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How does everyone else store their collection?

edited March 2011 in Collecting
I've always been curious how AFOL's store their Lego's. I have lots of old sets in ziplock bags, organized into boxes by theme. But I also have lots of newer sets in their original boxes, that take up 50%+ of the storage space in my house. I feel if I break the boxes down and store the bricks with my other older ones, it'll make those sets seem less special somehow.

Part of me is also tempted to mix all the sets together, as I know a lot of people do, making it easier to create MOC's. I just can't bring myself to do it.
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Comments


  • Part of me is also tempted to mix all the sets together, as I know a lot of people do, making it easier to create MOC's. I just can't bring myself to do it.
    That goes for me too. I store them in original boxes and they take up one hell of a lot of space. It drives me mad and it's rubbish for MOCing so I do most of that on LDD.
  • Most of my sets released before the colour change are broken down and parted out and form part of my MOC parts collection. But that collection has become so huge, what with purchases from LEGOLand, brand stores and other bulk buying opportunities that I can't expand it any more.

    So, most sets released since 2004, at least those I'm likely to want to build again, are bagged up and stored in plastic boxes. I usually take the minifigs out and keep them separately.

    I don't have room for hundreds of empty boxes (see the other thread...) but I do keep those for licenced themes.
  • My solution is not great, but I'll share it anyway. Since I'm planning to move to bigger house soon, I currently have no sets on display at all (well maybe one!), they are all broken down into small enough parts to be be ziplock bagged up and placed back into their original boxes. I then put those boxes into larger sturdy cardboard boxes (the ones from Lego are good, as are Amazon) and pad out any gaps with newspaper where necessary. I then create a label for the box on the pc and list pout the set numbers and name and stick this to the side and top of the box. Those boxes then go into attic/loft #1.

    All my MISB sets (far too many these days I'm afraid) are stored in Attic/Loft #2 and are just arranged such that there is very little crushing pressure on anyone box.

    I don't really MOC so having the pieces available is not really an issue for me. I plan to start a few discussions on displaying Lego when I get a few minutes.
  • For us, the answer is GORM. It's expandable and fairly inexpensive shelfing from Ikea. :o)image
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  • Most of my bricks are parted out, sorted by colour & brick type, & stored in commercially bought 'take-away' containers. I've got quite a few unopened sets, but, with very few exceptions, they are destined to be parted out. Most of my boxes have gone for recycle. I've got 4 lots of GORM shelves in the garage for stacking some of the containers on. Not sure how many bricks I've got, but it's somewhere around 500,000-to-750,000.
  • edited March 2011
    I'm afraid I'm another collector who just can't bear to part with the boxes, so storage is a real issue. My wife is much less concerned about the amount I spend on LEGO than she is about all the space it occupies.....

    I'm in the process of designing and building some custom storage units to maximise the LEGO storage space, but it'll likely be a problem until the day I die....

    @yellowcastle I love the Town Plan set in your photo! Having bought my own one at a great price from a LEGO brand store a couple of years back and not built it yet, I now hesitate to break the seals when I see the prices the set is fetching on eBay now. This is true for many sets , and I'm sure I'm not the only one with this dilemma.
  • I hit 'maximum box density' a few years back & had to make a decision about whether I was primarily a collector or a builder ... I went for builder, loaded up the boot of the car & headed for the local household recycling centre ... took loads of trips to get rid of them all (and I offloaded a load on Darren too).
  • edited March 2011
    @drdavewatford - I'm glad I'm not alone there. My wife was okay with my collecting at first but has grown worrisome with my new tendency to buy "multiples." When I see a set I just adore, I may want to build more than just one (i.e. Medieval Market, Public Transport) or keep an extra for investment (i.e. Peril in Peru, Tantive IV, etc.) As I've never parted with any set, the Mrs. doubts I'll be able to part with any of them...

