Pesky strings of Christmas lights and broken ornaments are a tradition we’d rather trash than treasure. Here’s how to avoid getting tangled up in knots when decorating for the season.
Handy plastic light reels, about ten inches in diameter, are available in stores where you buy lights. At the end of the season, wrap strands of lights around the reel, which makes for easy unwinding next year.
On a budget? Wrap strands of lights around an empty paper towel roll, using masking or duct tape to secure the strand to each end of the core. The same can be done with empty coffee or peanut cans, with the added bonus of storing hanger clips inside the can.
A more basic method is to loop strands around the span of your hand to elbow, then use a zip tie around the middle to bundle it.
If you are tired of finding half your light strands broken each year, consider replacing with LED lights, which have a much longer lifespan.
Eggshell thin ornaments that easily shatter should be kept in the original boxes with sectioned cardboard dividers. If those boxes are too flimsy, then store in other divided storage boxes. Big-box retailers sell plastic bins in different sizes, many of them outfitted with sectioned cardboard dividers.
Another method is to get a sleeve of heavier disposable plastic cups, lay out a sheet of cardboard, and glue the bottoms of the cups to the cardboard in a grid. You should end up with a grid of four to six cups wide by six to eight long. Set that at the bottom of a plastic tub, put an ornament in each cup, then set another assembled grid of cups on top of that. Fill and repeat until the tub is full.
Smaller ornaments can be stored in empty egg cartons and thicker-grade cardboard gift boxes.
Similar to light strands, use a paper towel roll to wrap garlands and ribbon around and secure them with a couple of strategically placed pieces of tape.
Use old belts to cinch up sections of an artificial tree. You can sleeve the sections first in plastic garbage bags and wrap the belt around the outside. Store the sections together in a large plastic tub. Artificial wreaths should also be wrapped in plastic. Store at the top of a tub or hang it in your basement or attic to avoid it being smashed.
Once you have everything packed away, now what? Tubs of Christmas decorations are perfect candidates for storing in overhead racks suspended from garage or basement ceilings. Tubs are bulky and space consuming, so getting them off the floor relieves clutter at floor level.