If not stored correctly, Christmas lights can become tangled and damaged, leading to frustration when it comes time to decorate again next year. Whether you're a professional installer tucking away shelves of lights post-holidays, or a homeowner looking for tips on optimal storage, these tips are for you! Proper removal and storage of your Christmas lights will help with the longevity of the product, while also making things more efficient for you next year.
First Rule: Removing Lights is Important!
They will last longer this way, and it is good to give your client’s houses/businesses and trees a break. Giving trees a rest is especially important; trees need room to grow, and string lights can get in the way of that. Growing trees are also remarkably strong, and lights left wrapped around a trunk can actually be swallowed by the bark, or can snap from tension. Have a big project with large trees you don't want to re-install in on every year? Consider investing in our stretch string mini-lights to give you a few more years to leave the lights on without taking them down every season.
Second Rule: Wrap Lights Into Coils or Balls
To help prevent your lights from tangling, disconnect them from one another and coil them into loops as you would an electrical cable. Smaller string light sets can be balled up as in the photo above. Use masking tape, electrical tape or twine to keep the lights together. This prevents them from coming unfurled and getting tangled. For bigger projects, it can be useful to use Christmas light storage reels. You can use the spools that our C7 and C9 socket wire come on, or you can pick up spools at a wide selection of hardware stores. If you just don't want to make an extra visit to the store, a piece of cardboard or plastic will suffice.
Third Rule: Label Your Strings
It can be really helpful to use electrical tape and a sharpie to label each section of lights and extension cable. Take pictures of them on the house, tree, or business for extra reference, and mark them up in a photo editor to label which strings go where and how they were installed (e.g. trunk and branch wrap vs canopy wrap for a tree). This will make putting them up easier next year!
Fourth Rule: Store Your Lights in Dry, Breathable Containers
Stackable totes make great Christmas light storage containers, but it is imperative that you cut a hole in each side so as to let out any excess moisture. This will help the lights last for years! We have found that the easiest way to cut a hole is by using a circular saw drill bit. In addition to properly wrapping and storing the lights, it is also important to keep them in a cool, dry place. A basement or closet are good options. It is also a good idea to label each storage container with the length and type of lights it contains. This will make it easier to find the lights you need when it comes time to decorate again.