    Additionally, I didn't pay much heed to box placement in my GORM. If I had done so, I would sure have put more of the interesting and/or rare sets up front. :o)
  • @drdavewatford - I'm glad I'm not alone there. My wife was okay with my collecting at first but has grown worrisome with my new tendency to buy "multiples." When I see a set I just adore, I may want to build more than just one (i.e. Medieval Market, Public Transport) or keep an extra for investment (i.e. Peril in Peru, Tantive IV, etc.) As I've never parted with any set, the Mrs. doubts I'll be able to part with any of them...
    I think we must be twins separated at birth !! I could have written exactly the same message that you just sent. We've even bought multiples of some of the same sets, e.g. Medieval Market Village. My motivation for buying multiples seems to change daily - sometimes it's because I imagine I'll make a huge profit when the set is eventually retired and I sell my spare(s), e.g. MMV, sometimes because I love to build AND have a mint set for the collection, and sometimes just because (e.g. the MISB Twin Pod Cloud Car I bought from eBay for £12.50 just 5 minutes ago....). I think the profit angle is bogus as I've never sold one LEGO brick in the whole of my life and therefore doubt I ever will.....
  • I used to think about buying for investment ... but the only sets I've ever sold have been to friends & at cost, so I guess I'm not a very good salesman. I've got a couple of MISB 7130 1999 Snow Speeders ... they are there for those really bad days at work; there's nothing quite like opening a great, old set for cheering me up :-)
  • edited March 2011
    @drdavewatford and @bluemoose - A while back, I had a chance to buy either an extra Town Plan or an extra Green Grocer at 20% Off from one of our local Lego stores. I chose the Green Grocer but sometimes late at night, I wake up and can still hear the crying of the lambs, so I just don't know....I just don't know. ;o)
  • I have several tubs of pre-dark ages bricks all mixed together from both my own and my wife's childhoods. We're slowly going through them to build sets (we have all of the instruction manuals) and see what pieces are missing.

    Post-dark ages sets are in ziplock pages, with the set # sharpied on them, stored in plastic see-through tubs.

    I separate out all of the minifigs and store them in these wonderful clear acrylic organizers I found at the Container Store. The containers have 27 compartments in a 3x9 grid, and are almost the perfect dimension in height, width and depth for a minifig (and will often fit a large hat or weapon).
  • I like to display my favorite sets. When I have too many, I take some apart and put them in ziploc bags and either in their original boxes or a post office box and mark what set it is. Then those boxes either go under my bed or in my closet.
  • I sometimes buy (or want to buy) multiples of sets like Hogwarts Castle, which is probably going to be the last one. I would like one (or more to sell) MISB to keep, 1 to build/display and maybe about 3 more to MOC with!
  • For us, the answer is GORM. It's expandable and fairly inexpensive shelfing from Ikea. :o)
    Nice shelving, so that's you and @bluemoose who both use GORM. I'll check it out when I move house. So do you have an entire LEGO room (or even rooms!), is it a garage or a room in the house?
  • My wife has given me a room but space is tight for both storage and displaying.
  • edited March 2011
    My wife has given me a room...
    Whose house is it anyway? :D
  • @ Yellowcastle...Interesting shelf setup. I would like to see more.

    I haven't finialized my room setup yet....but pictures are coming.
  • I agree on the shelving...awesome! My closet is stacked high with boxes, which crushes some at the bottom. That would help greatly!
  • O. M. G. Yellowcastle - I can't even begin to imagine what that collection costs... just... wow.

    My fairly modest collection (despite my wife's opinion to the contrary) is mostly disassembled and sorted by part type in a few different types of "small parts" organizers you can get at Home Depot. I have two large Stanley tool organizers that are just too huge to be practical (I want to phase them out) and a bunch of smaller 'Workforce' organizers that really do a great job of keeping stuff organized yet accessible. I also currently have a bunch of sets on my desk in various states of disassembly (awaiting more Workforce organizers) and a few favorites (8097 Slave I, Emerald Night, 4841 Hogwarts Express, Shuttle Adventure, Midi-Scale Falcon and Star Destroyer, Luke's Landspeeder) displayed on my dresser.

