Organizing Bean’s LEGO Manuals

We’ve been on a huge LEGO binge this year and because of the quick influx of sets, that all contain about a million pieces, I’ve been a little overwhelmed with keeping track of everything.

I took some time last week to inventory all the sets we have and I logged all the extra pieces that come with the big kid sets and after matching all the pieces with the packaging that I saved, I think we are only missing one Duplo man.

After gathering up all the bricks, I’m left with this copy paper box top of instruction manuals and packaging that has info about what Bean has in his collection.

I’ve seen some moms cut up their manuals and laminate each sheet but my OCD brain just can’t deal with destroying or permenantly altering things that are perfectly fine the way they are.

I’ve seen other moms put entire manuals in some binder pockets and have their kids just take out the manual they need at the moment. This would work great if Bean was a little bit older and could deftly handle thin sheets of paper without damaging them but Bean is only 3…

I’ve also seen moms take booklets apart and insert each page into a sheet protector, which is actually the starting point of my project. But of course, I’m picky and have some issues with this method.

  • I don’t want to take apart the manuals and mess them up since I don’t know what our needs will be in the future.
  • All the instruction manuals are different sizes and it would bother me that I would see the size differences through the clear sheet protectors.
  • The sheet protectors would be flimsy because our instruction manuals are not full letter size pages.
  • You can’t add anything inside the sheet protectors to fix the previous two issue because it would hide one side of the instructions.
  • A full 1″ binder would be a little cumbersome for Bean to handle which means he would resist using the instructions.

Man, as I’m writing this, I realize that I sound crazy. Why don’t I just let him use the instructions as they are? Who cares if they’re messed up after a bit of play? Why do I have to make everything so complicated? I don’t know. Poor kid… But I will say that I do think Bean has some of my tendencies innately ingrained in him so maybe he likes waking up after a nap and having his things organized in an obsessive manner.

Anyway, after a couple of nights thinking about a solution, I found it.

For this project, I used:

I opted for mini binders since they are a better size for Bean’s hands and added some mini sheet protectors with a sheet of black cardstock, that I cut in half, in each sleeve.

I decided to download all our manuals from LEGO.com so that they would all be the same general format and I wouldn’t have to take apart the original manuals. I made sure to print the building instructions with two pages to a sheet and then trimmed them with my trusty paper cutter. It does take a bit of ink and it is a little time consuming to do it this way but it was definitely worth it. At least it was worth it to me.

Getting all of our manuals done took a whole day of printing, cutting and assembling since Bean was helping me and I could only work during Belle’s nap times. I think if I was completely focused, it would’ve only three hours, at the very most.  Since I got the backlog of sets done, all the new instruction manuals will be super quick and easy to add into our new system.

I organized one binder for LEGO Duplo, another for LEGO City, LEGO Creator and LEGO SuperHeroes and a third for LEGO Friends. I love that this system is completely expandable and durable enough to be manhandled by Bean on a daily basis and will probably still be in awesome condition when Belle gets her little hands on them.

Now to organize the million bricks that came with all these instruction manuals…

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to items I purchased to complete this organization project. I got my mini binders  from Target but they’re a better price on Amazon. The mini sheet protectors come in packages of 25 or 50 but go for the packs of 25 because the larger pack is almost 4x more expensive. 

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