organize christmas holiday lights
DIY Projects Home Organization Winter Holidays

How To Neatly Store Holiday Lights

Learn how to store your holiday string lights neatly and safely so they’re easy to unpack next holiday season.

One of the most exciting parts of decorating for the holidays is putting up string lights outside. But one of the most annoying parts is untangling the hot mess of electrical tumbleweed before you can even get started. Save yourself the stress and frustration next year by packing up your lights neatly and carefully this year. Here’s how to do it.

organize holiday lights

What You Need To Pack Holiday Lights Safely

  • Recycled cardboard boxes
  • Box cutter or scissors
  • Recycled twist ties (steal them from almost-empty bread bags)
  • A hole puncher (or a pair of sharp scissors)
  • Bubble wrap
  • Tape
cardboard string light holder

1. Cut the box into wide strips

Start by cutting the box lid flaps off using the box cutter. If you have cut resistant gloves, now is the time to break them out, just in case. I like to cut the flaps down so they’re all the same size, but that’s totally optional.

After you’ve cut the flaps off, you can disassemble the rest of the box and cut additional strips the same size as the flaps you cut off. It’s a good idea to cut more pieces of cardboard than you actually need and store them inside your storage tote so you’ll have more if you buy extra light strands next year.

diy holiday light organizer

2. Attach one end of the light strand to the cardboard

Using a hole puncher or sharp scissors, punch two holes side-by-side on the lower-left side of each cardboard strip. These holes will be used to hold down the end of the light strand with the twist ties. Kind of like how a Barbie doll or an action figure is held inside it’s packaging.

Just lay the end of the light strand over the space between the two holes. Feed the twist tie through a hole, over the light strand, and through the other hole. Twist the ends together on the back of the cardboard and bend so the twisted part is flat against the cardboard. Tape into place.

*If you don’t have any twist-ties, you can use pipe cleaners from your kiddos’ craft stash.

how to organize holiday lights

3. Wrap the lights around the cardboard

As you wrap the lights around the cardboard, try to keep it as neat as possible. The more times the lights overlap each other, the more likely they may tangle again when you unroll it next year.

Once you’ve reached the end of your light strand, punch two more holes on the top of the cardboard near where the end of your strand is. Attach another twist tie the same way you did the bottom.

protect holiday lights in storage

4. Bubble wrap and stack in a container

Wrap the light bundles with a layer or two of bubble wrap and tape into place. Repeat for all other light strands and cardboard strips, then label them each if you have different types of lights. The easiest way to label them is by writing on a post-it note, then taping it on the bubble wrap like a shipping label. (You can skip this step if all your lights are the same)

Stack them flat inside a sturdy lidded tote container, put extra bulbs in a zip-top bag, and you’re ready to put that container back into storage. Don’t forget to label the tote so you know that lights are inside.

how to store christmas lights

Need more holiday decor storage tips?

This post will walk you through how to clean, wrap, and pack up your indoor holiday decor so it’s safe and clean for next year. And keep an eye out over the next few weeks for even more holiday storage blog posts! Sign up for my weekly VIP email to stay up to date on what’s new on the blog so you don’t have to remember to check in.

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