How to Pack Away Christmas Lights With a Coffee Can

To my dear, Christmas-loving neighbors: It's over. I know it's your favorite holiday, but it's way past Three King's Day and we're nearly 2 weeks into January—it's finally time to take down the Christmas lights. And to our readers: Since we have our suspicions some of you might be slow on the holiday clean up, here's a quick Christmas lights organization tip using nothing more than a coffee can.

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If you're the type to put off taking down holiday lights until January 12th, we're going to go ahead and assume that you're not the most organized gal or fella on the block.

Sure, there's plenty of store-bought widgets that can wrangle Christmas lights with the best of 'em, but this solution, from green living expert Danny Seo, uses only one thing—and you might already have a few in your recycling bin:


  1. Grab a coffee can (or oatmeal can—or just swipe one from your neighbor's bins), and empty and wash it out completely.

  2. Cut a slit in the plastic lid and slide the receptacle end of the light cord through it.

  3. Stuff extra bulbs, extension cords or any loose light-string accessories inside the can before replacing the lid.

  4. Wrap the length of the light string around the outside of the can, being careful not to put too much stress on the cord at any point. Make sure the plug end is tucked in, but easily still accessible to be able to test your lights next year.

  5. Store your light can in a dark place to keep colored bulbs from fading (blue, green and purple bulbs will fade out faster than red and yellow ones).



(Images: Flickr member Tom Gill (lapstrake) licensed for use under Creative Commons, Danny Seo)