How to Store Christmas Lights
After all the Christmas cheer has been shared, the Christmas party has been thrown, and Christmas dinner was enjoyed by all, it is time to take down the Christmas lights and decorations. People work so hard hanging up outdoor Christmas lights spending countless hours trying to make their homes look picture perfect. Some go above and beyond spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars. Taking care of your investment is equally important as how nice the Christmas displays look during that magical time of year. Effectively storing lights can extend years to your investment as well as decreasing the amount of time to put them up the following year. This house has approximately 20,000 lights consisting of mini lights, C7, C9, LED dome lights and rope lights.
After taking down the lights the pile can look pretty intimidating.
There are many ways to store lights and after years of practice here is how I suggest going about this task. There are three essential items you need to complete this task. The items include the Rubbermaid container or equivalent, electrical cord / Christmas light holders, and Cling Wrap. These items can be found at your local convenient hardware and general retail stores such as Home Depot and Meijer.
How to Get Started Storing Christmas Lights
There are two types of extension / Christmas light holders: the storage wheel and “H” shape holders. I prefer using the “H” shape for Christmas lights for two main reasons. First, they hold more and second, they are easier to store in Rubbermaid containers. I use the red holder for the 150 mini light count strands and the green for the 100 mini light count strands providing a visual difference for the length of the light strand for the following year. I also use the red holders for the premium ice cycle lights which have 150 lights per strand. When I am decorating I connect no more than 3 strands of the premium ice cycle lights together which is the recommend amount. Anything more will cause the fuse to fail typically in the first strand of lights.
Each green “H” shape holder will hold 4 strands of mini 100 count lights and the red will hold 3 strands of mini 150 count lights.
When stringing these lights on the holder please remember to start with the female end (the end with holes only) first so when you decide to test your lights the following year the male end (the actual plug) will be available to plug in.
It is recommended to only string three strands of mini Christmas lights together at once, but I’ve had success using four strands for the past twenty years.
The LED dome lights I used in my display were purchased at Walmart and their recommendation for strand connectivity is 43. I am able to put 8 strands per holder.
The key to a nice Christmas display is the use of a lot of extension cords. Storing extension cords can be just as problematic as Christmas Lights. Most would just throw them in a container or use a wheel holder which takes up too much space. That is where the Cling Wrap comes into play. It’s cost effective and takes up zero additional space.
How to Use Cling Wrap as a Storage Aid for Christmas Lights
Pull out strips of Cling Wrap about 6 inches, role into a rope to make it stronger and tie at the opposite ends of your wound up extension cord.
Now we have everything wound up neatly to be placed into containers. There are several container sizes you can use and I’ll show you examples that work for me. However, choose the size that works best for your living arrangement and storage area.
How to Pack Christmas Lights in Storage Containers
I use 18 gallon Rubbermaid Rougheck Storage containers to hold my C7, C9, rope lights and some extension cords as well as peripheral materials such as stakes and outlets.
Then I use 24 gallon Rubbermaid Clever Store containers to hold both my extension cords and C1, and LED dome lights, and premium C1 150 count ice cycle lights. With this container I am able to place 4 to 5 holders of 100 mini lights across in three layers. The end result is each container will hold between 4,800 to 6,000 mini lights. The see-through plastic also allows me to quickly access what storage container I need based on what is inside for the following year’s decorating.
How to Store the Miscellaneous Pieces of Your Christmas Display
The last thing to remember is how to store the remaining pieces of your Christmas light display. I use a wide range of hooks to help me with my lights and wreaths. For each style of hook I use a one gallon, Zip Lock bag. This provides ample room however, any size will do. The key is to keep the hooks sorted out for easy access when decorating in subsequent years.
For the wreaths I found a container that was the right size in both width and height to store the wreaths side by side. This one is a Rubbermaid Roughneck Latching Storage Box.
The Finished Product
With everything stored away safely, next year’s display will be a lot easier to put up and take less time. Do you have additional ideas for Christmas light storage? Please feel free to submit your comments and time saving ideas.