Monday, October 24, 2011

75 Organizing Legos: Part 1 - Build Buckets

The Lego posts are finally coming!  Can I get a whoop whoop for some lego love?

"Posts?" you ask.  As in multiples? 

I say go big or go home.  We are a major lego loving family... we started out with 4+ large bins and a few smaller ones as well....



And because Legos are really one of the only things my three boys have in common, it's a big deal here.  And they can play with them for hours upon hours with giant smiles on their faces.  Just like mama used to do....

So because many hours of our lives revolve around the Lego phenomenon, I have been working away at trying to gain some order, save the bottoms of my feet, corral all of the manuals and give them a happy place to create endlessly.  So much to share!

Today I thought I would share the first Lego lifesaver.  The build buckets.

A couple of reasons I decided each boy should have one designated build bucket:
  • They create and then have to stop to do things like eat dinner, do homework or take a shower, so what's a kid to do with their projects in the works?
  • We share because we care, meaning all of our Legos are all of ours.  But this doesn't always work great when someone is using specific pieces that another kiddo wants or when one boy takes pieces from another boy's current build...  the horror.
So, to problem solve the sharing and creating issue, and to eliminate the boys from having to put their current projects back into the endless pit of chaotic bins, they each got their own single bucket in which they could put all of their current projects and pieces.

I found the tin buckets at Target in the dollar section, I think they were $2.50 each.


To ensure they weren't confused about whose bucket is whose, a little labeling action was in order.

It was super simple, I just used my Silhouette to cut their birth order numbers from vinyl.  Parker even helped me rub the vinyl onto the side of his bucket!


I placed the number on the front and the side of the bucket...



 
So far, the buckets have been working great.  They are perfectly big enough to hold oodles of "in the works" pieces and projects!



And because they are all labeled, there is no more bickering!  They all agreed that each bucket was their bucket only, no getting grabby with one another.

Love.

Total cost: $7.50.

How do you keep your little one's Lego projects organized {or maybe even your own}?

And who is ready to hop on board and organize Legos with me?  I think at the end of this giant project we are taking on, we should have a giant link party to celebrate and share our ideas!  Who is excited?

75 comments:

  1. I'm totally seeking those buckets out next time I make a target run =) Hopefully they have them or something similar! <3

    and you KNOW this is for the hubs! bahaha! his habit of making planes and helicopters out of legos when he's bored is pretty adorable! I hope we have boys so he can build with them! <3

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

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  2. Our family LOVES Legos! The hubs and I played (yeah, we don't any more... Haha!) with them sooo much as kids. Our boy's too small for them, yet, but we've got a stash ready and always are building our stash for when he's ready. Awesome post!

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  3. Oooooh Lego. We are currently Lego-less, but that would be due to being currently kidless. Looking forward to implementing these ideas when I need them, though!

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  4. I'm waiting anxiously for the rest of these posts! I have two boys who love Legos and we have them all over. I can't wait to see what else you've done!

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  5. I'm so excited about this post...and can't wait for Part II. I have two boys and they both love Legos - and storing them is an issue. I love the 'build bucket' idea.

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  6. These ideas are GREAT! We actually are a lego-less family as our only child is a girl who is not interested in building (with legos that is), but I can use this idea for her fuse beads projects. Right now she keeps unfinished projects on her desk, but it would be nice to keep it on some kind of tray to stash it away so she can use all of her desk for her endless drawing and handicraft projects...
    Jule

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  7. Yes, please!!! We are a lego loving family, too...but my feet are feeling a little angry. ;)

    I would love to find a way to keep pieces that came in kits with their manuals so that my son can actually build things instead of digging and digging and finally giving up in frustration.

    I look forward to seeing all of your lego organizing ideas!

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  8. Awesome post! I don't have any children yet, but I know they will love legos just like their mom and dad did. I used to make intricate houses and floor plans and use them as little lego-people houses and I would play out their lives. They would sit in a huge pile in front of the TV in the living room. My poor mom put up with that for years! This is such a good solution you have come up with that I'm going to file away.

    I can't wait to read more Lego posts!

