Electronics are an integral part of almost every household. Computers, printers/scanners, TV & stereo systems, satellite systems, game consoles and even whole home theatre systems have become the norm. Properly set up and configured, these items will serve you well for years. That is, until you have to move them to a new home!
If you’ve decided to pack these items on your own, rather than having your professionally trained mover do the work, these tips and suggestions will keep all of your electronics safe during the move.
FIRST! Back Up Your Data & Important Files
Be prepared! Manually back up all your data, including irreplaceable files, to an external hard drive or to an online cloud-based service. You can take this one step further & keep your personal data safe and out of unauthorized hands by using an online service (such as Keeper or LastPass) to protect your online passwords.
Flash Tip – This will save you loads of time after your move!
Before you unplug anything, take a photo or draw a diagram of all the cords & connectors on your electronics to help you reconnect your systems after the move. Label each cable according to its corresponding connecting ports for each piece of hardware. Use colored stickers, tape or markers , or numbered tags to identify the items as you’re disconnecting them one by one.
Use the Correct Size Packing Boxes & Packing Material
Original packing material is ideal as it’s customized to fit your specific items. If you haven’t retained your original packaging, use thick-walled cardboard boxes that are larger than the equipment want to protect.
Placing pieces of anti-static (see below) bubble wrap on the bottom of each box serves as an effective shock absorber. Use plenty of soft packing paper, particularly on the sides to keep your equipment secure and safe during transport. Moving blankets – even clean household blankets and pillows – can provide extra padding for highly sensitive electronics.
Once your unit has been placed in the box, remember to fill any remaining spaces with pieces of anti-static bubble wrap or other soft packing material. Place a final layer of packing material on top before you seal the box with tape. Test to ensure nothing shifts around as you gently move the box.
Anti-Static Bubble Wrap – Your New Best Friend!
Because electronic devices are sensitive to static electricity and can easily be damaged when subjected to it, you should use anti-static bubble wrap. DO NOT use ordinary packing peanuts (foam peanuts) because they conduct electricity and may harm your electronics.
Mark All Boxes as “Fragile & Handle With Care” and “This Side Up.”
Mark the boxes on the top and on two sides so there’s no mistaking that these boxes should be handled with care. As well, mark the room destination so your electronics don’t have to be moved twice once at their final destination.
ITEMS TO BE PACKED
Shut down the computer and monitor before disconnecting them. Remove any CDs from the disc drive and close all drive doors. As the screen is the most vulnerable part of your computer monitor, it needs the greatest protection. DO NOT use bubble wrap or newspaper directly on the screen because they may leave marks on the surface of the displays. Instead, use specially designed foam wrap or soft packing material before placing the computer in the box. Move your computer monitor standing up rather than face down.
If you have a laptop computer and you’re choosing to pack it rather than take it with you, follow the instructions above and then place your laptop in a padded sleeve prior to placing it in the box.
Moving Plasma TVs can be tricky because they are delicate and heavy. Essentially they are two thin panels of glass with plasma – and electrically-charged gas – suspended between them.
Double check with your manufacturer as they may recommend using only third-party specialists for dismounting and preparing your TV for shipping, with professional installation at the other end. If that’s not the case, let your mover know that you will need special handling for your TV.
The key to safe transport is packing. Use the manufacturers original packing container if you have it. If not, your mover can provide you with a special shipping container – one that meets the manufacturer’s specifications as closely as possible.
Like your computers, the screen is the most vulnerable part and it needs the greatest protection. DO NOT use bubble wrap or newspaper directly on the screen because they may leave marks on the surface. Instead, use specially designed foam wrap or soft packing material before placing the computer in the box. Ship and store your TV in an upright position. Strap large plasma TVs to a pallet or the wall of the moving truck to prohibit shifting during the move.
Audio & Video
Speakers, subwoofers and audio equipment come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and their internal electronics need to be protected from shock and exposure. To prevent damage, wrap each piece of equipment individually with bubble wrap or foam sheets before placing inside the packing box.
Before packing your laser or ink jet printer, remove the toner or ink cartridges* and pack them in plastic dust-proof bags. Failure to do so may result in a huge mess! Close and tape shut (painters tape is best) all drawers, doors and lids.
Pack your printer tightly following the packing instructions above and ensure the printer is packed upright. Remember to pack those cartridges along with cables and cords in a labeled plastic bag with the printers.
*The caveat here is that if it’s going to be days before your printer is removed from packing, you may want to leave the cartridges in so the ink does not dry out. This is especially true if your cartridges are brand new.
Best Bet: Check your user manual before deciding to removing or leaving in your ink cartridges.
Cables, Remote Controls, Manuals & Accessories
Place these items individually in a labeled dust-proof plastic bag and keep them with their matching electronic units. Do Not pack all of these items together in one box or you will spend hours trying to figure out which cord goes to which electronic.
UNPACKING AT YOUR NEW HOME
It’s advised that you wait at least 24 hours before plugging in and turning on your electronic devices after a move. Some pieces are extremely sensitive and will need time to adjust to the new room temperature and humidity before being operational. This is especially important if your move was completed during the hottest or coldest months of the year. Inspect your electronics for signs of condensation prior to plugging them in.
Because there’s still a chance to damage your electronics during the unpacking process, it’s important to take your time, be methodical and use caution. Go through all the packing materials so you don’t miss any items such cables or peripheral devices, screws, etc. As you take your electronic devices out of the boxes, consider dusting or vacuuming them before setting them up.
Follow manufacturers instructions for each of your items as if you were setting up your electronics the first time.