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Tips for installing outdoor Christmas lights

Happy New Year everyone!

Today is the first day of 2015 and it's a bright but cold day here in the Portland, Oregon area. It's also a perfect day to take down Christmas lights since it's not raining!

I have developed a tight system for putting up and taking down lights over the past few decades, that makes it fast and easy each year to get the job done.

These tips will help make putting up Christmas lights a breeze:

Use your lawn as a soft work area

Lights are fragile, but the grass in your front yard makes a soft and forgiving work area where you can organize your lights.

Use masking tape to mark each strand of lights

One of the trickiest part of putting up lights each year is figuring out where to put each strand, so that they all line up properly on your roof.

The first year you put up lights will be a trial-and-error experience, but once you get it right then you'll have a template for the next year - provided you can remember what you did the first year. And it's really hard to remember when it's been 12 months since the last time you did it.

So grab a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker, and draw a little picture that will help you remember where each strand goes.

Be sure to mark the direction of the plug too, since that has to line up with where your electrical outlets are located.

Leave the gutter clips on

It takes a long time to put gutter clips on, so I recommend you just leave them on. Saves you the hassle the following year.

Now to finish taking down my lights... and just in time for the Rose Bowl game. GO DUCKS!!!

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