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  9. I don't doubt that you need to have multiple posts on lego organizing! They are awesome toys that can really take over a space if you're not careful :)
    Back in the day, before it was "cool" to do so - it was just plain cheap and logical - my mom saved all the baby blue plastic tubs that wet wipes came in and labeled them for all the legos. I think she still has them all boxed up in her attic, waiting for the grandkids!

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  10. I love how the green numbers look on the silver buckets!

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  11. Underbed storage containers are excellent for lego, they keep it all in one container that holds quite a few million bricks. Plus, they're shallow which makes for easy "searching" for that exact piece they need!

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  12. You have reached moms everywhere!!! I definitely need to organize our Legos, thanks for the advice & ideas :)

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  13. Can't wait! have you seen the lego storage/sorter box called bix4blox? I think it will be on our Christmas list!
    http://www.amazon.com/Original-Storage-Winning-BOX4BLOX-Organizer/dp/B003LTYAOY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1319473596&sr=8-2

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  14. We are Lego obsessed in our home too! I had to get creative with our oldest's 'current projects' bucket because 2 yr old brother doesn't understand the 'no touching big brother's creations' rule. We used to organize by color in a big fishing tackle box but it was too hard to keep it organized with little brother. Right now the legos are all mixed in 2 big buckets.

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  15. My oldest son just started to get into Legos - Duplos really - and I have already stepped on stray pieces about a million times. I have been looking for ideas on how to keep them somewhat organized. I love this idea and anxiously await other tips!

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  16. My husband works for LEGO so between him and the 4 year old we have more LEGO than any one family should. Love the build bucket idea though-- we may also institute this!

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  17. This is perfect! I can't wait for the next one!
    xoxo
    Kerri at HollyMuffin

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  18. Great post! With 3 boys, I foresee a lot of legos in our future, especially after our visit to Legoland next month!! Cant wait for the rest of the Lego posts :-)
    As always, thanks for giving me the motivation to get my home & life in order!!

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  19. YOU SAY LEGOS FOR PLURAL!! That's awesome!

    Here in Australia, it's just LEGO for one, two or a billion :)

    Looking forward to the rest of the Lego posts!

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  20. So happy to see your post on Legos! We have that same problem around here, and I have been at a loss as to how to organize them. Looking forward to all of your lego posts!

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  21. Our boy is a Lego Master. We use the bins you find at the hardware store usually reserved for screws, nuts and bolts.
    Can't wait to see what everyone else has figured out for storage.
    The best part about being a Lego family? Legoland just opened last week around the corner!

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  22. Jen, we also have a horrible time taming the LEGO beast. This http://tripletsplusanother.blogspot.com/2011/02/lego-storage-solved.html is an idea I came up with earlier this year. It hasn't solved the whole problem, but I think it has helped. Stacey @ tripletsplusanother.blogspot.com

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  23. Our kids are a little young for Legos, but I think it's a great idea to separate their toys to reduce the fights. Great work. :)

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  24. sooo - ooo excited about this post. we've tried to use the small rubbermaid drawers but they just don't work right. can't wait to see what you do!!! love the bucket idea - thank you!

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  25. I'm really looking forward to more Lego posts. While I only have one son playing Legos, they are (well, you know) everywhere! We've tried EVERY thing to organize them. Nothing has worked. Finally we put them in LARGE tubs and sadly, I noticed a decrease in Lego play time. :( There is an answer out there, and I know you'll find it!!! :)

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  26. Oh, I am loving this idea. I definately need some Lego Organizing :D

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  27. This post is timely because we wanted to do a "Lego Christmas" this year...and I need advice. Where do you get all your legos? Maybe I'm looking in the wrong spots at the stores. All I can ever find is the sets with highly specialized pieces just for those sets. I want just a large quantity of the building blocks and bases. Can you give me advise on where to buy them? Thanks!

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  28. I swear we have thousands of legos. The only way I could lasso them up was with plastic bins. That after my feet had been gauged to death after stepping on them trying to cross the playroom, lol.

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  29. @Western Warmth,

    I would check Amazon, most of our legos were actually mine and my husbands when we were kids, a lot of their newer ones are the sets as you mentioned.

    http://www.amazon.com/LEGO%C2%AE-Bricks-More-Builders-Tomorrow/dp/B0039PUTZY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319484140&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/LEGO%C2%AE-Bricks-More-Deluxe-Brick/dp/B002UD8P4S/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1319484140&sr=8-2

    xoxo!
    Jen

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  30. My son just turned 5 and he is starting to really get into legos. I am struggling with how to store them. We have them in one big bin and separated by color in individual quart size ziplocs. Not sure it is really working that great. I LOVE the idea of a build bucket!

