How to Pack a Computer and Other Electronics
Keeping computers and electronics safe for moving
A computer is not just an expensive piece of equipment, it’s most likely an integral part of your life. The same can be said about your soundbars, turntables, stereos, CD or DVD players or any other entertainment systems or electronics equipment you own. So if you’re preparing for an upcoming move, check out these tips and tricks for packing computers and electronics to help make sure everything arrives safely and intact.
Materials you need to pack computers and electronics
It’s always best to hang on to the original boxes and packaging your item came in to make packing and moving it easier. But if you didn’t, that’s OK, too!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Packing tape
- Bubble Wrap®
- Permanent marker
- TV box (if needed)
- Paper padding
- Moving blankets
- Packing paper
- Moving boxes (small, medium or large, depending on the size of your item)
- Zip-top bags
Packing a desktop computer
Before packing your computer, don’t forget to back it up — either to an external hard drive or a cloud drive — remove any disks from the drive, then shut it down. If there are any cables, take a photo of the connections, or label them, to make setting it back up a breeze. Remove each cable, and roll them individually to prevent tangling or damage. Place each one in a zip-top bag to keep them separated. Then wrap the bags in packing paper, and secure with tape.
Once you’ve completed those steps, it’s time to pack the computer tower and monitor. Here’s how to do that:
- If you don’t have the original box or packaging, find an appropriately sized box, and prepare it by taping the bottom and lining it with several layers of crumpled packing paper to create a cushion.
- Cover the computer tower in Bubble Wrap tightly, and use a couple of layers. Secure the Bubble Wrap with tape.
- Lower the monitor, and wrap it tightly in Bubble Wrap. Secure it with tape.
- Fully wrap the keyboard, mouse, speakers and any other accessories with Bubble Wrap.
- Place the tower in the box, keeping it upright. Add any accessories, and fill in any open space with crumpled packing paper or bundles of Bubble Wrap.
- Place the monitor inside the box, with the screen facing an inside wall of the box.
- Follow the same process for your mouse and computer accessories.
- Fill any gaps between the computer monitor and tower with crushed packing paper.
- Add a layer of crushed packing paper on top of the tower and monitor for extra cushion.
- Close the flaps and gently move the carton to make sure nothing shifts. If anything moves, add more packing paper.
- Tape the top of the box well and label it “Computer,” “Fragile,” and “This Side Up.”
If you’re a visual learner, here’s a video with step-by-step instructions on how the process works:
How to move with a laptop computer or handheld device
Most of the time, laptops or smaller handheld devices can be carried with you, or placed in a protective pouch or backpack. But if that isn’t an option, or if you feel better with everything all packed up, that’s no problem! If you need to ship a laptop, follow these instructions:
- If you still have the box and packaging it came in, just repackage it, tape up the box, and you’re good to go.
- If you don’t have the original packaging, find a box suitable for the computer, and line it with several layers of crumpled packing paper to create a cushion.
- Place the laptop in a protective sleeve/cover; use one that fits snug.
- Cover it in Bubble Wrap, and secure it with tape.
- Cover the AC adapter and any extra accessories in Bubble Wrap, and tape them well.
- Place the laptop in the box on its edge (like it would travel in a laptop bag) — it’s stronger on the edge than it is lying flat.
- Add the accessories around the computer, and add other lightweight items to fill the box.
- Fill any extra space with crumpled packing paper or bundles of Bubble Wrap.
- Tape the box, and label it “Computer,” “Fragile” and “This Side Up".
Tips for packing electronics
Follow the same best practices for your other electronics as you do with your computer — if you’ve got the original packaging and boxes, repackage your things, and you’re all set. If you discarded them, here’s our advice on how to pack your electronics like a pro.
Before you go
- Check the manufacturer’s guide to see if it lists specific instructions for moving that particular device. Sometimes, the manufacturer will have a downloadable guide on their website if you don’t have yours handy. If that doesn’t work, try manualslib.com to search for guides there.
- To help make the unpacking and reassembly process easier at your new home, color code or label the cords with their corresponding ports. Taking photos of how cords are connected may also help you remember.
- Also, it’s best to pack your electronics in the upright position to help prevent damage.
- Be sure to remove all batteries inside your electronics to prevent damage during the move. For instance, if your battery leaks, your valuable electronic will likely be damaged.
- Place the larger, heavier electronics in the bottom of the moving box and the lighter accessories on top.
- If you’re moving in the summer, you might consider carrying your electronics with you, rather than pack them, to avoid overheating.
Have more questions about moving with computers or electronics? Leave us a comment below, and we’ll be happy to help.
Need other packing advice? Check out this resource on how to pack household goods.