Store Christmas Lights Neatly Using a Coat Hanger
Storing Christmas lights could be a mess. If last year’s holiday hangover and rush to remove the Christmas decorations produced a twisted, tangled ball of lights, you may be more inclined to just toss them and head to the store for a new set. Instead of giving up and making waste, make an early New Year’s resolution that this year, you’ll store your Christmas lights the right way. You’ll only need a few clothes hangers (depending on the number of light strands) and some duct tape to ensure smooth storage of the Christmas lights.
Easy Way to Store Christmas Lights Using Coat Hangers
This is probably the best way to store Christmas lights. It’s very cheap and easy. See below tips on how to store Christmas lights around a coat hanger.
1. Take inventory of your Christmas light stock.
Whether you’re working with brand new sets or you’re fishing lights from storage, take stock of how many strands you currently own.
- Unplug strands that have been plugged in together. If you made one extremely long strand, it will need to be undone, as it will be far too long for storage. Separate the strands so that the end strand has a male and female end.
- Untangle each strand if necessary. Put the kids to work and see if they can unravel tangled strands. Note: Test the light strand first before spending time trying to untangle the ball of lights. No use untangling lights that don’t work.
- Re-evaluate your decoration scheme. Whether you’ve moved or have changed your home decor, you may be in the market for new lighting. If last year’s multi-colored lights aren’t doing it for you this year and you want to go all white, think about whether you want to keep the old strands and/or reuse them in other ways. Donate lights that you no longer want.
You’ll need heavy-duty hangers to hold each light strand. Flimsy wire hangers won’t cut it. Think about how you plan to store your lights too—–hanging them is an option with this method.
- Purchase or find enough hangers to accommodate each light strand. Unless you want to purchase new hangers each year, consider investing in a stronger hanger.
- Buy or gather enough hangers to hold each individual light strand. For the neatest storage system, dedicate one hanger per string.
- Consider using wooden or heavy-duty plastic hangers. Wooden hangers may cost a little more, but they’ll withstand the test of time and keep light strands in place.
While there’s no specific technique, there are some tips to ensure ease of winding:
- Tape one end of the light strand at the lower right or left hand corner of the hanger. Use duct tape to ensure the strand stays in place when beginning your project.
- Wind the strand around the hanger, pulling tightly to avoid slack. The more slack in the strand, the more likely it will either fall apart of become tangled.
- Duct tape the tail end to the hanger. You can also wrap a rubber band around the bottom if you don’t want to use tape.
Place the wound-on lights inside a box that has plenty of space for the lights without squashing them. For layering, consider tearing off sides of cardboard boxes and placing on the top of each layer before adding the next layer–this will prevent any entanglement between layers and helps ease any crushing of the lights. Note: Don’t have too many layers per box–additional boxes is better than one large one (easier for you to handle too).
- Store the light sets in a cool, dry area, preferable in an individual box or storage bin.
- Label the storage boxes so that it’s easy for you to locate the lights each season.
- Consider using the hanger portion to hang sets in a designated storage area. That will ensure the lights aren’t crushed by other items and remain pristine.
- Use this opportunity to discard lights that have frayed, broken, or are otherwise spoiled. Badly maintained lights can be a safety hazard when used.
Adapted from How to Store Christmas Lights Around a Coat Hanger.