How to store christmas tree lights

7 Ways To Store Christmas Lights

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

While strings of twinkle lights bring joy to the holidays, putting them away can be quite a chore. To help: Our top Christmas light storage tips.

If you love to deck the halls, tree and house with lights, chances are you equally dread packing them up after the holidays. The strings tend to tangle, bulbs can easily be broken and they rarely ever fit neatly back into their original package.

These seven methods for storing Christmas lights can make the task easier, allowing you to keep your Christmas cheer during takedown and ensure your twinkle lights are ready when the holiday season rolls around again. You should also check out these smart Christmas storage bins for other ideas.

On This Page

DIY Cardboard Christmas Light Storage

After trying different methods, Michele Vig, founder and chief organizer at Neat Little Nest, says she prefers one thing over all others: DIY cardboard. “The tried and true method I’ve been using for years is simply wrapping the lights around a piece of cardboard big enough that there isn’t any overlap,” she says. “Then, I store those pieces of cardboard in a plastic tote.”

While ready-made versions of the holiday light spools are available, this DIY approach lets you use longer pieces of cardboard, wrap the lights horizontally and choose a bin size suited to your needs. If you wrap them to fit the ready-made example, Vig says you’ll probably need to wrap lights on top of lights, which can tangle and damage them.

To create: Cut the cardboard into a simple rectangle and wrap the lights around the long way. Or try an hourglass or anvil shape similar to a capital letter “I”. Whatever shape you choose, snip a slit near each end of the cardboard so you can tuck in the ends of the light string to keep them from slipping.

To secure the strand further, cut several slits down the opposing sides of the cardboard before you wrap the lights around. Then slide the strand into each as you wrap.

DIY Wood Christmas Light Storage

DIYers can carve out custom light spools in a similar hourglass or anvil shape as the cardboard method above. Or fashion a light stand by screwing two dowels into a slab of wood. Wind the light strands in a figure-eight pattern around the dowels.

Be sure the height of the dowels suits your storage bin and the slab of wood fits the bottom of the bin so you can easily place the wooden storage stands in the bin. Then neatly cover before packing them away after the holidays.

Wind-Up Christmas Light Storage


If you like the cardboard method but prefer something sturdier, try a cord wind up. Just grip the handle and wrap the lights around, using the built-in hooks to secure them. You should still plan to place these in bins, preferably with a layer of padding, such as newspaper, fabric or recycled wrapping paper, to protect the cords and bulbs.

Christmas Light Storage Reel

Another option Vig likes: A purchasable light reel. “The heavy plastic ones are great because you can wrap your lights around nicely and tuck them away until next year,” she says. Simply turn the wheel by hand to carefully wind the lights on, and pull slowly to remove them.

“You need to be patient putting them on and taking them off the reel,” Vig says. “If you’re intentional, it’s really a breeze!”

Hanging Christmas Light Storage

You probably already have something in your closet you can use in a pinch: a clothes hangar. Be sure to choose a hangar with wide notches — those dips meant for the straps of a shirt — to help secure the light strings.

Start at one of the hangar notches and wrap the lights vertically as you move from one side of the hangar to the other. When you’re nearing the end of the string, wrap the end around the notch on the other side or around the neck of the hangar, then loosely tie or loop it through to secure.

Hang in a closet if you have space. or place them in labeled bins separated by cardboard, newspaper or bubble wrap. This method works well for shorter strings of lights, as longer ones may overlap and more easily tangle.

DIY Paper Tube Christmas Light Storage

Paper towel and wrapping paper tubes provide another DIY solution that puts holiday waste to work for you.

Drop one end of the light string into the inside of the tube, letting it fall about halfway down. Add a piece of tape inside to secure. Then wrap the light string firmly around the outside, working your way to the other end of the tube, where you’ll place the other end of the light string and tape it, too.

If you’ve got leftover holiday ribbons, tie them around the outside for added security. Wrap each in bubble wrap or leftover wrapping paper before laying gently together in a storage tote.

Easy Bagged Christmas Light Storage

via amazon. com

This method is the easiest of all. Coil the lights by holding one end in your hand, bending your arm, then wrapping the string from elbow to hand until you reach the end. Secure with a reusable twist tie before placing in a recycled gift bag.

