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LEGO Investing: Storage Solutions with Proper Shelving and Boxes

When you have more than 50 sets, storage is a huge issue. Don't be tempted to cobble together a solution. Start with strong shelving and new boxes to save lots of time and keep your sets looking good. Brook Johnson will show you how he stores his sets, shows you part of his Lego library, and tells you what is "retiring soon."



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It’s also worth putting each set in a plastic bag to keep the dust off. Bear in mind that climate is important as many warm/cool and damp/dry cycles can loosen seals.

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Hi, another very interesting video! However as much as I agree with the standardized cardboard boxes, I honestly disagree that that "cheap new stuff" from staples presented in the video would be sufficient. From the look at it, its not more than some 3 layers cardboard which at first may seem it would hold quite a lot, but there are physical limits that it can sustain. 

I have been personally using the same concept - cardboard boxex - but far superior. I have devoted weeks to studying the specifics of cardboard material and since everyone knows that 5 layers is simply much better than 3 layers, you might be surprised that in test focused on sustainability (weight withholding) and penetration even a 3 layers box can endure more than a cheap 5 layers box. The KEY is the the exact type of "layers" being used, especially the inner corruged / curved midsection between two flats. These come in several strenghts / types, which are designated (at least in Europe) as A, B, C, D - while the D is no better than a papercloth, A being the sturdest.

Another specific to look for is HOW you store the boxes up on each other - the presented solution is absolutely the most effective because it has been tested that when the edges and corners exactly match the box below, the general level of "weariness" of the box (its "sturdiness") decreases only by 10 % of the original endurance when new. Some people might think that arranging boxes as "bricks" crossing and binding through another would provide much better results and with a few meters high towers avoid the unexpected collapsing - but that is not true. This system leads to decreasing between 25- 30 ^% of the lower boxes. 

I had also mine 5 layers boxes custom made, each cost cca 3 USD - but these are truly gigants.. I have tested the box at the very bottom with 60 kg weight upon it, the lowest box had crystal in it with cca 1/2 inch (12 mm) free space below the flaps. And after a few days of solid weight there were absolutely no visible signs of any damage or creases even on the lowest box. Since one box full of LEGO sets weights between 7 -9.5 kg, box itself cca 1.5 kg, you can do the math that these calculations had their place. I have several of these "columns" around..  and below the pictures of the box itself.

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21 minutes ago, TabbyBoy said:

It’s also worth putting each set in a plastic bag to keep the dust off. Bear in mind that climate is important as many warm/cool and damp/dry cycles can loosen seals.

it depends.. some cheap, low quality sacks can during time evaporate toxic / acid vapors. And usually they are not penetrable so this vapors would keep locked inside the bag. I prefer usual wrapping paper. it also helps to avoid "box/shelf wear"

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31 minutes ago, crayxlp said:

had also mine 5 layers boxes custom made, each cost cca 3 USD - but these are truly gigants.. I have tested the box at the very bottom with 60 kg weight upon it, the lowest box had crystal in it with cca 1/2 inch (12 mm) free space below the flaps. And after a few days of solid weight there were absolutely no visible signs of any damage or creases even on the lowest box. Since one box full of LEGO sets weights between 7 -9.5 kg, box itself cca 1.5 kg, you can do the math that these calculations had their place. I have several of these "columns" around..  and below the pictures of the box itself.

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Sorry but a few days with weights in a box as you've shown is a very poorly designed experiment. Those boards between layers are ensuring that the weight is distributed even better than simple stacking. If you're planning on storing your boxes like this for a long period of time, you also need to get through different seasons of humidity because that is cardboard's weakness .. water/humidity.

Clearly you've done your homework with regards to box strength (stacking like "bricks" is for stability during transportation or temporary storage, not overall crush strength) but the simple answer is that if you are concerned about the contents, the only way to ensure they are never compromised is to NEVER stack them. Proper shelving is key to long term storage, but if you must stack some boxes you should get the best ones you can, ensure humidity is kept low, place boards between boxes to properly distribute the weight and consider rotating the boxes on the bottom to the top every so often if your place is to hold for 'years.' (if so, do people really store boxes upon boxes of lego in their bedrooms and living spaces?)

Also with respect to the original video, storing your boxes on bare plywood shelves is a terrible idea. Plywood is not smooth enough and dragging those boxes off the shelves just causes unnecessary wear and tear - "Shelf Wear." You should be using masonite/hardboard or some other kind of pre-finished shelving boards (or use those old shipping boxes to put a layer of cardboard on top of the plywood). Don't paint them .. ever, the box will stick to the paint unless you can wait a year. You can finish them with a high quality varathane - I highly recommend the water based ones, they are less sticky and seem to cure faster but it'll need to cure for a minimum of 30 days. 

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to grepj: thanks for the input about rotating boxes! I havent thought about that. however I dont agree with you regarding that a few days testing is not enough - Ive tested like 8 different products from several manufacturers before I chose this one. The final picture (with the stack of them next to the doors) is from the first week, when I needed them to "drop a little" so that I would be able to put in between them 12 mm thick flat desks to allow for a distribution of a weight. I do not plan to keep the boxes for more than 3-4 years, so given  the maths and formulas Ive found regarding the endurance of properly stacked boxes, Ive added some 15 % and more to it - EVERYDAY I have these on my sight.. I would immediately within days notice any material inconsistency or wrinkles so that I could act upon. as for the humidity, needless to say its in constant room temperature, its central europe and with the nearest sea coast 200 miles away - humidity at virtually zero level?

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