The chances are high that you will have to deal with moving electrical devices each time you move. Thousands of Americans move every year, and at least 84 percent of them have computers in their homes, while the percentage of households with gaming devices is also around 80 percent.
Even if you're not moving this year, you may have a related challenge, such as trying to safely ship your college kid's printer halfway across the country. Here are some tips to help you effectively pack your electronics and safely manage these fragile devices on moving day.
The first step in preparing to pack is to back up all information stored on your electrical devices. Your computer's hard drive, for example, should be backed up in at least two separate locations. Next, before you disassemble your gaming or entertainment system, or home office and audio equipment, take these preparatory steps:
- Take lots of pictures of your current setup, including close-ups of which cords go where and how they connect.
- Use small, color-coded stickers to match cords with the devices in which they connect.
- Fold each cord carefully and secure it with a rubber band or twist tie.
- Store all the accessories for each device together.
- Remove toner or ink from printers before packing.
- Secure batteries in place with electrical tape.
- Power down each device, then shield power buttons so they can't be accidentally pressed during transport.
If your electronics were professionally installed, consider having them professionally uninstalled as well. Also, you may wish to opt for professional crating services for large, fragile screens.
Whether you're packing for a move across town or simply mailing a laptop or tablet to someone as a gift, the original packaging is the best packing material for each device (because the retail packaging has to meet certain safety standards). However, if you, like so many people, don't have room to store your enormous shipping containers for years on end between moves, you can still take precautions to move these items safely. You'll need to stock up on packaging supplies such as:
- Paper tape
- Electrical tape
- Packing tape
- Special static-resistant bubble wrap
- Large cardboard boxes
Never use packing peanuts; they not only allow heavy items to shift during transport but also fail to protect electronics from static electricity. Instead, use crinkled brown paper or specially coated bubble wrap that resists static electricity. For extra protection, you may wish to double box some or all electronics. This is done by first encasing the item in a roomy box along with lots of padding, then enclosing that box in another box that's a few inches larger in every direction, filling the gaps with more padding. This method ensures that the normal amounts of jostling that occur during transit won't damage the item. Whether or not you double box, be sure to follow these guidelines when packing:
- Wrap each item in a special anti-static plastic bag to exclude dust and static.
- If possible, keep boxes under 30 pounds for ease of moving.
- Fill all empty space with firmly packed padding to prevent shifting inside the box.
- Seal each box completely with packing tape.
- Write an inventory on the outside of each box.
- Mark the box with "fragile" and "this side up."
If at all possible, you should pack your electronics in the family car. Extreme temperatures can be destructive to sensitive electronic equipment, and trucks designed for household shipping and moving are usually not climate controlled. If it's a long move and you know you won't be able to fit your expensive electronics into your vehicle, ask the moving company about white glove shipping services or specialized shipping for electronics. These options may use climate-controlled moving trucks, making them much safer for your devices than a conventional moving truck. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to keep your electronics safe on top of planning an entire move and packing everything else in your house, don't panic. Simply inquire with your moving company about specialized packing, crating and moving services to take these fragile items off your hands while you handle the rest of the household. Need help with packing and moving your electrical equipment? We can help! Contact TSI today.