    I can't wait until I get a man cave in my next house, in order to really have full access to my collection.
  • I have a 'man cave' (nice expression :-)) on the 2nd floor of my house, which was specifically bought because it had a second floor. It's something like 6m x 4m so it's trade off between using the space for MISB storage or display of built sets and building stock of parts, plus some room to build. I opted for the latter, so I've had to use other spaces for storage: the garage, the spare room wardrobe and, now my eldest daughter has gone to university, her wardrobe :-)

    I use Ikea shelving for displaying my sets, Niklaus I think it's called, but it hasn't been available for a few years now.
  • Do we get kickbacks from Ikea?
  • my collection is as small as my pockect is shallow. I build everything i buy once if I like i make it part of Lego Town With No Name

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440141105#!/pages/Lego-Town-With-No-Name/429002295260

    If i don't then i'll improve with my limited left overs in a big box or take it apart and make something different from the top. But i won't buy if my town didn't need it.
    the boxs go in the spare room with instructions to remind myself what i have but with brickset...
  • I have a room in my parents(oh, that sounds bad, but then again, I'm only seventeen) basement, which may have been intended as a home office when we moved in, but that is now mostly mine. It's 90% LEGO room(or "mancave") and 10% storage room for documents and yarn. All my big sets are displayed, even though I have a lot to reconstruction to do, I haven't been a collector that long, there was(actually) a time when I played with my sets, rather than displaying them.

    At the moment I have my Death Star on a "cheeze-plate", it's a round plate you can turn, which is excellent. It's located right inside the room. All my stormtroopers, but one, are stationed here. Next to that I have my Hoth-scenario, which started up with the 2004-Millenium Falcon and consists of most of the Hoth sets released after that point. I think the only exception is the Motorized AT-AT. This is disdplayed on a desk, over the desk there are some shelves where I display various smaller scenes from Star Wars & Indiana Jones.

    There is some space right beneath my two windows, under the first I have a Clone Wars-battle, I've only bought Clone Wars-sets exclusively made up of clones as they don't have to take their helmets of. This scenario mainly consists of ground-based Separatist vehicles. Next to this I have my Endor-display. At the moment it only consists of the bunker and two AT-STs, but after the summer I'm going to make a large forest, which will be Endor in one end and The Forbidden Forest in the other. Next to the Endor display, you might have guessed, it's Hogwarts. Hogwarts is my main re-building project and I'm slowly making progress, it consists mostly of HP 1-3 sets(I have 4 too, but that doesn't fit in). Hopefully I'll get to buy some of the new ones, but with Pirates of the Caribbean coming up and a tight budget, I'm not too sure.

    Finally there's my workspace. Another desk, filled with works in progress and loose parts. This also has drawers, where I keep some sets and minifigures, and there are shelves over it, where I keep some small sets and my Collectable Minifigures. In addition to this I keep loose sets all over the room, on top of boxes or chairs. Under the work desk I keep my boxes of loose parts.

    My empty boxes are kept in the attic, luckily, a lot of them fit into the Death Star box, which saves some space. Hopefully, my LEGO will get to stay when I move out, my boxes however, I'm not too sure about... I might bring my Death Star along, depending on how big a place I get.

    This was a lot, but it feels so good to have someone to talk to about this, who actually listens, or rather, reads.
  • ...At the moment I have my Death Star on a "cheeze-plate", it's a round plate you can turn...
    Me too! Well, I have mine on something called a Lazy Susan, which is a round turny thing so sounds very similar. The rest of your setup sounds great, I'm twice your age and haven't managed to secure my own man-cave yet. I'm moving house this year so it's an absolute priority to get one.

  • I'm twice your age and haven't managed to secure my own man-cave yet.
    Heh, yeah - same here. SapmiSatan - don't count on moving to a place that can hold even your smallest sets, unless you're some sort of internet billionaire or something... although, with the amount of sets you've accrued, it wouldn't surprise me if you were.

