Recently I have had several clients and workshop attendees ask me about organizing Legos. I tend toward the belief that you can sort these little bricks and toys by color, size, shape, type or usage but you can never achieve Lego organization since the act of separating Legos renders each set, disorganized. Organizing by set is tempting but imposes a more complicated system of clean-up on young creative minds and ends playtime with a significant chore.
There are numerous products on the market that you can use to separate and store Lego. Both Staples and Ikea have drawer systems with which you can build
both an organizing area and a play area.
The Trofast system
from Ikea is nifty, with various sized bins that can be easily labeled, but keep in mind there are no drawer bumpers, so spills can be common.
Shoe bags work beautifully if you choose to separate by color, although depending on how you hang them, small children may not be able to get at them easily.
So what do we do about the Lego Organization Paradox?
My belief is that we should shy away from the desire to organize Lego. Rather we should have a system in place to help children easily put Lego away with minimal piece migration. After all, stepping on Lego in bare feet is really the worst, but we've all been there.
I opt for play mats. Brookstone has a pricey but effective one here
or you can search through the many options on Amazon.com
These systems are simple for kids. There is no need to end playtime with the arduous task of separating and sorting Lego pieces. These systems help to promote fun and creativity without either spending considerable time sorting large collections, or finding pieces everywhere because your kids failed to take the time to put the pieces away. They are a classic win-win. Using these mats may not render your Lego pieces "organized" but they will have a place to live, happily interspersed with all their other Lego friends, and your kids will be more apt to "clean up" when playtime is finished. I think you'll find that your feet and your family will be very happy with this system.