Guest Post by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm
China packed? Check. Picture frames packed? Check. Clothes packed? Check. Suddenly, you look into your office and family room, the music from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho plays in your head. The computer, stereo, and home theater all glare back at you, taunting you – “Go ahead pack us, we will never come back to life again.” Electronics are some of the last things to be packed before a move. No one wants to disconnect their entertainment and online lifelines. You’re filled with the dread of trying to fit each electronic piece into boxes and the terror of not being able to set them all up correctly in your new place. Thankfully, with these tips your entire computer, stereo and home theater will fit into boxes properly. You can put an end to the scary visions of endless tangled wires and the confusion of not knowing where to plug each cord. Simply color-code your wires and use your cell phone camera to document the process.
Here is how to tame your electronics:
Step 1: Prepare & Pack
Get the Proper Gear: Visit your local office supply store and purchase colored dot stickers and colored Velcro cord wraps.
Label: BEFORE unplugging your computer, stereo systems, and home theater wires: neatly wrap each wire with a different color cord sticker. Label each corresponding input with a colored dot. Match the color of the sticker wrapped around the cord to the color of the input dot. For example, place a green dot next to your mouse input on your computer and place a matching green sticker wrap around your mouse cord. You simply match the colors when you are setting your computer and electronics back up. Always label both ends of each cord with the same color dot.
Photograph: BEFORE you unplug. Use your camera and snap a shot or two of your color-coded work.
Unplug: After you have colored labels on all of your cords and inputs, properly shut down your electronics. Then unplug all of your cords from all inputs.
Organize: Before packing up a cord, place a Velcro colored wrap around one end of the cord. Use the same color Velcro wrap as the dot sticker already placed on the cord. Then gently and loosely wrap the cord in a circle around your hand. Once you have wrapped it, secure it with the Velcro wrap. Using Velcro cord wraps will better secure your cords during your move as well as prevent them from tangling.
Now you will be able to channel your inner geek and set your electronics back up like a nerdy pro! Next up, packing your electronics.
Step 2: Pack Your Electronics
Proper Gear: If possible, pack your electronics in their original cartons. If you did not keep their original boxes, use a dishpak box. Dishpaks are specially designed boxes to handle and protect fragile items. You can find dishpaks at moving companies, box stores and home improvement stores. If you can’t find dishpaks, use double corrugated boxes. You will also need lots of recyclable packing paper, bubble and packing tape.
Assemble: Put the boxes together. Place double packing tape on the bottom of each box over the opening and across the middle. Then double tape the perimeter for extra support.
Pad: After taping, pack the bottom of each box with crumbled packing paper for padding.
Wrap: Always pack your heaviest items first, so for instance, pack your computer tower and monitor first. Wrap all electronic items separately. Lay your bubble on a flat surface with the pop side facing up. Place your computer tower, stereo, DVD player, etc. standing up right on top of the bubble. Pull the wrap over and tape it all together. Repeat by laying the item on its side and pulling the bubble over the sides. Keep taping until the wrap is securely tight to the item and on all sides. Make sure the item is completely covered. Place it up right, vertically in the box. Repeat this process for the next big item then place it vertically in the box next to the first item. For a computer, this would be the computer tower next to the monitor in one box. Pack the computer items in one box, stereo items in one box, etc.
Stuff: Before packing smaller items like your keyboard, mouse and speakers, and remotes, stuff packing paper in open spaces between the bigger electronics such as the computer tower and DVD player to ensure they cannot shift. Pack some paper on top for extra cushion.
Pack Accessories: Wrap your keyboard, mouse, and remotes in packing paper before placing them in the top of the box. Then wrap up your carefully color coded wires in packing paper. Tape the paper around the wires to secure them and then place them on the very top of the box. Fill the rest of the box with crumpled packing paper. Be sure to label the wrapped up items with a pen: “cords,” “mouse,” etc. so they don’t get mistaken for the crumbled up packing paper.
Tape & Label: Tape each box shut by double taping over the opening and across the middle. Then double tape along the top perimeter of the boxes for extra security. Label the outside of the box with the contents and the room the electronic should be moved into. Make sure to mark FRAGILE on all sides of the box.
Done! Your electronics are safely packed and organized! Ready to get back online? Just carefully unpack each component, refer to your photos on your camera and let your color codes lead you safely back to movie watching and cyber space. Check out this video to see these tips in action.