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How detailed do you get when sorting?

Aloha,  I have decided to tackle the necessary task of sorting my collection which is medium sized (150 pounds?).  I know I want to sort by function and size not color, but I am trying to figure out how far to break it down?  (Clips in one drawer, or all 1x1's together, keep plates in one bin, or break down by size?)

The goal is to speed up building (MOCs and rebuilds of Sets) by sorting enough, but not make it too difficult to keep organized.  Love to hear from some others on how you sorted your collection and how it worked out?   

Mahalo!!!!


Comments

  • TheLegoMaster35TheLegoMaster35 OH, USAMember Posts: 96
    I recommend stacking like bricks on each other. For 1x6 bricks, 6 on one layer side by side, another six on top of that, and so on. For larger plates (4x4s and up) keep them with all other plates and baseplates. 
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 917
    Tom Alphin has made some awesome labels, check out this thread:
    http://bricksetforum.com/discussion/comment/498240#Comment_498240

    I've been sorting mainly using the categories from the proof sheet for those labels, found here:
    http://brickarchitect.com/files/LEGO_BRICK_LABELS-CONTACT_SHEET.pdf

    Once a type of part exceeds the capacity of a shoe-box sized container I decide on a case-by-case basis whether to get a bigger container or split the parts up further. Basic bricks tend to get moved to a bigger tub, smaller parts get moved to Akro-Mils-style drawers. 
  • MrJacksonMrJackson Member Posts: 96
    I break mine down into element. 1x2 plates are in a different bag from 1x3 plates, plates in a different box from bricks, etc. The only parts that I don't separate are "strange" elements that I only have a couple of or that are ok in the same bag: technic L-beams, 1/4 round tiles with the 1x1 half-round tiles, etc. Everything is bagged individually.  It makes sorting a nightmare and very time consuming but it's worth it on the other end when it comes to finding parts: it's much easier to find the red one amongst 2x2 roof slopes than it is to find one 2x2 slope amongst 5,000+ red pieces. 
  • RecceRecce 10,171km away from BillundMember Posts: 638
    For plates and small parts (i.e. other than standard bricks) I sort them by type, then my small trays gradually fills up and I had to separate them into multiple trays (e.g. 5 colours in this tray and 7 colours in that tray) 

    For bricks like 1x2, 2x2, 2x4 etc I just dump all the same coloured bricks into storage boxes. But they're also beginning to overflow so I'll be separating them into evens (2x2, 2x3, 2x4 etc)  odds (1x2, 1x3, 1x4 etc) as I found myself mostly looking for bricks in that manner. 

    For the 1x1 bricks I just lump them all together. 
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 568
    Likely, if your goal is to be efficient in your MOCing process, you'll want to keep "like" parts together regardless of size (i.e. 45 degree slopes, 2x bricks, 1x bricks, 1x plates, 2x plates, etc.).  That way, you'll always be reaching for a certain type of part in as few large bins as possible.  The downside is that you'll likely spend some time digging through the bins when it comes time to detail your builds, looking past all the 2x4 plates for a single 2x3, but your initial build efficiency should cancel this out in the end.  I've talked to lots of builders who feel their creative juices flow better when they are physically handling lots of different parts, as opposed to having each individual size separated.

    That said, when it comes time to greeble the final details, you'll probably want to have all your specialty pieces separated into their own drawers, so that you don't have to dig them out of a large pile of random-looking bars, pins, hoses, etc.

    Also see http://news.lugnet.com/storage/?n=707 for more thoughts and a chuckle...good luck!
    madforLEGO
  • andywilsonandywilson UKMember Posts: 17
    I've just bought the 10220 VW Camper - my second "big" set after the Saturn V - and, as a newbie, quite scared by the fact it doesn't come in numbered bags!

    As I want to build this a little at a time, I guess it's best to sort the bricks in advance and then keep them in tupperware containers or something?

    So the question is, what's the best way to sort them? By colour, or by bricks, plates, technicky bits. wedges, fiddly bits or something like that?


