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How to Pack Electronics for Moving

Your home electronics are precious and must be moved with care. Learn how to pack your TV, computer, and other electronics to ensure safe travels.

While packing your household goods for a move is a huge undertaking, it brings on a mindless urgency — until it comes to your valuable electronics. Ensuring the safe transport of items like your televisions, desktop computers, and gaming consoles takes planning and extra care. In fact, electronics are one of the top items damaged during a move. Follow these packing tips to ensure all your electronic devices arrive intact and ready to install in your new home.

Organize Your Supplies and Materials

Before disconnecting anything, get all the supplies you need to pack your electronics. Most big-name stores have an entire section dedicated to moving supplies.

Gather Moving Boxes

Locate the original packing material for each electronic item, including the original boxes and Styrofoam inserts. If you do not have the original boxes or they are damaged, purchase appropriately-sized moving boxes. The boxes should have ample room to surround the devices with packing peanuts.

Collect Packing Material

In addition to the moving boxes, you will need the following moving supplies:

  • Bubble wrap
  • Labels
  • Packing peanuts
  • Packing paper
  • Packing tape
  • Twist ties
  • Markers

Preparing Your Electronics to Move

Your electronic equipment may well be your most expensive and prized possessions, so don’t just start throwing devices in boxes. Meticulous attention to detail before packing anything will save you headaches later. While most electronics require care with unplugging and packing, pay special attention to your computer to protect your important data. A little upfront work will make the unpacking and setup of your electronics at your new house a breeze.

Label All Cords and Cables

Use colorful labels to match cables with their respective devices and functions. For instance, affix blue stickers to the HDMI cable for your TV. Write "TV" on one sticker and place it at the TV connection point of the cable. Then place another sticker labeled "Box" at the opposite end. This indicates which end to connect to the TV and which to plug into the cable box.

Photograph the Connections

Take photos of the back of electronic devices before unplugging anything and after labeling the cords. The combination of pictures and labeled cords will remove the guesswork and save you hours of stress during setup.

Pay Special Attention to Your Computer

  1. Preserve your data by running a complete backup to an external hard drive, cloud, or other secure option. Do not pack the backup device with the computer — keep it in your possession at all times.
  2. To prevent leakage or damage, prepare your printer by removing ink cartridges, toner cartridges, and trays.

Disconnect and Disassemble

Proper shutdown of the devices and safely unplugging and organizing cords ensures a smooth and efficient disassembly and a quick setup. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Remove Any Media: Eject any CDs, DVDs, gaming discs, or other media from your devices.
  • Power Down: Safely power down your computer and other electronic devices. Remember to turn off all screens and peripherals.
  • Remove Batteries: Prevent corrosion from ruining any devices by removing batteries from accessories and remotes.
  • Disconnect Wires and Accessories: Unplug and disconnect the cables and cords from one electronic gadget at a time. Wrap each cord with a twist tie and place them in a plastic bag or baggie with the associated remote controls labeled appropriately. Repeat this for each item. Limit cords and remotes from different devices to eliminate confusion when unpacking.

    Packing Your Flat Screen TV

    There are options, even if you don’t have the original box. You can purchase flat-screen TV packing kits, which include protective materials, and moving cartons explicitly designed for TVs. You can find them at your moving company, Amazon, Home Depot, and other places moving boxes are sold. Alternatively, you can make your own box using a big crate, a packing blanket, and enough Styrofoam to cover the screen, back, and all four corners.

    Here are some TV packing tips:

      • Follow the directions in the TV owner’s manual and on the packaging materials to secure the TV properly.
      • Be aware that professional movers may not cover damage or breakage of items they did not pack. If you use a trucking company, you should have them box the item.
      • Do not place the TV directly on the cardboard or wood crate bottom. Place something between the TV and box, like a blanket or bubble wrap, to provide padding and protection. To prevent scratching, manufacturers recommend covering the screen with a soft cloth.
      • Seal the box and label “Fragile Item” and “This End Up” to ensure careful handling.
      • Keep the TV upright. Maintain the upright position when moving to prevent pressure on the screen that could lead to breakage. If it's positioned any other way, the thin screens can be damaged by other items inadvertently placed on top of the box.

