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How to Keep Christmas Lights from Tangling

SOLVED: No more wasting time untangling lights each Christmas season!

By: Kaylin Johnson, Editor,
How to Keep Christmas Lights from Tangling

It happens to all of us. All the festive joy of decorating for the holiday season disappears when it comes time to get out the Christmas lights. Hastily tucked away at the end of last year, they’ve now somehow found a way to twist and tangle themselves into one large knot.

Instead of spending hours each year untangling lights, check out these easy tips on storing Christmas lights properly to avoid the annual struggle!

The easy answer to the question “How to Keep Christmas Lights from Tangling” is to wrap them around something. One tried and true method is to use a cable reel, but if you’re looking for easy DIY Christmas light storage hacks, we’ve got you covered.

From spare hangers to an old piece of a cardboard box, these hacks are simple, free, and use recycled materials so you can feel good about saving money and the planet!

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The Cardboard Christmas Light Storage Hack

One of the simplest ways to store your Christmas lights is to wrap them around a piece of cardboard. With all the holiday gifting, you’re sure to have some extra shipping boxes around the house. These work perfectly for all kinds of Christmas storage, but have you ever thought to create a string light spool out of them?

  1. Cut a flat, rectangular piece of cardboard from a box.
  2. Cut a slit about two inches long in the top of the rectangle.
  3. Wrap the lights around the make-shift spool and use the slit to hold the end of the cord.
  4. (Optional) Wrap the spooled lights in newspaper or shopping bags to protect the lights until next year!
Make as many of the cardboard spools as you need and use another box or tub to store them until next year!

The Cardboard Christmas Light Storage Hack

Storing Christmas Lights on Hangers

This is the perfect hack for anyone who has some extra hanging space around the house! Using hangers to store your Christmas lights not only keeps them from tangling but also prevents the breaks that come with storing your lights in bins and boxes of other decorations. For this hack, it’s as easy as one, two, three!

  1. If your hanger has a strap holder, tuck the end of the light strand in to keep it in place while you wrap. If not, it is helpful to tape the cord to the hanger to create a more secure wrap.
  2. Starting at one end and working your way to the other, begin wrapping the lights vertically around the hanger. Try to spread the lights out rather than overlapping them.
  3. Once you reach the other side, either tuck the end into the strap holder or tape to secure.
Once you have all your hangers wrapped nicely, just hang them back up in the closet or anywhere you have extra space.

Storing Christmas Lights on Hangers

How to Roll Up Christmas Lights With Wrapping Paper Tubes

This tip is somewhat similar to the classic cardboard hack. In this tutorial, you’ll make use of those empty wrapping paper tubes you gained over the holiday season.

  1. Start by creating a two-inch slit in the top and bottom of the roll.
  2. Use the first slit to hold one end of the cord as you wrap the light strand up and around the tube.
  3. Finish by securing the other end in the second slit.
  4. (Optional) Wrap the tubes in newspaper or tissue paper to protect the lights until next year!
If you have a wrapping paper storage bin, this hack becomes even simpler! Once you’re done wrapping up the lights, simply put all the tubes into your standup storage bin to avoid crushing any lights.

How to Roll Up Christmas Lights With Wrapping Paper Tubes

BONUS: How to Untangle Christmas Lights

These tips are fine and dandy for preventing new tangles, but what if you need to undo tangles this year? Untangling Christmas lights can be time-consuming, but with these tips, you’ll be decorating again in no time!

  1. Decide how many lights you will be using this year. If you can access the plug, you should also test them out at this stage. The last thing you want is to spend all that time untangling only to find that the strand is dead.
  2. Start with the plug. Having an end easily accessible will be much easier than attempting to undo knots near the middle.
  3. Gently weave the plug through the tangles to avoid breaking any lights.
  4. As you begin to get lights untangled from each other, you will want to have a large space to lay them out. This will avoid any more tangles from forming as you work on more strands.
Untangling light can be frustrating, but you can make the best of it by listening to some carols or watching your favorite Christmas movies while you work. And don’t forget to remind yourself how simple next year will be!

How to Untangle Christmas Lights
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