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  31. I organized a home once for a family who's son was Lego obsessed. The mom hated that he would dump the big bins of Legos onto the floor because they were never all put away again. So, we used long plastic bins that roll under the bed to store his Legos in. The bins are shallow, so he could find what he was looking for without dumping the whole bucket out. When he's finished playing, he can roll the bins back under the bed and they're out of the way!

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  32. This is great!! My son is getting into them and my daughter has some as well. I was planning to buy more for xmas so this will come in handy.

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  33. Jen,
    I am excited about these posts. My 11 yr old son has every available flat surface covered with Legos. Not individual pieces, completed projects. He cannot possibly take them apart once they are built, although he says building is his favorite part. I found a shelf with 12 buckets for storing pieces, one for each color, one for mini figures, etc. But I'm anxious to hear if you have any ideas for storing completed projects. Other than under the bed, on the desk and dresser and on every shelf in his closet! Have you ever tried to dust Legos? If I didn't love Legos so much, I would be tempted to box them all up. But I do love them, so I close the door to his room instead :)
    Thanks so much, Jen, you have been inspiring me to tackle some unorganized areas in my home.

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  34. If your just starting out and want lots of basic pieces I suggest E-bay. You can buy them by the pound and get a good selection that way. My boys prefer the special pieces and purchase from E-bay all the time. They are 9 and 10. I am loving the build bin idea1 I have a nice storage system started but with having the house on the market and being in transition it is not currently finished as we don't know what the new house will be like. Looking forward to the rest of the LEGO posts!

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  35. Hi Jen,
    My son is 10 years old and a lego-man through and through. It's great for him to use his imagination, but we had similar challenges keeping the endless little pieces organized. We purchased 3 of these 5-drawer storage carts from Target:
    http://www.target.com/p/Sterilite-5-Drawer-Storage-Cart-White-Set-of-2/-/A-11861801
    They slide perfectly under the "lego creation table" in his room. He sorted "like" pieces, and put them in the various drawers. I love having the table in his room so he can have on-going projects, and the pieces stay organized in his room :)

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  36. My daughter isn't old enough for legos yet, but I love them and we'll probably get them. Looking forward to what other lego ideas you have!

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  37. I just saw a great idea in the most recent issue of "Family Fun" http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/built-for-building-1027109/

    We have to do something...the Legos are taking over my house...ugh!

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  38. I can't wait to see all of your ideas! I am in the midst of reorganizing our many Legos to make room in our house for incoming foster children. This is very timely! I have lots of ideas and have done lots of research online to make my plan. I do love the work in progress buckets; we really need those!

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  39. Hi Jenny, I am lovin' your lego solution! Looks great! As for my own solution, I keep my son's lego pieces colour co-ordinated and stored in clear ziplock bags, then stored again in different coloured plastic buckets (because he has loads of it). I also keep all the like/similar-items together, such as 'people and figures', 'wheels', 'weapons' and other bits and pieces so that they're easy to find when needed. These buckets are then kept in a galvanised shelving unit. Looks awesomely boyish! I must say, I now want to create an in-process bucket for his current projects that aren't quite finished. Thanks for the inspiration! xo

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  40. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I have always kept all the instruction booklets in a clearfile folder for easy access. :-)

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  41. Great idea!! and looking forward to more LEGO posts. I am forever picking up pieces. We have tried to organize a few different times but nothing lasts. Hoping to gain some ideas that will stick - beginning with build buckets. Thanks.

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  42. i am in the midst of doing a little Lego organizing of my own...in my own blog. so funny you are talking about this topic too. great minds think alike! i'd love to share my Lego project with you and link up! i'll do it later this week with all of you. :)

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  43. Great!! I have clear tubs of legos right now but I would like to "prettify" it a little bit! Three boys of my own - I know it will get worse when I switch from the duplos to the little kinds. Yikes!

