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Packing Computers and Other Electronics

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When getting ready to move to a new home, you want to take extra care when packing up all of your electronics. Since these items are expensive and easily broken, they need to be handled and packaged in such a way to minimize the risk for damage. As it is hard to imagine life without your computer or TV, you want to be sure your electronics are packed properly.

The packing process

The first thing you should do when preparing to pack any electronic device is to find the item’s user manual. The manual will instruct you on the proper way to disassemble the item and provide any specific instructions on packing or moving it. If you can’t locate your original manual, you can contact the manufacturer.

After reviewing the manual for any special issues related to packing it up, you can begin the packing process.

First, turn the item off and unplug it. Then you should wrap a piece of masking tape or a self-adhesive label on any wires and label them appropriately. These wires should be removed from the appliance and then wrapped up, secured with twist ties, and packed separately.

The next step is to put the item in a cardboard box, keeping the following tips in mind:

  • Your best option is to put the item in the box it came in along with the original packaging.
  • If you don’t have these materials, you can try to obtain product-specific boxes from the manufacturer.
  • Alternately, you can buy special electronic boxes from a moving company or use any strong, durable cardboard box.

Before placing the item in the box, you will need to secure it with appropriate padding materials. Make sure you use only non-static bubble wrap, foam, and packing peanuts. If you use materials that conduct electricity, they may cause some damage to the electronics. You should also place some cushioning on the bottom of the box before putting the item in it. Then place your packing material on the sides and top of the item.

As you close the box, you want your item to be as snug fitting as possible. Once your item is in the box, seal the top with packing tape. Remember to label the box as “Fragile” and/or "Top Load Only," so you and your movers will know not to pack other stuff on top of it when loading the truck.

TIP: After putting your electronic item in the box, you can wrap the entire box in plastic wrap to prevent moisture from getting in and causing damage.

Special care for computers and TVs

Perhaps one of the most important, fragile, and expensive items you own is your computer. Thus, it requires some extra care and attention. In the weeks before your move, begin backing up all of your files, in case something happens that causes the computer to lose its memory. In addition to using your computer’s built-in data-backup function, you should put your files on compact disks, an external hard drive, a memory stick, or any other removable media.

If you have a big-screen, plasma, or LCD television, these items will need to be packed in wooden crates to protect the screens during the move. You can either have your moving company do this or hire a third-party to create custom crates. When unpacking your TV at your new home, keep in mind that plasma and LCD TVs often take a few hours after being hooked up to calibrate before they should be turned on.

Some other things to keep in mind when packing electronics

  • When packing printers, copiers, and fax machines, remove the ink or toner cartridges and place them in plastic bags. This way, you will avoid potential damage should the ink or toner leak out during the move.
  • Place all paperwork involving your electronics, such as receipts, bills, repair invoices, manuals, and other documents, in a folder so everything will be together and easily accessible.
  • If you think you will have trouble reconnecting all of the wires for your electronics, take some pictures of the hookups before you disassemble them. When you reassemble your electronics in your new home, reference the pictures to help you get the configurations right.

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on August 27, 2009

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