Thursday, March 10, 2011

How Specific do you Sort?

In the LEGO library, there are thousands of parts that are created for all the sets, from mini figure accessories to simple bricks. When keeping a small collection, there are only a limited number of parts to sort, but as the collection grows, so does the assortment. This inevitably leads to sorting challenges.

For most of us, we don't have the space to make room for every individual part, so we combine in some way. I combine my parts in two different ways:


With my plates, I combine colors that are distinct together - the size is easy to recognize, and color is even easier. Here, I start with 1x2 plates and go to 2 x 8 plates at the end. Larger plates are in bins under my work surface. The bottom row has my exotic colors - the ones that I probably will not use. When I need large plates or run out of a color in a drawer, I have a couple of overflow bins to search.

The bottom left drawer has all my small rounded slopes. I don't have these sorted by color either. I am not that organized:-)! I do have my 2 x bricks separated by color in bins, though.

For specialty parts, though, I use a slightly different strategy.

I group similar parts together. These are parts that have the clip handles in some way or form. The only exception is that control brick element in the foreground, which needs to be somewhere else! All the other parts are there for two reasons:

1. They are easier to find in a group than separately. This is especially applicable when I only have a few parts.

2. Grouping encourages my creativity by letting me see more than one option to a part.

Here's another example. Headlight bricks and SNOT bricks in the same drawer. The different options from sunk-in stud to studs on more than one side, give me a variety of ways to mount parts by the side, and in some cases, more than one side.

This system seems to work for me most of the time, although I am in the process of migrating the most used parts to the drawers to build more efficiently. Developing your own sorting setup and system will take a little time, as you have to see what parts you use the most to determine what goes where. Also, if you are a more precise builder, you'll probably want more specific bins and drawers. Keep in mind that this will expand your work area, though. A former AFOL I knew had an entire basement set aside for building, and his walls were lined with drawers of parts.

So how do you sort?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Jojoguy10 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loisillon said...

My pre-requisites :
My 5 year old child must find an element alone (and incidentally it must be able to store all alone. Yes I know, I dream !)
All containers must be transparent and easily transportable.

Sorting :
I sort through shelves on wheels. Each shelf has several drawers.
There is a drawer for bulk (essential for the storage of emergency !)

The rare parts are grouped together.
Parts in large numbers are grouped by shape (I dropped the color sorting due to time).

The small parts are in sorters like pill boxes (I use a tweezers to pick up them).
The large parts are in bulk in specific drawers.
The common parts are in small boxes, also transparent, stacked in drawers.

Parts of the minifigs are grouped, accessories are grouped and I isolate Technic parts from overs parts.

Sorting evolves according to the collection.




Mes pré-requis :
Mon fils de 5 ans doit pouvoir trouver les pièces lui-même (et si possible les ranger lui-même. Je sais, je rêve !)
Tous les conteneurs doivent être transparents et facilement transportables.
Le tri :
Je range dans des étagères à roulettes. Chaque étagère comporte plusieurs tiroirs.
Il y a un tiroir dédié au vrac (en cas de rangement d'urgence !)
Les pièces en petit nombre sont regroupées sans critère.
Les pièces en grand nombre sont regroupées par forme (j'ai abandonné le tri par couleur faute de temps).
Les petites pièces se trouvent dans des trieurs de type boîte à pilules (j'utilise une pince à épiler en plastique pour les prendre).
Les grandes pièces sont en vrac dans des tiroirs dédiés.
Les pièces communes se trouvent dans de petites boîtes, aussi transparentes, empilées dans les tiroirs.
Les pièces de minifigurines sont regroupées, les accessoires entre eux aussi et j'isole les pièces Technic.
Le tri évolue en fonction de l'accroissement de la collection.
Merci de m'avoir lu.

Me said...

Currently, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to sort - as of right now, all pieces are broken out by color (save for a bag that needed cleaning).

I soon realized by color was a bad idea, but this lets me break down individual colors by type and see where/when I can combine stuff of like colors.

It is very slow going and I envy those of you that have a large, dedicated workspace :)

Gerald said...

I am currently sorting mine. I have been in this process since last year. I am now down to the last three colors. White (working on that today), newer grey, and black. I have been sorting by individual piece and putting them in fishing tackle storage boxes. I am not looking forward to black as I have 4 large steralite drawers full to the brim! I wish I could put them all in open boxes like you find in hardware stores, but don't have the space, and don't want to move with them that way.

Anonymous said...

I sort by color mostly. Except for weapons, mini-fig parts, wheels and accessories.

Dvanes said...

If you sort all your lego in boxes, don't you keep the original boxes the lego comes in or do you just bin them?

Mary-Owen said...

I save all my original boxes by putting them in those huge Ziplock bags and then take them up to my attic. I am a 37 yr old mom, I have been doing this since I was a kid. I would save the box when I was little because in order for me to build the set's alternative versions I had to go by the pictures on the outside of the box. We didn't have the luxury of the interwebs to give us alternative building instructions, so the box was vital. I remember when I went off to college, I took all my sets apart, I sorted the pieces & stored them in ziploc bags & stored them all back in their original boxes. Lucky for me they stayed in my parents attic. when I became a mom to my only son, a boy, I hoped he would love Lego as much as I did as a child. I retrieved all my old sets and we built them together when he was old enough. It was so awesome building these vintage sets.
Today we keep most of our built sets on display on high bookshelves, but I still have a large inventory of pieces. have an assortment of storage containers that I use to sort all my pieces, I am curious as to what containers you use and like, as well as where you buy them, and maybe some any containers you have used in the past that you now avoid. Now that our collection has grown, I want to reorganize my whole storage system and make it more streamlined. I would love to see some pics of your storage systems. Thanks.