Label it with the location you used the lights in, such as “tree,” “window” or “hall,” so you can quickly locate the right lights next year. Keep them better protected by nestling each bag inside a bin, perhaps with some padding.

Sunny Fitzgerald

Sunny Fitzgerald is a Hawaii-based writer covering travel, sustainability, culture, home, health, wellness, and more. You can find her work in National Geographic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure, BBC, Lonely Planet, Forbes Travel Guide, and elsewhere. Find out more at

7 Simple Tricks To Keep Your Christmas Lights Untangled

Adam KazmierskiGetty Images

Are you tired of wrestling with a tangled mess of Christmas lights each year? Well, here are some simple storage tricks that can keep them untangled for good — and help bring order to chaos next year.

'With festivities mainly happening at home in 2020, decorations are going up earlier than ever, and for every smile at a star there'll be a scream at a knot of bulbs and wires,' say the team at ElectricalDirect.

'We've got a sack full of secrets to help make things easier next year. Keep your lights safe and sorted with our top Christmas untangling tips.'

Not sure where to begin? Take a look at the tips below and save yourself a headache next year...

1. Use cardboard

Keep hold of any spare cardboard boxes at home as they could come in handy for storing your Christmas lights — and stop you from having to untangle hundreds of lights next year.

The team at ElectricalDirect explain: 'Either chop a large rectangle of card with a little notch in each end, and wrap your lights around them so they stay nice and neat. Or do the same thing with an old kitchen roll tube. The notches keep your lights in place, the sturdy cardboard keeps them safe. '

2. Use twist or cable ties

Plastic twist ties — which work by wrapping one end of the wire over the other — are brilliant for keeping your lights together. As well as holding lights in place along bannisters, the ties can work wonders when it comes to storing them.

The team advise: 'First, wrap the lights around your fist so they form loose loops about 30cm long. Then tie one twist or secure one cable tie at each end and another in the middle. Store them in a bin bag until next year and give yourself a mince pie to say well done.'

susaroGetty Images

3. Wrap the whole tree up

Feeling lazy? The easiest way to store lights is to simply leave them entwined around the tree after the festive season has ended. The team suggest wrapping your tree up in cling film, but you can also put your tree in a large zip-up bag to keep it safe. Then, when next Christmas rolls around all you have to do is put your tree up and plug it in. Voila!

4. Place lights in a box

It's always worth keeping the original box for your lights, as you can simply pop them back inside after use. Ensure you secure it well before placing in the loft or garage.

'Wrap the lights around it with a bit of tape at each end to keep them in place. A simple storage solution that recycles something instead of throwing it away,' they explain.

Ryan McVayGetty Images

5. Repurpose clothes hangers

Give a new lease of life to your old clothes hangers by cleverly using them to store your lights. Simply take your lights, wrap them around the hanger and tie the ends over the hook to keep everything in place. You can either hang them in a spare wardrobe or pop them in a large, sealed box.

6. Bunch your lights up

This trick might seem a little complicated, but it can work efficiently once you know how. 'First, grab hold of one light, then a second light two lights away. Bring those two together and repeat the process until they're all tightly packed in. Wrap the remaining cord around the middle to keep everything compact,' ElectricalDirect explain.


Use a cord reel

While these are more typically used for long extension cables, cord reels can also come in handy when it comes to packing up your tree lights. How does it work? Simply attach one end of your lights to the reel and wind them up. Pack away and next Christmas will be a breeze!

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.


In need of some positivity or not able to make it to the shops? Subscribe to House Beautiful magazine today and get each issue delivered directly to your door.

15 Christmas tree lights to suit every style this festive season

      Lisa Joyner Senior Digital Writer, House Beautiful and Country Living Lisa Joyner is the Senior Digital Writer at House Beautiful UK and Country Living UK, where she's busy writing about home and interiors, gardening, dog breeds, pets, health and wellbeing, countryside news, small space inspiration, and the hottest properties on the market.

      Good question: How to store Christmas decorations and garlands

      We don't buy expensive Christmas decorations to throw them away after the Christmas tree. Besides, it's a pity to take out old toys and find that they have almost lost their New Year's shine. But I really want a real holiday! There is a way out - you need to learn how to take care of toys so that they wait for their finest hour next year. Tips from museum workers, manufacturers and simple lovers of New Year's toys on how to store Christmas tree decorations and other decorations so that they please you for more than one winter.

