Little Brick Township’s Big Move
I hope that readers find my blog posts fun to read and even insightful from time to time, but few of them are what readers would generally consider practical. There are exceptions. “Trendsetter and Hipster’s Guide to Enjoying Lisbon” apparently contained such useful information that travel guides to Portugal in multiple languages link to it. Ditto for my husband’s various restaurant reviews for Lisbon, Tokyo, Amsterdam and Paris. (And, by the way, the Lisbon reviews will be updated again, because we’re spending the month of May there while Richard teaches another class at ISCTE and I research my latest work-in-progress.)
Folks, this is another useful post, so pay attention. And if you ever find yourself moving large Lego constructions, bookmark it.
For the past month, I have been in the process of moving from Albany, New York, to New York City. Phases 1 and 2 of the move are complete, and yesterday, I drove my entire Little Brick Township — which has been packed into boxes since mid-January — from our old house to our new apartment. At this point, only one large house and two small houses remain to be delivered. Today, I spent the day unpacking and setting up the town on my two tables, and the process went very quickly because none of the buildings got broken along the way.
Several people I know had most of their constructions smashed during moves (or decided to take them apart to keep them from getting smashed), and have not been able to rebuild them. Knowing that I may be moving one day, I consulted an expert Lego builder, Portugal’s renowned Pedro Nascimento, whose original constructions using hundreds of thousands of bricks have traveled throughout Europe and across an ocean to be displayed in Madeira.
Taking Nascimento’s advice, I found or purchased boxes that would be a good fit for each of my buildings — not so small that I would have to force it in or I would have trouble taking it out, and not so large that the building would slide around in the box. I then removed all the loose pieces, including trim that was likely to come off — an example are the four dagger-like pieces that adorn the roof of the Palace Cinema — and bagged them, along with the minifigures that came with the set or that I put into dioramas with that building. Then I shrink-wrapped the building, making sure that wrapping covered every part of the building so that if a piece did fall off, it wouldn’t go far. The standard plastic wrap one finds in the grocery store worked fine for the modular buildings, but you can buy larger boxes of shrink wrap at a craft store if you have one of the huge Star Wars sets. For some of the more delicate buildings, or ones that were packed along with cars, outbuildings, or other heavier objects, I wrapped bubble paper (which really isn’t paper but that plastic stuff) around the shrink wrapping and used packing tape to keep everything in place. Cars, outbuildings, or containers with lots of small pieces got shrink-wrapped as well to keep everything in place. Then I stuffed all of the open areas of the boxes with light objects, usually vehicles but also minifigure baggies, so that there would be very little movement within the boxes.
Since I drove all of the boxes to New York in my Honda Fit, I didn’t need to close and seal boxes, and in fact, I avoided stacking boxes to keep any of them from sliding off and spilling their contents. However, if you have to ship your buildings or send them with a mover (as it did with the Winter Village that I’d displayed at the pied-a-terre on West 47th St.), you should use bubble paper — and, preferably, bubble-paper wrapped objects for the sake of efficiency — to fill out the box so the constructions inside don’t slide around.
The pictures illustrate my packing process. It took only an hour or two to unpack and set up my buildings, and I used the various photos I posted on Instagram to help me remember where everything went. Since my tables are now configured a bit differently, I’ve redesigned parts of the town, but the core with Town Hall at the center, is pretty much the way it always was. The minifigures will take a bit longer to set up because I’m thinking of new scenes and stories to create with them. And I still have holes in my new set-up, because I need to bring the few remaining items from Albany and add the Detective Agency that joined the Modular theme in January. But I’m quite pleased with the way the move went, especially since I’d been stressing about it for a long time. And I hope my advice helps make your Lego move a lot less stressful as well.