When it comes to moving day, one of the toughest items to pack and move has got to be that large flat-screen TV.

Flat screen TVs are obviously valuable, a bit awkward to move because of their sheer size, and you certainly don’t want anyone getting hurt in the process.

“On the list of items that are a bear to move, flat-screen TVs fall somewhere between refrigerator and giant antique grandfather clock,” said Skylar Korby, content marketing associate at MakeSpace, a New York City-based pick-up and delivery storage service. “Flat screens need a bit of extra TLC on moving day to make sure the delicate surfaces and important electrical components are packed safely.”

With the right moving tips and materials such as packing tape and moving blankets, you can move your precious TV without having to hire a professional mover:

how to move a flat screen tv

1. Document Your Existing Set Up

Take a photo of the front and back of the TV when it’s plugged in, which gives you a photo “cheat sheet” when reconnecting the wires in your new place, Korby suggested. Then disconnect all wires and cords and put them in a Ziploc bag.

Make sure you remove the device’s power cord. However, if your cord can’t be detached: “Wrap it so it’s around the back and not the front of the screen because the [metal prongs from the] cord can actually scratch the screen of the TV,” said Derik Massey, vice president of Austin, TX-based Square Cow Moovers.

Tape the cord in place using blue painter’s tape.

2. Dismount Your Television

Couple moving plasma screen television

Carefully remove the flat screen from its TV stand or wall mount. Have a friend (or preferably two friends) hold the TV while you take it off the wall, or have two people lift the TV from its stand and gently place it on the floor.

Remember your LCD or plasma TV should stay upright at all times. Never lay it flat or on its side.

Put any screws or additional small parts from mounts or bases in that Ziploc bag for safe keeping, Korby said.

3. Back in the Box

Ideally you still have the original packaging. This is actually the most secure way to move your television–using the original box and styrofoam inserts

“If you still have the original box and inner packing that the TV came in, congratulations!” Korby said.

Wipe down your TV with a microfiber cloth to remove dust and then pack it in this box for comfortable, safe transport, she said.

Flat-screen TV boxes can be found at moving supply retailers, hardware stores or online. These are heavy-duty, double-wall corrugated moving boxes designed for flat screens.

Line the box with packing paper or bubble wrap for plenty of cushion, eliminating any wiggle room that could lead to damage. Securely tape the box on all sides.

“I tell my clients that the value of the TV is worth the investment in the right materials,” added Phil Sandifer, sales manager at A&E Relocation Services in Lacey, WA, and an agent for Mayflower Transit. “My best advice is to keep the original box, but for a $1,000 or $1,500 TV, spend $20 at the rental truck place where they sell boxes or even Home Depot sells an expandable TV box with foam insert.”

4. Keep it Cushy

If you end up with a separate box that doesn’t have styrofoam padding, one way to protect your flat panel TV is to wrap it in a large, soft blanket and secure it with tape. Wrap completely with mover’s stretch wrap.  Add a layer of bubble wrap for extra protection.

5. Pack it Carefully

Man Unpacking New Television At Home

With the help of a friend, use moving straps to load the boxed or wrapped TV into your moving vehicle and place in a secure location. (Again, make sure that it’s loaded in an upright position).

“Surround the TV with flat, sturdy items like mattresses,” Korby suggests. “Avoid packing it next to a dresser with drawer pulls, as those can shift in transit and potentially dent or puncture the box.”

“Put pads underneath it to help absorb any of the shock, especially if you have an older U-Haul or bumpy ride,” Massey added.

6. Check the Temperature

When unpacking the TV, let it reach room temperature before hooking it up, Korby advised.

“If it got too hot in the back of the moving truck, turning it on immediately could overheat the already warm inner wiring,” she explained. “If the TV is too cold, the condensation that forms as it ‘thaws’ could result in short circuits if it’s plugged in too soon.”

7. Reference Your Cheat Sheet

Consult the “cheat sheet” photo you took when packing to reconnect all of the wires correctly — and you’re ready to watch your favorite TV show!

Storing Your Flat Screen Television

If you need to store your flat screen TV in a self-storage unit for a while, the same moving and packing tips apply. You want to place your TV in the upright position, away from any boxes or drawers that could fall and damage the screen.  A climate-controlled storage unit is preferred, as extreme temperature swings can damage the inner wiring.

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Liz Wolf