        Packing Your Computer

        You can successfully move your desktop computer and tower using the original packaging material or a suitable sturdy box. Use a TV box for your monitor and follow TV packing instructions for safe transport.

        Follow these step-by-step packing tips to keep your computer safe during transit:

          • Wrap your computer and monitor in anti-static wrap to prevent static electricity from damaging the motherboard or chips.
          • Fill the bottom of the box with crumpled packing paper (packing peanuts can create static electricity).
          • Hold the computer upright and place it carefully in the box.
          • Fill the gaps with additional packing paper to prevent shifting during the move.
          • Seal the box and label “Fragile Item” and “This End Up” to ensure careful handling.
          • Double-check that all cords are in the baggie and labeled appropriately — don’t forget the mouse.

            Packing Your Gaming Console

            PlayStations and other gaming consoles are bulky, but they will arrive intact at your destination with proper packaging. The primary difference between packing your gaming console and your computer is with the graphics card.

            Follow these steps to protect your gaming console during the move:

              1. Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for removing the graphics card.
              2. Place the card in an anti-static sleeve or anti-static wrap.
              3. Next, wrap the card in multiple layers of bubble wrap.
              4. Place the card flat in the center of a small box and fill the side gaps with packing peanuts.
              5. Package the console following the above instructions for packing a computer and monitor.

                Moving your laptop and tablets

                Ideally, during your move, you can maintain possession of your laptop and other small electronics. If you must hand them over to other family members or the movers, take extra precautions with packaging.

                Use multiple forms of damage protection for your mobile devices. Simply putting them in a carrying case is not enough. First, place them in a protective sleeve. You can purchase one at Best Buy or a similar store to prevent scratching or other damage. Next:, wrap it in cushioning, like bubble wrap or a towel, and place it in its carrying case.

                Additional Tips for Packing and Moving Electronics

                Whether you are moving across town or making a long-distance move, you need to take the same care when packing these items, or your most valuable possessions can be damaged.

                Follow these additional packing reminders:

                Label electronics and cords appropriately. This is worth repeating! When it comes time to reconnect everything in your new home, these labels will save you from doing it incorrectly and wasting considerable time. Before moving, identify which cable goes into which input on your audio, video, and computer equipment. Use an electronic labeler or purchase color-coated cords from an electronics retailer.

                Secure movable components. Ensure movable components, such as the paper trays on a printer, are securely fastened or locked in place to prevent any damage. 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).

                Do a shake test before sealing the box. Gently shake the box to ensure the item is thoroughly padded and does not move around. Add more packing materials as appropriate to keep it stable.

                Don't forget to label boxes. fter all your careful packaging, it would be unfortunate to suffer damage because you forgot to label the boxes. Denote "Fragile" and "This Side Up," and tightly seal the boxes with sturdy packing tape.

                Do be conscious of the temperature and moisture. While it's ideal for you to move your electronics when the weather is dry and fair, adjusting your move for better weather may not be possible. Electronics are sensitive to extreme temperatures and high humidity. Only place them in climate-controlled storage units (if they need to be stored) and do not leave them in the hot or cold moving van for long.

                Installing Your Electronics in Your New Home

                Use as much care unpacking your electronics as you did packing them, and only tackle one item at a time. The less clutter, the better.

                Follow these suggestions for easy unpacking and setup:

                  • Take the item out of the box and set it up on the designated surface, ensuring a stable workspace.
                  • Grab the baggie for its associated cables and peripherals and lay them on the surface.
                  • Referring to the photos and using the labels as a guide, connect the cable and cords.
                  • Turn it on and enjoy!
                  • If you encounter issues with an item, like a missing cord, move on to setting up another device. You may find the misplaced cord in another box.
                  • Repeat this process until all items are set up and functioning.

                    Packing and moving your electronic equipment can be easy and painless. Find more moving tips, including managing your TV provider and Internet service.

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