Welcome to Part 2 of “Lord Business Lego Camp” Lego Organization. This post is for those Lego lovers who appreciate the tidiness and order of Lord Business, but also have a bit of a Master Builder rebel side.
If you haven’t read Part 1 – Some (re)Assembly Required yet, you can visit it here to read about how my five year old son spent much of last summer reassembling thirty obliterated Lego sets in our “Lord Business Lego Camp.”
In Part 2, I’ll explain how we solved our Lego organization crisis with a solution that pleased the Lord Business (me) and Master Builders (my son, my daughter and my husband) in our house.
As with any home challenge, I started my research by spending hours obsessively browsing Pinterest and Googling “Lego organization.” Unfortunately, most solutions focused on organizing Lego pieces by color and size (masochists!), not completed sets. And the solutions I did find involved shelving systems that cost hundreds of dollars and only held a few Lego sets.
That’s when I stumbled upon my solution in our neighborhood Facebook garage sale page.
I drove across town to the office building where the cabinets resided with visions of my Pinterest-worthy project dancing in my head. Those visions crumbled right about the moment that I, along with the woman who was selling the cabinet, tried to move the case more than one centimeter. It had to weigh at least two hundred pounds and would barely budge. We finally managed to wiggle it enough to get it situated on top of a blanket and drag it, inch by inch, like a non-height-weight proportional metal elephant, through the office waiting room, down the long hallway, into the elevator, out of the elevator, down another hallway, and finally through the front doors.
The next obstacle: lifting it into the back of my minivan. Somewhere along the way, we had recruited a third woman and together the three of us, through a series of levers and pulleys, and the strength that people manage to summon only when a loved one is trapped under a car, managed to shove the Moby Dick of book cases into my Honda Odyssey.
By this point, almost an hour had passed. We had somehow spared ourselves from injury and the office building from significant property damage so with my few remaining panting breaths, I suggested perhaps I only needed one of the two bookcases she was selling.
She agreed and we exchanged $25 and a few grunts of comradery and I was on my way back home.
Due to having more Pinterest project enthusiasm than common sense, once I arrived home, I proceeded to try to take the bookcase out of my trunk by myself. It looked a little like this…..and felt a lot like bad decision making.
I had already acquired an excessive amount of spray paint and painting accessories. As tempting as it was to immediately start spraying, I decided not to risk over-spraying everything in our hoarder-style garage with specks of Rustoleum Heritage Red so I waited for my husband to come home and help me haul it out to the yard.
There are many things in life that seem much easier in concept than in reality. Spray-painting furniture is one of those things. The biggest challenge with this particular piece was all of the little cubby dividers.
Whereas spray painting a flat surface leaves you next to a giant cloud of toxic fumes, spray painting a confined, boxy area results in most of the paint doing a u-turn back into your face so that you’re engulfed in a cloud of toxic fumes with zero visibility of the thing you are trying to paint.
After repeating this process forty-two times over the course of several hours, you start to understand the paint can warning labels about the effects of fume inhalation and start to do things like maniacally shout, “AWESOME – SOUNDS GREAT!” when your plumber comes outside to tell you that your water main has a huge leak that has flooded the neighbor’s yard.
It also makes your hand look like you have a contagious condition when you go to your husband’s formal company holiday party that same evening.
All in all, the painting alone took 2 days, 2 cans of primer, 8 cans of paint and 4 bazillion brain cells, but our perfect Lego display case was finally complete. We left it in the garage to dry and off-gas* for a few days.
While I was out one day, my husband enlisted the help of another manly neighbor to help haul the case upstairs to my son’s room. When I got home, my defeated looking husband said, “well, it’s upstairs……..”
“But, it was really heavy!”
“You’re telling me!”
“So we had to drag it up the stairs.”
“And now our stairs have a big red stripe down the middle.”
“All of them?”
“Most of them.”
“Do we have alcohol?”
“I can make you a drink.”
“I mean rubbing alcohol. But I’ll probably need a drink too.”
As it turns out, spray paint takes up to 30 days to completely cure so one of the edges of the case deposited a nice, straight line of red paint on its trip up the staircase. Fortunately, thanks to our resident aspiring artist, I already knew that some rubbing alcohol (and some bourbon for me) removes oil based paint from white carpet like magic. I rushed so quickly to clean the paint before it dried that I didn’t even take a picture of the damage (blogger sin #1.) You can get an idea of how it looked by this picture of the corner of our hallway which, even today, still has a souvenir swatch of red paint where the guys bumped (smashed) the cabinet into the wall on their way upstairs.