      1. How to clean Christmas decorations
      A strange question - why clean them at all. If you haven't used artificial snow, then you probably don't need to. Otherwise, the balls will have to be washed. What depends on the material.

      Glass (including toys) should not be washed with water, as it can damage the top paint layer and help wash out salts. In the museum, glass exhibits are cleaned with rectified alcohol. Porcelain and faience are recommended to be washed only with a soft brush in warm water with the addition of alcohol - and only if there are no cracks in it and the glaze is not damaged. Especially carefully you need to protect objects from biscuit (unglazed porcelain) from dust - it will be much more difficult to clean its surface.

      Merry Powell Interiors

      2. Find a suitable container
      A box or crate that is strong and rigid enough. For example, the owners found a copy with a photo (along with antique toys) in the attic among the things left over from older relatives, and out of love for history they kept it as a relic.

      Tip: We are dealing with fragile contents, so it makes no sense to hide the box in the mezzanine depths, where it can be accidentally damaged and the balls broken. Decorate the box and put it in plain sight! Work in the decoupage technique, use wrapping paper or the remains of beautiful wallpaper.

      If you have a lot of toys, sign boxes, drawers - this technique works great not only in the case of storing shoes. This will make it easier to find the right jewelry in a year and eliminate the need to open and sort through everything.

      Marks & Spencer

      Amy Webster

      3. Packaging of toys inside the box
      To prevent the Christmas balls from being broken or scratched and the garlands from getting tangled, they must be properly organized inside the container.

      You can put them in the "native" boxes in which you bought them. But in the case of old specimens, they are most often long gone. And, alas, this method of storage does not save space.

      Ekaterina Kulinicheva

      Some of the questions will be solved by buying a ready-made organizer for Christmas decorations: a special box with a different number of ready-made cells. Google for the name "storage box". Usually the cells are designed for one large ball or several smaller toys. Therefore, when choosing an organizer, be guided by the features of your personal collection and its size.

      Advice : If you are putting several toys in one box, it is still best to wrap each one with tissue paper, plastic material with air bubbles, etc. Or lay with cut paper, cotton, etc. Or, having killed two birds with one stone, fill the cell with tinsel interspersed with toys. An analogue of finished cells can be made independently - from strips of cardboard.

      Ekaterina Kulinicheva

      Toys should lie tightly (this is how they are transported), but not crush each other. A box of marbles is not a suitcase that you struggle to pack when you return from vacation. If something doesn't fit, just find another box.

      Holiday Ornament Storage Container

      A container with transparent inserts on the sides will make it easier to navigate the contents and quickly find the answer to the question: where did you put that grandmother's hare on a clothespin?

      But such a box should definitely be placed in a dry, dark place without temperature differences. If this is not possible, it is better to choose an opaque box. The fact is that decorations can fade. In factories, ready-made Christmas decorations are not in vain stored in cold dark hangars.

      Christmas Wreath Storage Bag 30” for Holiday Wreaths, Decorations

      Manufacturers of Christmas tree decoration organizers also offer ready-made cases for wreaths and even coils for electric lights. In order not to suffer a year later, unraveling wires and light bulbs.

      Tobi Fairley Interior Design

      4. Particularly fragile - additional packaging
      Traditionally considered the most "capricious" toys and other decorations made of glass, porcelain and ceramics - quite expensive, but fragile materials. For packing small items made of glass, ceramics or porcelain in museums, it is advised to use tissue paper in several layers, a baize or flannel (this is a way to give new life to old clothes).

      Tip: It is important that the first layer of the wrapper is not hard - this way you can scratch the object or damage its decor, which in the case of Christmas tree decorations is often not very durable (everyone is probably familiar with “snow dust” or sparkles crumbling from balls) . Things of medium and large size in museums are placed in covers made of mica paper or thick fabric.

      Inlavka (Interior Shop)

      4. Sort by type of material
      In museum storages, exhibits made of different materials (for example, glass, wood and metal) are not mixed with each other. At home, this principle can also be very useful: by putting toys from different materials in different boxes, in a year you will be able to navigate your own collection more easily and find the right jewelry faster.


