Office Moving and Packing Tips

Moving offices is stressful, but you can make it easier with these tips.

Moving your business is a big endeavor – but it doesn’t have to be a backbreaking one. By planning ahead, prioritizing safety and organization, and investing in professional moving and commercial storage when needed, you can simplify the moving and packing process for your enterprise. Follow these tips to ensure that your next commercial move goes off without a hitch.

Tips for office moving and packing

1. Start early.

Depending on the size of your business and the number of people you have helping you with your move, you'll likely want to start the moving and packing process as early as possible. In some cases, moving a business involves more possessions than moving a home does, so the moving and packing process will take considerably more time. Don't be one of the many business owners who underestimates the time it takes to move. Save yourself the headache and optimize organization by starting early.

2. Invest in proper packing supplies.

Moving your business requires shuttling your commercial possessions – many of which are quite expensive – from one location to another. To keep your possessions organized (and in one piece), it's important to invest in proper packing supplies before beginning the moving and packing process. Essential packing supplies for commercial moving include cardboard moving boxes, bubble wrap or moving blankets, packing tape, clear zip-locked bags, and pens or markers for labeling.

3. Don't be afraid to donate.

For businesses of any size, moving presents an excellent opportunity to downsize or upgrade. If you have possessions in your business that serve little to no purpose – or if you have essential items that need to be upgraded – your move is the perfect time to get rid of them. Old phones, office furniture, printers, copiers, PCs and even stray office supplies are all great candidates for donation. Not only does donation save you the hassle of meticulously packing and moving these items, it may also earn you some extra money through a tax write-off. If you do plan to write off your donation, be sure to double-check which donation centers are registered charities.

4. Label, label, label.

Once you begin packing in earnest, organization is essential. The best way to keep track of your items as you pack is to clearly label each and every box you use. That way, you'll be able to quickly locate the items you need when you're setting up at your new location. 

A label-based numbering system can be vital in keeping your possessions during your move, especially if you plan to use a moving company. By numbering your boxes and including a brief description of their contents, you will be able make a detailed claim in minutes should the moving company you hire lose or damage any of your possessions. You can even assign a number to each employee's workstation so that all of their items end up in the same place!

5. Pack your computers and cables the correct way.

Your computers are likely some of the most expensive and essential pieces of equipment at your business. To ensure that they stay safe during your move, follow these packing guidelines.

  • Protect each computer individually with the proper packing supplies. Cover computers with heavy blankets wrapped in tape to ensure a tight hold. Never stack your computers on top of other items, or stack other items on top of them.

  • Always wrap your monitors. Wrap computer monitors individually in thick moving blankets, tape or bubble wrap. Never place them in boxes (where they can move around and break), and make sure that any tape you use does not touch the monitor itself, as this can damage the screen.

  • Safeguard your data. There are several routes you can take to safeguard the data stored on your computers. The first is to "park" your hard drives, if possible, by lifting each hard drive head from the computers' disk platters to prevent damage. However, the most foolproof way to safeguard your data is to store it on a removable hard drive or use a cloud-based service to back up data before you move your computers. 

Your cables deserve special attention during the moving process, too. After all, nothing is more frustrating or time-consuming than dealing with disorganized cables at the tail end of a move. Cables should always be removed from computers to avoid damage (in the form of bent ports and pins) and misplacement (should the cables come loose during your move). For optimal organization, put your cables in large zip-locked bags and label them by writing the information of the specific computer they belong to on each bag. 

A final tip on moving computers and other important electronic devices: always read instructions and warning labels in order to follow any moving-specific directions. Moving an item improperly may result in damage and a voided warranty.

6. Take care of your office furniture.

The most common types of office furniture include seating, storage and work surfaces. Here are a few quick tips to keep big-ticket items in each of these categories secure during a move.

  • Seating. Office seating can often be oddly shaped. To save space and prevent breakage, disassemble your office chairs whenever possible and wrap the fragile components in thick blankets or bubble wrap.

  • Storage. Storage containers such as file cabinets and shelving units should be packed with space in mind. Remove shelves whenever possible, and fill these units with light items to conserve space if needed. Always tape file cabinet drawers shut so they don't open during a move.

  • Work surfaces. Work surfaces such as desks should have all removable components (such as drawers) taken out before being loaded into a moving truck. Tape all non-removable drawers shut, and be sure to protect glass surfaces by packing them separately or, if they cannot be removed either, by not stacking objects on top of them.

7.  Insure and invest.

No matter how well you pack and move your business, accidents still happen. To keep your property protected in the event of an unforeseen complication, always invest in insurance. If you rent a truck, opt for rental insurance coverage with your plan. If you're going to hire professional movers, choose a company with insurance to protect your possessions. Be sure to check your items for warranties as well, as these can help protect your investments in the event of an accident. 

It's also wise to hire outside help for your commercial move. Professional movers can help you with the heavy lifting and shuttling, saving you hours of time and precious energy throughout a move. If you're planning to store many of your items, it may be a good idea to consider a self-storage facility with commercial storage. That way, you'll have the space you need to store your excess inventory plus other possessions.