Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Legos! Storage! Complete Bliss!

Legos are quite the big deal in our house.    They were a huge part of my and my husband's childhood, and since we were both the youngest we got to keep our childhood Legos.    Might even have contributed to my desire to be a ::gasp:: female engineer too.  Fun fact, Jon and I even went to Legoland California on our honeymoon.  We were the oldest people there without kids, that's for sure.  Didn't mind a bit.

Now they're a pretty big deal to my kids, which is awesome.

 I love the different creations they've come up with and the open ended, cross gender play.  (Note, We have Lego Friends and we love those too.  I think people are nuts for bashing them.  All of our kids like the additional human feel they bring to our other legos.  Plus it's really funny seeing ironman wearing a lego friends wig)

 However, there are two things I didn't like when I was a kid, and three things I don't like about them now.
  1. I hated stepping on them before, and I hate stepping on them now.
  2. I tried really hard to keep them sorted as a kid, in plastic bags that kept ripping or were too hard to see through.  Never was fully satisfied.
  3. And now as a grown-up, I don't like having to pick up 1000's of tiny toys mixed in with 100's of other toys in our playroom.  Especially when young babies are coming over.  Yuck.
So when planning a trip to Ikea last spring, we decided it was time to give up the giant tub holding all of our  Legos and finally organize them.  Eli started off super excited, and starting sorting them on his own.  Like a champ, he decided he wanted them sorted by type and not color.  We also thought it would be best to go in the boys room.   We figured it would be easier to clean play, and protect their creations from guests in their own room.

It was one of the first nice days out after the winter in April, so we all went out and started sorting them outside.  Have I mentioned this project took a while?  Yeah. Well, it did.

We actually were picking up the wood for a new computer stand, and I realized that if I planned right, I could get both the Lego storage and the computer kicked out together and have fewer waste.  And since their room is the most finished room in the house, I felt inspired to try to get it the most settled.  So we moved the Legos to their room...and after stepping on them a bunch of times in the dark, I decided the Legos were more pressing than the computer stand and swapped priorities.

I borrowed my mom's router to make the grooves.  You can see I did the first one wrong.  It was too deep (whoops!) but I was able to fill it in with some scrap, sand it nice and flush spin the direction and continue on.

I made two routered sets - one with grooves back to back, and one with with just one side of grooves. Then cut them to the right width after, so the heights would stay consistent.

I sort of wish I had gotten super thick plywood, so I could cut the grooves deeper and wouldn't have had to make supports... but I was being cheap and we were pressed for time picking out the plywood.  After the boards were cut, I ripped a 1x4 in little strips (with a circular saw, not fun), and glue those down.  Saved a ton of money over buying little strips.

 Then I worked on the top and bottom.  I decided to use the router to notch out the location for the shelves.  It makes the assembly easier, and the positioning 10x more accurate.  On a simple project like this which requires a lot of side to side accuracy, it was a no brainer...

Speaking of no brains, here's a another whoopsie.  (No not Isaac, hahaha...)  I accidentally cut the board too short. Thankfully exactly 1 1/2" too short, and I was able to fix it will some pocket screws and plugs.  Can't even tell now that it's done.

Between Eli and Isaac, I often had a kiddo with me working on it.  I really love when they hang around when I work.  They're typically well behaved and attentive, so that's an added bonus.

I knew I'd never get it painted if I didn't do it just after construction, so I got to it right away.  It seemed to take FOREVER.  I kinda wish I had just used some spray paint, all those peaks and valleys really made it a time consuming paint job.

Once it was finally done, I couldn't resist and brought it up while the boys were sleeping.

Boy, did their room need it. This is how it was for...  let me check the dates...  a month and a half.  Yeah, that was long enough. Here's the real life picture - You can see that the enthusiasm for sorting was short lived.  (You can see Isaac sleeping in the pic below.  Once they're out, they're out. I can flip on the lights and be move Legos all over and they don't notice a thing)

Once I got the bins all stacked together, the room, despite still being a bit messy, was now walkable.  Yay!

Once thing you may have noticed was multitude of supports across the back.  That's because I made it to hang on the wall.  I figued if kitchen cabinent could hand on the wall filled with dishes, these should be fine too.  It took another two months after making it, but we did get it hung up eventually.  It took so long because I was waiting for...

...the new play table! So now the rule is, no Legos on the floor at bed time.  They can make whatever mess they want to on the table, but they need to keep those toys away from the soles of my feet.

Eli was pretty happy to take it for a test drive, of course.

The table was a fairy straightforward build.  It's about 32" wide ( I think) and 48" long.  Just one cut with the circular saw.  I edged it with poplar, skipped the stain (as I often do) and used polycrylic.  Compaired to the lego cupboard it was super fast.  I knew it would get scratched and dinged so I didn't go overboard in making it look nice. The one little detail I did add is a little recess on the edge wall, so we can scoop off the Legos into a bucket as needed.

So, after a whopping three months of planning, Ikea shopping and woodworking, that thing right there fulfills my childhood dream of sorting my Legos.  Ahhhhhhhhhhh......  Feels good.

 And you thought this was me being all nice to my kids.


Anonymous said...

Super nice! Love the area in the table to just brush them into a bin.

Cassie said...

Thanks! We're hoping to attach a few extra trofast slides we have here so we can have a bucket held just under there and another couple spots.