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5 Genius Ways to Store Christmas Lights So They Stay Neat and Tangle-Free

They make next year's unpacking and decorating a breeze


As the holiday season comes to a close and we begin to pack up all of our decorations, it’s key to make sure we store them properly so that we avoid any issues when taking them out again next year. Especially fragile? All those lights we hung on our trees or around the house. Explains Noell Jett, author of Create Your Dream Home on a Budget and the force behind @jettsetfarmhouse: “Storing them properly prevents damage, prevents them from getting tangled and makes them easy to find from year to year.” Keep scrolling for more effortless solutions to store Christmas lights.

How to store Christmas lights: 5 easy ways

Ready to put away your lights? All you need are either a hanger, cardboard box, empty tin can, paper towel tub or some twist ties. Note: No matter which method you choose, professional organizer Barbara Reich, author of Secrets of an Organized Mom advises to always store colored lights in a dark place to prevent fading, and next year, plug in the strand before unraveling to be sure all of its bulbs are still burning bright!

1. Have a hanger with grooves? Use it to store Christmas lights

hanger with grooves to store lights
Getty images

As far as stressful holiday-related tasks are concerned, this one’s actually not a doozy. The only required supplies are your lights and a clothing hanger (or a couple of hangers if you have many lights). From there, the steps are quite easy.

First, says Jett, start at the groove in the shoulder of the hanger. Hook one end of the light through the groove and wrap the lights around the hanger. Then, wind or wrap the full length of your light strand around each side of the hanger. Grab the strand’s plug (or other end piece), and be sure to leave it hanging out for easy access for next year. Finally, store the wrapped hanger with the rest of your Christmas decorations by laying it atop other non-fragile items. If you have multiple hangers to put away, stack them in an orderly pile or side by side in a neat row inside a box to make sure they’re ready to go next Christmas season.

To see this trick in action, watch the video below:

2. Have an empty coffee can? 

How to store Christmas lights: wrap them around a tin can

Another simple way to store your lights is by using an empty tin can. Simply wind the lights around the can, then cut an ‘x’ in the plastic lid and stick the plugs through. Finish using a sticky note to label the location where you string each set of lights. Easy!

3. Have a paper towel tube: Use it to store Christmas lights

This method should take less than 30 seconds to do! Organizer Marcia Ramsland suggests: Starting with the end away from the plug, gently wrap the lights around the paper-towel tube. The plug will be easily accessible next year, and the lights will be ready to string, she explains. For longer lights, try using an empty wrapping paper tube.

4. Have a stray piece of cardboard?

Instead of throwing out your boxes this holiday season, use them to store lights! Reich suggests: “Cut a flat piece of cardboard about 10 inches by 12 inches and make notches across the the top and bottom,” she says. “Wrap lights around the cardboard and tuck the end in.” Use a permanent marker to label the cardboard, say, “tree,” “banister” or “mantel lights.” That way, you know exactly which strand should go where next year. Finally, wrap each cardboard “reel” in newspaper or tissue paper for extra cushioning before placing it in a box or bin. Have long outdoor strands? Store them on a hose reel in your garage!

Related: 15 Brilliant Uses for Cardboard Tubes

See this tip in action on the video below!

5. Have twist ties? Use them to store Christmas lights.

This one might sound a little crazy, but it actually works really well, explains Sara McDaniel, an interior designer, home renovation expert and owner of Simply Southern Cottage. “Bend your arm at your elbow creating a 90 degree angle, hold the end of the light and wrap the lights around your elbow until you have a gigantic loop of lights,” explains Sara McDaniel, an interior designer, home renovation expert and owner of Simply Southern Cottage. “Secure with a twist tie and layer them in a box or plastic storage container with bubble wrap. It’s also smart to organize by colors and you’ll thank yourself next year!”

For more Christmas storage hacks, click through the links below:

5 Simple Storage Ideas to Help You Organize Your Leftover Wrapping Paper

How to Store Christmas Ornaments, Lights, and Other Decorations

And for all things Christmas, click here!

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