Sorting — What not to do

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I don’t know if you’ve seen this video or not. On one hand it looks impressive. And sure, a huge pile of LEGO poured onto the floor and then sorted out is pretty impressive to the uninitiated. A true AFOL however, is not uninitiated. If you have any sort of large collection and if you’ve bought any large quantity of LEGO at one time you’ve done your own fair amount of sorting.

Now lets examine the video. Sure there’s 100 LEGO boxes, but from the looks of it, they are all the same LEGO box. And sure, ripping open all the plastic bags and dumping them on the floor may look dramatic, but its not very effective or logical.

LEGO bricks come in sets of bags in a box. These bags are either sorted by steps (i.e. — 1, 2, 3, etc.) or in size. These sets look to be one of the basic creator brick boxes. So its just basic bricks in different colors and sizes. If they are in fact the same LEGO set, as these seem to be, the more logical thing is to open all the same types of bags. So then instead of going through a huge pile you have a smaller pile but with all the same types of parts.

What is more difficult is when you have to sort an assortment of various sets that have very little in common. Now of course everyone has their own process of how to sort and store their LEGO. I even wrote about sorting a couple of years ago.

I am in fact currently in the process of sorting quite a lot of LEGO. Its not 100 sets, but its probably in the range of at least 30 and up to maybe 50. I’m not sure as I didn’t really count the amount of sets. But these are not the same set and that makes a big difference in how I sort them. In this case, you have to do levels of sorting. Not just one large sort. You can’t even really do that with any sort of practicality, there would just be too many pieces. And, you have to remember, I sort everything by piece and color.

So my first step is to sort into — plates, bricks and “other.” Something like this –
Presort 1
And before you ask, yes those are full and no, that isn’t all the LEGO I have to sort.

Once all the elements are in their pre-sorted state. I go to the next level. The bricks and plates get sorted by size — 1×1, 1×2, etc. Then they get sorted by color and get put away (yay!). The “other” is more complicated. I sort them out into tiles, slopes, minifig accessories, etc. Then I sort them out by size or style, then by color (if needed) and finally they get put away too.

So your sorted elements can look something like this:
DSC00019

I know it sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but when you need to be able to get the exact part you want, exactly when you want it, as you are building, it makes all the work worth it. ;)

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2 Responses to “Sorting — What not to do”

  1. legogirl Says:

    sorting can be so much fun to do, I got my kids toolboxes with separate sections in for holding screws etc, but in our case it’s lego, and like you we sort by brick colour and type. It makes life so much easier as you said when building something when you know what size/shape colour piece you want and you can find it

  2. Ralph Says:

    Wow, he created a lot of work for himself make a big pile like that… I also sort by color and then by type.

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