      5. Grandmother's ways
      A few folk tricks that will please supporters of "wasteless life". Your kitchen, and especially your refrigerator, when viewed from the right angle, is full of things to help you store your Christmas decorations.

      • Toilet paper - for individual packaging of fragile toys, it is just as good as mica paper. And the cardboard cores of the rolls can be used as cases for cones, small icicles and figurines, or a pair of small balls.
      • Baking cup. You can also use paper cupcake liners, instead of baking, put a ball in each.
      • Egg carton. Another valuable storage system for small toys can be a carton egg carton. The only pity is that the big balls do not fit there.
      • Tea box. If you don’t have a special coil for garlands yet, you can simply wind it on some other base and put it in a box or a wide-mouthed cylinder jar (for example, from tea, Lemon Slices marmalade and other products).

      320 Sycamore

      How to store an artificial Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations

      The New Year we always look forward to has passed with the scent of tangerines and gifts. Orthodox Christmas and even the Old New Year have passed. The euphoria of the holidays is coming to an end. It's time to think about how to remove the Christmas tree. On the one hand, it’s good for those who had a live Christmas tree - they just take it to the trash can or for recycling. Although, while she was standing, she had to remove crumbling needles from the floor coverings, and some thought that they had killed a living tree - also not a plus. And the next year, again, spending on the purchase of a living tree.

      A good alternative to live Christmas trees is artificial models. They are beautiful, their shape is correct, and you can celebrate the next New Year with them for a long time. Those who have chosen an artificial Christmas tree for the New Year holiday have one question: how to save it until the next one. Manufacturers offer to store it ready-made, but this does not suit the majority of the population. There are several ways to save an artificial Christmas tree that will extend its “life” as long as possible (up to 10 years):

      • Remove all jewelry first. Decorations are not only balls and toys, but also tinsel and garlands. Then start dismantling the tree. Standard models of artificial Christmas trees are made of a rod that serves as a frame, and branches of different sizes that are attached to it. For the convenience of collecting a Christmas tree for the next year, consider the following:
      • Christmas tree in a box. Lay it out carefully in sections. At the same time, small branches must be pressed against larger ones and against the trunk. Fold the branches in one direction. They can even be tied, but not tight. The needles can be wrinkled if the Christmas tree is made of PVC. Cast spruce is not scary;
      • Christmas tree in a bag. Small branches are also pressed against larger ones and against the trunk. The package must be spacious to avoid jamming the needles.
      • The artificial Christmas tree should be stored in a dry place, but not under the sun. The temperature should not be higher than 30 degrees. In a damp room, protruding metal parts can rust in a year.
      • To store snow-covered artificial spruce models, follow the basic rules, but the most important condition is to protect it from moisture. Increased humidity in the room will turn your spruce into just a rusty Christmas tree, and it will not be beautiful at all.

      It is worth paying attention to some nuances

      It is believed that plastic is a versatile material that is not afraid of moisture and dust. He is only afraid of fire. If you dismantled and packed the tree in accordance with all the rules, taking into account its size, store it on the mezzanine or sofa, or even under the bed.

      Did you manage the Christmas tree? It's time to put away the Christmas decorations. Agree, because we buy them year after year. And what, throw away? Stop new purchases. You just need to learn how to take care of them, and they will create a real holiday for you.

      Here are some tips on how to store your Christmas decorations:

      • clean. It may be surprising to someone, but often we use additional decorations such as artificial snow, which pollutes them. It is better not to use plain water to wash glass toys. An alcohol solution must be used. Porcelain and faience toys can be washed with warm water by adding alcohol to it;
      • pack Christmas decorations. You can use a strong and rigid box (box, container). Christmas balls, garlands must be placed correctly so that the balls do not break, scratch, and the garlands do not get tangled. Some put them in the packages they were bought in if they survived. If not, use wrapping paper to separate them from each other.
      • if there are too many toys, then the box can be signed about the presence of the contents. This will help you quickly pick up decorations for the next holiday.

      Another common type of New Year's decor is acrylic figures. These illuminated figures have a number of advantages: