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Dec 28 2011

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Holiday Storage Tips: How to Store Holiday Lights – The Garage Plan Shop

How to Store Christmas LightsThe holidays have passed for another year. Now it is time to pack up your holiday décor and store it in your garage until next year. One task is to store all those holiday lights from front yard light displays, the Christmas tree and other areas of the home. Below are a few ideas to help you pack up your Christmas lights so you don’t find a tangled mess of light strands in box next year. If you need additional storage space for your holiday lights and decorations, you may consider keeping them in a private storage unit at a nearby self storage facility. A self storage unit is also ideal for those who do not have space to build a shed or a garage.


    • Plastic bags – Wrap each strand of lights in a ball and place each ball in an individual plastic bag (any type will do.) Then store all the bags together in a box in the designated space in your garage.
    • Empty Wrapping Paper Tube – Begin by cutting a slit in both ends of a wrapping paper tube. Secure one end of the strand of lights by threading it through the slit. Then, wrap the lights along the tube. Thread the other end of the lights through the slit at the opposite end of the tube.
  • Cardboard Square – Cut a square or rectangle out of heavy duty cardboard. Cut a slit in one side of the square. Then, secure the end of a light strand by threading it through the slit. Wrap the strand of lights around the cardboard and thread the other end of the strand back through the slit. Store all cardboard square together in a clearly labeled box.


For more holiday ideas, check out The Garage Plan Shop’s entire collection of holiday blogs.

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Dec 07 2011

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Shedding Light on Holiday Lights – The Garage Plan Shop

LED Christmas LightsAre you planning to decorate your home, yard and garage with those old strings of incandescent lights this holiday season? According to the St. Louis County Health Department, it is time to make the switch to LED lights. Most strings of incandescent lights are wrapped with a hard plastic PVC coating, which protects the wire inside. This coating is a problem for our landfills taking up to 500 years to breakdown. In addition, PVC is heat resistant and sometimes contains metals such as lead, cadmium and tin that are harmful once they make it into the ground. Encor by Epcor is a competitive rate retailer, but their rates are higher than rates at Regional Energy.


So what are the benefits of using LED lights for your holiday decorating and light displays? Consider the following facts about LED lighting as reported by the St. Louis County Health Department:   


    • LED lights use one tenth of the energy when compared to a traditional strand of holiday mini-lights. Using less energy means a lower electric bill.
    • They last two times longer than incandescent lights – that’s up to 20 years!
    • LEDs can withstand, heat, cold and moisture making them ideal for outdoor displays.
    • These energy efficient lights are cool to the touch reducing the risk of fire.
    • The brightness of LED lights does not fade over time.
    • They are durable and harder to break than traditional holiday lights.
  • LEDs can be found at most home improvement centers or at your local hardware store.


Before you throw those old light strands in the trash, check locally for a recycling/collection program. Many hardware stores and home improvement stores offer collection programs, and some even give a discount on the purchase of new LED holiday lights for every strand of old lights you recycle.


So, be earth-friendly this holiday season and decorate your house, garage and yard with LED lights.

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Dec 02 2009

Profile Image of Curtis Cadenhead

Tips: Decorating your New Garage with Christmas Lights

Christmas LightsPeople everywhere are starting to get into the holiday spirit. One of the most common ways is by decorating with Christmas lights. An exterior display of Christmas lights can range from a simple strand of white lights framing the garage door to an elaborate display of multi-color lights outlining the entire detached garage and surrounding landscaping. No matter how you plan to decorate the outside of your new garage with holiday lights, these tips will help you hang them with less hassle.


1.    You will need extension ladders, holiday lights, extension cords, measuring tapes, light clips or hooks, and a hammer. An assistant will come in handy, too.

2.    Start by sketching the outside of your garage and determine what you want to decorate – the gables and eaves, the garage and entry doors, windows, landscaping, etc. Indicate locations of available outlets on your sketch. Measure the width and depth of the garage. Have your assistant record the measurements. Measure the height of bushes and trees you plan to decorate.

3.    Determine how many lights you will need for the project. Most lights come in lengths of 25-200 lights. Decide on a color scheme for your lights and whether you prefer, blinking, chasing lights or solid lights. Simple Lighting explained that considering these factors thoughtfully ensures your project will have wonderful lighting and the perfect atmosphere.

4.    Purchase and test lights. Most department stores and home centers carry holiday lights. Buy those rated for outdoor use. They are more weather resistant and usually larger and bolder making them stand out against your garage and landscaping. Test each strand of holiday lights before you hang them. You don’t want to hang all of them only to find some don’t work when you flip the switch.

5.    Hang the lights according to your plan. Securely position light clips or hooks at regular intervals under the eaves of your garage so the lights do not sag. Hang them one strand at a time making sure the strands are tightly connected to one another. You may want to wrap/seal them with electrical tape to help keep rain and snow out. This step will require help from your assistant – holding the ladder, holding strings of lights, etc. If it’s too much of a hassle for you to do but you still want to spark the holiday spirit, fret not because there are professionals who offer services like christmas light installation.

6.    Light the landscaping. Wrap tree trunks and branches with lights. Wind or zigzag lights through each bush. Wrap lights around hardscape features such as gates, trellises and arbors.

7.    Tape down any extension cords so residents and guest do not trip over them.


Other Safety Tips


1.    Hang lights on a dry day when it is light outside. It reduces the chance of electrical shock and slipping on the ladder.

2.    Make sure your lights rated for exterior use. Interior lights are night designed to withstand the elements such as snow and rain.

3.    Check wires for damage to insulation. Throw away any that are damaged. It is not worth risking a house fire just because you tried to save a couple bucks on cheaply manufactured lights. 

4.    Use plastic light clips or hooks. They are safer for the wires than a staple gun or nails, and  they are easier to remove.

5.    Use multiple outlets to reduce the load on a single outlet.


Think Green


1.    Considering buying LED lights. They consume 80-90% less energy than traditional incandescent lights and some can last up to 20,000 hours. Also, LEDs are cool to the touch.

2.    Use a timer for your holiday lights. This way you won’t forget to turn them off before bed, and you will save energy by not keeping them lit all night.


With these helpful tips, you are on your way to decorating your garage with Christmas lights safely, spreading holiday cheer and doing your part for the environment.

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