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#1 Eilif

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 03:38 AM

My LEGO space is in shambles.

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On the right, you can see all the stacked and open containers that used to be organized in the shelving on the left.  A mad rush to finish my layout before the last NILTC ( www.niltc.org ) show left me with alot of unsorted brick and open containers.  However the real problem was that for the past 6 months, I've been trading for alot of used LEGO, and haven't been sorting out the new sets I've been getting.

This is one of my recent resale shop lots.  The equivalent of 3 or 4 of these have entered my home recently, and not been sorted.

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This situation is untenable.  Over the past week, I've magaged to sort all that brick by color, and separate out all the "special pieces".  It may not look like it, but what you see below is probably 8-10 thousand bricks grouped by color, with special bricks sorted by categories such as: windows and doors, round things, tiles and profiles, things that bend, minifig accessories, greenery, etc.

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For some folks, that would be the end of sorting, but when you are dealing with a collection numbering in the area of 100,000 bricks, it's just not a good enough storage and sorting solution.

THE PLAN

The purpose of this blog is to record the process of sorting, and storing 10,000 bricks into a collection of 100,000+ bricks, and to outline the method used for sorting those bricks. There have been many good threads here and elsewhere onsorting, but not too many showing the whole procedure.  The goals of this project are:

1) For all LEGO to be within reach of the workspace with a roll of the chair, but without having to standing up.
2) For any LEGO piece to be locatable with one minute!
3) To make all necessary adjustments to the current sorting/storage system to achieve the above two goals.
4) To have all sorting finished in one months time (November 14th, 2008)
5) To put in place systems to help maintain an organized work, storage, and display space.
6) To record the process for the benefit of the EB community.
  

Hopefully this short term "Blog" will help me to stay on task and get this done well before the end of the month. I welcome suggestions, questions, comments, and encouragements along the way.  If enough useful material is produced from this blog, I will turn it into a proper article at a later date.

Lastly, I'd like to give credit to Alan Bedford.  The chapter on sorting in his book the "Unofficial Guide to LEGO" was invaluable for developing my sorting system until now. I have borrowed unashamedly from his suggestions, and will likely continue to do so.  The whole book is great reading for any AFOL.

Let the sorting begin!

Edited by Eilif, 15 October 2008 - 03:41 AM.

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#2 iamded

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 03:51 AM

Wow, sounds like a challenge! 2 months to sort all those bricks. I wish you all the best, and good luck! :thumbup:
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#3 Dragonator

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 04:35 AM

This sounds like a great project, good luck! I know that I myself am terrible at sorting, so perhaps I'll learn a bit from this. My mani problem is that I'll start sorting, but then I'll think of a use for the parts, and so everything becomes unsorted again. Then it just lies around everywhere taking up space.:grin:

I'm looking forward to seeing what you achieve, this might be enough to motivate me to do some of my own sorting. :classic:

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#4 Guss

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 08:33 AM

If you are tired of sorting your bricks.. send these to me  :tongue:

my lego collection is wayyyyy smallest, so I have no sorting problem;

this is where my lego stands :

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here is my entire collection.

Edited by Guss, 15 October 2008 - 08:38 AM.

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#5 Captain Zuloo

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 10:12 AM

View PostGuss, on Oct 15 2008, 06:33 PM, said:

If you are tired of sorting your bricks.. send these to me  :tongue:

my lego collection is wayyyyy smallest, so I have no sorting problem;

this is where my lego stands :

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here is my entire collection.
Well you have managed to do some good things with that!
This is my collection:
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#6 Dadster

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 01:03 PM

Good luck!!  I have a decent set-up in my garage, but I def need that wheeled chair...


#7 Sandy

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 06:07 PM

I have come to know that feeling over the past few months. My LEGO collection has increased rapidly during that time, and I have a compulsion to keep everything organized and sorted.

