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LEGO Tips and Techniques - Store Organization

As a seller and a builder I have two methods for sorting my parts.  The reasons are obvious.  As a seller I want to be able to pick pieces for my orders in the same order as I see on the screen.  As a builder I want to be able to access some parts by color and others by type.

Let's start with my store.  When I first started I had only a handful of parts that I kept in a shoebox.  As my inventory grew I purchased a 40 some drawer parts organizer that you might use for bolts and washers or other bits and bobs.  This worked for a while until the brick bin got full.  I'd shuffle pieces for a while using 2 bins for the bricks until I finally outgrew the whole thing.  I still use the organizer for small pieces such as bars and minifig parts.

However I have expanded certain categories into shoeboxes.  In my store bricks, plates, and slopes were the first categories to go to this new system.  Let's take bricks for examples.  All 1x1 bricks go into some small 3x4 baggies by color.  These baggies then go into a larger ziploc bag.  The same goes for 1x2, 1x3 and so on.  For larger bricks I skip the smaller baggies altogether and just use the ziploc.  At no point are new elements EVER clicked together.  I have very few used elements in my store but I may partially click those together for quick visual recognition.

Slopes have a ziploc bag for each angle, that is 18, 30, 33, 65, 75°, etc.  Parts are organized by color and size into the smaller baggies.  There are larger baggies for inverted slopes, curved slopes, etc.  This system is used for Brackets, Bricks, Modified Bricks, Plates, Large Plates (4x and bigger), Modified Plates, Slopes, Technic + Wedges, Hinges + Tiles, Vehicle, complete Minifigs.  Other large lots tend to be scattered here and there such as plants.  I'm getting very close to converting the entire system to a couple dozen 5x10" clear bins from the dollar store.  I plan to install some wall cabinets first.

Some folks organize their stores by strict part number.  This means that Bionicle parts might be next to a slope which is then next to a minifigure accessory.  You can organize your Bricklink orders to see them by part name, part number, or category.  My only problem with this method is that if you are looking for a particular part you'll have to cross reference Bricklink.  I personally do not know every part number by heart.

Boxes are a pain to ship but I have a hard time throwing away anything with a LEGO logo.  Larger boxes get flattened after carefully cutting the seals.  Then they are all stacked on edge in a larger box based on size.  Boxes for 4204 The Mine are in the back.  Smaller boxes that can't easily be broken down are stuffed into a shipping box from LEGO.  Sometimes these smaller boxes are used for protection in shipping orders.  I'm getting close to getting rid of all the boxes and may do so once the new cabinets are installed if there's no room.

Instructions, posters, and catalogs are kept in an accordion file organizer based on set number.    I currently have one for 4 digit numbers and one for 5 digit numbers.  Now that TLG is using 5 digit set numbers heavily, I may have to get a few more of those organizers.

Finally I keep sets in a clear bin.  I don't have very many sets available so one clear bin is sufficient.  There's usually enough room to keep shipping supply overflow in there as well.  The clear bins allow me to find what I want at a glance while keeping the sets protected from little hands.

Any other suggestions for how I could make my store better?

1 comment:

  1. My inventory system uses the clear plastic 16-qt Sterilite totes, that are normally $3 each at Kroger. They hold about 5lb of LEGO sorted in bags before they are too full to be manageable. I used some old shipping label paper to make picture-labels for each one, to make finding the parts I need even easier. My boxes are organized in to categories such as:

    New Modified Plates
    New Plates 1x1-1x16 and 2x2 corners
    New Plates 2x2-2x16
    New Plates 3x3 & Larger
    New Technic
    New Bionicle
    New Bricks (this is currently in a huge tote but will be separated into a New Bricks 1x1-1x16 and New Bricks 2x2-2x? boxes.

    I thought about using boxes but we're moving the store to a garage soon and I'd hate if a mouse ever got ahold of the cardboard boxes or the shiny LEGO inside, so plastic it shall stay.

    Right now I use cheap 5-shelf shelves but I eventually want a wall of shelves spaced vertically 12" apart so I don't have to stack bins on top of each other (because when picking orders, every second counts!