  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,566
    @Oldfan, that addresses a creeping worry I've had about the sorting method I've slowly been working on. I keep thinking about where the different bins are going to be stored in relation to each other, and visualising how I've MOCed in the past (a lot of good ideas have come out of just handling the bricks, making abstract shapes and then seeing what else that could produce) and it's hard to escape the idea that increased granularity of storage could be a creative stumbling block for me.

    Probably a good thing I didn't go too far into buying All The Containers With Tiny Sub-Containers In The World, then!
    Onebricktoomany
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 214
    For parts I have in any quantity, each part/colour gets its own bin in my dividable boxes. Boxes are mostly sorted by colour - I used to sort by part type but that meant opening too many boxes. Definitely don't put similar pieces together unless you have very few of them to sort through. Also I recommend not stacking pieces together as it takes too long. Once your containers overflow just get a ziplock bag for the extra.
  • stevecook132stevecook132 Member Posts: 92
    I've just bought the 10220 VW Camper - my second "big" set after the Saturn V - and, as a newbie, quite scared by the fact it doesn't come in numbered bags!

    So the question is, what's the best way to sort them? By colour, or by bricks, plates, technicky bits. wedges, fiddly bits or something like that?


    I used the @drdavewatford sorting method when I did the camper as it was my first big set after exiting my dark ages. Essentially three plastic containers, with the bricks spread through them as mentioned in his blog post here.

    That worked for me, although I've since revised it to suit coloured drawers in a Really Useful Box tower set up that allows me to stand up and build.

    Anyway, the most important bit is to have enough of the 'raking through Lego' sound that invokes childhood memories whilst still having fun and not getting frustrated looking for one small tile in a whole box of Lego.

    I hope you enjoy the Camper, it sucked me straight back in and is the one kit I recommend to other people considering dipping a toe into the Lego waters - no one has been disappointed yet :-)
    andywilsoncatwrangler
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 496
    For parts I have in any quantity, each part/colour gets its own bin in my dividable boxes. Boxes are mostly sorted by colour - I used to sort by part type but that meant opening too many boxes. Definitely don't put similar pieces together unless you have very few of them to sort through. Also I recommend not stacking pieces together as it takes too long. Once your containers overflow just get a ziplock bag for the extra.
    I also think stacking is bad for another reason - cracked pieces. I've noticed a lot of cracks especially in transparent 1x1 round plates that were stacked in used lots I've bought.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO USMember Posts: 8,139
    I say to start with sorting by part type, regardless of color into bins. This is probably the quickest way to start sorting. Then if you want to get more technical with stacking brick or plates, and doing it by color, etc. Then you can, but I agree with @Oldfan, start 'small' first in sorting by type regardless of color and no stacking. Then graduate to getting detailed in terms of stacking and sorting by color, as both of those will take up a lot more time, and possibly, space. At least with sorting by type, you have items roughly sorted to where you can find them quicker in general. Then you can take stock of what you really need to get 'detailed' with in terms of sorting.
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 214
    Astrobricks said:

    I also think stacking is bad for another reason - cracked pieces. I've noticed a lot of cracks especially in transparent 1x1 round plates that were stacked in used lots I've bought.
    I didn't want my answer to get too long, but also yeah, some pieces can be damaged by being stored assembled. They might lose clutch power, be cracked, wear out from repeated assembly/disassembly, etc. But in my experience these concerns are minor overall... if you're stacking/unstacking the same pieces so often to wear them out, you're wasting your life. Just get a bigger ziplock.
    Onebricktoomany
  • MrShinyAndNewMrShinyAndNew Member Posts: 214
    I say to start with sorting by part type, regardless of color into bins. This is probably the quickest way to start sorting. Then if you want to get more technical with stacking brick or plates, and doing it by color, etc. Then you can, but I agree with @Oldfan, start 'small' first in sorting by type regardless of color and no stacking. Then graduate to getting detailed in terms of stacking and sorting by color, as both of those will take up a lot more time, and possibly, space. At least with sorting by type, you have items roughly sorted to where you can find them quicker in general. Then you can take stock of what you really need to get 'detailed' with in terms of sorting.
    My sorting theory has evolved thus: unsorted -> sorted by colour into bags -> sorted by part into single-compartment boxes -> sorted by part into multi-compartment art-supply boxes -> sorted by part+colour into multi-compartment boxes -> mainly sorted by colour into multi-compartment boxes, with exceptions for certain classes of pieces such as bars and hinges.  For people beginning sorting, I now recommend skipping the "by part" phase, and just go straight to by colour, except maybe you should then sub-sort your colours into bricks, plates, modified plates, etc.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UKMember Posts: 2,756
    I've just bought the 10220 VW Camper - my second "big" set after the Saturn V - and, as a newbie, quite scared by the fact it doesn't come in numbered bags!

