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LEGO Organization Strategies to Help Save Your Sanity

LEGO organization can be a huge challenge, but I’ve figured out a few strategies to keep them neat and tidy (and help save your sanity)!

The Best LEGO Organization Strategies

LEGO organization has been kind of a thorn in my side ever since we brought LEGOs into our house several years ago… but we’ve finally found a method that works for us. (Cue angels singing! 😉 )

I mentioned that I had some definite thoughts and opinions about organizing LEGOs when I shared my boys’ organized playroom a few months ago, and several of you asked for more details, so I thought I’d finally spill the beans today!

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LEGO Organization Strategies to Help Save Your Sanity

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I will definitely show you the LEGO system we’re using currently, but I want to make sure I start out by saying that LEGOs are one of those things where I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” solution. I think the best storage solution for LEGOs depends on how your specific kids like to play with them.

The LEGO Organization Systems That Didn’t Work for Us

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Organizing LEGOs by Set

When we first brought LEGOs into the house, I was determined that I was going to keep them organized by set. I had each set in a ziplock bag, usually a gallon bag or two gallon bag, and kept the instructions in the bag as well. Then I would keep them in the fabric bins in our IKEA KALLAX unit.

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The problem was that my boys didn’t necessarily want to keep the sets together. They wanted to mix and match and be creative, and I would end up spending a lot of time frustrated, trying to figure out which pieces went back in which bag. If your kiddos like to build the sets by the book each time, this could be the perfect solution, but for us and the way that my boys wanted to play with LEGOs, organizing by set didn’t last for long.

Organizing LEGOs by Color

The next LEGO organization solution I tried was to organize the LEGOs by color. I had seen this all over Pinterest, and it seemed to really work well for people. I bought a TROFAST storage unit from IKEA, spent hours doing the initial sorting, and put all of our instruction books into a bin.

We kept our LEGOs color coded for about six months. And it looked beautiful! But again, we had some problems. My boys still weren’t interested in pulling out the instruction manuals and building sets. They just wanted to mix and match. So they would pull out a ton of pieces, mix up all of the colors, and build their creations, and then when it was time to clean up, it was taking a really long time to put the LEGOs away because I was insisting that we re-sort by color. Oftentimes, we ended up just leaving a pile of LEGOs on the LEGO table because we didn’t want to take the time to sort them.

It was around this time that I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and in it she made the point that all of your items should be easy to put away so it’s simple to keep your space tidy.

Lightbulb moment.

It was at this point that I abandoned the color coding system for our current system. Again, for the way some kids like to play with LEGOs, the color coding system would be perfect, but for us, it just made clean up time too long and stressful.

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(Tongue out for ultimate LEGO building concentration! 🙂 )

Our Current Lego Organization System

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So because the boys mostly like to build their own creations with the LEGOS after they’ve assembled the set for the first time, the system that is currently working for us is to actually have all of the LEGOs mixed together in two TROFAST units.

LEGO organization can be a huge challenge, but I've figured out a few strategies to keep them neat and tidy (and help save your sanity)! | Organized LEGOs, how to organize LEGO, LEGO bins, LEGO sets, IKEA TROFAST storage unit

The only thing that we separate out is the LEGO figures, into the bottom bin, which I labeled with my Silhouette Cameo + adhesive vinyl. This is because Caleb, who is 6, really likes the “guys” best, so this way he can find them easily. And the boys can still throw all of their LEGOs into the rest of the bins when they’re finished building their crazy creations!

LEGO organization can be a huge challenge, but I've figured out a few strategies to keep them neat and tidy (and help save your sanity)! | Organized LEGOs, how to organize LEGO, LEGO bins, LEGO sets, IKEA TROFAST storage unit, LEGO figures bin

Once they’ve built a set or something they want to keep, we have open shelving in the playroom closet where they can store and display their finished sets.

