We all laugh at the scene from ‘Christmas Vacation’ where Clark asks Rusty to help with the Christmas lights, then hands him a giant tangled ball of lights. What is funny on screen is not so funny when it’s real life. Each year we ask ourselves why we didn’t take the time to untangle and organize the lights last year. Make this the year that you put your lights away tangle-free so that next year’s tree decorating party is a joy rather than a pain.
There are numerous ways that you can store your light strings to save storage space and keep them tangle free. Here are our top tips on how to store Christmas lights:
- Wrap them around a container – Save oatmeal boxes and coffee cans. Cut a small slot in the lid and slide the plug end of the cord into the slot, then wind the lights around and back up putting the other end of the plug into the slot. Use the empty space inside the can to store extra extension cords, spare bulbs, and fuses for your light sets.
- Wrap them around empty wrapping paper tubes — Save all of those empty wrapping paper tubes and paper towel tubes. Cut a slot in one end of the tube to slip the plug end in. Wrap the lights down the tube. With the long wrapping paper tubes, you can plug strings together and continue wrapping until you run out of space. Cut another slot in the far end of the tube and slip the last plug end in the slot.
- Cardboard – Save boxes from Christmas gifts. Cut a slot in one side, slip the plug end into the slot and wrap around the cardboard, ending with the other plug end in another slot cut into the cardboard wherever the plug ends up.
- Plastic zip bags – Plastic zip-lock bags are great for storing individual strings of lights. Plug the female end into male end and simply drop into a bag. Plugging the strand of lights into itself will keep it from becoming tangled as boxes get moved around during the year.
- Plastic coat hangers – Wrap strands of lights carefully around plastic coat hangers. Use plastic zip ties to secure the ends and keep them from slipping off the hanger.
- 5 gallon bucket – plug the light strand into itself to keep from tangling. Gently lay the strand into the bucket. Top each strand with a circle of bubble wrap or a plastic grocery bag to cushion and keep from breaking bulbs. Continue to layer lights and plastic, lasagna style, until the bucket is full.
- Store bought supplies – Hardware stores sell many different types of devices designed for winding light strings. I personally like the IRIS Holiday Light Wrap that comes with a handy storage container to keep your lights organized.
Set yourself up for success. Choose the method you will use for storing your lights this year. Have all the necessary supplies on hand and you’ll never have to face the holiday season with that giant tangled ball of Christmas lights again. If the storage space in your garage or attic is overflowing and will not hold all of your Christmas decorations, at Assured Self Storage we offer move-in discounts at our storage facilities in Plano, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and throughout the DFW Metroplex.