You just put up your Christmas lights and decorations -or you plan to in the coming weeks-so why are we telling you now the best ways to pack them up come January? Because when the enthusiasm for the holiday season wears off, the many items that represent it often get packed in a rush, which can lead to damage.

Save your future self the money and effort required to purchase replacements next year by planning ahead to use these tips for storing Christmas lights and decorations.

Smartly Store Strings of Holiday Lights

There are a variety of ways to store your strands that will not result in broken bulbs or hair pulled out due to a tangled mess. If you want to take the DIY route, neatly roll each strand up and place in a plastic bag, one string per bag. Or you can wrap each strand around a piece of cardboard cut from the many boxes you will have on hand after the holidays; simply save the boxes as you get them.

You also can purchase a fancy Christmas lights bag that has a spool you roll the strands around before placing inside and zipping it closed for the year.

No matter which approach you take, label each container so you can quickly find what you need. You may decide to put up indoor lights before those on your home, or vice versa-make sure you can get right to it by pulling the appropriate boxes from your storage area.

Pro tip: Don't save any strands that stopped working midway through the holiday season, as you will not-we repeat, not-want to take the time to fix them next year.

Pack Up Christmas Ornaments With Care

The best and easiest way to keep your ornaments intact is to place them in the boxes they came in, wrapped in tissue paper for added protection. Egg cartons make an excellent substitution for fragile, smaller ornaments, and you should have plenty what with all the eggnog and baked goods on the holiday menu.

Bonus tip: If you have multiple trees, store each tree's ornaments separately to save time on sorting next year.

Splurge on Specialty Storage

If you invested in a pricey artificial tree or decorator wreath, keep it in the best possible shape by storing it in a bag made especially for its shape. Avoid placing it in a box that does not suit its shape to avoid bending or even breaking branches or other decorative items.

Label, Label, Label

Just as you will label smaller box and bags, also note on the outside cover of larger boxes what each box contains. Get the list-style sticky pads and itemize everything inside, taping the list to the side of the box facing out. Also be sure to group items by whichever class makes sense to your installation process.

For example, do you do lights all at once, layering decorations on top, or do you tackle tree by tree or room by room? No matter the method to your decorating madness, store with it in mind and label accordingly.

Pro tip: If you simply love your Christmas decorations this year, take pictures of it all. That way, you have a guide for next year and won't have to rely on your memory.

Put Packing Up on Your Calendar


Knowing all of the above won't help you smartly store your Christmas lights and decorations if you don't set aside time to properly pack. Put on your calendar when you want to disassemble your displays and stick to it. Take your time and do the tasks as planned.

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