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The completed set stays there until the boys want to use the pieces for something else, or it breaks, or the shelves start to get too full, and then we add the pieces to the TROFAST units.

How We Organize LEGO Instruction Manuals

Since we have acquired a ton of LEGO instruction manuals and the boys ask for them every once in a while, I file them by type in a file box with hanging folders.

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Star Wars manuals are in one folder, Ninjago manuals in another folder, LEGO City manuals in another folder, etc. I’ve alphabetized the folders so we can easily find the type we’re looking for.

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(The three blue folders in the back hold the booklets for different types of building sets like Bionicle and K’NEX.)

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I used my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine + adhesive vinyl to make the “LEGO Manuals” label for the side of the file box, and since we’ve had this system for a while, the labels on the hanging folders were made with my older label maker.

UPDATE: We recently updated the way we organize our LEGO instruction manuals! See our newer system here!

So that’s how we organize LEGOs! It’s actually super simple, and like I said, what ended up being perfect for us may be totally different than what’s perfect for you!

LEGO organization can be a huge challenge, but I've figured out a few strategies to keep them neat and tidy (and help save your sanity)! | Organized LEGOs, how to organize LEGO, LEGO bins, LEGO sets, IKEA TROFAST storage unit, how to store LEGO pieces

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I’d love to hear what type of LEGO storage system works in your house, so be sure to chime in in the comments below!

Have a wonderful week!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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46 Comments

  1. We’re pretty similar. I started keeping kits together early on, knowing it wouldn’t last as collection grew. Then just dumped all into a Y-weave bin. I thought my son would hate it, but he’s never complained and pick-up is a breeze! He’s never asked to make a kit again, and seems to just like making his own creations. I asked him one day how he wanted them organized, if he wanted to separate them all by size or color so it was easier to find pieces and such…he looked at me like I was crazy and said, “no, let’s just keep them in the bucket.” Leave it to a 6 year old to bring common sense to the discussion! LOL We have a couple of shelves for builds that he want’s to keep or is currently playing with, and a couple of small plastic boxes for the “guys” and small pieces he uses often and we’d never find in the big bucket (handcuffs, guns, money, and such). It works great, clean-up is great, he is happy, mommy is happy, and the stepping on Lego ordeal is (somewhat) contained!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Sounds like you have a great system, Heather! Thanks so much for sharing. Hope you’re having the best week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  2. Abby,
    It was like you were writing my exact “Lego story” (only 2 differences: I only have 1 boy & the 2nd organization fail was by shape, not color!!!) Now, like you, we throw all the building Legos in bins, figures in a separate bin & Lego figure accessories in another!
    Thanks for all your amazing ideas! Keep insoiring!!!
    Shannon

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Sometimes it just takes a little trial and error, right? 🙂 So glad it was helpful for you, Shannon! Hope you’re having a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  3. Micah | Home Faith Family says:

    My boys are still a little too young for LEGO’s but if they treat their legos anywhere near they do the cars they have, I’m definitely going to use your system. (Right now their toys are in a mass of mess in what they think the “toy box” is for the day. Haha). Thank you for these ideas, especially with how you organize the instruction manuals. =D

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Micah! Happy Friday! <3

      ~Abby =)

  4. Audrey Johnson says:

    I love that you shared what didn’t work for you. Those may be the perfect solution for someone else. Thanks for sharing.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So true! They aren’t bad solutions… just not perfect for us! Thanks for stopping by, Audrey. Have a great week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  5. Julie Briones says:

    I would have loved to have had this 20 years ago! 😉 So, I’ll be passing it on to my kids now, as they have about 4 more years before they will need these tips/tricks.

    Wanted to let you know, your new Photoshop tutorial video is very helpful. I actually learned a thing or two I hadn’t learned from the one in BaF! 🙂 Thanks, Abby… (comments don’t seem to be open on that post).

