You can get even bigger containers, but they become really hard to carry, and it’s hard to find specific parts if the container is too deep.

Portability – very portable. The best options come with a tight-fitting lid, making them a great choice for travel. (For extra security, choose versions with a latching lid.)

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. The larger 46 or 62 quart versions would hold more LEGO bricks, but it would be frustrating to find specific LEGO bricks as it is too deep.

Stackable LEGO Storage Bricks

Not only does LEGO want to sell you hundreds of dollars worth of LEGO bricks, they are also happy to sell you licensed LEGO storage. It seems like a really great product — why wouldn’t I want to store my LEGO bricks in even bigger storage bricks that stack like real LEGO.

Official LEGO Storage Bricks are expensive and poorly designed.

Unfortunately, it is a deeply flawed product — small LEGO parts get stuck in the grooves (such as 1×1, Minifigure accessories, and Cheese Slopes).

Beyond this critical issue: they are really expensive, have square corners on this inside (making it harder to get small parts out of the box), the bright colors exactly match official LEGO colors (making it harder to find parts in that color), are not wide enough to spread parts around to find what you are looking for, and while the lids are hard to remove they don’t latch closed for travel.

I can’t deny that these giant LEGO bricks are fun to play with, but they fail at the most important goal of storing your LEGO bricks. If you can’t resist these giant LEGO bricks, use them to store something besides your LEGO collection, such as LEGO instruction manuals, Duplo, electronics, office supplies, or candy.

Product Links:
I hope you found a great storage solution for your small collection. If your collection is a bit bigger, you’ll find some storage recommendation in the next chapter.

1 Response

  1. Justin says:

    I worked out which Really Useful Boxes stack exactly on top of each other – see my blog here: http://princeofgonville.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/which-really-useful-boxes-stack.html

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