    Once we move, I envision my ideal man-cave also being my office. It will be 40% LEGO, 40% comics, and 10% workspace (which would include my computer desk and a drafting table that hasn't seen the light of day in going on 5 years).

  • unless you're some sort of internet billionaire or something...
    I wish! How I've managed to afford these sets are beyond me, I don't even have a job. I usually buy one big set a year, last year it was the Death Star, and that cost me nearly the double of the U.S. prize... This year's going to be tough, as I want to have all the new Harry Potter sets, except for the Hogwarts Express, and Pirates of the Caribbean! I'm going to the Chzech Republic this summer, and I plan on making my LEGO purchases for the year on the way home, in Germany, as the sets are considerably cheaper there.
  • I keep my newest acquisitions in a walk-in closet. Some sets are kept built, others are partly broken down, and others are kept as loose bricks. All are placed in zip lock bags, which are then kept in plastic storage tubs. Some of the sets were kept in original boxes instead, but still with zip lock bags. Other boxes are flattened to store. Some MSIB sets are just stored in their original boxes. Sets from before the dark ages are in the basement and some are displayed on a shelf.

    One of the reasons I keep the sets in the closet is because it is dark and cool. UV light is the worst enemy for ABS plastic and will deteriorate the bricks over time. This is how white bricks become yellowed and gray bricks become brittle. Also why the change in color of gray, I think, to make the bricks more resistant to UV degradation. Heat plays a minor role in degradation.

    I came across a method of reverting the degradation of old bricks, I guess I should post somewhere because it is useful information, but I'll need to dig up the links.

  • I came across a method of reverting the degradation of old bricks, I guess I should post somewhere because it is useful information, but I'll need to dig up the links.
    I know that! It's retrobright...but I came across it from another blogsite!
    http://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/Retr0Bright+Gel

    There's also one that uses soaking instead of a gel form. (with credits to TBB's roguebantha: I hope the admin won't mind, but you can delete my post if you find it inappropriate that I used the link)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/40182896@N00/3455254823/

    When I posted the links in our group's site, I thought the most valid question was the use of sunlight. It's UV and heat all in one yet it is recommended to help in the process. Other members suggested that you could do away with the sunlight, but I just don't know how long that takes.

    I hate yellowing, that's why I also hate white as a color for the bricks...can't stop thinking about the future of my stormies because of that.

  • I hate yellowing too! I have the early endor speeder bike set and the scout trooper definitely have yellowed. Well, there helmets. Their bodies are ok. That is the other thing I don't like about yellowing, it is so uneven across bricks from the same time. But this is before I knew about the causes. Now I keep my sets, like I mentioned, in the dark. (And properly in the dark. For those that would think the cardboard box would be ok, note that UV radiation passes through cardboard.) I'm thinking they should be ok for a long time.

    I don't hate white bricks though. White bricks actually look really cool. I just hate yellowing ;)

    As for why the role of sunlight would change from bad to good, it has to do the with environment the brick is in. The radiation is energy that drives a chemical reaction. In a normal environment this reaction goes in the degradation direction. In the hydrogen rich environment of the solution the reaction does in the other direction, reversing the yellowing effect. However, in both cases the UV light is the source of the energy for the reaction.

    Thanks for posting the link. Anyone have any success with this method? (Maybe this should be a separate thread?)
  • edited March 2011
    I actually wanted to do an experiment with some loose bricks I bought. I still have to try to control a lot of variables. The most important I think would be the amount of discoloration for each brick since I'm assuming that this would also affect the rate that the process would take. I don't know of any visual scale to compare them with (maybe someone can come up with one, just like the one for grading toys).