    As I want to build this a little at a time, I guess it's best to sort the bricks in advance and then keep them in tupperware containers or something?

    So the question is, what's the best way to sort them? By colour, or by bricks, plates, technicky bits. wedges, fiddly bits or something like that?
    One of the first large sets I bought was the Tower Bridge set - which has about 4300 pieces, and doesn't come in numbered bags! So think yourself lucky ;)

    I tipped all the bags into about 15 different containers, and just searched through them for the pieces. You soon remember what pieces are in which container.
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 1,771
    edited July 5
    1300 pieces isn't that much. you could just separate the small and big pieces so that big pieces don't get in the way when looking for super small ones.

    otherwise, for the largest sets I usually do a basic sorting by color. for the dominant colours : 2 colours per containers, those which contrast the most together (black with white or bright red with earth green for example) and all the other colours which have just a few pieces, I throw them together.

    (I feel this will work so well, when I plan to build tower of orthanc soon. searching in a pile of black pieces is the worst)
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 371
    edited July 6
    I say to start with sorting by part type, regardless of color into bins. This is probably the quickest way to start sorting. Then if you want to get more technical with stacking brick or plates, and doing it by color, etc. Then you can, but I agree with @Oldfan, start 'small' first in sorting by type regardless of color and no stacking. Then graduate to getting detailed in terms of stacking and sorting by color, as both of those will take up a lot more time, and possibly, space. At least with sorting by type, you have items roughly sorted to where you can find them quicker in general. Then you can take stock of what you really need to get 'detailed' with in terms of sorting.
    My sorting theory has evolved thus: unsorted -> sorted by colour into bags -> sorted by part into single-compartment boxes -> sorted by part into multi-compartment art-supply boxes -> sorted by part+colour into multi-compartment boxes -> mainly sorted by colour into multi-compartment boxes, with exceptions for certain classes of pieces such as bars and hinges.  For people beginning sorting, I now recommend skipping the "by part" phase, and just go straight to by colour, except maybe you should then sub-sort your colours into bricks, plates, modified plates, etc.
    This was roughly my path as well. I realised it was much easier to MOC things when you can grab a few containers in the colour scheme you want to build with, and treat them like palettes. Much less scavenging around, and much more inspirational to see what you've got to work with right there in front of you.

    I've currently got a set of those plastic multicoloured drawers for plates, with handmade and hotglued dividers, a bunch of compartmentalised trays for bricks and slopes, some smaller ones for the more fiddly and decorative pieces, and some other drawers and trays for Technic/'under the hood' type pieces and the miscellaneous categories I haven't fully worked out how I want sorted yet. Bars and hinges I've included in the colour sorted trays as they can be good for greebles, but there's definitely some things that work best sorted by type.

    I'm in the thick of packing to move right now, but can upload photos once I'm settled in the new place!
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 1,832
    Depends on the day and my level of OCD.
    flord
  • Switchfoot55Switchfoot55 Washington, USAMember Posts: 551
    ^Great, another reason for me to spend money at Harbor Freight...
    ThoughtsonblocksOnebricktoomanyAndor
  • Madkins007Madkins007 NebraskaMember Posts: 12
    I started by stacking the bricks and similar pieces, but got tired of it when it was time to put away a torn-down kit, etc. Too annoying for my taste. Like everyone else, my method is based on personal quirks, available space, budget ($0), and what I had to work with.

