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Electronics have become an integral part of almost every household – TV sets, computers and their peripherals (printers, scanners, digital projectors, etc.), stereo systems, home theater systems, satellite receivers, game consoles – you name it.
Once properly set up and configured, such electronic devices will serve you well and give you pleasure for years to come… until the moment you have to move them to another home.
Moving electronics between two homes can be a risky job due to the extremely fragile and sensitive nature of all electronic equipment. To make things even more challenging for you, whenever you decide to pack electronics on your own, you need to take special care when packing your electronics for a move, for those hi-tech gadgets are rather expensive as well.
Learn the best ways to pack electronics when moving through 10 packing tips for electronics, hand-picked for your digital success.
No matter how well you pack your electronics when moving house, you have to be prepared in case some kind of damage occurs to your electronic equipment during transit.
In fact, anything can happen on the road and if it does, then you are likely to lose all the important information stored on the hard drive of your computer.
To avoid such a nightmarish eventuality, you must backup all irreplaceable computer files either to an external hard drive or to an online storage service. Your safest bet is to use an online cloud service offered by reputable, established, and trustworthy companies – Google Drive, Microsoft Azure, Dropbox.
To make things even safer until your electronic devices reach your new home, set up a boot-up computer password that is really hard to guess by unauthorized persons.
Also, using software like LastPass to remember and protect your online passwords will enable you to keep personal data out of other people’s hands.
Packing electronics for moving will be an impossible task without the proper packing supplies to finish the job in a fast and safe manner.
What’s the best way to pack electronics for moving?
The answer is pretty obvious – pack them in their original packaging provided by the manufacturer.
Yes, using original packaging is your best option to keep your fragile hi-tech devices safe because you have to realize that original boxes were designed to keep the electronic item 100% during transport.
Have you noticed the custom-cut Styrofoam inserts that fit around the electronic devices?
Have you also noticed the generous use of anti-static bubble wrap and protective sheets of soft padding materials?
However, if you lost or recycled those original packaging years ago, then you’re going to have to make an effort to mimic the same level of safety for your electronics. How?
Find thick-walled cardboard boxes that are slightly bigger than the dimensions of the electronic gadget you’re trying to protect for the road. With adequate padding, those sturdy replacement boxes should do a good job of protecting your electronics when moving to another home.
Are you following a remarkable moving checklist that is telling you what you should do next?
Besides appropriate electronics packaging boxes, you’re also going to need a number of other packing materials to get the packing job done in the best possible way.
Anti-static bubble wrap. You probably know that electronic devices are rather sensitive to static electricity and can easily be damaged when subjected to it. Make sure the sheets of bubble wrap you purchase are indeed anti-static. DO NOT use ordinary packing peanuts (foam peanuts) because they conduct electricity and may harm your electronic units. If you insist on using Styrofoam peanuts to fill any empty spaces in the cardboard boxes, bet on the anti-static ones.
Packing paper. The usage of soft packing paper as the initial layer of protection will keep your sensitive electronics from dust and even minor hits and vibrations on the road.
Moving blankets. If you do own specialized moving blankets, then you should definitely use them to pack electronics when moving home. Ordinary blankets and other soft household items such as pillows and clothing can also provide extra padding for the highly sensitive electronic equipment you’re taking with you.
Our tips for packing electronics continue with a task that will save you loads of time after the move is over.
It can be really frustrating to spend an excessive amount of time untangling cords and wires in an attempt to figure out the device they belong to.
To avoid such an unpleasant scenario, you’re going to have to organize and label all the cables and wires that come in and go out from your electronic equipment.
One good way to pack electronics for moving is to use colored stickers, colored tape, numbered tags, or other alternative markers to mark all the cables as you’re disconnecting them one by one.
Now, before you rush to take your colored stickers and tags, here’s a simple trick that can save you plenty of lost time and sheer frustration during the period of re-installing your electronic devices upon arrival.
Really, that trick cannot be any simpler – simply take a photo of the way your electronic items are wired up and the way the cables are currently organized.
Whoever said that a picture is worth a thousand words must have had in mind the initial steps to packing electronics for a move.
Do not place all cables, remote controls, and other accessories in one single box – instead, keep them together with the matching electronic units.
You should be well aware that electronics are sensitive to abrupt temperature changes and may even get damaged when subjected to extreme temperature values. That fact should affect the way you pack electronics for shipping.
Disks and peripherals. Remove all media disks such as VHS tapes (!), CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays from their video players and pack them together with your disk collection. Also, disconnect any external hard drives, flash memory sticks, and other peripheral devices.
