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What do you do with your kid's old Lego?


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OK... at last check, my 7-year-old has over 200 Lego sets in his 12' x 12' bedroom - about 20 or 30 on "display"  (let's use the term loosely) and the rest in ziploc bags, boxes, just jumbled about everywhere.  Most minifigures have "gone rogue"... they're in the room somewhere, but good luck finding the one you want.  They're all less than 3 years old, most still in production.  Recently I inventoried them all, and listed eBay "used values" to have some idea where to start in liquidating some of them.  But such a huge task... for example... lets say I want to sell the 60025 Grand Prix Truck.  I'm sure it will take at least 3 hours of my "free time" (if there is such a thing) to track down all the parts and minifigures, build it, photograph it, list it for sale... and for what? ... maybe $13 or $15 in pocket after fees?  Do that for another hundred sets or so, and I've got a new full time job that pays less than my "regular" Lego hobby :)

I've got half-a-mind to set aside the manuals and minifigures (that I can find), and dump the rest into a big box in the garage... then... when he wants more cash as a teenager, he can start piecing together and sell from his own "bulk lot".

How do you handle Lego overload at your house?

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was in a similar position a year ago.  Dont look at the whole thing as 1 big project, it will seem overwhelming.  Start with a set and just keep trucking.  It may seem like a lot of time for $15 but with every set you organize, something awesome happens too, the pile gets smaller and each set gets organized a little faster and you figure out a rhythm and system as you go and it starts to go really fast and it feels SOOOOOO good to get it organized.  

And thats straight cash sitting there too:) 

I have a rule with my son, before he can build a set, we have to properly disassemble a set back into ziploc bags and back in the box with some tape.  Its made our collection look sweet and someday when he wants to sell, it will be much easier.

The hardest part is just getting started.  

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I would start out slowly, you are right it does take time but I myself have a collection with over 200+ sets that are all used but I have kept them complete and in good condition. I would unload the ones that give you most profit first giving others time to go up in value. My rule is really when a set has reached double it's retail I sell it and don't look back. My methods may be different from what others suggest but that's probably because I'm only 16 and I'm selling my collection already. So far I've been able to sell about 20 of my sets with averages of 70% to 110% profit. It does take time but you'll find it more rewarding to sell them separately rather than in lots to achieve maximum potential profit. I understand that 15$ may not be big money for an adult like yourself but every bit counts and the main point is try and get out of there with more than you initially brought to the table. 

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If you are really impatient, gather up the minifigs and put them with their assembled sets- sell the other minifigs as a group, all the loose bricks box up and sell by the pound. Of course I'd still try and assemble the more valuable sets first if you can. The less valuable ones that are $15 bundle together and sell like that. Many different approaches depending on how much in a hurry you are to unload.

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1 hour ago, waydog said:

 

I have a rule with my son, before he can build a set, we have to properly disassemble a set back into ziploc bags and back in the box with some tape.  

My policy is close to that. I will let a designated area fill up, then group, deconstruct, and inventory each set. If I have missing pieces after that, I search gen pop, then buy whatever else I couldn't find. My ten-year-old was nicknamed "LegoLoss" and grounded from building sets for about six months after unauthorized pilfering of minifigures from sets. (I get a little dodgy when it comes to missing pieces)

 

My advice is to take it one brick at a time. Worst case, sort by color and work from there.

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We gave up trying to build sets out of it at first. 

We dumped the hole mess in the middle of table.  Sorted it by color and than once color was separated by size and color.  Anytime we cam across a minfig that was put in a minifig bucket.  What we did next was grab instructions of the set we wanted to build and pulled the pieces for that set from the back of the instructions.  He has a 6211 and an original Christmas train in that mess so I wanted to make sure we got those sets out.  This was the easiest way I found to attack an insurmountable project.  He is more of a display kind of kid so this approach worked.   

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One thing I've learned reading these threads... I'm doing myself a favor by putting sets back into their original boxes (in ziplock bags) when taking them off display.

I had the big bin of Lego as a kid, plus some organizational bins and such. Most of what I remember is it seemed like a great idea (for MOCs) but it made it so hard to ever get back to the original set.

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Right there with you Ken. I actually just put up two floating shelves to put sets on rather than have them laying on the building table or crammed on a shelf.

We are currently in the process of sorting pieces by color in hopes that this will aid in the finding of pieces when taking sets out of rotation. Our current storage consists of bins with all pieces thrown in. This makes finding pieces very difficult.

We have a sorting bin for small and unique pieces. (like the ones you buy to store screws in etc for your garage)

What we do is take sets out of rotation to help lessen the shear mass of lego out at one time. Manuals are in binders with sleeves by theme (mostly) I actually don't like leaving the manuals out at all b/c they get trashed by my youngest. I prefer my kids to use their Kindles where I preload the instructions via amazon or with a LEGO app.

