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St. Louis Holiday Lighting: How to Store String Lights and Outdoor Holiday Decor

how to store string lights

If you’ve lit up your St. Louis home with holiday lighting, now you face the chore of putting it all away. String lights and other holiday items are somewhat fragile. We’re here to help you figure out how to take them down safely and how to store string lights and other decor until you need them again.  

There are several good options that will allow you to easily store string lights and outdoor decorations until next year. Let’s start by looking at how to take down those holiday string lights. 

How to Take Down Your St. Louis Holiday Lighting

Taking down string lights and holiday decor can be a pain, for sure. If you take a little more time to do it right, clean everything, and store them well you’ll be happy about it next holiday season. String lights and decor can be expensive, so you’re protecting a great investment.

  • Unplug the lights after use.
  • Remove any strings, clips, or rope you’ve used to hold the lights in place before taking them down. 
  • Work with one string of lights at a time to avoid creating tangles. 
  • Start at one end of the string lights, gently pulling off the surface where they’re displayed and winding in a loose coil.
  • Keep each string of lights separate. 
  • Clean off any debris, dirt, or cobwebs. Pick debris off by hand or use a soft cloth or brush to carefully knock debris off the lights.
  • Make sure they are free of any moisture. If string lights are damp, stretch them out or hang them loosely in a protected place (such as the garage or a covered patio) until they are completely dry. 

If any of the cords are frayed, have exposed wiring, or are damaged in other ways,  it’s time to get rid of those string lights. 

How to Store String Lights after the Holidays

There are a few good methods for safely storing holiday string lights. We’ll go over those. First, here are a few tips that work for any type of storage:

  • Use a water-resistant container. Choose heavy-duty plastic instead cardboard, for example.
  • Choose a container with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • Avoid flimsy boxes. 
  • Use a container that’s big enough. Don’t crush lights into a space that’s too small and risk breaking the bulbs. 
  • Avoid stacking heavy items on top of the holiday string lights, as it can cause damage over time.
  • Store the lights in a place with adequate air circulation so they don’t get damaged by humidity or moisture.

Methods for Storing String Lights

For storing string lights, here are some good methods: 

  • Use shoe boxes (cardboard or plastic) and put a separate strand of string lights in each shoe box. Then stack the shoe boxes inside a larger bin. 
  • Coil each strand of string lights and put each one in a gallon-size zip top plastic bag. Store the bags in a larger waterproof bin. 
  • Thread the string lights through an empty cardboard tube. Secure the ends with a twist tie or rubber band to the tube. Stack the tubes in a bin. 
  • Wind each strand of string lights around a square of sturdy cardboard and secure the ends with a rubber band, clip, or twist tie. Stand the cardboard squares up like file folders in a plastic bin. 

How to Store Outdoor Holiday Decor  

Wait for a clear day–you don’t want to store holiday items after they’ve been soaked in the rain. Unplug any electrical cords, then move the decor items to your driveway or garage. Brush off any debris, leaves, or dirt. If needed, use a rag and warm soapy water to clean off each piece. Let everything air dry well, using a fan to speed up the process if you’d like. 

Remove batteries and wrap cords neatly. Inspect each item carefully for broken or cracked pieces, or other signs of wear and tear. If you find problems, repair or replace those items now so they don’t cause problems next winter. If you notice any frayed or worn-out power cords, it’s time to replace that decor. 

Large items should be wrapped with at least one layer of packing paper or a sheet, followed by two layers of protective material such as plastic sheeting or rubber matting. Fill in nooks and crannies with shredded paper or use bubble wrap to protect items that won’t fit into large plastic bags. If possible, store the items off the floor on pallets or shelving. If you have enough bulky items, consider renting or buying a storage unit. Make sure to put the items into the space so they are stable and so that nothing will fall on them. Don’t forget to bolt your shelves and storage racks to the wall for added stability.

Add a tag or clear label to each item. If you’re feeling really organized, make a list on your computer, noting where everything is stored. The goal is to make it easier on yourself next year when it’s time to bring out the St. Louis holiday lighting again. Winter holiday decorating is a wonderful tradition in many families. We think lights are an important part of the holiday season. They brighten up the darkness and create a magical effect for everyone. We’re here all year round to help with your home’s outdoor lighting needs. Get in touch for a free estimate.

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