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it has been helpful for you, Julie! Have a great week, sweet friend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  6. I never even attempted to keep sets together or sort by color – I knew it would drive me crazy. 🙂 We do well if we have our legos and K’nex pieces separated into two bins. For awhile even they were all mixed together! Now we have two underbed storage bins – one for Legos, one for K’nex. They slide easily under the bed or under wingback chairs. We had them in our boys room for awhile and then my 10 y.o. suddenly started caring more about cleaning up his room and finally dragged the two boxes out to the living room because he said that the other brothers kept on getting them out and messed up their room. 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Sounds like you have an organizer on your hands… love it! 🙂 Haha. Glad you have found a great solution for your family. Have an awesome week, Jennifer!

      ~Abby =)

  7. My 3 GIRLS are all grown, but I still have our Legos in a couple of Rubbermaid tubs in the cupboard. No color, no shape, no nuthin’ with organization at this point in time. Hah! When we have kiddos over, I put a flat sheet out on the rug and Lego playing happens there and only there. I do not want to walk on Legos or find pieces all over!! When they are done playing, we just fold up the sheet and funnel all the Lego pieces back into the Rubbermaid. Super Easy! I have hung on to our Legos, Rescue Heroes, Barbies, and Fisher-Price Little People for years. I am hoping for grandchildren someday, but in the meantime, we just pull out a plastic tub of the certain type of toy (age appropriate) and little friends and relatives have fun..

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That sounds like a great solution, Julie! I like the sheet idea. Thanks for sharing! <3

      ~Abby =)

  8. The Curious Frugal says:

    We’re at the duplo stage over here. My daughter just got her first big duplo set for her birthday in February. I anticipate more in the years to come and your tips will come in handy! My instinct definitely would have been to try one of your first two strategies (the ones that didn’t work)…lol

    1. justagirlabby says:

      They really seemed like they would be great solutions! Not so much. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Abby =)

  9. A friend moved recently and I bought her Trofast systems (2). I sorted Legos by color but they rarely get put back. I think I’ll just dump them in the Trofast buckets and call it good!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hope it works for you! It sure has been a great system for us. Have a great week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  10. Dee Dee | Chasing A Better Life says:

    I love love love to organize! In my home it’s just me now so it is so much easier 🙂 This is, however, my pet leave (or shall I say project) for my daughters home! I am going to get the lego’s organized asap. I’ve seen other systems but I really think this is the one that will work for us all! Thank you!`

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! Hope it’s a great solution for you! Have a great week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  11. Keeping anything kid related organized is a challenge! And honestly, it doesn’t get a lot better as they get older. My teenage daughter cannot seem to keep her bedroom floor clear for more than a few days…and then it’s covered in clothes again. I don’t know that I’ll ever keep up. Lol.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I think organization is always somewhat of a challenge… no matter the age! Just goes from toys to clothes to office supplies, etc. 🙂 Haha. Thanks for stopping by, Jessica. Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  12. LOVE this!! I am currently working on organizing our Legos…AGAIN! Lol I am very excited as this will definitely work for us. I just put all our Lego manuals in sheet protectors & placed in a large binder but I think this file system will be much less hassle for the boys to handle. Thank you for sharing!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Maria! <3

      ~Abby =)

