As you hang holiday lights, trim the tree and set out your favorite Christmas decorations, you may get frustrated with the knotted bunches of light strings and the random assortment of bags and boxes holding your precious tree decorations, your nativity and other assorted holiday traditions.
Make your first New Year’s resolution before this year’s holiday season ends: Better organize your holiday decor as you put them away for another year. In addition to saving time when you haul out the boxes next year, you may also better protect the family treasures from damage.
Any decorations with electrical cords should be inspected before you put them away. Check for cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires and loose connections. Fix or replace any damaged components so you can plug them in safely next year.
Storing holiday lights safely:
- Start with a chunk of cardboard from a shipping container or even a cereal box. Cut matching notches on both long sides. Wind the cord gently back and forth, catching the cord in the notches to hold in place. Tuck ends into the wrapped cord to keep them from coming loose. If you have multiple light strings, “file” the strand-filled cardboard holders upright in a larger box to keep them all in place.
- For icicle lights, roll out a long sheet of 1-foot-wide plastic the length of your light string. Place the lights on the plastic, then roll up in the plastic. Next year, unroll the plastic and your lights will be neat and tidy, rather than tangled.
Other unique ways to store your holiday décor:
- Pack small tree ornaments in egg cartons.
- Store tinsel in a used tennis ball container or in a cardboard Pringle’s chip or oatmeal container, and drop beads into a water or soda bottle.
- Store a wreath on a hanger and cover the wreath with a large plastic bag before hanging it away in a closet.
- Store wrapping paper in a clear plastic clothes bag so you can see the paper when you hang it in a storage closet.
Suggestions from HGTV, Good Housekeeping, This Old House, CNet