Showing posts with label storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label storage. Show all posts

LEGO Finds - Calendar Week 42

Only one item this week.  And it's not even made by LEGO!  Official Iris Brand Ninjago storage case.  No baseplate in it anymore.  Of course, there are only baseplates in half of them at the store anyway.  This will be perfect for MY baseplates and all my large bulk of overflow parts.


LEGO Tips and Techniques - Updated Store Organization

Back in June of 2013 I shared with you how I organize my LEGO parts store.  Since then I've grown my store and changed my layout.  Instead of the crummy looking boxes stacked seven high I've built a shelf to stack two high.  And instead of the crummy boxes I've now got 32 of the smallest IKEA Samla boxes.  I purchased the lids to have them but I don't use them.  The boxes are roughly 11" deep, 8" wide and 5"+ tall.  I built my shelf with 11-1/4" clear and two stacked fit nicely.  I wish I'd had 12" even but this works fine.  The unintended benefit is that that height can also hold 4 high of the large LEGO Games boxes (for projects) and 6 high of my builder storage cases as well as fit the accordion files I use for instructions, posters and other paper.

It's not sagging, that's the lens distortion.

The bins now hold more specific ranges of parts.  Rather than one "Slopes" box as before, I've now got "Slopes up to 45°", "Slopes above 45°" and "Slopes, Inverted and Curved".  Plates are 1x, 2x, and 4x.  I've moved a lot of parts from the little drawers but there are still some that persist.  The problem is the dimensions given for the Samla boxes.  IKEA lists them as if the lid were on.  So it's extreme exterior edges.  Useable space inside the bins is a bit less.  Enough so that I estimated I'd need 24 bins for all my parts stock.  I bought 32.  I'm using 24 for stock but still have inventory in the small drawers; at least 2 or more bins' worth.

But the bins are great for other things.  I've got all my LEGO Christmas decor in one, all my baggies in another, and my overstock of tape and packing supplies in another.  I keep tape, scissors, calipers, and my thickness sizing guide (for international orders) on the desk in another.  I plan to buy another 6 or 8 next time I'm at the Swedish Costco.  The small bins are $1.99 with lids, $1.49 without.  If you are an IKEA family member then they are $1.49 with lids, $1.12 without.  Trevligt fynd!

The shelving is 1/2" plywood stock.  I should have used 3/4" for a 5'-4" span but I've made do just fine with a little midspan support.  I added some wood trim around the edge to hide the plies.  I have another piece of scrap 3/8" plywood used on the back for shear stabilization.  The shelf is held on the wall by driving minimum 2-1/2" long screws through a 3/4" cleat at the top shelf and directly into the studs.  I should do the same on the bottom shelf.  The very top of the shelf is about 3" from the ceiling and fits all my flattened boxes of any value.

Other than the storage that protrudes I've got in mind that I could add doors someday.  On the other hand doors might make the already small room feel smaller.  So maybe open is OK as long as the shelves look tidy.

And the top shelf?  A museum of sorts.  There's some Primo and Quatro, some large tubs, and a Freestyle Brick Vac.  Also some trophies for Convention awards and marathon running.

LEGO Tips and Techniques - Builder Storage



Last week I discussed my storage techniques for my Bricklink store.  But having a store and being a builder are two very different things.  I certainly pull parts from my store from time to time to add to my personal building stash.  But there are some things I do quite differently.

For starters my store is organized to match the Bricklink catalog.  This makes it easier to go down the line and pull orders.  My personal parts are organized mostly by color.  I have 6 storage cases from Harbor Freight Tools that are lightweight, convenient, and adaptable.  These cases are usually $6.99 a piece but go on sale for $2.99 or $3.99 often.  They come with all the dividers which gives you 24 compartments.  Each compartment is a touch larger than a 6x6 plate.  Dividers can be removed for 8L pieces or larger lots.  For instance, I keep all 1x2 tiles regardless of color in two combined compartments.
Storehouse 94458 24 Compartment Large Storage Container
I like the adaptable part of these.  I recently added two more to the collection and expanded my neutral colors into their own case away from the earth tones.  I also added another one as a specific project case to do away with parts that were in baggies and being stored in a used bubble mailer.  I may add a couple more soon to break out primary colors into their own case away from trans.

I reserve one compartment or double compartment for plates of a particular color.  The next double compartment below it I put all other parts in that color.  This is most easily seen in my earth tone case and somewhat in my neutrals case.  My primary colors are lower in quantity so plates and others are sometimes in one compartment each or just one compartment period!


My primary colors case includes several one compartment colors, a load of green and a load of transparent pieces.  Blue and yellow are currently overflowing due to one project.  Those pieces will get used up fairly quickly.  On the far right are double compartments of trans clear 1x2 plates and trans clear 1x1 plates.  All the other trans clear pieces need to spread out a little.  This case may soon be divided into greens + landscaping and primaries + trans


My other general cases are divided into neutrals, earth tones, and other pieces.  The other pieces case takes into account pieces that are used more often for function instead of color.  It also contains many smaller pieces that otherwise get lost in the other compartments.  There's space for hinges, travis bricks, brackets, 1x1 round, 2x2 round, bars, technic bits, and 12 compartments of tiles.  Those are broken up into 1x1, 1x2, 1x4, 2x2, 2x4, 1x6, 1x8 + 1x4 overflow, grill tiles, and cheese slopes.

How do I determine whether a part has more merit for its color or function?  The general rule of thumb is to consider how commonly I use the piece.  If I have very few of a color in general then all pieces of that color go in the same compartment (i.e. pearl gold).  If the function of the part comes in a myriad of colors then I generally store them together.

In order to save space, the pieces themselves are stacked where appropriate.  All plates are stagger stacked and tetrised into their compartments.  Stacking makes certain sizes easier to find.  Since 1x1 plates always filter to the bottom, it is easier to look for a long stack of them.  1x2 plates are built into 2x2 towers.  Bricks are straight stacked or built into cubes.  Round plates are straight stacked since they are easy to get apart.   Brackets and travis bricks are clipped together into as tight a formation as I can get with as many pieces as possible.  The 1x2-2x2 brackets are 5 to a group.  Most others are 4.



I also use some of the larger game board boxes.  These are for larger parts, temporary bulk overflow and WIPs.  If you carefully undo the glue that holds the flaps down, you can turn them inside out for a nice clean brown cardboard look.  It also looks less appealing than clickable ABS if it's sitting on your front seat at the grocery store.

I've seen many photos of build rooms where endless plastic parts drawer cases are used.  These are great too and likely expandable.  I'm happy to stick with my cases.  I can take a couple with me to work on part of a project or have something to do in an otherwise boring situation (doctor's office?)  As I end up with more, it is also no big deal to build slender shelves to hold these library style.  If I do it right it could end up looking like a rainbow Craftsman tool cart with one case per color.

I'm sure you've got some better ideas.  Let us know.

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?