Crime and Safety

How to Store Christmas Lights

From decorating your apartment or house to wrapping the Christmas tree with twinkling lights or simply stringing lights around the house from wall to wall, Christmas lights are an essential part of holiday décor. They make everything brighter and add a magical glow to your house or apartment.

While Christmas lights are wonderful once hung up, they’re a real pain to organize and store. The struggle is real — you go to get your lights out to decorate but they’re jumbled in a big, tangled mess. So, how do you store Christmas lights efficiently and effectively? We’ll walk you through 10 ways to store Christmas lights that’ll make your life easier for the holiday season.

1. Wrap them around cardboard

cardboard tubes

You’ve ordered plenty of packages full of gifts and will likely have lots of cardboard boxes leftover. Before you recycle them, take a boxcutter and cut a 12-inch by 6-inch rectangle. Next, you’ll want to cut a small notch on both sides where you can tuck the cords. Simply wrap the strand of Christmas lights around cardboard, and you’ve got yourself a neatly organized way to store Christmas lights. Next year when you go to decorate, you can easily unwind the lights without having to detangle them.

2. Save your wrapping paper rolls

Another way to make use of leftover holiday materials is to save the cardboard wrapping paper roll. Once you’ve finished wrapping all your gifts, put the roll aside and save for when you’re ready to store your lights. Then you can easily wrap the Christmas lights around the long, skinny wrapping paper roll. This is a great way to store a long strand of lights and take up minimal space.

3. Use a Pringles can

Similar to the wrapping paper roll technique, you can use a Pringles can to store smaller strands of lights. You’ll want to make a small slit at the top of the can to latch the lights to and then you’ll just wrap away!

4. Hang on hangers

christmas light hangers

Got a spare hanger hanging around? This is another free way to store Christmas lights and save yourself the frustration of a jumbled mess of lights next year. Take the strand of lights and start weaving them up and down on the hanger. This tactic is great for people who live in apartments or who have limited storage space because you can then use the hanger itself and hang them up in a spare closet until next year.

5. Buy a cord reel

How to store Christmas lights like a professional? Buy a cord reel at your local hardware store. The cord reel tactic is a top-notch way to store your lights year after year, keep them in mint condition and easily wind and unwind year-after-year. While you have to make an initial purchase, you’ll use this organizational tactic for years to come.

6. Save the original box

Do you keep the original packaging for purchases? If so, storing your Christmas lights in the original box is a great solution for storing those pesky lights. By keeping the original box, the lights will fit perfectly and you’ll be able to access them each year without fuss.

7. Place them in plastic or rubber storage bins

christmas lights in storage

Plastic or rubber storage bins are a great option for storing Christmas lights each year. You can get clear boxes that’ll make it easy to find what you’re looking for when you go to pull out the box each year. Simply place your lights in the bin, put on the lid, label the box and voila, you’ve got yourself an easy-to-use storage system for Christmas lights.

8. Bind using zip ties

Another simple and effective way to store Christmas lights is to use a zip tie or rubber band to bind the strands of lights. You can wind the lights in a figure-eight and then use a zip tie or rubber band in the center to hold them together.

9. Seal in Ziploc bags

One- or two-gallon-sized Ziploc bags are great for storing shorter strands of lights. You can loop the lights into a small circle and then place them into the bag. Label the bag and place the Ziplocs in a box or drawer to store. The Ziploc bags are placed on top of themselves so you can store several bags of lights in one central space.

10. Purchase a hose reel

christmas light reel

Do you decorate Griswold-style each year for Christmas with what seems like thousands of lights? If so, the hose reel storage method is perfect for you. Instead of storing your garden hose on the hose reel, use it to wrap your lights and store them in a shed, garage or storage unit.

The hose reel makes it easy to wind and unwind your lights so they don’t get tangled and then, you can take the entire hose reel and tuck it away. Decorate in style knowing you can easily store your lights when the season is over.

Where to store Christmas lights

Now that we’ve discussed several ways on how to store Christmas lights, let’s talk about where to put your lights until the magical month of December (or November if you’re that type) comes around again.

  • Garage: If you have the luxury of a garage, you can store your lights there. This is great because you can place them on a shelf and they’ll be out of the way until next year. Garages are great because the lights will stay dry and out of the elements.
  • Storage unit: Do you rent a storage unit? This is a great place to store seasonal decorations because they won’t take up space in your home or apartment.
  • Closet: If you live in an apartment, storage space is probably limited. So, you can make use of shelving in a coat or hall closet and use those nooks and crannies to store your Christmas lights.
  • Under the bed: The space under the bed is often wasted space because it’s hard to access on a daily basis. However, it’s the perfect spot to store Christmas lights because you won’t need to access it frequently (once or twice a year). You can place your Christmas lights under the bed so they’re out of sight but easy to access.

Storing Christmas lights effectively

Figuring out how to store Christmas lights doesn’t need to induce stress. There are plenty of ways to stay organized and get to your lights quickly each year. These tips will keep your lights tangle-free and make decorating with lights magical each year.

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