Here's what our study/guest room holds currently (all the boxes are usually out of sight inside the cabin and under the bed).
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As you can see, I have a complex system of sorting my bricks. The smallest ones go to the "screws and bolts drawers", the large pieces are in two shoeboxes while all the plates are in the cardboard box. The blue boxes hold all the medium-sized pieces sorted by color, and then there's separate boxes for my minifig pieces and animals.

That's over 12.000 individual pieces according to Peeron.com. It's not nearly as much as many of you guys have, but it's plenty enough to keep in order! :tongue:

Edited by Sandy, 15 October 2008 - 06:19 PM.

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#8 Guss

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 06:14 PM

you have a nice collection Sandy, and you are lucky to be able to put your collection under your bed, If you watch my pictures, my bed is at the left, the red corner we see.. yes, it's directly on the floor, so I can't put anything under it ^^
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#9 Zorro

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 06:24 PM

View PostGuss, on Oct 15 2008, 10:33 AM, said:

If you are tired of sorting your bricks.. send these to me  :tongue:

my lego collection is wayyyyy smallest, so I have no sorting problem;

this is where my lego stands :

Posted Image

here is my entire collection.

Ohhh....  ;-(

A call to all members: Let us all each send 1 brick (or more) to good ol' Guss...

I don't want to take pictures of my collection since I would need at least 2 or more 8Gig. SD cards to photograph all of it...
Not because it is that much, but rather because I just haven't got a system yet and everything is so scattered.
But my Mom is now organising my bricks by color, so she won't have to see Lego lying around in the house anymore.

Yes, I know I'm 25 years old... :grin:
EDIT: Actually, my Lego only lies around into the cellar/my room, and she volunteered to do it because I am repairing her laptop and because I still must watch my movements after the heavy (back-breaking!) accident I had.

Edited by zorro3999, 15 October 2008 - 08:28 PM.


#10 Sandy

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 06:31 PM

Edit: Never mind, I was being unnecessarily nasty again. :hmpf:

Edited by Sandy, 15 October 2008 - 06:58 PM.

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#11 Eilif

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 07:40 PM

iamded,
    Thanks for your kind words.  30 days isn't a long time, but I'm determined to get it done with time to spare to prepare before the NILTC christmas show in early December.

Dragonator,
     I'll do my best to be "inspirational".  I will say though, that if you get a good storage system set, it makes it easy to build fast.  

Guss,
    Don't worry, you seem like quite a LEGO fan.  I'm sure it won't be long before your collection grows to the point where it's completely unmanagable without sorting!

Captain Zuloo,
     Get sorting! I don't want you back on this board until you have a picture of your LEGO clean and tidy!! :tongue:  

Dadster,
     Yeah, wheeled chairs pracically a necessity for this kind of an arragement.  I got mine at IKEA for pretty cheap, and it has a neat Lego-ish look to it.

Sandy,
     Wow! I seem to remember that you only recently returned to LEGO, and you already have 12,000 bricks!  You're going to need a comprehensive storage system real soon.

zorro3999,
      I don't know what to say, I've never heard of a parent who was willing to sort bricks for thier offspring. You must have a real close family.  Heartwarming...  wierd, but heartwarming.  

I'll be sure to check in with you folks later. I'm starting in on this project tonight.  
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#12 shimon

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 09:47 PM

wow i also have about 11000 pieces (didnt count)

the good thing is that 98% are in new colours light bluish gray and dark bluish gray

no mixed colours like yellow+green+blue+red, that just looks wrong to me

and every time i buy a set i check instructions and inventory.

too bad we dont have lego shops cuz in tyosrus the prices are 200%+ from Shop At Home

have to wait 3 weeks for things to arrive from ebay

#13 Eilif

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 10:40 PM

View Postshimon, on Oct 15 2008, 04:47 PM, said:

98% are in new colours light bluish gray and dark bluish gray no mixed colours like yellow+green+blue+red, that just looks wrong to me .

Having mostly 2 colors, how do you organize your brick?
Also, 10k is the number of bricks waiting to be sorted, the collection as a whole probably tops 100k.

