Moving vans don’t have the refined suspension that a passenger vehicle does. Your computer will feel every pothole and speed bump during transport in a moving truck. If you’re driving to your new home, it’s a safer bet to take your computer with you. Also, be aware that some plastics cause static, so it’s best to avoid using plastics when packing your laptop or desktop.
Moving Supplies You’ll Need to Pack Your Computer
- Medium or large moving box
- Original computer and electronics boxes, if available
- Zip-top baggies
- Twisty ties
- Packing paper
- Clean towels
- Packing tape
- Permanent black marker
Steps for Packing Your Computer for a Move
1. Set up a packing station
Gather all of the moving supplies you’ll need and clear a convenient space to pack.
2. Back up your data
Any time you move a computer, your files are at risk for damage or loss. Back up your data and put the external USB or drive in your ‘valuables’ box along with passports, tickets, cash, fine jewelry, and such. You’ll keep this box with you during the move. The temperatures in moving vans can get very hot, especially in the summer, so keep your back up drive with you during your move. Better yet, back up to the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with a USB drive.
3. Take photos
Before you disconnect any wires or cables from your computer, take photos to show you how to reconnect them after your move.
4. Disconnect cables and wires
Turn off the computer and all accessories. Disconnect cables and cords, and wrap each one, securing with a twisty tie. Place the cables, cords, and wires in a zip-top baggie and label it.
5. Pack your computer components in their original boxes
If you have the original boxes for your computer components, definitely use them. Unless you still have the antistatic monitor screen cover, wrap the screen with a towel that you secure with packing tape.
6. Steps for packing your desktop computer
- Pick the right-sized moving box: To determine the moving box size, measure the height, width, and depth of both your tower and monitor. Add those dimensions together then add three additional inches on all sides, bottom, and top to allow for necessary cushioning. These measurements will tell you the size of the box you need. Securely tape the bottom seam of the moving box with several overlapping layers of packing tape. Put a three-inch layer of tightly crumpled packing paper in the bottom of the box.
- Protect the monitor and tower: Wrap the monitor screen in a towel and secure it with packing tape. Place the monitor on one side of the box, right side up with the screen facing the inside of the box. Wrap the tower/CPU with several layers of packing paper. Place the tower on the opposite side of the box from the monitor. Plenty of cushioning is key for making sure your computer stays safe.
- Wrap the accessories: Be sure your mouse is turned off and wrap it in several layers of packing paper. Also, wrap the keyboard and any accessories such as speakers or soundbars. Pack these items, along with the baggie of cables, plugs, and wires, between the monitor and tower.
- Add cushioning: Add crumpled packing paper along the sides of the box and between the monitor, tower, and any accessories. Add more layers of crushed paper on top of the monitor and tower, then slightly shake the box to make sure nothing moves or shifts. Add more crumpled paper if necessary.
- Now seal and label the box: On the label, include the contents ‘Desktop Computer,’ as well as the destination ‘Home Office.’ Be sure to write ‘fragile’ on all four sides and the top of the box.
7. Packing your laptop computer
If you’re not transporting your laptop on the moving van and plan to bring it with you during the move, simply place it in your usual laptop bag and be sure to include the charger and any accessories.
To pack your laptop for shipping, follow steps 1 – 5 above. If you can’t pack your laptop in its original box, then follow these steps:
- Pick the right-sized moving box: Measure your laptop, then add three inches to each dimension. Choose a box that meets those measurements.
- Add padding and wrap: Crumple a three-inch layer of packing paper in the bottom of the box. Wrap your computer (you turned it off, right?) in several layers of packing paper and tape the loose ends.
- Add cushioning: Place the laptop on the layer of packing paper, and fill the four sides around the computer and over the top with more crumpled packing paper. Add the baggie of cords and cables, plus the wrapped mouse or other accessories. Add another layer of packing paper on top. Close the box flaps. Gently shake the box. If you can feel the computer shifting, add more crumpled packing paper until it’s completely stationary.
- Now seal and label the box: Seal the box closed and label it with the contents and the words ‘fragile’ on all sides and top of the box.