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  44. Oh My Goodness! This is perfect timing...My son just turned 8 and we are having a LEGO themed party this weekend and I know that he is getting a TON of new legos to add to his already massive collection. Plus, we are building a new home on our ranch and I have been wanting to personalize a lego space for him. I can't wait to read the rest of your posts!

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  45. I am SO looking forward to more Lego posts!! We're driving home from Legoland as I type this! I use some of the plastic boxes with Lego heads on them for my boys' project boxes (as we call them). We also have ours sorted by color with all the instructions stored together. I'm planning to organize the instructions better by putting them in page protectors in a binder. Hopefully they'll hold up better that way!

    I love your blog and can't wait to read the next posts on Legos!!!

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  46. We were just discussing the Lego mess that begins when the children are creating. Love this idea and can't wait for more of your great Lego organizing ideas.

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  47. Love it! Our boys are just jumping on the Lego train, so I'm excited to hear more ideas.

    Those 'project in process' buckets are great!

    -H

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  48. Wow! Perfect timing! As I read your blog my hubs & 2 "big" boys (I have 3 boys, ages 5, 3 & 8 wks) are building the big CITY police station Lego set. We have 1 huge storage box FULL & running over that was all Hubs' when he was young. I love the idea to have small buckets for the current building projects! Yeah for Lego organization!!

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  49. Build buckets! Brilliant! (And yay another mom who played with legos as a kid.) 2 yo son doesn't understand not to tear apart 6 yo's creations. Still working with the 6 yo to put his projects on his dresser or in the top of one of his sorters. (Has a tall top that opens up... it was actually a scrapbook organizer) One a plus note 2 yo pretty much skipped duplos and builds with legos already. We started with a sort by shape, but quickly realized by color was much easier for him to keep up with and to look for pieces.

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  50. I am so excited to see what you have in store for Lego organizing. My son just turned 5 a couple of weeks ago. We had a Lego themed party & he received a crazy amount of Legos as gift. My house looks like Legoland now! We could really use some help figuring out what to do with all of them.

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  51. I am so excited for these posts. I have Lego everywhere!!

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  52. Awesome idea! Right now I'm trying to convince DS that it's okay to mix all the Lego kits together - he likes to keep them separate=) For now, I've given him a bunch of the jumbo ice cream tubs with lids to keep each kit in, so far it's working. But I love the idea of a "work in progress" bucket! DS is always worried about losing/breaking his creations before they're done. Kudos for another fab idea =)

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  53. I am so excited about this post series.
    I have a 7yr old that has aspergers and he has a very hard time keeping legos picked up.

    I LOVE the work in progress bucket! I'm totally getting him one of those. That is always one of our huge arguments is he wants to finish his project and keep it in a "safe" spot so it doesn't get ruined.

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  54. We (I) have trays/cookie sheets with current projects on them that slide under my dresser, in my room...I am currently working on The Burrows (Harry Potter Lego) after completion the kits end up in the main bin. Where the kiddos can play to their hearts content. :)

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  55. My boys 6 and 8 have thousands of pieces of Lego. Hubby is a bit obsessive (it's his Lego too afterall) and has it sorted by colour into Ikea Simla tubs with lids. The boys scan and print a pick list and go through the buckets and then use an Antonius drawer insert (Ikea too) as their project bucket. I'd love to take a pic of it all but they trashed their bedrooms on the weekend and the Lego is everywhere and will very soon living in the top of my wardrobe for a week.

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  56. We are also a Lego loving family, but it's not something my 12 yo daughter is really into so fortunately there is no bickering when the little man wants to build. He does however like sorting the little bits - heads, hair, helmets etc - into it's own pile. OCD?

    Maybe your boys would like to build one of these?
    http://www.outofours.com/2011/07/art-of-brick.html

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  57. I am SO SO SO excited that you're doing a series on legos! My oldest has an inumerable amount of legos and my youngest is now starting to catch the lego bug. I've been wondering about ways to organize them and it thrills me to no end to know that I'll have some inspiration coming up soon!!

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  58. This is such a great idea! I've been trying to corral my sons legos for quite a while now...I love this idea of a project bucket! Brilliant! I have a four year old who must touch each and every one of his brother's lego creations...maybe having his own bucket will keep his little mitts off it!

