LEGOS! The word strikes fear in every foot that has stepped on a brick.
When my boys were toddlers, they received two large buckets of MEGA BLOKS. Our teenage babysitter had more success building with them. She built towers that my boys promptly destroyed. Gradually, they started to build small structures for their miniature cars and trucks. These elaborate structures alluded to the future disaster that once was our home. While my boys grow bigger, their toys, and the many pieces, are shrinking.
Meanwhile the mess and the cleanup becomes a bigger job.
Let me explain. I’m a mom who can pass up a toy or gift for my little ones. My husband, on the other hand, is a sucker. In my childhood home, we rarely received gifts unless it was in celebration of a birthday or Christmas. Now, don’t start feeling sorry for me. It’s not as if we were deprived. We had plenty, and in a world where people are overcome with stuff, I’m glad my family maintained that boundary. With that said, I’ve married into a family of gift-givers and it has trickled down to my boys. Since they are five and seven, their main gifts are LEGOS. It reminds me of that book, The Five Love Languages. My husband is a gift giver. I’m acts of service. One of those acts is cleaning up LEGOS.
Here are a few ways I maintain my sanity with our mini LEGOLAND:
1. Drawstring Bags
Recently I researched Swoop and Lay-n-Go bags. Both bags are sophisticated trash bags. When open, they sit flat rather than bunched up, and form a full circle. That design makes it easier to locate small LEGO pieces. If you sew, you can make a bag yourself. For the sewing averse, you can buy one.
After some research, I still couldn’t decide between two separate bags. So, I bought three bags from two different brands. To clean up the clutter in our kitchen, I bought two small Swoop bags. After cleanup, I hang each bag on each boy’s chair. I can easily toss any errant LEGO or small toy into the bag. For their room, I bought one large Lay-n-Go bag. They share a room, which means there’s not much storage space. Hence, the one big bag which closes with a drawstring. It can also be carried like a backpack. When not in use, we throw it into the closet. When it’s time to play, we just carry it from the closet and open it. All the little LEGOS gathered in one tidy place.
2. Plastic Storage
I also use this method for blocks, Star Wars figures, and Paw Patrol figures — basically, any excessive junk accumulated by my kids and my husband lands in these plastic bins or drawers. I bought the containers at the Container Store and the drawers at a local store. Then, I printed a picture of the contents in hopes the correct items would return to the appropriate drawer. We’ll just say that idea proves to be wishful thinking.
3. IKEA Storage
It’s no secret that Moms are IKEA fans. (You can read about a fellow contributor’s IKEA story here.) To display their LEGO creations as well as smaller figures, I bought IKEA spice racks (picture above). They are simple to construct and come with all the necessary pieces. I didn’t paint them but left them the natural color. I have a few others that I haven’t built; I may paint those for another purpose. To help contain the small LEGO pieces, I bought small buckets, which attach to the shelves. You can also use them to store paint brushes, pens, crayons.
So, head to your local dollar store, buy some plastic containers and packing tape. Then, print out some labels and attach them. Put those kids to work sorting those toys. It’s a great rainy day activity. I buy LEGOS for girls, too, because stepping on a LEGO should be an experience for moms of boys AND girls. Don’t you think?