Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Lego Command Center

            Way back during April vacation, my sons and I took on an enormous task. It was a task that required ingenuity, patience, and stamina. We organized the Legos. Toys come and go, but the obsession with Legos never dies. Over the years, I had tried a number of bins, boxes, and shelves but nothing seemed to work for long. Legos would be scattered all over the place. The kids wouldn’t want to clean up because they hated the idea of disrupting a battle or scene they were creating. I needed to get the boys input (and labor). The ideal system would be one that I would help them devise, but they would maintain.
Image obtained from Ikea's website.
            So I compared various storage systems at my local Ikea*. I decided to use their Antonius system and add a Vika tabletop to it. I struck gold when I went shopping for my pieces. I found the Antonius frames in the clearance section for two dollars apiece. Normally they go for about ten dollars. It addition to being reasonably priced, the Antonius frames have leveling screws. Our play area is a little pitched, so anything with wheels will roll off a table. Being able to level the play area was a bonus.
Less fun than playing, more fun than homework.
The boys organized the Legos themselves.  They chose to organize by color, rather than type (such as Star Wars or Lego City) since they usually build a set once and then turn it into something else later. They also created separate spaces for specialty pieces like Lego Ninjago, Hero Factory/Bionicle, and mini figures. There is even a place to store the directions!
           The Antonius system allows you to use plastic drawers in two sizes as well as wire baskets. I used mostly the six-inch tall drawers ($8.00 each) because they were shallow enough for the kids to find individual pieces and large enough to store creations they had built. If you’ve spent all morning building the coolest space station in the world, you don’t want to take it apart to put it away. For smaller items, we used wire baskets ($2.50) with divided inserts ($3.00).
Projects like this make me feel like MacGyver.
            The Vika able top ($26.00) is predrilled with holes to attach legs. I was able to fit screw eyes into the holes and attach the table top to the frames with zip ties. The tabletop is just the right height for both boys to play while standing. Because this is a “dedicated” Lego play space, they can leave their projects set up when they’re called away for dinner, homework or any other boring thing a mother can think of.
Our Lego Command Center has been in use for over a month. Because the boys did much of the work themselves, they've  done an excellent job maintaining it. As for me, I’m just thrilled to cut down on the number of times I’ve stepped on Legos while barefoot.

This baby can hold approximately 84 gallons of Legos!

            In accordance with FTC regulation, I am required to disclose that I work for Ikea. However, I am posting this as a private person and was in no way compensated for writing this post.