As you plan your first Christmas lighting display, it’s also important to plan where you’ll put all of your “stuff” when the season is over.
With musically-synchronized pixels, we have the pixels themselves, but it doesn’t end there! We also have the controllers, the cabling, and the power supplies to take care of.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the best ways that I have found to store away my Christmas lights so that it is simple to get them out and set them up next year.
Step 1: Where Will You Store Them?
Do you have a garage, a shed, or an attic that you can use? Remember, most of these things can stay untouched from January – October/November, so it doesn’t have to be convenient.
Once you decide on your storage location, it’s time to consider how you will access your supplies.
Will you need to carry your lights up a ladder? Is the “door” to your attic or shed small – if so, be sure that whatever container you buy will fit!
At the end of the day, you want to make it easy on yourself to get your lights out each season.
The simplest storage method is for those lights that are mounted to PVC pipe or EMT conduit. Many pixels are mounted this way for house outlines, windows, and edge outlines.
For these lights, simply hang up some pipes, shelves or bike hooks and hang your lights on them. If you’re careful and neat, they’ll pick right up off your hooks again next year!
I even use roof joists up in my attic just for this purpose, so I didn’t have to hang anything!
Let’s talk about what types of containers work best for storing other types of lights.
Step 2: What to Use to Store Your Christmas Lights
You might be thinking “I can just use some cardboard boxes to store my lights, and it’ll all be good”.
Cardboard is cute, but it’s not helpful when water hits! As you probably know, cardboard boxes basically fall into pieces if they get wet at all, and most attic/shed/garage spaces at least get pretty humid from time to time.
Plus, as you use the boxes multiple times, they’ll begin to break down and fall apart – even the good boxes! You’ll have to be careful as well not to set them down outside in any wet grass, and that’s just too much to keep right!
So, we’re going to want some plastic bins. Plastic bins are ideal because they can be heavy-duty, they’re water-protected (from ground/floor water and drips), and they’re easy to find.
One FREE Option: Pool Buckets
The cheapest plastic bin I’ve ever found is the pool bucket – used for storing Chlorine or other chemicals.
If you know someone who has a pool, chances are that they go through bunches of these 5-ish gallon bucks in a given season, and they probably just throw them away! They have lids and handles as well, and usually can hold a good bit of weight.
They also smell funny, but that goes away over time 🙂
These can work great for storing bare, unmounted pixels, power and control cabling, and any pixel strips that can be curved to fit inside.
These buckets can be pretty tall, and so the contents can become a mess if you are not careful. Cut cardboard circles to fit to act as “layer separators”, keeping your bucket happy and clean 🙂
How to Find the Right Plastic Bin
If you go to the plastic bin aisle at your favorite home improvement store, you’ll notice that there are a TON of options.
As you choose a bin that’s right for you, consider a few important things:
- You’ll be storing a good bit of weight, so don’t cheap out on something thin. The thin plastic bins from brands like Sterilite aren’t going to cut it.
- Lids are important, and allow you to stack bins so you don’t need to new shelf for every row of bins.
- Handles matter! Some bins literally have no where to grab, making them difficult to carry out!
Over 10 years ago, I was introduced to one of my very favorite bins (*highly recommended*) – the classic “Yellow Lidded Black Bin”, which is available under the store brand from most hardware stores- even Harbor Freight here in the US has their own bin now!
They come in a few different sizes (which is great for separating heavy things from light things) and will last a long time if you treat them well. I’ve linked to them on Amazon, but they are generally cheaper in store because of the shipping cost.
I also use some bins that I had, which are a Rubbermaid-branded bin. These ones work
At the end of the day, there are a lot of options, and the best thing for you to do is to measure your storage space and decide what will fit best for you!