Lego Storage Boxes!
Written by Mike Freeman
As a Lego Artist I am often asked about the best way to store Lego bricks. The answer however is not as simple as you might think. There are currently a few Lego storage ideas on the market, and each bring something different to the table. Some are used to sort and store Lego bricks, others are used as Lego organisers or some are even just a simple Lego storage box.
So to help answer this question, I’m going to explore my own Lego storage issues. I started off as a child with a simple plastic Lego storage box. This was a box where all Lego bricks were thrown into, mixed up then dug through for hours trying to find that 1 elusive piece. I’m sure we’ve all been there, right?!
As I started to get into Lego MOC (My Own Creation) building more formally, I found myself using anything I could get my hands on, pots, tubs, boxes etc to sort and store Lego bricks. This helped to separate different types of Lego bricks a little, but finding somewhere to store all of those small Lego storage tubs was now a bigger issue. This didn’t really work a Lego organiser as it was hard to remember which part went where. They also didn’t hold enough of the bulk Lego bricks needed for my larger MOCs! Now these extremely cheap, as finished ice cream tubs and takeaway containers are always in the kitchen cupboards.
When these Lego storage containers were stacked up, I would have to dig through the piles just to find that 1 piece. That’s a step up from digging through the big Lego storage box, but an issue just as frustrating, and more effort for sure. The biggest issue though is how they actually look. A mish-mash of containers filled with a whole variety of Lego bricks, stacked in huge piles all over the house is not something most people could put up with, especially those Lego builders with an eye for immaculate detail. This is not an efficient way to sort and store Lego bricks.
To combat this I invested in the awesome looking official Lego storage bricks. This was extremely expensive, even picking up many at clearance prices from shows and bargain shops. They come in several styles, from a 1x1 cylinder through to a 2x4 Lego brick. And the range of colours available means they can suit any room. In my personal opinion, these look awesome stacked up. If you’ve got enough, they can be arranged into some simple oversized Lego designs. They didn’t work too well as a Lego organiser though, each brick having just 1 open space for storage.
But like many Lego storage ideas these have other flaws too, they are deceptively small. They lose usable space underneath to allow them to stack on to the studs of the Lego storage brick below. They also lose space around all of the edges as the top of the Lego storage box lifts completely off for access. There is a slightly more unusual issue with them, and I’m pretty sure anyone that’s tried storing Lego bricks in them will have found out, the circular gaps in the base are perfectly sized for Lego plates, tiles and smaller parts to fall into and get stuck! Getting them out of these Lego storage bricks can be a real ordeal too!
I also tried the small and large official Lego storage heads for a while. Again, these are extremely expensive. I did find them to be very entertaining though, but not a huge amount more useful to sort and store Lego bricks than the Lego storage boxes. The smaller Lego storage heads do stack onto the Lego storage bricks, but the larger heads are made to a totally different scale. Unlike the boxes, these do not lose so much space in the base and side. However they do have the same circular gaps in the base, causing even worse issues with losing smaller parts.
As a MOC builder, it’s important to me that any Lego storage ideas are able to make building generally easier, to assist the creative process, and to simplify sorting and storing of Lego bricks. I also have a need for it to be aesthetically pleasing. This is slightly more than just vanity. Having mobility issues means I cannot use my Lego room upstairs for regular building. That is now simply a place to store and display my ever growing Lego set collection. All of the artistry is done in my living room, so whichever Lego storage idea I use must also not look out of place.
This brings me to my current Lego storage idea. For around a year now I’ve been using the Lego organiser drawers from Papimax. These may just look like simple individual drawer units, but they’ve actually been extremely well thought out, with Lego builders in mind! I’ve bought mine from both shows and from their website, offering far better value for money than the official Lego storage bricks and Lego storage heads.