That took care of one problem, but now the case had a big strip of paint missing down one side (the side that faced out to the room, of course.) None of us were about to lug that thing back out to the garage which explains why I, a sane, yet paint-fume-loopy person decided to spray a can of red spray paint in a bedroom with off-white carpet. It was the one part of this project that actually went much better than expected.
It was truly an exciting day when we got to arrange all of his Lego sets in their new home. He had fun grouping all the Star Wars and Lego Movie sets together and even worked some of my daughter’s Lego Friends into the neighborhood.
His Lord Business side loves having all the assembled sets ready any time he wants to play with a particular space ship or truck. His Master Builder side loves that Darth Vader and Princess Unikitty are able to ride together in an ice cream truck to the Heartlake pool and styling salon. Or, in this case, the cast of Star Wars, Batman and Indiana Jones were able to attack Cloud Cuckoo Land and take Unikitty prisoner.
Now, whenever he wants to disassemble and reassemble a set (a favorite hobby that I will never understand,) all the pieces are in one place and time is spent creating instead of hunting for pieces.
His Master Builder side also loves that all of the remaining Legos are up for grabs to create anything and everything that his clever mind can come up with. We used some bins to keep our sorting system from Part 1 going for a while, but after a month or so of free play, the categorized buckets had served their purpose and now they essentially just help give our disorganized mess the appearance of being more organized.
The bulk of the Legos lived in an old train table drawer, which worked pretty well but was heavy and immobile. If the kids wanted to take the Legos into a bedroom or downstairs, it involved dozens of trips or dangerous hauling methods, plus, my son was getting tired of reaching back into the depths of the drawer, (life is full of struggles in the suburbs.)
The solution: my favorite new Lego accessory, Swoop Bags. Believe it or not, my son loves Legos so much that he also attended a real Lego camp called Snapology in his ‘off hours’ from our Lord Business Camp last summer. They use tons of these awesome bags to keep Legos tidy and organized, yet ‘free-form’ to allow for tons of creativity and mobility.
He loves how they keep all the Lego pieces from disappearing. I love how they keep all the Lego pieces from escaping and puncturing my foot in the dark of night. Best of all, when he’s done playing, he just pulls on the strings and cinches it up – he’s even able to keep his ‘works in progress’ in there. Swoop Bags are the perfect blend of Lord Business organization and Master Builder creativity.
They also come in mini sizes, for Lego fun on the go, snacks, game pieces, puzzles, toiletries, pet toys, you name it!
At last, we have our Lord Business-worthy organized Lego sets AND Master Builder free-form area.
One of the biggest benefits of having all the completed sets displayed in one place is that my son can actually see how many sets he truly has and hasn’t asked for a new Lego set in months – instead he’s perfectly happy disassembling and reassembling the ones he has (knock on wood.)
So, if you’ve procrastinated signing your kids up for any camps this summer, might I suggest running your own Lord Business Lego Camp. You can keep your child occupied for hours on end, you won’t feel like you’ve wasted money on all those destroyed sets, and you may even save money not having to buy as many future sets once they see how many they already have (or just decide they never, ever want to see another Lego again.)
If you’re thinking, “a Lego camp sounds awesome, but I don’t want my kid in my house,” and live in the Austin area, I can’t recommend the Snapology camps enough. Outside of Austin? Check Snapology.com for availability in your city.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid promotion for either Swoop Bags or Snapology. I just love them both and thought you would too. I did contact Swoop Bags when we started the final stage of our Lego organization to tell them how much we loved their bags during Snapology camp and they offered to send us one to see if it would solve our at-home organization needs. It did, so here I am spreading the word to all my fellow parents who are drowning in Legos. You’re welcome.
I’m happy to report that despite getting played with on a regular basis, all of the sets reassembled during Lord Business Lego Camp last summer are STILL intact. However, my son starts his first Snapology Lego Camp of the summer next week. I hope it doesn’t inspire too many new creations. Our book case is out of space and I am NOT going back for that other one.
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xo - Susanne