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    Protecting LEGO Boxes: Storage Bags


    Hi. I’m a new investor/collector/AFOL. One issue I have encountered with my new hobby was how to protect the fragile LEGO set boxes from shelf wear and the interior home elements, such as moisture from possible water leaks, dampness from high humidity areas like basements, dust and smoke. Several years ago, I discovered various brands of storage bags and thought these would be an excellent answer to these issues. These bags are large, very durable, and reusable. They would wear out with constant use, but for items that will sit awhile, like LEGO sets, they are worth looking into. They are also transparent, which would enable the LEGO collector and investor to view what is in the bag while the sets are stacked on shelves or similar storage areas.

    I’ll first describe the features and advantages of using them to store your LEGO investment. Then I’ll list brands, sizes, prices, and sources.

    • Provides protection
    • Accurately described as “with their pleated bottom and secure zip seal, they are perfect for storing even your bulkiest items while helping to protect them from moisture, dust and pests.” They also help prevent cigarette smoke from damaging boxes.
    • Makes it easy to move or transport your boxes Most brands have a handle
    • Reusable After selling the LEGO set that was stored in the bag, the reusable bag can be unzipped and used on the next LEGO investment.
    • Transparent Enables the LEGO collector and investor to view what is in the bag, without actually opening the bag up.
    • Inexpensive In the worst case, you’re looking at $1.50 per LARGE Lego box, a small price to pay for extra protection. And remember, they’re reusable.
    • Group similar sets together Put similar or same sets in the same bag.
    • Takes up no extra space in your storage. Unlike some paper products(cardboard), these bags take up little space.

    There are 3 brands that I have come across. In each case, consider only the XL and XXL sizes.

    1. StorIt

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    These are the cheapest and can be found at dollar stores. However, their largest bag will not fit the large Lego sets like the Haunted House.

    For $1, you can get one XXL size 24” x 20” (60.9 cm x 50.8 cm) or two XL bags size 20.5” x 17” (52.1 cm x 43.2 cm)

    They are priced much higher online ($4 at Amazon). Look for them in dollar stores. If you can’t find them, you can order then from Dollar Tree but the minimum purchase is 36 at $36.

    Dollar Tree: http://www.dollartree.com/cleaning-storage-hardware/storage/EZ-Stor-Plastic-Storage-Bags-with-Handles-XX-Large/212c261c261p299576/index.pro

    2. Zip N’ Go

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    These are part of the Space Bag series, those bags that let you suck the air out of them with a vacuum to save space. However, no worries. These bags are normal and don’t suck. I have seen them at Linens N Things but cannot find them anywhere online.

    For around $13, you can get two XL size 22” x 22” (55 cm x 55 cm) AND two XXL size 28” x 28” (71 cm x 71 cm). The XXL bag will hold the large Lego sets like the Haunted House. In fact, you can store two large sets comfortably in one bag, making the extra cost just over $1.50 per set.

    3. Ziploc Big Bags

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    For $12, you get three XXL size 24” x 32” (60 cm x 82 cm). These would be the most expensive at $4/bag but are the strongest with a double zipper.

    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Ziploc3pk-Bigbag-Closet-Storage/dp/B000V9N1WO (Note: At the time of this writing, I saw them on Diapers.com for $7 with free shipping for orders over $49)

    Here are some actual photos of the storage bags being utilized with LEGO sets:

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    All in all, these large transparent storage bags are a LEGO investor and collector's best friend. The storage bags help protect from the dust and moisture that can be found in every house, yet will also protect from major water damage from possible pipe leaks and smoke damage from fires or cigarettes. Also, the prevention of shelf wear, which can reduce the value of any Mint In Sealed Box LEGO set, is another big positive. While not structural in any way like cardboard boxes are, these bags don't take up any valuable space like paper products do. So do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of boxes and start protecting your LEGO sets. In the long run, you won't be disappointed.

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    Hi I'm new to Lego collecting but I used to collect comic books. One issue I was wondering if anyone could comment on was the acidity in the plastic bags- a principle used to be storing comics in acid free bags so that the fragile ink would. It fade - any comments regarding if this applies to Lego boxes? Also any comment on ideal humidity for storage?

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    If you're looking at any sort of long-term storage, I would highly recommend using inert materials instead. You can find all the info and supplies needed at bagsunlimited.com - I use their products for all of my collections and preservation projects (coins, books, music, comics, etc.).

