Adam Savage, famously one of the co-hosts of Mythbusters, is known to have a penchant for thorough sorting and storage solutions, keeping his (very full) maker workshop meticulously organized. He frequently extolls the virtues of an efficient workspace on his YouTube channel, Tested, as he goes about building recreations of various movie props and other nerdy DIY projects. But what’s less well known is that Adam is also an avid AFOL (or Adult Fan of LEGO), and consequently, his needs for organization extend beyond shop tools and construction supplies. Adam’s latest video delves into a topic that’s extremely familiar to us: sorting LEGO.
Here at The Brothers Brick, we’ve also been doing a series of articles on sorting, since so many of us find ourselves with extra free time lately due to the stay-at-home orders in many locales. Everyone’s system is different, since it should be designed to fit your needs. Adam’s system is similar to my own, starting with color first and then dividing out in part type, with the occasional diversion to sorting some elements by pure functionality with no regard for color. Many builders have other methods, though, so be sure to check out our article series to learn more about LEGO sorting.
Adam, being the ultimate DIY-er, though, doesn’t just stop at sorting, but takes it to the next level with a custom-built storage cabinet as well.
Check out the full video below. Continue reading
Continuing our series on LEGO organization and storage, guest contributor Kevin Moses shows us that maintaining a collection in a small space doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Read the previous articles here:
Those of us who live in smaller urban spaces have limitations and considerations that are more pronounced than people with larger houses. While any space can be optimized and organized, we must do this more out of necessity than desire. Since many of us are stuck at home, it’s a great time to think about how you can make things better.
I’ve given a few presentations on this topic at conventions and started the Urban Brick Builder website to collect ideas that come up.
Continuing our series on LEGO organization and sorting, contributor Chris Doyle invites you on a tour of his workspace and processes.
So, let’s start by putting things into context. One of my most vivid childhood memories is lying on a thick shag carpet, watching Battlestar Galactica, and being super frustrated that the clone brand LEGO that my parents had bought for me didn’t have the fine detail I needed to build Colonial Vipers. I remember swearing to myself that if I made it to adulthood, I would buy enough LEGO to fill a room. So, eventually, I did.
But a collection like this comes at a cost. And I don’t mean just that official LEGO product is on the expensive side. It eats up space, and time, and quite a few additional purchases just to keep things organized. So, in a vain attempt to justify this non-trivial investment, let me show you around and share my sorting process. C’mon. It’ll be fun!
With a lot of people holed up in their homes, as a result of stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19, The Brothers Brick has been getting questions on how to best organise one’s LEGO collection. There are obviously many different ways to do this. These range from not organising it at all, via sorting elements by colour or type, to giving every type of element in every different colour a separate container. The latter is seen by some people as the “ultimate” or “most advanced” sorting solution. A behind-the-scenes discussion among our contributors revealed that we all have somewhat different sorting systems. So, for those of you staring at a large pile of random unsorted LEGO, we’ll be sharing our ideas in a few feature articles. We’ll also go into the process of cleaning and sorting your LEGO.
In this installment, we kick off with our very own Builder in Residence, Ralph Savelsberg aka Mad physicist.
Click to read more about how Ralph sorts his LEGO collection
This review is about an unusual item, namely one made for storage of LEGO rather than building with it. Sarah Kirk, the owner of Swoop Bag, sent us one to check out some time ago. My apologies to Swoop Bag for the delay in reviewing it.
This is actually a rather interesting product. Similar to the play-mats that LEGO made back in the 70s, the Swoop Bag is a combination play-mat and storage bag, designed to transform from storage to play-space and back again.
It consists of a 44 inch, round canvas mat with a nylon draw-string encased in a sleeve around the edge. The sleeve doubles as a containment “wall” when the bag is in play-mat mode. Place a pile of LEGO in the middle of the mat and build away. When you are finished simply pull on the draw-string and the mat folds up around the brick and transforms into a handy storage bag. It makes picking up a pile of brick surprisingly easy and hung up on a hook, ready for the next build session.
The bag is very sturdy and it can hold quite a bit of brick. I dumped in an 18 gallon bin of brick (unsorted, of course) and it held it just fine. My six year old son was able to operate the bag, open or closed, in about 20 seconds. The sleeve around the edge is a lot better than the old LEGO play-mats in that the cord is almost completely enclosed. The cords on the old mats got in the way and tripped kids up. It also comes in two sizes now. We only reviewed the larger one but the smaller one looks like it would ideal for travel. The bag is also machine-washable.
It is designed for a child’s collection of brick. It is perfect for my kids’ collection of LEGO but doesn’t have much use in my collection. This isn’t really a “con” so much as a design limitation. The price may also turn off some buyers. The large bag is priced at $48 USD, which is a lot to pay for something to keep your kid-brick in. The smaller bag is $26 USD.
Overall, I really liked the Swoop Bag. It is sturdy, makes clean up of “play brick” a snap, and my kids can do it by themselves. Obviously a lot of time and thought went into the design of the bag and it shows. This is a high quality item that will last for years. While the price is high, the ease of cleanup makes it worth it. If you have “play brick” and it gets used on a regular basis I would recommend checking out the Swoop Bag.