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  59. To Alanna (#19's) comment-- and I am not saying this to criticize anyone because we used to do it before my husband starting working for LEGO too, but the plural of LEGO is in fact just LEGO. It's been the hardest habit to break. I don't usually take the time to correct people (because LEGO with an s feels/sounds right) but since it was thrown out there I thought I'd share. I usually say LEGO bricks now when I want to make them plural because I have a hard time calling many LEGO, just LEGO. :)

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  60. Totally off topic, but I just saw your piece on Nate Berkus! I was thinking "hey, I know her!!" Great job :)

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  61. Quick tip:
    My girlfriend puts a sheet down on the floor, and the kiddos work their lego magic on the sheet. Time to clean up? Gather the sheet, dump in bucket. Brill.

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  62. I love the idea of a projects/builds in progress basket. I can't wait to see what else you've done. This Christmas my oldest (13) is giving all his lego to his little brother. It's been in a large bin for years now, played with once in a while, but for the most part forgotten. I'm hoping to have an organizing plan in place BEFORE hand. lol

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  63. Cute ideas! I am Lego-Handicapped. I can't build with Legos to save my life! I LOVE that my boys love them. I like buying them and watching the boys build.

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  64. Totally saw you on the nate show today!!! Thanks for sharing all your fun organizing!!!

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  65. Oh, the pain of stepping on a LEGO! I have 4 boys and they truly are everywhere. Love the idea of a separate building bucket and just giggled at some of the sibling moments you described. That certainly goes on here. Interested to see more of your ideas here and love other suggestions in the comments. I hope I find something that will work for our family or I will continue to vacuum them up off the floor!

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  66. This is totally off-topic, but where did you get that beautiful tan and aqua paisley-ish fabric that's shown in some those photos?? It's gorgeous!

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  67. I got 4 of those same bins from Target's Dollar Spot for $2.50 each. Such an amazing deal. I love the way you utilized them for Lego's. My son, who is now grown, loved his Lego's. I wish I would've had your blog back then!

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  68. But this doesn't always work great when someone is using specific pieces that another kiddo wants or when one boy takes pieces from another boy's current build... the horror."

    That part made me LOL. I'm definitely going to be getting those buckets. BRILLIANT. Although, there is no Targay close to me, but Tractor Supply carries tons of those buckets in all shapes and sizes on the cheap.

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  69. We are loving this idea as well! http://familyfun.go.com/magazine/familyfun-magazine-archive/familyfun-november-2011/built-for-building-1027109/

    My seven year old son can't wait to put this together...best part we already have the drawer units! I would love to hear more ideas as my 6 year old daughter is just getting into them too and they are EVERYWHERE!

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  70. oh legos... they're EVERYWHERE and i just don't know how to get a organizing system going. Currently, I've divided all the individual sets into ziplocs (along with their instructions) and the put those into a container. but that only works for so long. i would have to monitor so much of the clean-up time to make sure that every single piece of that set gets put back and that no others were mixed together. But if I was to put all the sets in one container, when the kiddo wants to build something specific, that's really overwhelming for him to see all those pieces and have to find that one tiny piece he needs. I can't wait to read more suggestions!

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  71. I love the birth order numbers for labeling because my husband lovingly calls our children "Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3" and they think it is hilarious! Great idea for ongoing projects. Currently the ongoing projects are on my kitchen island and I want them out!

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  72. I am so excited I have found your blog - I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! I have now been haunting Ikea & storage shops and we have started to organise our lego like this - the kids are so excited!! I did have to get a 3rd one though - I guess with my eldest of four boys almost 17 we have been collecting lego a little longer (as well as my husband's too, like yours!!) Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and inspiring me :)

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  73. My boy is a Lego head all the way, and I was a having trouble getting him to clean them up when he was done. And i am a little ocd and i did not like them just thrown in a bucket all mixed up. I bought two plastic drawer carts they have one large bin a piece in the bottom and four above that. I now have organized lego's. I labeled them by color black and grey are in the bottom as he tends to have a lot of those two colors. The drawers are on wheels so when the whole family wants to play he rolls them out and we can grab whatever color we need easily. And then on top I used your idea with the bins and he puts his work in progress right on top..Love them there great if your kids have a lot of Lego's like mine.

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  74. Hello there! I am chiming in a little late here and need to find these tin buckets. Where would I find these now? Any ideas?

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