    My small/medium collection is stored a few different ways. The smallest parts are in small drawer parts boxes (1x1 round plates, minifig hats, 1x2 slopes, Technic pins...) The drawers are clear and grouped so I don't need labels most of the time.

    The rest are in plastic shoeboxes, sorted so I can quickly sort them visually. The current boxes include: 2x2 bricks (2x2 plates are in a drawer), 2x4 bricks and plates, 1x2 and 4 bricks (again, the plates are in drawers), 2x3,6,10 bricks and plates, 2x8, 12, and bigger bricks and plates, and so on.

    My problem boxes are 'vehicles' (wheels, axles, chassis, etc.) and 'buildings' (walls, boxes, scaffolds, etc.) These become 'catch-alls' but I don't really have enough parts or smaller bins to sub-divide them intelligently.
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 838
    I looked into sortimo t-boxx for the same thing @Thoughtsonblocks did with his black cases, but at $60 a case I quickly realized that was a no go. May have to take a tip to harbor freight and check those out.
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 430
    I've just bought the 10220 VW Camper - my second "big" set after the Saturn V - and, as a newbie, quite scared by the fact it doesn't come in numbered bags!

    As I want to build this a little at a time, I guess it's best to sort the bricks in advance and then keep them in tupperware containers or something?

    So the question is, what's the best way to sort them? By colour, or by bricks, plates, technicky bits. wedges, fiddly bits or something like that?
    One of the first large sets I bought was the Tower Bridge set - which has about 4300 pieces, and doesn't come in numbered bags! So think yourself lucky ;)

    I tipped all the bags into about 15 different containers, and just searched through them for the pieces. You soon remember what pieces are in which container.
    or 5800 after bricklinking for a project. and a few missing ones between those, too or a color/part screwup... then the fun gets real when you need to find a part for hotfixing...
  • ThoughtsonblocksThoughtsonblocks United StatesMember Posts: 168
    I also use the small version of those yellow/black "storehouse" cases to store pieces for special projects or rare item sets (mini-fig accessories etc).  In particular, for my city, I am replicating the modular building sidewalks for the whole city, so I need modest quantities of a dozen or so pieces for when I am adding in a new stretch of side walk (curb, actual sidewalk, drains and fire hydrants).  So I have one box that holds all my key components, and I know when I am getting low and need to restock:


    gmonkey76
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 917
    http://imgur.com/gallery/zZOz7

    Spotted this today on imgur, The poster says it is from Legoland in Illinois - anybody on the forum?
  • gmonkey76gmonkey76 ChicagoMember Posts: 838
    ^Can't say for sure, but it looks like the set up they have in Schaumburg. 
    madforLEGO
  • RecceRecce 10,171km away from BillundMember Posts: 638
    Forgot to mention in my earlier post that all my built sets stay built, either displayed on shelves or stored in big storage boxes and drawers. 

    The parts that get sorted are extras from sets or from those brick sets like the Classic series. Though sometimes I do buy discounted sets purely to part out, e.g. Chima Speedorz and duplicates of some City sets etc. 
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,180
    ^Ohhhh that sounds soooo familiar!! 
  • Mr_CrossMr_Cross UKMember Posts: 203
    Thanks for copying that across, was funny/painful on a second read too!
    I'm restarting my sort process currently. I've actually always sorted by colour then part. The problem for me is that as I sort, I tend to get side tracked and end up fiddling with interesting possibilities when I discover a part I'd forgotten I had. It is a very slow process with seemingly inordinately more back steps than forward ones!
  • ChicagolanderChicagolander Schaumburg, IL Member Posts: 9
    http://imgur.com/gallery/zZOz7

    Spotted this today on imgur, The poster says it is from Legoland in Illinois - anybody on the forum?
    Yep, that's at LEGOLAND in Schaumburg. https://chicago.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/ 
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 496
    ^ Poor sad Willis Tower hiding in the corner behind the ladder :(
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