5-Step Holiday Light Organization

5-Step Holiday Light Organization

Avoid the dreaded holiday light rats nest by using our 5-step storage system.

By: Shelly Reese

Nothing takes the “ho, ho, ho” out of holiday decorating faster than a tangle of holiday lights. Fortunately, a little planning now will save you a lot of headaches next year. When it comes to effortless holiday decorating, the secret to success lies in tidy and efficient storage.

Step 1. Store Strands Individually
If you’ve strung multiple strands of lights together, unplug them from each other and test each strand. Replace broken bulbs as necessary and throw out strands that don’t work. Storing strands individually decreases the likelihood of snarls and will make it easier to retest each strand of lights next year.

Step 2. Wrapping is Key
Wrap your lights around some type of support when storing them to prevent knots. While you can certainly buy a power cord holder at the hardware store, there are plenty of simple homemade solutions that work equally well.

Tip: When wrapping lights, it generally makes sense to start with the female end of the strand. Doing so will provide easy access to the male end or plug and enable you to quickly test the lights next year.


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  • Coat hangers provide a tidy solution. Tape one end of the lights at one end of the hanger or, if using a plastic hanger that has notch for lingerie straps, simply tuck it into the notch. Wind the lights around the hanger and secure the plug with a piece of tape.
  • A rectangle of cardboard is another great support for wrapping your lights. Cut a piece of cardboard that will fit easily into your storage box. Cut a notch at one end, insert the end of the strand and wrap the lights around the cardboard. When you reach the end of the strand, cut a second notch and insert the plug.
  • A paper towel roll can also be used as a spool for wrapping lights. As with the cardboard solution described above, cut small notches at opposite ends of the tube. Insert one end in the first notch, wind the lights around the tube, and insert the end of the strand in the second notch.

Step 3. Reuse Plastic Grocery Bags
Whichever wrapping method you choose, it’s a good idea to cushion your lights when packing them to keep them clean and prevent them into banging into each other. You can wrap individual strands in tissue paper or bubble wrap, but plastic grocery bags also work well, particularly if you use several bags per strand.

Step 4: Don’t Forget to Label
If you tend to use a lot of lights in multiple locations – on the roof line, around the door frame, on the tree, etc. — you may want to tape a label on each bag.

Step 5: Box Them Up
Store your lights together in a well-labelled plastic bin or, if you don’t have one, a sturdy cardboard box. Don’t overload the box as it will become too heavy and may crush the lights.

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