The chores of the brick

After I have done this, I have procrastinated a little to write this post. Not because I didn’t want to write this, but the so-called chores I did, really got me down a little. So “chores” is usually something you do around the house, do regularly or that is a nuisant duty. In this case, it’s the latter. But that is also my own fault, since I decided myself to keep my loose parts properly sorted instead of having a big box with all my parts like I had it when I was a kid.

What I am ranting about, is sorting away pieces. Often, it is not too much work. For example when I disassemble a system set. But after disassembling Sheepo’s Shelby GT500, I was confronted with a  rather big box full of parts. Over 3500 parts!


Usually, when I disassemble something, I try to pre-sort the pieces directly. Liftarms, thin liftarms, bricks, connectors, axles, pins, gears, bushes, panels and special parts from suspension, fake engine and so on. This time, I only had a box, because I had none of my other boxes available. So I used the box I received with my last order from Lego (which I got the Exo Suit in) and put all the pieces in there. After 4 hours of disassembly the box was 2/3 full as you can see above.

So, before finally putting the pieces into the storage I usually do some pre-sorting. Double the work, but there was no other way. So here is how I do that to keep the time effort as low as possible. The procedure is divided in several steps that are repeated until the box is empty:

  1. On the layer you see, you take all pieces you can quickly find and put them in a separate box. E.g liftarms.
  2. After don’t see any of this part directly, go on with the next type of pieces, e.g. connectors.
  3. Again, once no obvious of the previous type are visible, change the type again, e.g. axles.
  4. Repeat and repeat and repeat …

The type of piece you choose is not necessarily in the mentioned order and there are more than just the three mentioned types. But, you should stick to the type as long as you can easily find pieces of the type. Then go on to the next type and again and again and again. At least that is how I do it. Mostly I leave out pins for quite a few steps until I mostly see pins.


Here you can see how I do it. I still have a third of the pieces to sort. At that moment I was sorting out thin liftarms as you can probably assume from the small container that I placed on the edge of the box. At this stage, normal thick liftarms that were in my way were directly put into the other big cardboard box. That keeps a little dynamic in the process and liftarms are especially easy to sort out as well. Therefore I usually take liftarms in the first sorting step. After that liftarms are sorted out “by the way”.


Here is a close-up picture of the box. I would now change the type of piece to sort out, since no thin liftarms are visible at a quick look. I could choose between axles, connectors or pins. I think I chose axles as the are somewhat more prominent than the connectors and pins being a plain nuisance. More than that, I just sorted out other pieces from the box until only pins were left. And in the end, I had this:


The big box in the background is filled with liftarms, the few panels and the bricks. Left of that are the connectors. In the row in front of the cardboard box we have (left to right) suspension, steering and fake engine parts, then bushes and flex axles, gears, pins and then axles. In front of that two boxes with thin liftarms.

At this stage I could easily detail-sort the pieces and put them in the storage containers with similar parts.

Now the big question: How do you guys handle MOC disassembly? Do you do something similar? Do you have a process that is totally different? Please let me know in the comments.



Posted on 2014/10/04, in My story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I start with the biggest parts, and work my way down to the pins and bushes. Seems to work for me.

    • Yes, clearing the big parts first seems logical in any case. The GT500 didn’t have many panels though, and the next big thing (apart from wheels) would be liftarms.

  2. I had a good laugh when i read this posting I had just dismantled my 42009 and sorted and put away. Or should I say absorbed into my existing technic collection. I sort mine similar but sub-sort and put away at the same time. This worked reasonably well when its only a technic set or MOC but not so when there’s a lot of verity. I recently bought 15kg of mixed lego and what a pain to sort!! Removing other toys, washing, sterilizing and drying was not so bad but the sorting. I have been at it for 4 days now and still have 2kg to go. I have found that I need to sort into type eg. technic, plates, tiles, blocks etc.. then sub-sort again into size, type etc. The real problem is quantity which now exceeds my storage system and are having to revert to plastic bags. Still I can not complain at $6NZ a kg. rather then the $75 that most mixed lego goes for I got a real bargain. No more bricklink orders to Oz for a while.

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