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How To Pack Electronics

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This step-by-step is rated at an average difficulty level to reflect the time and patience required to properly label the plugs and wires to ensure you can set-up the equipment when you get to your new home.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: No set time.

Here's How:

  1. Refer to the manufactures' guide or user's guide for special moving instructions. If you no longer have a user's guide, visit the manufacturer's website for an online version or to request a copy. Go to Moving a Computer for details on packing this type of equipment.

  2. If any piece of equipment has a toner or ink cartridge, remove it and store it in a sealable bag. Pack the bag in the same box with the piece of equipment that it was removed from. Also remove all CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes or other media from equipment. Pack media separately and carefully to prevent damage. Note: Some computer manufacturers recommend leaving a floppy disk in the A-drive to prevent drive damage.

  3. If you have the original packaging, including box, use that to pack the equipment. If you don't, purchase electronic specialty boxes from a moving company or directly from the manufacturer. The manufacturer can provide you with a "return kit" at no or little cost.

    If specialty boxes or return kits are not available, use a double-walled box slightly larger than the piece of equipment you're moving.

  4. Purchase colored labels large enough to write on but small enough to secure to equipment connection ports. Colored, round sticky circles are the labels of choice.

  5. Before disconnecting any wires or plugs, mark the wire or cable and the port you're removing it from with the colored labels. Color code the ports and cables so you can reconnect them later. If you run out of different colors, you can also write a number on the label that will match the port and the cable.

  6. For extra protection, write down detailed step-by-step instructions on how you're dismantling the equipment so you can refer to it later when assembling it. Keep this instruction guide in the box with the equipment.

  7. Once you have the wires or cables disconnected, use twist ties to carefully secure the cables so they don't unravel. Place the cables and wires into a sealable bag (I use Ziplock baggies) and tape it to the piece of equipment.

  8. When packing electronics, you should always use antistatic packing bubbles or popcorn. Never use materials that will conduct electricity. This could damage your electronics during handling.

  9. Remove all parts that can be disconnected Wrap each piece separately in antistatic bubble wrap and secure ends with tape.

  10. Use a thick layer of antistatic packing popcorn or bubble wrap to line the bottom of the box.

  11. Place the largest piece of equipment on the bottom. Fill holes with antistatic packing material. Place smaller protected items on top.

  12. Fill all remaining spaces with antistatic packing material. Make sure nothing rattles or will shift during the move.

  13. Seal the box with packing tape and mark it "Fragile" and indicate which end is up. Indicate the contents and which room it belongs in.

  14. Note: CDs and software can not tolerate high temperatures. If you have sensitive media, you may want to carry it with you as opposed to moving it on the truck. Speak to your movers about this issue before you ship it.

What You Need

  • Manufacturer's Guide
  • Original Box or Return Kit ; or
  • Double-walled Box
  • Antistatic Packing Popcorn or Bubbles
  • Small Color-coded Labels
  • Marker
  • Packing Tape
  • Twist Ties
  • Sealable Bags (Freezer or Sandwich Bags)

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