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If you haven’t packed away your outdoor Christmas lights yet because you’re dreading the tangled messy pile that they will ultimately become, this post is for you. I think we’d all prefer to have tangle-free Christmas lights, but it isn’t always clear how to accomplish that. Luckily, there are storage techniques that can make packing -and unpacking- your lights a breeze.

Check out this post and give these packing techniques a try. You’ll be glad you did next winter when it’s time to unpack them again.

After the holidays, when it’s time to take down all the Christmas lights on the house, it can be tempting to throw them all in a box and call it good. But just taking a little extra time now can save you a lot of time and trouble when it’s time to get them out again next year!

The icicle lights can be extra troublesome with their tangle-prone strands-on-strands style.

But I love how they look on the house for the holidays! So we’re not giving them up yet, despite the troubles we’ve had with them when it comes to packing/unpacking.

Instead, I wanted to discover a way to store our icicle lights in a way that I could love too. Rather than continuing with my tangly love/hate relationship.

I always find myself trying to figure out better ways to store our Christmas lights so unpacking can go smoothly the next time.

Last year, I tried using cardboard with slots cut into the edges and old styrofoam lids to wrangle all of our lights, regardless of whether they were icicle lights or regular strands. This technique required wrapping the lights around the cardboard or styrofoam.

This cardboard/styrofoam wrapping technique worked great for regular strands of lights.

(In case you’re unfamiliar with this technique, I’ve included a link below to help you out.)

For regular strands:

Cardboard, styrofoam lids, and basically anything you can wrap the lights around with some breathing room will do the trick.

But that wrapping technique didn’t work quite so well for the icicle lights.

This winter, when it was time to unpack the lights, I struggled with removing the icicle lights from the cardboard and still ended up with lots of tangles. Those extra strands were making things difficult.

So I did a little searching online for storage techniques specifically for icicle lights and found this helpful video. This guy rolls up the icicle lights in
plastic tarp!

For icicle lights:

I thought this sounded like a great idea, so I decided to try it myself.

Since I didn’t have a long roll of plastic tarp, I brainstormed what I could use instead. And I realized I had a bunch of old sheets that could work for this.

So, this is my tweaked version of icicle light storage on a budget. 😉

I used an old sheet to roll up icicle lights tangle-free

I laid the sheet out flat on the ground. If you’re doing this outdoors and there’s any wind, you’ll also want a few weights (like rocks, pavers, bricks, hand weights) to hold the corners down.

Then I laid out the strand of icicle lights along one edge of the sheet (Pic 1, top left).

Once the icicle lights were laying freely without any tangles, I folded the sheet over the top of the lights (Pic 2). This made the first layer of lights in the blanket.

I then brought the strand of lights back around to lay along the edge of the sheet in the opposite direction (Pic 3). And I folded the blanket over this new layer of lights. Second layer of lights in the blanket done.

And I repeated these steps until the strands were all covered by the sheet (Pic 4, top right).

Lastly, I rolled that up lengthwise into one neat package (Pic 5, bottom pic) for storage in our garage until the next holiday season comes around. The final look was kind of pig-in-a-blanket style. Or like a sleeping bag.

I am pretty psyched about this storage technique. The ease at which I was able to pack up the icicle lights, and knowing that I can just simply unroll it very easily to get it all unpacked again without tangles is making me smile about next winter.


It was actually easier to pack the icicle lights this rolled way than it was to wrap them around something like I had in the past.

If you have outdoor icicle lights too, do yourself a favor and try this to pack them tangle-free this year!

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