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  1. #1

    Default Yard Decorating Nightmare

    I have some major problems with exterior yard decorations:

    a) They never hold up to the winds; what's avail out teher to keep my lights ont he house
    b) I have a phobia about plugging things it when it's wet outsde; Is there really a SAFE way to do this
    c) I HATE HATE HATE having to untangle lights, as I have no way of really efficiently storing them to remain tangle free

    It's jsut all a pain. What's out there to make this a more pleasant experience??????

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,480

    Default Re: Yard Decorating Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Insert Clever Handle Here View Post
    I have some major problems with exterior yard decorations:

    a) They never hold up to the winds; what's avail out teher to keep my lights ont he house
    b) I have a phobia about plugging things it when it's wet outsde; Is there really a SAFE way to do this
    c) I HATE HATE HATE having to untangle lights, as I have no way of really efficiently storing them to remain tangle free

    It's jsut all a pain. What's out there to make this a more pleasant experience??????
    A - Attach guide wires to your yard decorations. Twine and tent stakes will probably be the easiest, though depending on the severity of your weather and depth of frozen ground, cement blocks or large rocks will suffice as anchors, you just cover them with decoration to hide them.

    B - Using a GFCI outlet/circuit will be all the protection you need for exterior lighting and decorations. Beyond that, just make sure that all your electrified decorations are in good repair.

    C - Get yourself an extension cord reel for light strands, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Yard Decorating Nightmare

    tangle free & damage free storage of holiday lighting strings:

    recycle those wrapping paper cardboard roll tubes to do this.

    cut a short slot longways on each end these slots are for anchoring the beginning and end of your light strings.

    to store, take one end and secure it in the slot, plug or terminating end on the inside of the tube end light string on the outside. secure the light string cable against the outside of the cardboard tube by wrapping a rubber band or a coated hair band on the outside of the cardboard tube just down from the slot to keep tension and prevent the lighting string from unwrapping. then start wrapping/winding the light string cord spirally around the outside of the wrapping paper tube like a barber shop pole or a candy cane. untwist any kinks as you go and keep the light sockets/bulbs on the outside pointing out from the cardboard tube core. wrap tightly sliding the cord up as needed. if there is room on the core for the next lighting string plug it in end to end and continue wrapping. secure the end of your last lighting string into the slot on the opposite end. secure from the finishing end with another rubber band or hair band on the outside of the tube from the finishing end as you did on the starting end. smaller light strings like those 35s can fit on a kitchen paper towel core tube. before proceeding test the light string by releasing the appropriate end and plugging it in, reseat or replace any light bulbs or fuse as necessary, resecure test end in slot and rubber band and package for next year.

    wrap wound light tube in paper sleeve (can recycle from brown paper shopping bags). slip tubes of lighting strings in a long sealed wrapping paper box or canister caddy which you can pick up on clearance after the holiday season. store bags of the replacement fuses flasher bulbs and spare bulbs in a ziploc baggie in the same box or canister. now you're all set for next year, retest light strings before unwinding, and you're ready to decorate.

    concerns about plugging in and unplugging holiday light strings outdoors.

    you can plug lighting strings into a switched outlet or a switched outlet extension. at this time of year common to find outlet extensions that also have a switching receiver that works with a battery operated remote. cuts down on the concern about the act of plugging lighting strings in, make sure power to receptacle or cap is off first.

    outside lighting should be plugged into a GFCI protected power source. GFCI protected cordsets are available if upgrading the power source outlet is a project you'd rather save for the spring.

    concerns about securing lighting strings while on display and easy installation and removal in future decorating

    for repeat stringing year after year you can install specialty hooks which can be pricey and some of the systems out there don't work to well or made of plastic and get brittle after a year,

    OR you might try what i do/did: go ahead and just use safety cup hooks!

    initial install of the cup hooks takes a few extra minutes but they can remain in place for years and years if you are discrete in where and how you install them. i predrilled pilot holes and then hand twisted them in a few turns, then backed out and smoozed a dab of caulk over the pilot hole then re-inserted cup hook and twisted the way down so it nested in a caulk dab.

    taking down the light strings is a breeze and repeat installations of lighting are quick as a wink and tangle free especially if you're unwinding the light strings from cardboard tube storage as I described above and you are on a ladder. you can find them in brass, galvanized, chrome, or vinyl coated white, beige, black, and other colors. I know the stanley brass safety cup hooks are labeled for exterior use the 3/4" are about the smallest that are easy to use for the install and deinstall of the strings with gloves on in the winter and are rated for 10 lbs, the 1-1/4 hooks can handle even more weight and i use those in some areas where more than one string meet or where extension cords other decorcations and such are strung/hung. That's what I have used at previous homes and have here. had no problems after several years of use - still spring well, no deterioration, and the light strings stay put when placed and install and release easily when desired. makes putting up other decorations for seasons before and after the winter holidays easier too. check pricing it can vary widely, be frugal and hunt for the best deal/value for the quantity and size you prefer to work with.

    happy holiday decorating!

    p.s. if anyone has come up with an efficient way to store tangle free those "icecycle" light strings - the ones with the multiple hanging mini strings that hang down like fringe - PLEASE let me know - THEY ARE A HEADACHE and I haven't come up with a FAST EASY and EFFICIENT system for keeping those tangle and damage free.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Yard Decorating Nightmare

    Easy,

    If it causes all that stress then forget it..... Go enjoy the people in your life.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Yard Decorating Nightmare

    I know the bashing about "throw away mentality" and "save the earth" is about to begin, but honestly.........lights are too cheap to worry with hours trying to untangle them. After Christmas buy them for at 90% off and store until next year. It's cheaper to buy news one anyway, than to buy a bunch of replacement bulbs. I've never understood why anybody would buy a 20-bulb replacement pack for the same price as a 100-bulb string of lights, either.

    Bash away, bash away, bash away all.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default !

    brand new lights out of the box can get tangled up you see the way the package them? when going to hang them the tube storage trick works can unwind tangle free one-handed. you lasso loop them up and they get tangled and bulbs get loosened and sometimes pop out! heck, you gotta check bulbs are seated sometimes you test the string still in the box and you find some don't light cuz they got loose in shipping and weren't set well or are crappy cheap bulbs in the first place!

    and if it ain't broke why fix it? save the bulbs.

    news? no bashing through the snow. if you have money to burn go ahead.

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