Transporting your electronics safely can be one of the most challenging aspects of moving.
While movement or weather conditions won’t affect some of your electronic equipment, most of them will require special consideration and care. Electronic devices can be as fragile as they are valuable, and finding ways to guarantee their safety during your move can be difficult. Use the following tips to ensure your devices arrive at your new residence safely and undamaged.
Tip #1: Back Up Your Data
The first thing you’ll want to do if you’ll be moving electronics is back up everything. As undesirable as the thought of damaging your tablet or computer may be, the hardware is usually replaceable. Data, on the other hand, is not. Therefore, you should a copy of important files, documents, photos, and games on your computer before you start packing.
If you have an older or fragile device, you may even want to make a create a system image (an exact copy of your system). The process may take longer than a regular backup, but, if something happens to the system, you’ll be able to access your old files and computer settings easily. For electronics that don’t need a back-up, like TVs, remotes, and speakers, make a list of their brand and model in case you need to replace something after you move. Having a copy of the warranty information may prove useful as well.
Tip #2: Prepare Your Electronics for the Move
In addition to warranty information, you’ll benefit from having the user manuals for your electronics on hand. Some manufacturers include special moving or storage instructions in the manuals to users protect their devices against corrosion and data-loss. For moisture-sensitive items, most companies will recommend using climate-controlled storage or packing items with water-absorbent materials. If you’ve misplaced your user manuals, many companies offer publicly accessible versions on their websites.
Batteries can burst, overheat, or leak under stress, so you need to store them separately.
You’ll also want to remove any loose or unnecessary items from your electronics before you pack them. Eject all CDs, DVDs, Blue-rays, or any other type of insertable disc from your devices and tape the drives shut.
If you’ll be moving during hot weather, remove ink or toner cartridges from your printers and store them separately. Remember to take out the batteries from remotes and other battery-powered electronic equipment. Batteries can burst, overheat, or leak under stress, so you need to store them separately. You may also want to charge your devices a few days in advance.
Tip #3: Use the Right Packaging Materials
If possible, you should always use the original packaging for your electronic items. Your equipment’s original packaging is optimized to maximize its protection. If you’re one of the many that toss or recycle those boxes right away, you’ll need to buy protective materials. For items that don’t need climate storage, purchase sturdy boxes that fit them securely. You can buy special boxes for larger, fragile items such as monitors, plasma and LCD TVs, or large-screen televisions.
Apart from some larger, heavier models, laptops are mobile and can skip the packing process. However, you should pay close attention to your stationary computers and workstations. Their central processing units (CPUs) hold the motherboard and disk drive, and most are extremely fragile. CPUs can incur damage from too much shaking or jarring. Therefore, surround them with protective packaging. Unless the manufacturer gives specific instructions, most printers will be fine if you just secure their movable parts and pack them in well-fitting boxes.
Cushion your items using paper padding, bubble wrap, and inflatable air pillows (sealed, often pre-inflated, pockets of air that provide packing protection). Make sure all your cushioning materials are anti-static. You never want to use packaging protection that can conduct electricity because static discharge can cause irreversible damage to your devices.
Tip #4: Organize and Label Everything
Once you’ve procured the right packaging materials and disassembled your electronic devices, you’ll have a lot of different items to keep track of. Developing a clear labeling system will streamline both the packing and unpacking process, so label your devices and their various parts carefully.
Separate wires and cables from their respective devices and wrap them neatly to avoid tangling or cord damage. Don’t tie cords with their own wiring, but use plastic or coated wire twist ties to hold them in place. Packing cords with their devices is ideal, but if you can’t make them fit, store cords in anti-static bags and label them accordingly.
If you think writing labels is time-consuming, you can use a color-coded system for your plugs and wires. Choose a different color for each type of cord (e.g., put blue stickers on power cables, white stickers on audio cables, and yellow stickers on cable wires). This method is a little faster than using written labels, but it works best when packing cords with their electronics.
It may be helpful to take photos of your wiring configurations before you disassemble them. You can use the pictures as a reference when you set up your devices in your new residence. Regardless of the type of sorting system you decide to use, clearly label all your electronics as fragile or handle with care so you, your helpers, or your moving company moves these items cautiously.
Moving Tip #5: Think Climate Control
Depending on when you plan to move and the needs of your devices, you may want to consider temperature and climate controlled storage. Even if you’ve safely secured your electronics in sturdy packaging, they can suffer from exposure to extreme or highly varying temperatures. Most electronics can weather high temperatures without issue but run into problems when temperatures drop. Exposure to the cold can cause the metal in your devices to expand, which weakens their welded or soldered components. LCD televisions can freeze, and the liquid crystals in their displays can crack in cold weather.
Improper climate protection can even affect data storage. After prolonged exposure to harsh cold, stored data or media on CPUs, game systems, and external hard drives can become damaged or corrupted. Extreme heat can also stress cause problems for the soldered parts of your electronics. On the contrary, humidity is a much more threatening problem than heat. The air in warm areas contains a lot of moisture, which can be fatal for the metal in your devices. Even if it’s for a few days, placing your items in secure, humidity- and temperature-controlled storage can safeguard them from weather-related dangers.