Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How To Organize Christmas String Lights

I know this is a bit late.  Now, it's not like I still had Christmas lights up on my house or Christmas decorations still up - I actually took everything down the week after Christmas.  But, I had seen on Pinterest, a clever way to store your Christmas string lights so they don't become a tangled mess.  Because no matter how nicely you put them away, those little knot-tying elves get in there and start making a mess of things.  Isn't that how that happens?  Hmmm.

Here was my inspiration:
Via Pinterest
Oh, Martha - you never cease to amaze me with your ideas.  So, I saved up some boxes for the cardboard and brought the plastic bin filled with Christmas string lights in from the garage and there they sat for a couple of weeks.  I told you about my project A.D.D. right?
Here is what you will need for this project.

Supplies needed:
*  Cardboard
*  Masking tape (optional)
*  Scissors or box cutter
*  Storage bin or box 
Yep.  This is what was sitting in the living room for a few weeks.  Hot mess.  Usually I think that if I bring the mess in, I'll get tired of it enough to take care of it.  Um, yeah - that doesn't work all of the time.  And yes, I actually thought that the thin cardboard soda boxes would work for this project.  Silly me.  Score a point for me trying to recycle though, right? 

1)  Separate your lights into piles and untangle what you can.  Surprisingly, most of mine were easy to untangle, so I didn't have to spend a lot of time doing that.
I forgot to take a picture of the bin before I started taking the lights out and had already wrapped some around the cardboard (bad blogger!).  But, this is pretty much what it looked like - just imagine the whole bin filled completely with lights.

2)  Figure out how big you want your cardboard pieces to be.  You'll need to make sure that:  a)  the cardboard is thick enough (don't use thin cardboard that will bend easily), b) they will fit easily inside the box, c) that the lid on your bin/box will close easily, and d) that the entire string of lights will fit on the piece of cardboard.  Once you have this figured out (it's not an exact science), cut your pieces with scissors or a box cutter (scissors worked just fine for me).

3)  Start wrapping a string of lights around a piece of cardboard.  You can secure the end of the string to the cardboard with masking tape (which is what I did) or you can just tuck it into a part of the lights that are already wound around the cardboard.
Please excuse my pj's.  I did this while on the couch watching TV.  (By the way, that shows how easy this project is: pj's + couch + TV = organized Christmas string lights).

4)  Once you've wrapped all of your sets of lights onto the cardboard, just file them away in your bin or box like I did below.

I was even able to fit my snowflake lights on top of them and still close the lid on the bin easily.  I also included the extra light tips in a baggie as well as an extra extension cord.  I was able to fit 11 strings of lights (2 of these sets being extra long) all in 1 bin.

I didn't time it, but it really didn't take too long for me to do this - maybe an hour and half from start to finish?  Also, I noticed that this may not exactly be a space saver - I wouldn't have been able to fit anymore sets of lights, but previously I could have fit 1 or 2 more.  However the advantage of doing this is that you can easily pull out a set of lights and they won't get tangled with each other, which is totally worth the time it will save you to untangling them. 




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  1. That is a very clever idea! I always spend a lot of time trying to untingle all the Christmas lights. Definitelly need to reorganize mine this way.

    1. Thanks to good 'ol Martha for the idea! (Although, apparently this is not a new idea as my dad said that this is how they've been storing their Christmas lights for years).


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