How to Store Your Christmas Lights Like A Pro

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Christmas lights are a chore to store, and a hassle to unfurl every year. Thankfully, doing a little extra work storing them correctly can save you a lot of hassle by the time when the yuletide rolls over.

Method 1. Cardboard

Grab yourself a thick 30cm x 15cm square of cardboard, and cut a small notch large enough to wedge one of the lights into the side from it. Make sure the cardboard is sturdy, because anything flimsy will be buckled and crushed by the lights.

Stick one end into the notch and begin wrapping the lights around until you’ve rolled up the whole thing, tucking the other end either into the same notch or making another. We’d also advise either wrapping some tissue around the outside or storing all of your lights in an individual box so that they don’t break.

Method 2. Old cans or cylinders

All you need for this is an elongated can; a can of pringles, an old tennis ball container, or even an old plastic soft drink container can do in a pinch (please, don’t rip apart an aluminum can, they’re VERY sharp!)
Notch the opening of the can like we explained earlier, and feed the first light into that, but then begin wrapping the lights around the outside of the can rather than storing them inside. Then, once you’ve wrapped to the bottom, finish it up by doing a vertical wrap or two and notching it to the top again.

Method 3. Coat hangers

You can try using a metal coat hanger, but they’re more likely to break or bend, so a plastic or wooden hanger is your best option.

Ideally the hanger will have hooks on the sides; this isn’t vital but it does make the job easier. Notch onto one of them as with the above methods and simply wrap up and down top-to-bottom (as in, the same direction as clothes would hang) until you’ve wrapped it completely. Re-notch on the other side (or the main hook if you don’t have body hooks) and store.

Method 4. Wrapping

This one doesn’t use any props, and can be a bit tricky, but is a great space saver.

Get the second light in the chain and hold it in front of the rest, so that the first and third are roughly the same distance down from it. Then, bring the fourth light up to the second at the top, the fifth with the third, and so on – matching odds with odds and evens with evens.

This prevents tangling, and you can wrap the final cord\plug around the outside of them to stop it coming apart. This can get off-kilter if done incorrectly but uses less room than other methods.

Method 5. Ziplock bags

Wrap up your cord by using the elbow method. If you’re unfamiliar, just take the first bulb and use the space between your palm and elbow as you would a hose reel, wrapping it tautly around your hand and elbow in tandem.

Once you’ve done that, gently remove the lights, fold it once, and then stuff it into a ziplock bag (making sure to keep the same neat shape). Keeping the Christmas lights that tight means that there’s very little chance of the pattern unravelling.

Method 6. Wind up holders

Wind up holders are a godsend for clutter. These devices are designed to declutter snake-like wires and cords, so they work wonders for Christmas lights as well. Just make sure not to wind them too tightly, as they’re a hard plastic and the brittle lights of your Christmas decorations will most probably give way long before it does.

Christmas light safety

They might be relatively low-powered lights, but you should always strive to follow regular electrical safety precautions when stringing up, storing, or putting down Christmas lights.

The first thing you should do is check that any products you buy are compliant with Australian law; a lot of cheap lights are sourced overseas, and might not necessarily be up to our standards or formulated for our circuits.

On top of this, altering lights is a big no-no for similar reasons; they’re sold as compliant electrical appliances as-is, not for modification.

One big fact people often forget is that Christmas lights might be for outdoor use (a lot of the time, check your brand beforehand!), but your circuit and power boards might not be. Make sure that every piece that you use outdoors is meant to be used there, rather than just the lights. Failure to do so might put you in danger of electrocution, fire, as well as damaging the lights themselves.

Essentially, treat Christmas lights with the respect they deserve. They’re low powered on purpose, but don’t forget that electricity can be harmful when misappropriated no matter the appliance.