You’ve finally dug out that box of Christmas decorations that have been out of your thoughts for a whole year. Upon opening the box you find your string lights are intertwined and wrapped around your ornaments! To save yourself some grief and keep that holiday cheer, Safe Keeping has a few inexpensive and simple methods to prepare your lights for the following year.

1. Zip ties- You can find these in pretty much any store that has a DIY section. Begin coiling the lights into a circle by wrapping it around the palm of your hand and elbow. Secure the lights with the zip ties in three places, then keep your bulbs from hitting one another by placing them into different bags.

2. Cardboard- Don’t just throw away the boxes those gifts came in. Cut out a big enough piece of cardboard to wrap your lights around. Cut a notch on one side to fix one end of the cord into. Once you’ve wrapped your lights, cut another notch to secure the other end of the cord. Keep that same recycling spirit by padding the bulbs with what ever left over wrapping paper or tissue you have.

3. Ziplock Bags- Keep your lights separated and free of dust by placing them in freezer or sandwich bags. Plug each end of the lights into one another, then place into a bag.

4. Power cord holder- A recommended holder would be one that can wind up and is big enough to fit several or all of your lights on. Once you finish winding up one string light, plug one end into a new set and continue winding until you have filled up the holder, or have gone through all of your lights.

5. Cardboard roll- Use the cardboard roll that was at the center of your wrapping paper as a cord holder. Cut a notch into one end of the roll then place the plug of the cord into that notch. Wrap the cord around the roll from top to bottom. Try to wrap it where you can put the loose end of the cord into a new notch on the roll, or even back into the first notch. This technique can also be used with a Pringles can . Pad the bulbs with any loose material left over like wrapping paper or tissue paper.