What is the one thing that takes the longest to do and is the most frustrating part of putting up the Christmas tree? The lights! Christmas lights have a knack for getting tangled up into knots, which is a large reason why so many artificial trees now come pre-lit – untangling and stringing lights just isn’t a lot of fun. This year when you put your tree away try one of these methods for keeping your lights tangle free for next year:
1. Cardboard– Recycle some of the cardboard that you received with gifts or from boxes in the mail for this do it yourself light storage project. Cut some heavy pieces of cardboard into a rectangle that is about 12 inches by 6 inches. Just guestimate, it doesn’t need to be exact. Take a pair of heavy duty scissors and cut a notch on one side so you can hook one end of the lights into the notch. Then start wrapping the lights around the cardboard.
When you are done wrapping you can check to see where the end of your cord is and then cut another notch along the side to attach the end of the cord. Recycle some tissue paper that you received over Christmas to turn into the padding that you need between the layers of lights. This way the lights will stay tangle free and not get broken.
2. Use a power cord holder– There are many different cord holders on the market, but you will want to look for the ones that are for the big outdoor electrical cords. Wind the lights up on the cord holder so that you can hang them on hooks on the wall in the garage instead of throwing them into boxes. If the cord holder is big enough, just keep plugging the lights into each other and keep winding. Now most or all of your lights are all in one place safe and sound for next year.
3. Wire zip ties– Your answer to keeping lights tangle free might be wire zip ties. These zip ties are inexpensive, so it won’t matter if you need new ones every year. Wrap the light string around the palm of your hand and your elbow to put the lights into a circle. Take the zip ties and secure the lights in 3 places. The lights won’t get tangled up and you have very little invested very little time or money. Place each string into a recycled grocery sack to keep the bulbs from banging into each other.
4. Zip top bags– Plug the male end of the cord into the female end of the same cord and loosely place the light string into a quart or gallon sized zip top bag. The string won’t become tangled and it will stay clean because it’s zipped up tight. The bag will protect the bulbs from banging against other strings as well.
5. Pringles can- Recycle some chip cans for your light storage. Cut a hole in the top for one end of the cord and then snap the lid onto the can. Wrap the light string around the chip can going all the way to the bottom and then back up to the top. Work it so the end of the cord can be stuck into the lid as well. Now the lights will be tangle free and you can stand up the storage in another box or container. If you are worried about the bulbs crashing into each other in the box you can lightly wrap tissue paper around the wound up lights before you set them in the storage bin.
Spending a few extra minutes this year putting away your lights with one of these tangle free ideas will save you time and frustration next year. Keep your eyes open to other objects you could also recycle for light string storage. Consider using an oatmeal box or a wrapping paper tube. Nothing is off limits when you use your imagination.