Every time I walk into a LEGO store, a helpful employee asks, “Are you looking for a gift today?” I’m always happy to reply, “Yes, a gift for myself.” My answer usually gets a smile and a knowing look. I’m not the only adult that loves LEGO toys.
My adoration for the colorful plastic bricks and shapes started when I was young. When I was little, I had a red bucket full of LEGO bricks and big green plate (base) to build on. I’d like to say that I was a prodigy who built skyscrapers or designed mini amusement parks, but no. I’d take my stash out to the back porch and build a small mishmash of structures that I would call a farm. It was about the imagination for me. The bigger worlds that the little bricks represented.
Time passed and my stash of bricks disappeared in a yard sale or to my younger cousins’ toy boxes. I forgot about LEGO for a while. Over the holidays though, I ended up with a Star Wars LEGO kit in a White Bantha gift exchange between geek girls. It only took snapping together a few clone troopers to reignite my love of LEGO. It was addicting. I went out the same night and bought more. In the few months since then, the pile of bricks has grown. A lot. I’ve bought more kits and some plates and loose bricks. I prefer to follow instructions to make something like a LEGO version of Hagrid’s Hut from Harry Potter or just to build simple things with the bricks. It’s something I do when I need to think through a problem. I also don’t think I’d have the patience to glue bricks together so big pieces are out of the question. I won’t be making anything like the giant creations you see at conventions.
Still, rediscovering Lego has quickly progressed into a full-blown addiction. Now, space has become a problem. I live in a tiny place, and I’ve already covered most available surfaces with all sorts of nerdy items like action figures, signed comics, cute plushies, and fossils. I haven’t even opened the LEGO Darth Vader TIE Fighter kit I have because I don’t know where to put it. Yes, I know that’s wrong. I’ve got the smaller sets covered though. Sets like this Clone Trooper Battle Pack can fit right on your desk (especially at your office for stress relief), on a bookshelf, or in my case under the television stand. Three small sets fit perfectly, and it’s far enough back that the cats can’t steal and kill my troopers. I’m planning to clear off a shelf on my bookcase for bigger LEGO models. Let’s face it, we could all probably stand to get rid of a few books.
One method I’ve found to help save space is to display loose LEGO bricks as part of my furniture. I’m starting to buy plates to cover my living room coffee table. I plan to put mats with non-skid bottoms under the bases and a big bucket of LEGO pieces beside the table. It will be fun to play around while watching movies, and I think friends will like playing when they come over (if any friend shows disdain towards my LEGO table, they won’t be a friend for long). When I’m not playing, I’ll cover the surface with the tablecloth.
I’ve also noticed that when you’re not building, it’s important to keep your LEGO bricks out of reach of the family pet and small children. Both have a tendency to chew on them and cover them in slobber. Of course, there is the safety hazard factor too. Gladware or similar containers from the department store are ideal for storage of loose bricks. You can buy smaller ones and sort by color and size if you wish. Even if you only build from kits, you’ll end up with a few extra pieces from each set. I like to use things like that as a reason to buy a new lunch box or tin (like the R2-D2 one in the photos) for dedicated storage. I suppose that an abundance of these containers will end up being an issue, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Again, if you mostly build kits, you’ll end up with a pile of instruction manuals. Don’t hoard them after you’ve completed a set. You might drop the toys at some point and have to start over, but you can find instructions online. The LEGO site has downloadable pdf instructions for 3,300 sets available online for sets dating back to 2002.
Have fun building! I’ve learned that LEGO bricks are like dice – you can never have too many!