How to clean and organise LEGO

Posted by on April 15, 2018

Once upon a time, I had no idea that knowing how to clean and organise LEGO was a thing.

But GOOD GRAVY it’s a massive thing if your kids are LEGO heads like mine.

So many little bricks, so many little hands… let your imagination go as crazy as the germs would in their LEGO world.

And what about if you’ve inherited your childhood collection from the 1980’s? *tags in husband*.

That right there, my friends, is a recipe for the emoji spewing face.  We’re talking generations of germs having a party on the toys our kids play with.

Ok, ok, ok – so I may be exaggerating slightly here, but I’m sure there are some whopping stats on infections or illnesses carried by LEGO (any researchers out there???).

So without further ado, let’s talk turkey about how to clean and organise LEGO the easiest way possible.

how to clean and organise LEGO

How to clean and organise LEGO

Want to know why I decided to clean our LEGO during school holidays, with 5 kids home, on the day hubs flew out for work??

We have cats…. one couldn’t get to the kitty litter…. we were out for the day…. so clearly a bunch of tiny bricks in a playpouch bag was the closest thing to a litter tray he could find.

Wee happened, the kids found it and I freaked out….

While my first instinct was to throw the LEGO into the rubbish truck that was coincidentally passing by, I knew we couldn’t afford a second mortgage on the house to replace it all.

(and yes, if you look closely at the above picture, my kids have written on it with a nikko pen. Is nothing safe??)

So I did the job I’ve been putting off doing for waaaaay too long. I washed the suckers.

Cleaning LEGO

There’s no way I had the time/energy/inclination/screw loose to wash the LEGO individually.  Nor could I run it through the dishwasher (that’s another story all together).

So this is my hack – you’ll need to grab yo’self some pillowcases, gloves and a (clean) dustpan.  PS – don’t hate on me if this doesn’t work for you.  This is my disclaimer.  Common sense is your friend, folks 🙂

Use the dustpan to scoop the LEGO into the pillowcases BUT ONLY FILL IT ABOUT 1/4 OF THE WAY.

Once you’ve made sure that the knot it the top of the pillowcase is reeaaaalllly tight, whack it in the washing machine.

We have a 10kg washer, so I managed to put three bags in at a time.

Pop your regular washing powder in, and use a cold/delicate cycle and away you go.

Oh – and I pulled mine out after the rinse cycle, but before the spin started.

Then I tipped it out onto towels and let it dry in the sun FOR THE WHOLE DAY.

Nothing beats a bit of soap and sunlight.

A few tips on how to clean LEGO

  • Separate all the pieces. Soz, this will probably take ages but it’s gotta be done.
  • I needed 9 pillowcases for our stash, but probably could have pushed this out to 10 or 11 in all honesty….
  • If you don’t fancy using pillowcases, use a large laundry bag.  Good old KMart sell these packs of 3 cheap as chips.
  • Don’t overfill the pillowcases. They’re impossible to knot/unknot, and the LEGO can’t wash properly if they’re all mushed together like sardines.
  • Make sure nothing has batteries in it (Star Wars and Halo ones are some of the types that do).
  • Don’t overload the machine.  Clean LEGO isn’t worth a dead washing machine lol.
  • In between washes, use a disinfectant spray and stick LEGO out in the sun. GERMS BE GONE!
  • If you have to do it in stages (ie: your child cannot fathom being away from LEGO for a day or two), do half at a time.  Way easier and you don’t double up.
  • Hot water can warp or melt LEGO. Just sayin’.
  • If you’re paranoid, you could soak the LEGO in a mild disinfectant wash too.
  • Apparently the dishwasher works too, but I usually use that for bigger items that don’t need individual bags.  Plus I’m never sure about temperature in there….

How to organise LEGO

How seriously you set up your LEGO organisation system depends on how serious the LEGO sitch is in your house.

Play Pouch

Play Pouch, oh how I love thee.  Easy for the kids to find stuff, easy to close up…. I could go on and on but I won’t.  The pic says it all.

The only thing I will add is that these aren’t my kids, they’re way too calm.  And happy. And non-fighty.

Look at Play Pouch at Wiggles Piggles

How to organise LEGO

Budget LEGO storage options

I’m a fan of placcy storage as it’s easily to clean, and easy to stack, and generally pretty affordable.  If they have lids, even better I say.

If I was to go and buy new stuff, this is the sort of stuff I’d get:

These look funky, they let the air in, and they come in different colours and sizes (grey, blue, mint, white)

The blue one is 18L 22cm (H) x 35cm (W) x 29cm (D), and the grey measures 16cm (H) x 40cm (W) x 36cm (D).

I think they’d look pretty cool stacked against a wall, or on shelves.

AND if you’re keen – imagine the satisfaction in organising the LEGO pieces by colours/shades into different colour boxes….. Clearly I need a life.

LEGO storage goals

The mecca of LEGO storage has to go to IKEA, of course.

STUVA would be my ultimate LEGO storage goal.  Seriously – it’s storage porn.

If you’re not thinking something quite so epic, then look at Trofast.

how to clean and organise LEGO_The Styling Mama

Chasing Spring made this IKEA hack look way too easy.

How to clean and organise LEGO is a pretty personal choice.

Whether you’re storing it away in a cupboard, or if it’s on show and getting used 24/7, how much you have, what type it is…

When it comes to cleaning LEGO, just remember one thing: make sure you do it!

If you can’t remember the last time (or if ever!!) it had a good wash, get in and get it done!

But when it comes to storage, I’d say start small.  If LEGO is something that you see being a long-term love affair, you can look at upgrading your system.

But if you start small, or go second-hand (gotta love Gumtree for random IKEA finds!!), you won’t have to fork out millions on storage for all those expensive colourful blocks if you don’t really need it.

Things to remember when choosing storage:

  • Make sure it’s age appropriate.  Down low for little ones, large tubs have wheels, easily accessible etc.
  • Think about what’s going to make your life easier??  If it’s a LEGO table to keep it off the floor, or a mat to keep it on – once again, it depends on you, your kids and your house!
  • Sorting by colour/type is awesome… I’d love to do it but it’s not sustainable in our house!  So make your system one you can learn to love and live with.
  • If it’s washable, it’s a winner.  Cane or woven baskets are pretty, but you can’t give them a good washout (can you?).  Think plastic or non-porous surfaces that stuff can’t stick to.
  • Second hand storage is your friend.  Kids are constantly outgrowing LEGO, which means that there are constantly bargains to be had.  Take your time building the ultimate LEGO set up and save bucks.

Ok, so they are my tips on how to clean and organise LEGO.  Pinterest has an AMAZING amount of LEGO storage inspiration, so get researching on what will work for you!

And keep the cats away – that’s my latest tip lol.

Good luck guys!

Kel xx