    I would leave it to others to do a statistically significant study. :-)
  • I tried this technique previously (H2O2 + Oxy10 + discoloured LEGO) and got absolutely no joy at all. This may have been down to the weak sunshine, but perhaps more to do with the weak H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide). Where on earth do people get hold of 30% H2O2 ? The strongest I've been able to find was 9% (I think my failed experiment was only with 6% solution).
  • Tim Goddard (IIRC), back at Brickish, did some experiments a few years back which were pretty successful.
  • Well, if someone can tell me where to get 30% hydrogen peroxide I'm happy to repeat the experiment !
  • Were the results published? :-)
  • Perhaps the S4 Mad Scientist can help? :o)
  • @drdavewatford, You can get it online. For instance, you can get it from amazon.com. It is, however, expensive.
  • I sort everything by type and color although its a process that never seems to end. I'm very adamant about my collection not being in any kind of direct sunlight. Luckily my office/toy room only has one window. If I feel like having the window open I have cardboard "covers" that I put in front of my shelves so no sunlight can reach them. Yes, I'm a dork.

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  • @kor blimey! (sorry couldn't resist). That's a nice man-cave!
  • In short, everything Lego that I own is either in my closet or stacked atop my dresser drawers. I'd say 80% in the closet, 20% on the dresser (and that's only because there is mostly BIONICLE sets, which are smaller and easier to pack together). Boxed sets and MISB ones share the highest levels of my closet space. To the left are mostly Star Wars and miscellaneous System sets. To the right are BIONICLE sets and the largest Star Wars sets. On a second tier of shelves, I have small Star Wars sets on the left and the "Holy Grail" sets on the right. The rest is on the left in a series of shelves. It gets rather sloppy. Pick-a-Brick cups jostle for space with shoeboxes and plastic crates holding some still-assembled sets and unsorted bricks. At the bottom, larger cases hold more unsorted pieces. Some random baseplates jut out from certain places. Roborider and Throwbot containers are also sprinkled throughout. One day I should take a picture of it all, but I keep re-organizing every time I'm home in order to make room for new arrivals.
  • Wow, I feel like a LEGO destroyer compared with all you meticulous AFOLs! (I'm 17) I keep all my sets on a shelf, although I am very caring for them, as I dust them off three times a week and make sure the figs don't go stiff with un-use (is that even a word?) My friend, who is obsessed with collecting Star Wars Technic models, also keeps the bulk of his sets at my house, where I dutifully take care of them. In exchange, he puts up with me pouring out my heart to him whenever I have a mental breakdown (I'm joking of course:) I don't keep my boxes: I just don't have the space. Ironically, my dad still has a few boxes around his workbench; he likes their durable construction and uses them to store cables and wires. He might even have my prized 2003 Takanuva box floating around down there...
  • My spouse has a garage/shop for his trade/hobby (he's a welder, and does automotive work), so I have a Lego room! One of the reasons we moved 2 years ago was the need for a bigger house in general, and a Lego-specific room (with a closing door to keep the dogs out - we have no kids) was a requirement. I now have the basement bedroom as a Lego room, and all of my 300+ sets are on display (no duplicates). Sometimes I just sit there and stare at it - I'm like a dragon - I like to 'admire' my 'hoard'. :) I just finished getting rid of all the mismatched bookcases and desks I had from over the years, and refurnished the Lego room with all white Besta bookcases and a white/birch Vika desk (to match my existing 2 birch Lack coffee tables that I use for building) - all from Ikea. I like the Besta bookcases because they are 15" deep, and can fit some of the larger/oddly-shaped sets, thought they do make the room a bit 'smaller'.

