Take the cardboard egg crate and use it to store ornaments from the tree before you place them into a box. It separates them from banging into each other and protects them from being crushed. You can also take large zip lock bags and place your lights into to keep them from getting tangled, then place each bag into a plastic tub and label them Christmas Lights and ornaments. They will stack and be wonderful to see in the next holiday.
Something I have also found that works is the packing "sheets" that grocery stores use to pack fruit. They are shaped similar to egg crates (with round places for each piece of fruit) but larger. They are great for large ball ornaments. You can stack several "sheets" in a large box.
I like to take a piece of cardboard, usually ripped from a box leftover from a Christmas present and wrap my lights around them. This keeps them untangled and ready to go next year. I also make sure the lights are all working when I put them away.
TC in MO
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