 

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anyone else have a kid that uses teeth to pry apart legos? no amount of "you can use this tool" or "if you are having trouble getting them apart I will help you" worked for the longest time. I think we are out of the woods, but several years worth of sets have been permanently marred. ah well, what can you do :mda:

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5 minutes ago, HappyHawkeye said:

anyone else have a kid that uses teeth to pry apart legos? no amount of "you can use this tool" or "if you are having trouble getting them apart I will help you" worked for the longest time. I think we are out of the woods, but several years worth of sets have been permanently marred. ah well, what can you do :mda:

I'm not joking when I say I threaten my kids with a ban hammer if they use their teeth on the pieces. They now use the "Ask for help" policy ;-)

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41 minutes ago, HappyHawkeye said:

anyone else have a kid that uses teeth to pry apart legos? no amount of "you can use this tool" or "if you are having trouble getting them apart I will help you" worked for the longest time. I think we are out of the woods, but several years worth of sets have been permanently marred. ah well, what can you do :mda:

 

38 minutes ago, pstebbing said:

I'm not joking when I say I threaten my kids with a ban hammer if they use their teeth on the pieces. They now use the "Ask for help" policy ;-)

I was this kid. I regret nothing.

Meanwhile, talking with my mom earlier this week she mentions that she still has all the Lego and Duplo sets from when I was a kid, but was adamant that they are NOT for sale. She has dreams of grandkids one day...

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10 minutes ago, kensBricks said:

 

I was this kid. I regret nothing.

Meanwhile, talking with my mom earlier this week she mentions that she still has all the Lego and Duplo sets from when I was a kid, but was adamant that they are NOT for sale. She has dreams of grandkids one day...

In my experience, Duplo will be great for your kids, but as far as old sets go, my kids don't have any interest. Of course, I was big on pirates, while my kids are all about super heroes. YMMV

Edited by ebelle122
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5 minutes ago, ebelle122 said:

In my experience, Duplo will be great for your kids, but as far as old sets go, my kids don't have any interest. Of course, I was big on pirates, while my kids are all about super heroes. YMMV

Yeah, I think mom's thinking along the lines of having toys at Grandma's house -- I had a bigger pirates set I loved, and some sort of all-terrain type vehicle meant to be driven on other planets. Plus all the usual generic suspects mixed in. I'd be surprised if there are even any sets of instructions left, and who knows how many of those old sets have lost pieces to the vacuum, HVAC vents, and who knows what else.

Now that I have a young niece (about 10 months old) I always linger on the Duplo sets when I'm at the store. Soon, little one. Soon....

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The thing to keep in mind is that part of the reason why Lego is valuable is that it's difficult to keep all the pieces together, especially when kids play with them. It's a challenge and here's what I've come up with...

- Once a set is done being played with, we bag up all the pieces, instructions, comic, etc and put it back in the box. If there's any missing pieces, I'll write it down on a sticky note and put it in the bag. I also have a note on my phone that has a list of missing pieces for sets, that way if I find a piece I can reference the note.

- Buy some sets that are really fun, but don't have collectors value. Early this year, the Galaxy Squad stuff was on such clearance at TRU it was almost like getting them for free. And surprisingly, they were some excellent builds. Tons of fun, and if we lose some pieces, no big deal. I'm hoping next year's January super clearance will be the Ultra Agents sets.

- I tell my son that there are some sets for looking at, others for playing with. The Ultra Agents Ocean HQ is for playing with, the Sea Cow is for looking at. Some sets are just better for playing with, and hold up better for play. As awesome as the Sea Cow is, it's hard to move without some part coming off. On the other hand, other than the ladders in the back, the Ocean HQ holds up better for play. But, the Gatling dot guns are a parent's nightmare. Some of the Power Miners sets are surprisingly resilient too.

- For many play sets like the Super Heroes series, much of the value is in the minifigs. I don't have any guilt about stashing them away, and out of his and his friend's hands. I have a bin full of minifig pieces that they could build any number of characters that function, but not built to spec. They can play with those, not Alfred or the Chrome Stormtrooper.

- I strongly suggest sorting by shape, not by color. It's much easier to spot red in a sea of 2x4s, than it is to find a 2x4 in a sea of red. Color doesn't affect form or function as much as shape does, especially if the brick you replace it with is hidden. Also, if you sort solely by color, the small pieces will fall to the bottom and will be difficult to find. Those are the things that will kill you on a rebuild. Once you get the sorting done, the rebuilding is so much easier and takes less time. My elderly, retired mother helped me sort a ton. I told her that it would help her to ward of Alzheimer's. I told her she should suggest it to her friends by telling them how much sharper she is from sorting Lego, but she just rolls her eyes.

- Sometimes it's good to order spare parts when they are cheap. For example, sails. I bought a spare set of sails for Destiny's bounty for a little over a buck. Well worth it to save the value of a set that might be worth alot.

 

Edited by jivejong
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