Sorting… with Extreme Prejudice.

I have a problem.

Well, I have several, but only one is particularly relevant to you today. It is to find order amongst the chaos. Yes, we are talking about sorting the LEGO collection: mine has gotten a little out of hand.


This topic is frequently brought up discussion groups, so I thought I would tell you where I have been, and let you know where I am going.  I know many of you have well sorted collections/resources, some are a little more…chaotic.

My current collection of building bricks has evolved from my children’s collection: started around 10 years ago.
In those early days, after graduating from one box,  we bought one box for each colour family (reds, yellow, black, green, blue, white, random colours) , and put wheels/axles in another box.  With time we added boxes for slopes and technic parts.

Subsequently, I have worked mainly with bricks pooled by colours, plates pooled by colour groups (greens, tans/browns, black and greys) and random sorting patterns in between. However, I have had all sizes and shapes of these colours in together: 1×1 to 2×12; plates of all sizes and shapes.

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So many different shapes, colours and sizes!  This is my green brick box.  It seems a little confused.

Untitled 15It is getting harder to find specific elements that I require, so I am changing my primary sorting strategy to one of ‘part specific rather than colour specific.’ I did this a couple of months ago with my technic elements, and it felt really good!

The primary argument for this is that it can be hard to find a piece of a specific size in a box of elements of the one colour, whereas a specific element can be seen to fit, and may or may not need to be a specific colour within a MOC.

However, after a periodic tidy up, we get boxes of table scrap that look like this…


And so now we are embarking on the sorting pathway.  I am beginning with 10 tubs for rapid sorting: each will be subjected to sub sorting by sub type, with the intention of proceeding with little decision making needing to take place: Bricks; plates; modified bricks; modified tiles, windows/doors; small bits, slopes, curved parts and just about anything else.  This is in conjunction with some of the semi sorted ‘fiddly, greebly bits.’ kept in small drawers on the wall. Small elements (cheese slopes, 1×1 studs and tiles are already in compartmentalised boxes, sorted by (4)

I am going through the colour boxes, and ultimately sorting bricks and plates into 1xn; 2xn, 4xn 6 x n, 8xn and so on. Also, the time has come to dismantle some of the ancient MOCs and Sets of no particular sentimental interest. I can’t even conceive what will happen to the mini figures yet!

As I increase my sorted foliage, it gives rise to the Bionicle Spine type piece, in its own box:foliage.png

Lets get some basic sorting completed, So we can free up some boxes for further placing of elements.  Here we have mixed basic bricks, modified tiles (grille), and 1x1x1 round(cylinder) brick.  The cylinders will get sorted down to colour.  The grilles I am not so sure about!

Bricks in one box, some smaller, special elements are already in their own compartment…

Then, we’ll start with the pure elemental sorting.  If you like, you can come along for part or all of the journey.  Perhaps you would just like to watch from the sidelines and chuckle occasionally. It’s up to you.

How do you prefer to sort your LEGO? How many containers/boxes/ drawers to you have set up for it? Do you think’ extreme sorting’ reduces your ability to play,  while enhancing the ability to build a detailed model? Why not share your thoughts with our readers in the comments below!

I’m heading out now:  I could be some time!


Play Well


4 thoughts on “Sorting… with Extreme Prejudice.

  1. Ahh, the sorting conundrum 😀
    I can heartily recommend an article by Remy Evard, originally posted on LUGNET, but included in HBM009 by kind permission, with the title “The Evolution of LEGO Sorting”

    A nice second would be an article by the Arvo Brothers in HBM013.

    Did you know there are Flickr user groups on LEGO sorting ^-^

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