How to make sure your tech doesn’t break during a move

Moving day is hectic enough without worrying about destroying fragile electronic equipment. During the move, tech devices experience stress from vibration, temperature changes, humidity, and jarring. Sudden impacts can be catastrophic. Whether you are planning a move across the street or across the country, protecting computers, TVs, gaming consoles, and other tech should be a top priority. Read on to learn how to package and load your equipment so it arrives safely at the destination.

couple packing for a move
cottonbro/Pexels

Computer packing for moves

Starting a few days in advance, prepare the equipment for the move. Remove all batteries so they don’t overheat. Label them, and keep them together. Charge all rechargeable batteries. Eject thumb drives, discs, and cartridges from all devices, and tape the drives in the closed position. Remove toner or ink from printers, and place the cartridges in sealable plastic bags. Secure the print heads in place with tape.

Packaging your equipment securely keeps it from shifting inside the box and protects it from impacts due to load shifting or dropping. Although anything can happen on the road, a well-packaged computer will ride safely through normal travel conditions. Original packaging is ideal, but any sturdy cardboard box that is slightly larger than the item will work.

Gather these materials:

  • Packing tape
  • Bubble wrap
  • Permanent marker
  • 1 box for the computer tower
  • 1 box for the computer monitor
  • 1 or more boxes for cables and peripheral devices
  • 1 large box that will hold all of the individual boxes
  • Paper padding
  • Moving blankets
  • Zipper seal bags

Follow these steps:

  • Secure the bottoms of the boxes with at least three strips of packing tape, and line each with a generous layer of crumpled paper.
  • Disconnect the computer cables and peripheral accessories. Neatly bind and label the cables and enclose them in zipper seal bags.
  • Tightly wrap the computer tower and monitor individually with 3 to 4 inches of bubble wrap, and secure the wrappings with tape.
  • Individually wrap the keyboard, mouse, speakers, printer, and any other accessories with bubble wrap.
  • Keep the wrapped tower upright, and pack it in its box. Add packing material to ensure it fits snugly and will not shift. Tape it shut.
  • Pack the monitor and accessories in their boxes in the same manner as the tower, and tape them closed.
  • Put the packed boxes into the large box. Add packing material to eliminate shifting.
  • Close the box and secure the flaps with at least three strips of packing tape.
  • Label the box “Computer,” “Fragile,” and “This Side Up.”

two men signing paperwork on a stack of boxes

Move heavy boxes with a hand truck

After carefully packing equipment into boxes and carefully labeling each one, don’t risk a back injury or dropped boxes by carrying heavy boxes by hand. Instead, use a two-wheeled hand truck to move boxes. These devices may seem intuitive, but accidents happen when they are used incorrectly.

One person can move an incredible amount of weight with ease using a hand truck. However, it’s best to use the buddy system. A second person can help tilt, balance, or steer the load if needed, and they can direct traffic to avoid collisions. 

Use the extendable base, if so equipped, and straps to secure oversized boxes to the hand truck. Always push the load. Pulling a loaded hand truck toward yourself, or allowing it to roll downhill toward you, is a recipe for injury and damaged property. 

Hand truck safety tips:

  • When stacking boxes, load the heaviest item on the bottom.
  • Balance the load forward on the axle so the weight is not carried on the handle.
  • Do not stack so high that visibility becomes impaired.
  • Plan and clear a safe route before moving the loaded hand truck.
  • Protect hands with gloves and use caution when passing through narrow spaces.
  • Maintain a safe speed and keep the hand truck under control.
  • Move the load in a forward direction.

Load and secure the truck

Loading sensitive equipment on a moving van, truck, or trailer shouldn’t be a nerve-wracking experience. Packing it well is the first key to safe travels. The other part of the equation is building the load on the moving truck. Where the equipment is positioned relative to other items in the vehicle and relative to the load’s center of gravity impacts its condition upon arrival.

When loading the truck, it’s important to pack it tightly. Voids become opportunities for the load to shift side to the side, forward, or back, which leads to damage. Fill open spaces with moving blankets or packing materials. Load the truck in small sections and layers, securing each area with padding and straps before starting the next. 

In addition to computer equipment, pack your TV safely in the moving truck. If the truck features a compartment above the cab, load and secure electronics and other fragile items there. Otherwise, load and secure large, heavy items at the front end of the truck first. After securing the big, bulky stuff, position electronic equipment and other fragile items near the middle of the load. Finish loading the truck in sections and layers. Be sure to secure the items at the rear of the load before closing the door.

Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire professional movers, understanding what it takes to get from point A to point B in one piece is helpful. Now you have the tools to ensure proper packing, safe handling, and secure loading of all of your sensitive devices.

Editors' Recommendations