Measuring 37x 23x 6cm, each Lego storage drawers can fit in over 1400 standard Lego bricks! There is very little lost space with these Lego storage drawers, but that’s not even the best part. They even help you sort and store Lego bricks with the removable dividers turning it into a Lego organiser drawer. These dividers can be positioned inside the drawer to create up to 15 individual segments. I’ve used them in all sorts of configurations, and as I sort and store more Lego bricks, I simply move the dividers around. This feature is unique within all of the Lego storage ideas.
But with the amount and variety of Lego bricks I have, just one drawer wouldn’t be enough to sort and store all of my Lego bricks. So how do multiple Lego storage drawers interact? Well thankfully in a couple of ways. Each drawer can be stacked on top of one another, and they’ve been designed in such a clever way that the pressure of those full drawers is carried around the sides, not onto the drawer itself. That means the drawers can be easily opened without any jamming issues.
Not only do these Lego storage drawers stack up, they also stack side by side too. They do that using an integrated interlocking system, no need to add any connectors etc. The connection is very rigid, even when the Lego storage drawers are full. The 20 Lego storage drawers that I have are connected horizontally in pairs then stacked vertically. This gives me a very good solid Lego organiser tower.
I use a mixture of techniques to fill each of those Lego storage drawers. Colours I have large amounts of, such as Black, Dark Grey and Light Grey, are spread across a couple of drawers. Then they are sorted into the Lego storage drawers depending on quantity. Any Lego bricks that I have a larger quantity of will have its very own segment within the drawer. If it’s a Lego Brick that I only have a small amount of, they’ll be grouped together with other similar parts.
When I’m ready to build, I simply pull out the whole Lego storage drawers that I need and get sticking those Lego bricks together. This has really made finding Lego bricks much easier. I know exactly where every part is now, so can instantly pull out all the Lego storage drawers needed for that project without any fuss at all. As all the Lego bricks have their own segment, it’s now easier and faster to create my Lego builds. These Lego organiser drawers have made a huge difference to my overall confidence in building.
Some of my drawers however I’ve actually used in a slightly different way, more than just to sort and store Lego. Some of my inspiration for small and microscale builds comes directly from the unusual Lego bricks themselves. The unique shape of some of these bricks can inspire many builds and techniques. So these I fill with random parts, usually of 2 or 3 complimentary colours. Then when I’m ready to build, I pull the whole drawer out, sit comfortably and get sticking Lego bricks together, using the drawer as a building tray. It’s an exhilarating method of building, if you’ve never tried it, what’s stopping you?!
You may be aware that I’m not the only Lego builder in my house. My young lad is also a fantastic little Lego builder. He has another use for these Lego storage drawers that others may find beneficial. When building a new Lego set, he empties the contents of the bags into a Lego storage drawer and uses this as a build tray. Some Lego sets will fit into the Lego storage drawers when built too, others may need breaking down into sections, or even taking fully apart to be stored. Such versatility from 1 simple drawer!
So let’s talk aesthetics. How do they look? Well they don’t quite match up to the comic styling of the Lego storage heads, and you can’t piece them together to make oversized Lego builds like the Lego storage bricks. But they are extremely neat and professional looking. They even come in 2 different colours to match the decoration in your Lego room (if you’re lucky enough to have one) or any other room for that matter. The best thing about how they look is that they don’t stand out. This is exactly what I need from a Lego storage idea.
As you can see, my Lego storage ideas have evolved with me. From the Lego storage boxes where I’ve got to spend hours digging - to random pots and tubs that aren’t good for finding the right piece and look awful – then onto Lego storage bricks and heads that are fun to look at, but not very practical – and finally the Papimax Lego storage drawers that are ideal for sorting and storing of Lego bricks and sets, and can even help you become a better Lego builder.
I’ve chosen to spend my own money on several different types of Lego storage. I’ve given them all some real world testing and offered my own personal thoughts and feelings on how each of these have actually worked for me on a practical basis. I know that you may have other Lego storage solutions, and I would love to hear all about them!
So what do you think? How do you store your Lego bricks?
Do you have some other storage solution to hold all of your Lego bricks?
or perhaps you have a great DIY Lego storage solution to share?
Let me know in the comments below.
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