  13. Karen Hobson says:

    Wow, who knew that Lego organization was such a big topic?? I’m 52 years old and my son is 26. He hasn’t played with Legos in many years; however, we had the huge Lego bucket that they came in and when he was done playing, they all got pitched back into the bucket. I never even considered organizing them. Maybe Lego’s weren’t as popular back then and so there weren’t SETS of them! 🙂 We’ll say that was the reason that I didn’t organize them, anyway. My 12 year old granddaughter also has a bucket of Legos at my mom”s house for when she used to babysit her quite a bit, but I never organized those either. You should be seeing a pattern here…I’m not a toy organizer. Haha!!! However, watching your videos has re-inspired me to organize my home a little better…gonna tackle a couple projects later in the week when I take a couple days off work. Have a great week.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Karen! I’m glad it was helpful for you. Hope you’re having a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  14. do you really reuse the intructions?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Robyn! I often think of just throwing them away, but there are times that my boys do want to use them again so I’m continuing to file them for now!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Do your boys spend a lot of time hunting for certain pieces when they rebuild with instructions? That’s why I’ve stuck with sorting by color and am reluctant to go your route. My guy gets frustrated when he spends a long time digging through all our Legos looking for a tiny/rare piece (and so do I because he usually asks me to help him!) Just curious if you’ve found a way to overcome that or if it’s just a trade-off you prefer over sorting by color.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      They rarely rebuild the entire sets with instructions once it has been broken apart. If they pull out the instruction books, it’s often to see how a few of the pieces fit together or something like that so they can incorporate them in one of their own creations. So yes, our system would be more difficult if your kiddo was wanting to build the sets over and over. I have yet to find a system that is awesome both for being able to locate pieces for sets and for ease of cleaning up, so I think it’s just a trade-off, unfortunately! The color coding may be your best bet if he wants to be able to find specific pieces more quickly. Hope you’re having a great weekend, Ellen!

      ~Abby =)

  16. Marissa | Squirrels of a Feather says:

    You have sooooo many LEGOs!!! We only have one box, and I got overwhelmed ?. But my guys are slightly younger than yours. I would like to try and implement this on a smaller scale someday…thanks for the great idea!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Marissa! Have a great week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  17. Wow we have been through the exact same process. In fact the stage we are at right now is the part where we’ve just about got sick of trying to tidy it all back into colours and lego just gets left out everywhere, or al dumped into one of the plastic drawers in a mix of half built models and random pieces. The next plan is to do exactly what you have – just have it all mixed together, but with the “guys” (and the Lego Friends “gals” – we have one of each) separate.
    The filing of the instruction booklets may be a step too far, but we’ll see…
    Thanks for making me see I’m not the only one who stressed about Lego mess.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are definitely not alone! It can be a tough one to tackle. I hope you find a solution that works well for you!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Rose Arthur says:

    Neat ides for lego storage and manuals!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Rose! Hope you’re having a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  19. Wow! I love these ideas! We are on a similar path. We started with the ziplock bags but then the sets got mixed so they we tried using a small bin and that failed because it turned into several bins. Then my organization fantasy self tried to organize them by color. This failed because I’m the only one sorting them, there are still legos in several other bins, the floor and all over the desk. I gave up on instruction manuals and just pitched them. You can find the directions online if you ever really want to see them again. I think I’m gonna ditch the colored bins and just buy one of those bins that slide under the bed. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay, glad it was helpful for you, Dawn! Happy to know it’s not just me that has been on this long lego organization journey! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Where did you get the totes?

        1. justagirlabby says:

          Do you mean the ones in the cube unit? Those are from Target! I got them a while ago, so they may not still have the exact same ones, but they always have a great selection. Have a great weekend!

          ~Abby =)

  20. Caitlin Johnston says:

    Abby! I’m up to my ears in legos and have organized them by color, but it just wasn’t working! I remembered you posted about lego organization so I searched your blog for this! Thanks for the help! Just wanted to say thanks 🙂 Hope you and the family are doing great 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh, girl… I totally feel your pain. I have been there. I hope it will be helpful for you. Happy 2019 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  21. Lauren Holleran says:

    There is an app that I downloaded from Lego. It stores all your instructions by set. You just type in the style number and add it to your collection. It’s great for the bigger bins of legos you get because there are additional builds that are exclusive to the app.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Oooh that is brilliant! I didn’t know they had that! Thanks so much for the tip, Lauren! Have a great day!

  22. HI Abby,

    Love your lego organizer strategies. It was never easy for us to keep it in an organized way until we found it here.Thanks!

    Angel

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Angel! Love to hear that!

      ~Abby =)

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