Reducing Lego Entropy

I decided to sort three banker boxes of Lego blocks this weekend. These blocks were given to our children and had collected over the years. When they left home we bundled them up, and put them in the garage. Overall I consider this job a way to reduce the randomness of the “system”, that is, to reduce the entropy of the hundreds of mixed pieces into a more organized system. Based upon thermodynamics it always takes more energy to accomplish. Well it has been hours and I’m still doing it. So it sure has taken a lot of my energy and I’m still not done.

First I started on the miscellaneous bags of blocks. I sorted them into brick, plates, and special pieces. Then I sorted the bricks and plates into specific sizes, for example, 1×2, 1×3, 1×4, 1×6, 1×8, 1×10, 1×12, 2×2, 2×3, 2×4, and so on. I then packaged each group into their own ZipLoc bag ranging from massive gallon ones (for the 2×2, 2×3, and 2×4 bricks) to sandwich ones (for the 1×3, 1×4, and 1×6 bricks) to small snack ones (for the rest). I have yet to sort the special pieces further so they are just in five large ZipLoc bags for now.

We have four kits that were special and I like to keep them separate. There are now websites, for example, peeron.com and brickset.com that provide both the inventory and instructions of many of the Lego kits. The first kit I worked on saving is the 8865 Auto Chassis, the second will be the 8854 Power Crane, the third is a yet to be identified castle, and the fourth is another yet to be identified train. I printed out the inventory and began to sort the pieces. I slowly got the Auto Chassis under control. I cut up the inventory sheets and put the Lego pieces with their inventory slip into numerous ZipLoc bags. I also printed out the 38-page scanned instruction manual, punched holes in it and put it in a folder.
I’m going to leave the Power Crane, castle and train for another weekend. I’m pretty sure I have most of the Power Crane, but I am not so sure about the castle and train, because they were already broken apart and spread into many miscellaneous bags.
Update: Castle is 6085 Black Monarch’s Castle
Update: Train is 7720 Battery Train Set

5 Responses to “Reducing Lego Entropy”

  1. jackie says:

    I could recommend any number of good books or movies 😉

  2. Bri says:

    Ah, but Jackie, me thinks you’ve assumed that I did this because I had to, or was bored, but not so, I felt it was an investment in the future either to build or to sell. Naturally as I sort these inventoried kits I’ve needed a few extra blocks here and there. The previously sorted ones in baggies have come in very handy by reducing the search time.

  3. jackie says:

    I was just picking on you, but I assumed as such.

    (Come by and visit Spec’s on Airport, buy some cheese and crackers and visit with me!)

  4. Yael says:

    The instructions for the train (I have it too!) can be found here:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2450554/Lego-manual-7720-Train-Set-excerpt-1980
    You’re doing a great job!

  5. Bri says:

    Thanks Yael for the comment. I used http://www.peeron.com for many of the kit instructions.