Well, Labor Day has passed, so I think it’s official most anywhere you live . . . the kids are back in school! That, my friends, means it is time to clear away any remaining summer chaos and reclaim your house! (Quick, before the holidays take over!)
For me, that means primarily one thing … coral the Legos. Because, frankly, this is what my family room looked like for most of the summer.
But, now that my boy is back to school, I feel like I have a fighting chance of regaining this room and making it, once again, a space for the whole family to enjoy.
So, what’s a parent to do? First, let’s acknowledge — Lego control is not for the faint of heart. They are a toy unlike any other because they are tiny and prolific (and sharp!) . . . and if your kid is a real fanatic, (s)he is likely to have a combination of both thousands of random loose pieces AND large-scale creations that need to be preserved, because, yes, most kids do play with these things after they build them. Today, we’ll talk about how to tackle both sides of the Lego collection.
After years of fighting this beast (or star ship in my case), here is my best advice, boiled down to 2 easy steps:
Step 1: Store loose Legos in large, shallow bins.
Large shallow bins are ideal for storing Legos because your child can dig around looking for pieces (usually) without needing to dump the pieces out on the ground. The key is to keep the box shallow and do NOT overfill. IKEA’s 4″ tall Trofast bins can work for this (we have some of our collection stored in those units), but bigger bins are even better. My son likes the transparent lidded boxes that fit under a bed; those can store lots of Lego pieces plus have room to store some assembled creations. (Keep any smaller bins for specialty pieces like characters. If your kid actively plays with the sets, (s)he will want easy access to these things, so keeping them handy means less “dumps”.)
Step 2: Install shelving to display and store assembled Lego creations.
The hardest part of controlling Legos at our house has always been what to do with the creations after they are built. They can be quite large . . . and of course, delicate. So, unlike most other large toys in your house, you can’t just throw them in a toy box or closet and call it a day. So, after filling up every surface in my child’s room (and being tired of not having anywhere to set anything!), we finally found a great solution — hanging shelves! Now, his Lego creations are neatly displayed as decor for his room. Be sure to have varying depths and choose shelves with lips so that nothing precious slides off and breaks. We put 11 inch deep shelves on top for oversized creations and shallow 4 inch ledges along the bottom for smaller pieces. Just measure your own child’s collection to see what works in your home!
Of course, as with all things parenting, your work is never done, because the Lego battle is never ending. Just when you think you’ve got the collection stored and organized . . . along comes another birthday and “kapow” Amazon explodes in your living room!
Regardless, keep working at it. You cannot give up, lest you (or a small pet) be buried in all the creativity!
Please, please, please . . . if you have other tricks that have helped control the Lego chaos in your real home, share them with us in the comments.