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A young woman holds a tangle of string lights while sitting on the floor next to a holiday tree and boxes of ornaments.



There’s no greater annoyance at the start of the holiday season when you’re all ready to decorate and you pull out last years’ lights, only to find a jumbled, tangled mess of cords that takes hours to straighten out. Then you finally get everything untangled, and then discover a mystery bulb is broken, causing an entire section or strand of lights to malfunction. Set your next holiday season up for success by taking the time this year to properly store your various indoor and outdoor string lights with the following five tips.

Use Clothes Hangers

If you have a few extra clothes hangers around, put them to use as a light organizer and storage hanger. Take the loose end of the light strand and secure it to the strap holder on the hanger. Wrap the strand of lights around the clothes hanger vertically, keeping it as tight and neat as possible. Once the string is wrapped, plug the loose end into the other end of the strand, and hang it in a storage closet. Easy!

Save Those Amazon Boxes: Make a Cardboard Cutout

We know you’ve had plenty of boxes laying around from the holiday gifts. Put those to use by creating a rectangular cardboard cutout, and cut slits along two opposites sides. Slide one end of the strand of lights into the first slit slit, and start to wrap it around the board, securing it into the slits as you go. Once you’re done wrapping, plug the loose end to the other end in order to keep it secure. You can do something similar by winding around a cardboard tube (from wrapping paper). See both methods on this video.

Use the Box – But Don’t Stuff Lights Inside

You don’t ever want to stuff the lights back into the box they came in – it’s like trying to get a large paper map refolded (in other words, impossible!). Instead, wrap the lights around the box using the method stated above. It’s easy and compact, and there’s no extra supplies needed for this one.

Keep the Extra Bulbs

You know the feeling. The feeling when you place all your lights up so perfectly, only to turn them on and find that an entire section of the lights is out. Make sure to store the extra bulbs that come with your lights somewhere safe, and that you will remember. One suggestion is putting them in a ziploc bag and taping it to the lid of your light storage bin or box.

A Dedicated Holiday Light Bin

Now that your lights are tightly wrapped, you need a safe space for them to reside for the next 11 months. Grab a large plastic storage bin and gently place the lights inside, making sure to layer with towels, a blanket, or bubble wrap in between the layers.

Make 2021 the year of easy. Get a head start on the next holiday season with these five handy tips on packing away your holiday lights. Your future self will thank you. For more great life hacks, check out the Sedona Ranch blog.