One of the worst chores in all the fun of decorating the house for Christmas can be untangling the Christmas lights. This year, after you have them off the tree or from around the porch, take a minute or two and try a few tips to make next Christmas a little less hassled.
* First, test your lights. There is nothing so aggravating than working for fifteen minutes to half untangle a set of lights, realize that you’re not sure if they even work, and then plug them in to find no light at all. Do yourself a favor and test before anything else.
* Keep the box. Actually, keep the plastic packing that comes inside the box, too. If you are the meticulous sort and really want your lights in perfect order for next year, you can re-pack the wires back inside the clip packing so that they are all ready to get out again.
* Wooden stakes. Before you even begin to get the lights down, get a pack of wooden stakes from your local home improvement store. They are very inexpensive; about two dollars for a pack of six. As you take the lights down, wind them around the stakes. Use masking tape to secure the end plug to the top so that it doesn’t come unwound slightly and begin the tangling process all over again. The rolled strings of lights can be laid like stacked wood in your storage box and doesn’t take up much space.
* Rolled newspaper. As with wooden stakes, rolled newspaper can be used to wind the strings of lights. Newspaper is even better as all of us usually have access to at least a few past editions. Usually one section of the paper rolled is about the thickness you will need. As with wooden stakes, wind the strings of lights around the paper as you take them down to avoid any tangling.
* Twist ties. If you prefer rounds to rolls, wind the lights carefully like coiled rope and secure with twist ties. The ties can either be collected by saving from bread bags or the nylon ties you can purchase from the home improvement store. Secure the ties on opposite sides of the coil for maximum efficiency.
* Be sure to make a note of the sets of lights that are half burned out and simply trash them. Christmas lights are relatively inexpensive, especially if you replace your supply right after the holidays. Then, you can be sure that the lights you have are in perfect working order, or at least they were when you packed them away, and won’t have the trouble of having only half a string that lights up.
It doesn’t take much effort to be able to bypass the frustration of struggling with a maze of tangled lights. Then, all you have to deal with is the decision of where to put them all.