You’ve picked out the perfect tree and invested in some new ornaments. So you pour a few mugs of hot cocoa, turn on the holiday tunes and get ready for a festive night decorating with the family. An hour later you’re still wrestling with the tangled mess of lights that were stuffed in the bottom of a storage bin while your kids have lost interest and you’re about to lose it altogether.
If this nightmare before Christmas sounds familiar, we may be able to help — next year, that is. We can save you from the stress with some super simple ways to pack those lights so that when you open them in 2020 they will be ready to go — no untangling required.
Here are three options for storing your lights with items you already have around the house:
Anchor one end of the lights on the tiny hook (used for small straps). Then begin wrapping the strand all the way around hanger, working your way down one side, and then back past the hook itself and towards the other end, being sure to keep it tight against the body of the hanger. Once the strand is entirely wrapped, secure the other end of the light string on the second small hook. You can store the lights by placing the entire hanger inside a storage box, or by hanging it in a closet.
Instead of tossing the tube when the wrapping paper is all gone, put it to work! Simply thread one end of your Christmas lights down the tube (so that it reaches about halfway down the tube), then begin wrapping the strand around the outside of the tube. (We found that standing and rolling makes this a bit easier than sitting.) Once you have reached the bottom of the tube, be sure to leave about 6 inches of the strand free, so that you can thread it down the other side of the tube to help hold the lights in place. Feel free to place a small piece of tape on the inside to keep it even more secure.
Save some of those shipping boxes that are piling up on your doorstep this month and give them a second life. Cut a cardboard flap from the shipping box. Starting at one end, cut 1-inch slits into the board, working your way down the side. Repeat on the other side, being sure to line the slits up across from one another. Tuck one end of the light string into the first slit and wrap across the board securing on the other side. Continue to wrap the string around the board. With smaller boards, you may need to double up the strand in each slit, which is fine. When the entire string is wrapped, push the plug prongs into the board to secure.