Batteries. Don’t forget to take out all removable batteries from the electronic devices and their respective remote controls prior to packing them. The main reason for that precautionary measure is that batteries may overheat in the back of the moving vehicle and leak, and you definitely don’t want that to happen.
Toners and ink cartridges. Before packing a laser printer or an ink printer, you must remove the toner or ink cartridges from them and pack them inside plastic dust-proof bags. Failure to do so may result in a huge mess.
Purchase more sheets of bubble wrap when packing electronics for moving and you won’t be sorry about that shrewd investment of yours.
Place pieces of bubble wrap on the bottom of each box you’re about to fill up with electronic equipment. That initial layer will serve as an effective shock absorber, keeping potential damage away from your expensive electronics. Towels can also be used instead of the bubbly protective material.
Wrap each electronic device in soft packing paper first, and then add a sheet of bubble wrap on top of it. Secure the bundle with tape.
Transfer the wrapped-up electronic unit into the packaging box (always place heavier devices first) and fill any remaining spaces with pieces of bubble wrap (ideally), towels or pieces of clothing (preferably), or newsprint (if you have to save on packing supplies).
When you’re done, position one final layer of bubble wrap on the very top, check to see that nothing is shifting inside, and then close the lids and seal the box with tape.
Packing electronics for moving is all about using your common sense, so a little forethought and careful planning can really make a huge difference.
Without a doubt, the most vulnerable parts of computer monitors and flat-screen TVs are their screens, so you should do everything in your power to protect them.
DO NOT use bubble wrap directly onto the screen because it may leave nasty marks on the surface of the displays – trust us, bubble wrap is just not suitable for protecting such delicate elements directly.
Instead, wrap tightly the entire electronic device in soft moving blankets, then cut out a large piece of clean cardboard that matches the screen size, and finally place the cardboard cut-out over the blanket-wrapped item.
Use packing tape to secure the newly installed cardboard protection.
CAUTION: NEVER use newspapers to pack displays because newsprint can ink-stain and scratch the sensitive screen surface.
The moment you close a cardboard shut and seal it with tape is the exact moment you should take a colored marker pen and label the box properly.
Labeling your electronics boxes will have a few distinctive advantages, so whatever you do, take a minute or so to complete this often underestimated and forgotten task.
Mark the content of each box for easier identification after the move is over. You may want to “forget” to write the exact content of your electronics-packed boxes as a precautionary measure.
Write FRAGILE and HANDLE WITH CARE on the top and two other sides of your electronics packing boxes. That essential information will warn movers to be more careful when handling your packed electronic equipment.
Write the destination room so that your moving crew will know in which room to deliver the box. If you fail to label the destination of a box, movers will most likely place it anywhere they like, leaving you to carry it to its respective room.
Consider not writing the content of the box unless you’re moving all the containers by yourself.
There’s a risk of damage to your costly electronic devices even after a successful delivery of the moving boxes.
Don’t let your guard down until your electronic equipment is installed and running the way it did at your old home.
Deliver the boxes to the rooms where you plan to install the still unpacked equipment. You might still damage an electronic item during the unpacking process so take your time and do it with caution.
While unpacking, go through all of the packing materials so that you don’t miss any smaller items such as cables, peripheral devices, or screws, and consequently throw them out by mistake.
Only after you’ve set up your electronic units and made sure they are operating properly should you get rid of the packing supplies you don’t intend to use ever again.
While taking your electronic devices out of the boxes, you should seriously consider dusting and even vacuuming some of them before setting them up for normal usage.
Something you wouldn’t normally think when reinstalling your computer or similar highly sensitive electronic equipment in your new home is to consider purchasing brand new surge-protected power strips that have adequate protection against unexpected power spikes.
You are advised to wait at least 24 hours before plugging in and turning on your electronic devices after the move. Some electronic equipment pieces are extremely sensitive and will need some time to adjust to room temperature before being operational.
This precaution is especially important if the household move was completed in the hottest or the coldest months of the year. Do inspect your electronics for signs of condensation before plugging them in.
Use the wiring photos you took or the colored markers to wire up properly your electronic units. Use their respective user manuals, if necessary.
You shouldn’t worry if you can’t find a specific manual, you can always try to download them from the manufacturers’ websites or from special websites that offer hundreds of thousands of user manuals for free (Manuals Online, for example).
Still nervous about packing your electronic devices on your own?
Contact professional movers who know what it takes to keep your electronic equipment safe and sound throughout the house move.