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Do's and don'ts of packing your home electronics

While packing up your home is a huge project, it's also somewhat mindless - until it comes to your valuable electronics. Follow these tips to safely pack and transport them into your new home.

While packing up your home is a huge project, it's also somewhat mindless - until it comes to your valuable electronics. When you're packing these items, you need to be extra careful, or you could cause some serious damage to your most valuable possessions. Follow these packing do's and don'ts from David Gregg, Executive Director, Consumer Product Newsgroup at Behindthebuy.com, who learned how to move from sources like Mayflower Moving Company and United Van Lines.

Packing your plasma

Don't place it directly on the cardboard or wood crate bottom. You need something in between the TV and its case to provide some sort of padding and protection. To prevent scratching, manufacturers recommend covering the screen with a soft cloth. The last thing you need for your new place is noticeable, permanent damage to your TV.

Do keep it upright. For flat panel TVs greater than 26 inches, it's best to keep it in the upright position when moving from one place to another. If it's held any other way, it could get damaged by other items that you're moving simultaneously.

Don't panic if you don't have the original packaging. While the inserts and box are the best fit for your TV (not to mention free), you can still make do without them. If your TV is under 60 inches, you can purchase a flat screen packing kit, which includes all of the same protective materials. You can also make your own with a big crate and enough Styrofoam to cover the screen, back, and all four corners.

Moving your laptop and tablets

Do use multiple forms of protection. Simply putting them in a carrying case is not enough. First, stick it in its protective sleeve. If you don't already have one, try purchasing one at Best Buy or a similar store. It's worth it to prevent scratching and other damage, whether you're moving it from home to home, or just throwing it in your bag before heading to work. From there, wrap it up in some kind of cushion, like bubble wrap or a blanket, and place it in its carrying case. 

Don't think that just because laptops and tablets are small, they can be thrown in with other objects. If anything, this makes them even more susceptible to damage. You won't be able to see them as well, and other objects could be wrongly stacked on top of them. For this reason, it's best to have these types of objects travel with you in the car, as putting them in a moving truck can be disastrous, regardless of how carefully they're packed.

Transporting your other entertainment systems

Do label things appropriately. When it comes time to reconnect everything in your new home, these labels will save you from doing it incorrectly and wasting a considerable amount of time. Before moving, identify which cable goes into which input on all of your audio, video and computer equipment. Use an electronic labeler or purchase color coated cord kits from an electronics retailer. It's a small step that you'll be thankful for later.

Don't separate cables and remotes. Pack all of your cables and remotes in the same box so you can easily find everything you need when you're moving in. As with labeling your cables, this is a small step that will save you time and effort when you try to reconnect and program your equipment after moving.

Do protect and stabilize fragile equipment. If you still have them, use their original packing, but since most people tend to throw these materials away, get creative. Use an old blanket or big article of clothing to wrap around each object and keep everything upright in a double corrugated box (available at most van line and moving truck rental companies). To stabilize the laser on a CD/DVD player or computer drive, replace the transport screw (normally located on the bottom of the unit if applicable to your model).

Don't forget to label boxes. After all of this regard for packaging, it would be unfortunate if you weren't careful with these materials because you forgot to label the boxes. Properly note things as "Fragile" and "This Side Up," and be sure to completely seal the boxes with packing tape. But, be vague if you think it's necessary. If you know there's going to be a delay moving these in, it may be a good idea to use a code to deter thieves. Rather than writing "TV" or "Computer," try "Office bulletin board" or something along those lines.

Do be conscious of the temperature. While it's ideal for your electronics to move when the weather is dry and fair, it's impossible to control. Electronics are sensitive to the heat and cold, so if possible, don't place them in storage or leave them in the moving van for long. Instead, wait until the day of the move to place them in your car rather than the moving van for immediate removal. 

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