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Organization

Expert tips for preventing tangles in your Christmas string lights

We’ve got it all wrapped up

String lights are wrapped around a piece of cardboard Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

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Just as getting Christmas lights out of storage before the holidays offers its own challenges, putting Christmas lights away post-fête needs to be carefully attended to.

When it comes time for these seasonal lights to go out, and you have unstrung the tiny bulbs that kept your Christmas tree in all its yuletide splendor, you’ve got to figure out how to store Christmas lights in an orderly manner for next season. Doing it strategically can actually lead to fewer hassles and a lot more joy.

With the delicate nature of bulbs and the length of their cords, many a sigh has been exhaled when a box of tangled and/or broken Christmas lights is opened at the start of the holiday decorating season. So, we talked to a few design and organization experts for their best tips on how to store Christmas lights.

Wrap up icicle lights

The simplest way to store icicle lights (or any Christmas lights, for that matter) without tangling them is to wrap them around something.

According to Camille Colón, Puerto Rico-based architect and project manager, the best way of storing Christmas lights is to use string light plastic storage containers. “These cylindrical bags include metal reels that are meant to be used as structures for rolling the lights,” she says.

Be sure to go slowly and meticulously while wrapping them around the spool to avoid any tangles that could cost you next year. “Christmas lights must be stored untangled, as the process of untangling them could result in damage,” she adds.

Or, keep it simple

String lights are wrapped around a hanger
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Create a cardboard cut-out a foot or so in length, or utilize a garment hanger to wrap the lights around.

If you want to forgo any extra accoutrement to your storage set up, go for a simpler way of storing your lights. Create a cardboard cut-out a foot or so in length, or utilize a garment hanger to wrap the lights around. This is a great way to recycle some of the accumulated gift packaging you undoubtedly acquired over the holidays.

Lifestyle host and holiday designer Christine Mango is a fan of keeping it simple. “There are spools and other gadgets out there for lights, but I find them more of a hassle and see lots of entanglement,” she explains. “I prefer the simple and easy way of wrapping one loosely rolled up strand of lights, one at a time, in tissue paper or paper towel. Then place them all in a storage bin.”

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Protect them from pests and humidity

Whichever way you choose to go with, make sure that you then put the lights in a safe container to protect them from physical damage or pests (mice are notorious for chewing on wires).

Colón says, “Christmas lights must also be stored in a dry environment. Any humidity in storage might damage them.”

Be sure to keep your extra light bulbs wrapped in paper towels in a Ziploc bag near the stored strands for easy access, should some of your bulbs not make it through the summer hibernation.

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