Edited by Eilif, 16 October 2008 - 12:54 AM.

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#14 Erdbeereis

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 10:53 PM

I just finished sorting my bricks this summer.
Here's a picture of how mine are sorted.

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I have them sorted both by color and by piece type and stored in these containers with pull-out drawers which I labeled. Sets are in labeled plastic bags with the set's name and number on the front. Instructions are placed in a folder with labels for each theme.


Here's a close-up of the drawers.
Posted Image


I wish you good luck with your sorting!
It's worth all of the hard work, trust me! :classic:

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#15 CP5670

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 11:37 PM

That's quite a big collection of spare parts. :oh: I have roughly 90000 pieces in total but most of my sets are built up and on display, so my loose parts don't take up that much room at any one time. I use five of the Stack-On drawer containers you have (the black ones in your picture) along with the old Technic storage case and a UCS Batmobile box, which holds everything nicely.

#16 Eilif

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:52 AM

Erdbeereis1,
        That's some nice organization. I agree about the drawer containers. I have 8 lining my workspace, and they are really useful.  I am going to add a second tier of smaller drawer containers on the right side (more about that later).  Thanks for the encouragement.

CP5670,
    Woah, you must have quite a collection of built models.  Model collections are cool, but I don't collect models, so most of my collection is parts.  My only display areas are the 4 shelves above the workspace, and the top of my shelving system (on the left).  My only other built items are the components of "Brickington Island" (see the link in my sig for pics) my 40"x120" NILTC module that is in boxes under the table on the right side of the room.
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#17 Eilif

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 02:23 AM

Sorry about the double post, here's the second stage of the organizing.

Step 2. Cleanup

I find it hard to work in a space that is messy.  This even extends to work that is by nature messy like sorting LEGO.  The first step was to make some order.  

First, I removed most non-LEGO items from the space.  Then I took all the food containers that were stacked without tops on the right side table.  I put on tops and stacked them by color on the shelves on the left side.  I also finshed organizing all my minifigs.  Last weekend I built a second rack (the red one) to mirror the yellow one on the left side.  Now all of my minifigs are out of the bins and bags, and easily accessible.
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This revealed a hidden treasure.  A large secret section of my upcoming addition to Brickington... Sorry can't tell you more until  December. I closed and stacked my Bulk Storage bins.  These are the buckets and tubs that you see on the floor. These are bins with large ziplock bags inside, each filled with one kind of brick in one color.
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After savoring the sweetness of a clear space, I did away with that and moved all the semi-sorted containers of bricks onto the table and pre-sorted out the last of the lose brick that I discovered on the surface and on the floor.
Posted Image

All my brick is now presorted, and I have a proper space to sort.  I'm off to start on the sorting and give more attention to the Presidential debate.  Have a good evening.
Posted Image

Edited by Eilif, 16 October 2008 - 02:23 AM.

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#18 JimBee

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 03:14 AM

View PostEilif, on Oct 14 2008, 10:38 PM, said:

[b]1) For all LEGO to be within reach of the workspace with a roll of the chair, but without having to standing up.
Oh, come on! :tongue:

But really, very nice concept, Eilif. :thumbup: I like your little space that you've set aside- mine's just scattered in my room, so the challenge is finding the bricks!

Seeing your presorted results is great! Very neat and organized, good luck on getting to your goal! :classic:

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#19 Dr. X

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 06:46 AM

Nice orginazation. I've got a collection about as big as Eilif's maybe even large, but only about a third of it is sorted, since I've had it even since I was 3 and never even thought about sorting until I got involved online.

What I am planning to do is first sort 85% (the rest is for friends who are visiting and want to build with a random box) by color, and after that's all done, go separating them by size. I would separate them by piece type, but I don't have enough space  or containers.