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    I always put a box nicely in a storage horizontally and it ages nicely, no problems period, but i do sell most of my sets within 1 year of EOL.

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    i personally use rubbermaids and similar plastic tubs, all of my sets are in my crawlspace and i label the outside of the tub. i am not afraid of water this way, and can move them around pretty easily and will not crush anything. also my cats love scratching cardboard and this solved the problem. someone mentioned larger sets, i wrapped the death star box in plastic wrap. should hold up just fine- and a huge bulk roll from a warehouse is less than $20

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    I highly recommend getting "Space Bag Cubes" from Target for this sort of thing. They are perfect for storing boxes of Legos (but get the cube bags, not the regular ones, because they have more space). Like the other bags listed, these are vacuum seal, but very large. I recommend getting this combo pack: http://www.target.com/p/space-bag-3-cube-combo/-/A-11038772#prodSlot=large_1_6&term=Space+bag It comes with a large, XL, and Jumbo size bag, so by buying this "sampler pack" you can get a feel for what sizes you need. I found large was enough to store a Helms Deep set, and an XL was big enough for both a UCS Star Wars Imperial Shuttle and a UCS Obi Wan's Jedi Starfighter with some room to spare. I have no sets that need a Jumbo Cube yet... Although you could store many smaller sets in one. This was available in the housewares section of my local Target, and it wasn't even a super target, so it ought to be easy to find.

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    Thanks AlgebraicMirror! Amazon has this in stock and a few bucks cheaper. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0013CBGYI?linkCode=xm2

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    Take it from a person who has been storing comics and cards for over 20 years - having the silica packs, and keeping everything in a cooler dryer place away from enemies like silverfish is the most important thing. Basements are great as long as you store off of the floor and keep space between the product and the walls to minimize the potential for mold. Also, 60% is the highest I would like the humidity - 40-50% is more desirable for paper. And keep it out of any direct light! Oh, and I always spray the surrounding area for bugs.

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    I actually just put my sets in the box I'm going to ship them in, but then again I don't have ton of unopened Lego sets to store, maybe just one or two... Not a huge investor.

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    drdododarren has a good point, regarding the acidity of bags wearing on the print. What if the boxes were first wrapped in a layer of non-printed paper towels, then covered in a plastic bag? Would that help or hurt?

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    Does anyone have any bad experiences they can share of storing issues we might not anticipate? (Aside from the non-protected stories, which are inevitable.) Thanks!

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    If you have a large investment, I would also suggest taking periodic visual records of the boxes to save on the cloud, in case of fire. It will help with insurance claims.

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    Still need to keep in mind that ANY sunlight will damage the box, even through plastic bags. For best results, wrap the box in dark non-acidic paper prior to closing the bag. Minimizing the Air within the bag will help as well.

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    It looks like Amazon has the Ziploc XXL bags available for a lot cheaper than was noted in this article and you can order via Subscribe & Save and get them shipped free at a discount too. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003U6FMOK/ref=rcxsubs_mys2_product_title&tag=r601000000-20

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    Great write up - I lost an X-Wing 6212 in a recent semi-flood (minor leak but the box was on the carpet), and this would've been a great idea.

     

    Definitely going to be getting some of these bags!

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    Howdy, folks.  Many thanks to Rick for sharing his research.  I recently had a few of my sets shrink wrapped and am going to put them in boxes.  I did wonder about the acid in the plastic over time.  Are there any long term collectors on here with experience of the effects of plastic on lego boxes?  Many thanks.

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    Thank you for an informative article, Rick.  I just started looking into ways to protect my LEGO sets after one of my Jordan shoes are ruined because of the humid.  I might try to do use these bags on my shoes collections as well :)

    Thanks again.

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    I now wrap my sets in parchment paper (brown wrapping paper) before putting them into waterproof black bin liners and group them into larger outer-boxes with set# on the outside.

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    I personally store my sets in garbage bags. Because I live in the Netherlands and they don't have large enough storage bags. I usually print a picture with the set and the set number and put it on the garbage bag to identify the sets. It works really well, they are well protected against dust and light. And it doesn't take up much space. So, if you are tight on cash, or you don't want to spend much to storage, go for the garbage bags. I know it sounds a little bit strange. But it is the best method for me.

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