We've all been there. Whether moving out of your parents' place and into your first apartment, dorm or house, or a cross country relocation, moving is no fun. You dread having to pack up boxes and lug your possessions across the city or even across the country, but with the help of technology, moving day is easier than ever. Here are some technology tips and tools from the Geek Squad that can help you organize what you do have, get rid of what you don't need and pack/unpack your technology items safely, so you have nothing to worry about.
You start packing and find duplicate cords, dozens of batteries and headphones for your entire extended family that all magically appear as soon as you start taping up the boxes. Moving is the perfect opportunity to take inventory of everything you have and determine if you need to keep those six USB cords you found in the upstairs closet. Programs such as Bento and Evernote can help you get organized by keeping tabs of everything you've got.
Get rid of clutter
Not sure what to do with all those old tech gadgets? Consider donating them – check out sites such as www.freecycle.org (an online adoption center for your castoffs) and www.perscholas.org (an organization that provides refurbished computers to low-income families at low cost). Best Buy stores recycle electronics – visit www.bestbuy.com/recycling for more information. Just remember to back up all of your data. After your data is backed up, erase it from any hard drives and drill holes in them to prevent theft of any sensitive personal data before you donate.
Labels and codes
Once you've gotten rid of everything you don't need, color-code or label everything you do need. Not all black cables will do the same thing, so identifying which cable goes with which gadget will save hours of trial and error.
And as tempting as it is to clean your gadgets while getting rid of the clutter, make sure you're using the right household cleaning products as many contain ammonia, bleach or even lotions, which can leave streaks, marks, or even leak into your television. To be safe, you should generally avoid all of them. A good rule of thumb is to never use glass cleaning products on your electronics. Paper towels should also be avoided, as they leave behind lint, and in some cases, can scratch your electronics. There are specific cleaning products, such as cans of compressed air and computer monitor wipes/television wipes that should be used.
With the temperatures soaring, moving during the summer months can be a challenge. Use these tips to properly pack, store and unpack your tech gear:
■ Do not use blankets, towels, packing peanuts or any other static producing material when packing. While bubble wrap can work in a pinch, anti-static electronic packing material is best.
■ Use the original carton, if possible, or another box that's large and sturdy enough to accommodate the gadget, plus plenty of packing material on all sides.
■ Most laptop computers operate properly in the safe temperature range of 50 to 95 degrees, but try to keep the vehicle cool at all times as leaving these devices in hot temperatures could damage your gear. When arriving at your final destination, allow your computer to reach room temperature before powering up.
■ Consider having any hard drives removed and professionally packed. This way you can help protect your information from the elements.
■ Use a properly fitted and well-padded laptop case for your gear to keep it insulated against heat, moisture, direct sunlight and potential drops.
■ If you're moving a laser or ink jet printer, be sure to remove the toner and any ink cartridges.
■ Check the manuals for large-screen TV packing tips as many TVs will need to be calibrated after the move. Geek Squad also recommends allowing a TV to "set" for several hours before being turned on.