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You know that excitement you feel when you tear off the cellophane of a new jigsaw puzzle or open a box of a puzzle you completed long ago? Is it followed with continued excitement or anxiety in facing the unsorted pile of pieces staring back at you?
Personally, seeing all the unsorted pieces is my favorite part of puzzling. The feel of the puzzle pieces (especially the brands with the least amount of puzzle dust) and seeing the shapes and colors, heightens my puzzle experience. I genuinely love this challenge of sorting out the edge pieces! Finding and connecting them into the square, rectangle or shaped puzzle that will soon become my jigsaw accomplishment.
However, the fun of sorting stops there for me. I do not sort any further. I am a take from the box puzzler. Yep, I leave all the pieces in the box and rummage through the pieces to find the one I need. I just need to know my puzzle pieces are together, safe and sound in their puzzle box. This I am sure may sound very strange to many fellow jigsaw puzzlers.
Years ago, my husband had bought me a set of colorful puzzle sorting trays, but I just could not come up with a sorting system. Is it by shape, by color? Figuring out how and what to sort created the anxiety I was trying to dissolve by working on a jigsaw puzzle in the first place.
So, tell me . . . To Sort? Or Not To Sort?
Mar 16, 2021
My wife and I average about 6 – 1000 piece puzzles a month. We have gravitated to and I’ve been promoted to “VP of puzzle separation”, starting with the edge pieces.
After approximately 90% of the edges have been found, my wife starts on the border, while the VP begins the sorting according to color, mostly.
On some puzzles, the colors are obvious. For example, if there are several different colored “birds”, those characters are where I begin. Most puzzles carry those same “bird” colors into other items in the puzzle, but still get stacked together.
Then I separate out any black/dark, whites/lights, greens…..etc. It is never perfect, but it is a means of breaking the puzzle down into smaller puzzles.
My style is to start with those separated piles, one at a time. When it’s basically assembled, I use a large egg turner to lift the portion into the general area within the borders.
It is interesting that I like to work in small areas while my wife uses the Columbus method, where she picks up a piece and lands it into the puzzle where it goes. The problem is that there are dozens of pieces scattered in the puzzle, making it difficult to move the parts that I’ve been working on outside of the perimeter.
When we get to the final 250 pieces or so, I start arranging them according to shapes. 4-female, 3, 2-polar, 2 rt angle male, 3 male, 4 male….! (I’m soooooo left brained!)
Most of the puzzles get harder toward the final stages, like sky, trees….etc and it comes down to shape.
The biggest caveat with this method is that there is a better chance of losing pieces as they are stacked in piles and easily bumped/scattered. Our 3 dogs love getting involved.
We love the challenge and spend many hours together with a common goal. When doing puzzles as a team, you have got to learn each other’s styles and work around these sometimes annoying idiosyncrasies.
Covid has allowed us to build around 40 puzzles over the mandated sequestration.
Things have opened up, but there is now, always a puzzle on our kitchen table.