Right now about 1/3 of my collection is sorted by color. I've also got a bunch of "tiny boxes", all filled with pieces smaller than a 1x2 brick. I've also got a minifig box, an animal box, a couple of tackle boxes with greebles, clips, printed tiles, turntables, bedy pieces, and things like that in them, and also a bunch of binders full of instruction booklets organized by theme. My next step is to keep dumping out random boxes and sorting them by color, while removing useful pieces and other stuff.

I envy your amount of space, Eilif. Good luck to your sorting.

#20 Guss

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 09:26 AM

Eilif:  nice! now that's a cleany well organized room ! yes I'm planning to buy a lot of lego, but I worked 2 day on the 3 past months.. I'm actually looking for a job, so I don't have the money to buy anything, I have *check* 100 €  left! and with these, I have to buy things Useful for my life.. wait.. lego are useful. ^^ plus the room that you see on the pictures is the only room of my apartment... so it'll be hard to add a lot and a lot of lego without being stuck under these ^^


Zorro : that's a nice idea , everyone send me 1 brick ! ^^ and... is your back better ? what happened ?

sandy : what did you want to say ? ^^
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#21 Captain Zuloo

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:23 PM

View PostEilif, on Oct 16 2008, 05:40 AM, said:

Captain Zuloo,
     Get sorting! I don't want you back on this board until you have a picture of your LEGO clean and tidy!! :tongue:
Aw come on - I took this just after my ajustments to my PTV entry. Give me a break! :classic:

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#22 Zorro

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:38 PM

View PostGuss, on Oct 16 2008, 11:26 AM, said:

Eilif:  nice! now that's a cleany well organized room ! yes I'm planning to buy a lot of lego, but I worked 2 day on the 3 past months.. I'm actually looking for a job, so I don't have the money to buy anything, I have *check* 100 €  left! and with these, I have to buy things Useful for my life.. wait.. lego are useful. ^^ plus the room that you see on the pictures is the only room of my apartment... so it'll be hard to add a lot and a lot of lego without being stuck under these ^^


Zorro : that's a nice idea , everyone send me 1 brick ! ^^ and... is your back better ? what happened ?

sandy : what did you want to say ? ^^
In 2005 I had a motorcycle accident. I was waiting before a railroad crossing, and a car couldn't stop entirely due to the frost. He hit me in the back of my motorcycle (not hard, but I didn't see it coming so it felt like a bomb that exploded on 50cm from me), it "catapulted" me to the ground and I slided against the brickside with my back, breaking it at 2 places. I also broke my left leg and hand and had a severe concussion... :cry_sad:
It took me more then a year before I could walk again...

#23 Eilif

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:29 PM

View Postzorro3999, on Oct 16 2008, 06:38 AM, said:

In 2005 I had a motorcycle accident. I was waiting before a railroad crossing, and a car couldn't stop entirely due to the frost. He hit me in the back of my motorcycle (not hard, but I didn't see it coming so it felt like a bomb that exploded on 50cm from me), it "catapulted" me to the ground and I slided against the brickside with my back, breaking it at 2 places. I also broke my left leg and hand and had a severe concussion... :cry_sad:
It took me more then a year before I could walk again...

Good Heavens, limited mobility and you're still finding ways to help out your Mom. Kudos to you sir. If anyone is deserving of mom-sorting-help it's you.

JimButcher,
     I know it sounds weird but I am sticking to the "from the chair"

Dr X.
     I was the same way.  It was the internet that brought me back to LEGO and got me to sort out my LEGO.  I wouldn't have it any other way now.
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#24 Guss

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:33 PM

wow zorro... bad luck :/  but now it seems that you walk, so things are getting better , right ? well.. I hope so^^
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#25 JimBee

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 10:22 PM

View PostEilif, on Oct 16 2008, 07:29 AM, said:

JimButcher,
     I know it sounds weird but I am sticking to the "from the chair"
I know, I was just kidding around, hence the " :tongue:". :wink:  Good organization is the key to quick building, so pump out those MOCs! :sweet:

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