How to Store Christmas Lights Without Ending Up With a Mess

Introduction: How to Store Christmas Lights Without Ending Up With a Mess

It's that time of the year where it's time to put away all the Christmas decorations so I figured I'd include this instructable. Do you dread going into your bin of Christmas lights every year? Do you hope and pray that THIS time they will magically separate properly into individual light strands? If so, this instructable is for you. My dad has been using this basic method for as long as I can remember. I made some very slight modifications to perfect it. Best of all, it's FREE!!! That's right, no special TV offer or super-wazoo thingamabobbers. FREE. Here's what you need:

1. Newspaper, looseleaf paper, magazines, or even cardboard - Okay, I know SOMEONE will complain that I said "free" and you need some stuff. If you don't have any of these items lying around in your recycle bin, take a walk down your street and I'm sure you'll find someone who does. :)

2. Christmas lights

Step 1: Keep Your Lights Plugged In

Let's face it, there is very little worse than putting lights up only to find that part of a string or an entire string is out. (except maybe a surprise trip to the dentist...) By leaving lights plugged in when you're wrapping them up, you can find where there may be a short or a loose bulb somewhere and save yourself some time next season by either repairing it, marking it for later, or throwing the whole string out.

I do realize and understand that Christmas light manufacturers will tell you not to wrap lights together for fear that they will overheat. While I will not take responsibility for any injuries or fires that may occur by your following this instructable, I will say that I have not had any overheating issues using this method. We are only keeping them powered while we wind them.

A caveat to this is if you are using large incandescent bulb lights. They may be hot to the touch so you won't want to keep them plugged in. LED or small incandescents should be fine.

As is valid for any DIY project, please use your own discretion and common sense.

Step 2: Lay the End of Your Light String Across the Paper

If you've left the light string plugged-in, this is a no-brainer. It's the opposite end of the light string. Lay it straight across the paper and leave the very end just above the top of the paper. My light string has an outlet on its end - yours may not. It doesn't matter.

Step 3: Roll the Paper Around the Light String and Begin to Wrap the String Around the Paper Roll

Roll the newspaper around the light string. Your roll does not need to be tight - just enough to contain the light string inside.

Next, begin winding the lights around the newspaper roll. Your windings don't need to be particularly tight - just go gently around the newspaper.

Once you get to the opposite end of the newspaper, just start wrapping back up to the top of it. Depending on the length of your light strand, you may need to do this a few times.

Step 4: Nearing the End!

Once you're within a few feet of the end, think about wrapping that foot back up to the top of the roll where your outlet is (if your light strand terminates with an outlet).

The object is to have the plug end up at the end where the outlet or terminated end is. Keep in mind, your wraps don't need to be perfectly even so don't spend a lot of time on this.

If you have an outlet, plug the plug into the outlet.

If you don't have an outlet, tuck the plug into the end of the newspaper.

You're done!! Now you can dump as many of these rolls into a bin or box and they won't tangle on you. AND there are some added bonuses!

  1. The plugs on your light strands are easy to find for next year.
  2. The plug end is where you start on every light strand
    1. You always want to start at an outlet or extension cord when you wire lights.
    2. You can test lights by plugging them in BEFORE you put them up
  3. If you use specific light strands for specific locations, you can write where they go on the newspaper!

Thanks for reading! This is my very first instructable. If you like it, I'd appreciate your vote!

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    6 years ago

    That's a great way to keep them organized :)


    Reply 6 years ago

    Thanks! It's simple and surprisingly effective. I do this with all my Christmas lights.