how to fill a Lego brick container

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There is this thing that lives inside just about every Lego store.  It’s so big and bright and calling out to my kid, “Come over here and take me home with you!”  You guessed it: it’s the Lego brick wall.  And how can anyone resist, right?  Piles of colorful, shiny, new bricks just waiting to be used in some way.  Our 4-year-old is beginning her migration from Duplo blocks to the small bricks so we’ve been known to bring home a container of loose bricks once in a while (vs buying a whole set with directions and a real purpose).  On this trip to the Lego store, I decided to get the most for my money (hey, I didn’t say that this brick wall option was cheap!) and see how well I could fill a small Lego brick container.

For those of you who may not be entirely familiar with what I’m talking about, here’s a quick run down.  There is this huge wall with bins of loose Legos in different colors, sizes, and shapes.  What’s great is that they constantly change the contents so there’s pretty much never the same exact things each time you visit (although, I guess that can be bad too?), and there is a small project that you could create by picking particular pieces if you want to go that route.  There is a small container ($8.99) and a large container ($15.99) where you can take home as much as you can pack into them.

We’ve been gifted with a couple of the small Lego sets but after putting them together, our daughter wants to take them apart and build new palaces using whatever bricks are around (she’s in the princess phase right now).  And in the past we usually just let her grab whatever bricks she wants to fill the container with, which results in odd numbers of weird pieces that don’t always come together to look like much.  So today I decided we were going to go for even numbers of pieces and get more of the larger and longer bricks to actually build a foundation, etc.

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And that’s when mommy got a little crazy with placement and space usage.  (I’m laughing at myself right now.)  Instead of dumping pieces loosely into the container I stood them up and lined the edge of the container, then filled in the center with more pieces.  Then I layered the flatter pieces on top, and put the small (tiny) pieces in so that they would fill in the random holes. One of the employees saw what I was doing and said, “Excellent job packing that container!”

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Oh and don’t forget that empty space in the lid!  Pack that puppy with flat bricks snapped together!

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I don’t know if you noticed in one of the photos above but the sign says that the small container can hold 125 to 175 pieces.  We poured the contents of our bucket out and counted 98 pieces.  Most of them were the 2×6 long rectangles so yeah, if you used the smaller 1×2, 2×2, or 2×3 pieces I could see there being an additional 18, 36, or more pieces.  Or if you packed it with those tiny components then you could probably get closer to 175 pieces in.

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So what’s the point of all this?  I let our daughter put the Legos back into the container without my crazy organizing scheme, and after three attempts she could not get all 98 pieces back into the container.  The most she could get in was 63 (leaving 35) out.

Let’s do a little math: at $8.99 per container, 98 pieces would be about 9 cents per piece. 63 pieces would be about 14 cents a piece.  It doesn’t sound like much but I think we got 1/3 more pieces by carefully packing them into the container and utilizing every bit of space vs loosely piling them in.

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And I’m happy to say that we (ahem, I …) actually had enough blocks to build decent little houses in a village (the two on the right in the photo below).  Of course, this was combined with bricks from a different set as well.  And yes, that’s Kristoff holding a glass of wine.  My kid knows how to entertain.  🙂

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One Comment Add yours

  1. lindasw says:

    then you need to put one dots in, give it a shake, put some more one dots in and shake again. repeat. you can get a lot of one dots in all the teeny crevices. not anal at all!

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