How to Untangle and Wrap Holiday Lights and Wires

by Team HomeServe
woman sits by a fireplace tangled up in flashing holiday lights

Whether you channel your inner Clark Griswold with a massive holiday display or choose only a few well-placed decorations, keeping the wires and lights untangled is no easy task. The cords can get easily tangled into a mass that can take hours to unravel. Tangled cords and wires can also damage your favorite holiday decorations.

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From lights for your Christmas tree to wires for lighted decorations, knowing how to untangle wires and lights and store them correctly cuts down on your holiday stress.

How Do You Untangle Wires?

Lots of holiday decorations have electrical wires, including strings of lights, inflatables and lighted figures. When deciding how to untangle wires, start by moving the mass of tangled wires to an open space where you can work freely. Use these steps to help untangle the wires:

1. Unplug any cords that you can. For example, you might be able to disconnect a cord from a light-up decoration if it has an easy connector.

2. Look for any wires in the mass that are only loosely entangled. Gently pull out any of these easily removed wires or cords.

3. Start from one end, slowly loosening the knots and freeing small sections of wires at a time. Spread out the free wires to avoid getting them tangled again.

4. Use a pen or another thin object that's not too sharp to help loosen knots if needed.

5. Work down the length of wires until everything is free.

How Do You Untangle Holiday Lights?

Figuring out how to untangle a knot of holiday lights can be more challenging. The bulbs get in the way and can cause more tangles or catch the cords as you're working.

Spread out the strand of holiday lights in an open area. Start at one end of the light strand, and move that end through as many tangles as possible to unravel them. Pull gently and be careful that you don't bang the lights on the floor or table because this can cause breakage.

As you work, keep the untangled portion straight and away from the rest of the mess to prevent it from becoming tangled again. You can also wrap the free end around a light holder or another object to keep it from getting tangled. Or, have someone hold the freed portion to keep it straight.

How Do You Properly Wrap Wires?

Learning how to wrap wires can make storage easier and prevent future tangling issues. The easiest method is to wrap wires in a loop, much the way you would wrap a garden hose around a holder. You can use your elbow to help, holding one end in your hand and wrapping it down around your elbow and back up to your hand. Continue until the entire wire is wrapped. Then, use zip ties, tape or another holder to keep the wires in a loop. Use at least one fastener at each end of the loop to keep it from slipping and tangling.

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How Do You Properly Wrap Holiday Lights?

Part of figuring out how to store Christmas lights is wrapping them correctly to prevent tangling. This can be tricky because of the bulbs. Simply locking it around your arm like you did with wires can get messy quickly. Instead, use a light holder or piece of cardboard to wrap the lights around. Wrap carefully, lining up the lights in a neat spool around the holder.

How Should You Store Wires or Lights to Prevent Tangling?

Once you get everything untangled and wrapped, it's important to store the lights to prevent them from getting tangled again. Wrap wires and light strands individually so they don't get intertwined. Place strands of lights in a container with newspaper or cardboard to divide each strand. Give each decoration its own spot instead of piling up multiple decorations and risking the cords getting tangled.

Tips on How to Untangle Wires and Lights

Here are a few more tips on how to manage wires and holiday lights:

Manage Your Cables

Create a cable management system while your lights are on display to keep them tangle-free before storage.

Try a Hanger

Wrapping cords and lights around an old hanger lets you easily hang each strand separately to keep them from getting tangled.

Use Labels

Labeling the cords and wires makes it easy to see where each bundle goes when you're sorting through the decorations.