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Storing Christmas Lights

Next year, don't spend a minute sorting through tangled webs of holiday decorations. Keep lights organized with this easy technique.
Martha Stewart Living, January 2006

Comments (15)

  • Paisleyeggs 28 Sep, 2013

    I have used the flat cardboard and paper towel roll for storing Christmas lights. By cutting slits in each end of the cardboard, you can slip the ends of the wire through it to keep in place.

  • houseof8 7 Jul, 2012

    An older printer at my husband's company said, "We tie up seperate strings in seperate grocery bags."
    Takes two minutes.Then I store them all together in a container labeled Lights.
    Best storage advice we ever got!

  • mfsgazer 17 Jan, 2011

    I really like the idea of using spools from electrical wire, however; since I don't have any just lying around the house, I decided to use plastic spools from ribbon. These are spools places like Joann's use to wrap ribbon for cutting in the fabric department.

  • lintemp46 2 Jan, 2011

    I roll mine up in a ball. It's easy and I don't have to use cardboard.

  • jilllooney 30 Dec, 2010

    I'm still looking for a way to store the mesh 4X4 foot bush/tree lights. Any ideas? I've asked "Martha" many years in a row and no response from them! Would love an easy fix to this.

  • MaryTelemachou 30 Dec, 2010

    The way i did it last year was to wrap each strand individually around a role of paper or the cardboard roll from the kitchen towel and then wrap the whole long strand around another roll. It take a little time but well worth it when you open everything up the following year.

  • Dianeinri 30 Dec, 2010

    I wish someone could tell me how to store those hanging icicle lights...

  • Dianeinri 30 Dec, 2010

    I wish someone could tell me how to store those hanging icicle lights...

  • Colojd 30 Dec, 2010

    On one of her Christmas shows recently, she said she has yards and yards of lights, so she uses spools from electrical wire to wind hers back on. We did a similar thing with the cardboard last year and that does help a lot but if you have a lot of lights, the spools might work a lot better.

  • diannam 30 Dec, 2010

    Saw this tip last year and gave it a try. This sure beats the untangling of prior years. Also plugged in the lights while they were still on the cardboard...if they didn't light up they went directly into the garbage. Wish there was an easy way to fix those dead ones.

  • littlecaligayboy 5 Jan, 2009

    It's practical if you have a small amount of lights to store, however, if you are like my family who has literally several hundred strands of lights (we got carried away one year), I don't see this being very space efficient. My method, which is less tidy but very effective, is using a plastic bin with two orange soccer cones on the bottom and wrapping the lights in a figure eight. (I learned this in theater).

  • Cheef 30 Dec, 2008

    Great Tip, Grandmultipara! It will take the guess work out of decorating the next year.

  • Jenniferr 14 Jan, 2008

    Oh No! I've only just read this now (14 Jan) and I have put all my lights away. Of course they are dumped into boxes. Separate boxes so it's not that bad. :) I will definitely do this next year. Excellent idea!

  • mrseiras 4 Jan, 2008

    Fantastic! My tree is pre-lit but I will do this with my strings of beads. It took about an hour to untangle them last December! Tangle no more! Thanks.

  • Grandmultipara 4 Jan, 2008

    Excellent idea and so easy to do! We'll appreciate it even more next Christmas, when we carry the cardboards to wherever lights are to be strung, and simply unwind! Another tip: with marker, print lighting location right on the cardboard ("Tree", "Front Porch" or "Deck"). How much smarter than heaps of unlabeled, tangled lights shoved in plastic bags! It's another Good Thing from Martha!!