    I just recently (last year) started buying loose brick and duplicates sets for parts - all for my first attempts at MOCs. I only started collecting in 1999 (no lego as a kid (girl) - but my brother did and I played with his), and began with just Star Wars, so that's a good potion of my collection. In 2007 I started branching out, and now I have a bit of everything, but I generally refuse to buy Clone Wars. Anyways, I started just with buying/building sets, but after joining a local LUG last year I have decided I want to start building MOCs, and now I have all this loose brick and needed to figure out a storage system. I found 3-drawer 'wide' plastic storage units at WalMart that work great (same ones that 'Nannan' has if you saw his recent video). I also bought a bunch of different sized smaller organizers there to fit inside the drawers for subdividing (they are technically for cutlery I think).
  • I keep all my sets assembled and store them in a cabinet. Comparing to most of you, my collection is really tiny [52 sets, mostly smaller ones] but I'm running out of space anyway.
  • Oh, and I don't keep any boxes. Since I build and display my sets, and I have no interest in selling, I didn't really see the point. But I have a friend who finds me all kinds of great sets - he sells all different types of Lego stuff on BrickLink, and has asked for my boxes, so I will give them to him instead of the garbage!
  • Empty boxes: Go inside each other in the loft, in plastic bags. Silly to throw them out.
    Full boxes: Go into "really useful boxes" in the loft. The big sets go into 2x84L boxes end to end.
    Random/old bricks: Into smaller really useful boxes (9L ones), ordered broadly, e.g. 'flats' '1-wides', '2-wides' etc, but no more than that, I like to make stuff, not sort!
    Then, the rest of it (the majority) are just put into 19L / 35L / 65L really useful boxes by theme, some built stuff & some not built, all mixed up. I find this a good compromise; dont want to be too sorting-focussed, to allow creativity, but want the themes seperate and dont want it to descend into chaos.
  • I used an Ikea IVAR shelf for my collection of largely sets still sealed in their boxes. I've had more time to buy than I've had to build! About 20 large sets, and maybe another 60 small sets, plus two Rubbermaid containers of loose parts, and a storage contained of minifigs. Amazingly, this all pretty much fits on one shelf. Fun thread - I've always wondered how other AFOL's stored their LEGO!
  • I'm currently living in Hong Kong, where apartments are TINY. I've resorted to flattening all my boxes and storing them under my bed and at the back of my wardrobe, with the intention of reconstructing them when I move back to the UK.

    Is anyone concerned with humidity, since Summer is around the corner?
  • I used to store and display mine in the room I called the study, but my partner referred to it as the Lego room. Then I moved the tortoise into that room, so it's now the tortoise room, and the Lego got relegated to the loft!
    The loft I have double insulated the inside of the roof to ensure constant temperature and no water drips. However having a logburner I have to ensure nothing is near the chimney breasts - if you store your Lego in a loft and have a working fireplace then this is something to remember as it does get rather hot.

    All boxes are kept and stored inside other boxes, which I find the easiest way and to save space. These are then kept in large cardboard boxes. The exception is UCS sets with their inner boxes and ring-bound instructions. All sets that are not made up are kept in ziplock bags in large plastic stackable storage boxes - all sorted by theme: castle, pirate, town and sub-theme. Instructions are kept in box files, again sorted by theme.
    Any fabrics like pirate ship sails are kept in ziplock bags in a separate box file, and unused sticker sheets also in individual ziplock bags. The amount of ziplock bags I buy in waitrose in one go must make the cashier wonder...
    I have some rudimentary shelving in the loft for display, otherwise made sets are on the floor.
    MISB are kept in plastic storage boxes - I do not have many now, but they take up more space.

    I also collect Duplo promotional bricks, and these are kept in individual ziplock bags, then in a ziplock bag for the year - 1 for UK and 1 for other, and then in a plastic storage crate. Minifigs like the collectable ones are displayed/kept in commerically brought take-away tubs. These can found cheaply in pound stores in the UK.

    I find that although I need a lot of ziplock bags and storage crates, if does work and can easily find things/sets. Also it keeps it relatively tidy. If you are looking for somewhere for storage of Lego, then I find the loft perfect - no sunlight, no pet interference, and easily claimable as your own space - my partner never ventures into the loft, even before it became a Lego loft!
  • edited May 2011
    Is anyone concerned with humidity, since Summer is around the corner?
    Not really - should I be? Is there any way to mitigate against it?

    My main concerns are wasps, since they make their nests by chewing up wood and cardboard etc, and water drips (we have an old house with an old roof) ... hence sealed plastic boxes for everything.
    I find the loft perfect - no sunlight, no pet interference, and easily claimable as your own space
    Totally agree; I'm concerned that one day she'll go up there and see the thousands of £ worth of sealed Lego and make me sell it all :)
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