Even though most of today’s movies, TV series, and music albums are available from streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify, many of us have saved our DVD and CD collections. I built up a respectable collection of DVDs when Blockbusters were around and Jen and I both have all of our CDs from the 90s and 2000s.
I can’t tell you the last time we watched a DVD or listened to a CD, but good luck getting either of us to put them in a ‘donate’ pile!
But these plastic discs are both breakable and easily scratched. So how do we pack these CDs and DVDs (plus videocassettes, Blu-ray discs, and other audiovisual media) for moving? There are actually a few different options to consider, and we will discuss them here.
Table of Contents
CD and DVD Fundamentals
First and foremost, it’s never a good idea to pack a CD or DVD for moving without its original case (or an unbranded case from an office supply outlet). Doing so pretty much guarantees that these discs will arrive completely damaged and unusable.
Another problem when packing and unpacking CDs and DVDs is handling the discs’ surfaces rather than the edges.
It would be best to protect the discs from heat and direct sunlight. And before packing, clean dirt, foreign material, fingerprints, smudges, etc., by wiping them with a clean cotton cloth straight from the disc’s center toward the outer edge. The longer the discs remain soiled, the harder they’ll be to clean. And travel in a moving truck for hours or days won’t help.
And if you plan to label any copied discs in your collection before moving, make sure the label goes on the case, not the disc itself, unless you’re able to laser-etch it on directly with LightScribe or a similar tool when burning). If you lack access to this technology, a permanent marker will do—provided you don’t write outside the label area.
Ways to Pack CDs and DVDs for Moving
Whatever you do when packing your media discs, don’t just toss them into the moving box offhandedly and hope that everything will turn out all right. But it doesn’t work that way. Instead, you need to ensure your discs are protected from every direction. What follows are some ways to do this.
Packing a Store-bought CD or DVD Holder
Back in the day, many of us purchased inexpensive CD or DVD holders with built-in slots for each disc and its case. This way, we can see the names without pulling each disc out to find the one we wanted. It turns out that these holders can also help protect your discs during a move.
Cover the open side, and make sure to place it in a well-buffered moving box, with no room for movement. Depending on the holder’s size, it could get reasonably heavy when filled with CDs, so be sure not to choose a larger moving box to fit in two or more.
Packing Individual CDs or DVDs
We recommend a small moving box (preferably a banker’s box with cut-out handles). We also recommend lining the box with heavy-duty bubble wrap on all sides, with a couple of layers on the bottom. First, be sure to pack each disc type in one or more separate boxes.
Then, if there’s room remaining in a given container, fill it with socks, kitchen towels, or any other soft items.
Place a disc in its assigned box directly next to another, with the opening side down. You’ll want to be able to read the titles once you’ve moved into your new home and realize you won’t have internet (hence streaming) for another day or two.
Don’t pack the discs so tightly that the box bulges at the sides, but be sure there’s no room for them to move around. Pack both types of discs the same way. For both, place sufficient packing material, like crumpled newspaper, on top of the discs.
What About Unused Recordable CDs and DVDs?
If you have brand new, unused audiovisual media, try to keep them in their original packaging when moving, especially those on spindles with covers. Otherwise, put them in a box with more of the same media category (with their cellophane wrapping intact, if possible).
What if You Have Just a Few CDs and/or DVDs
If you don’t own many CDs or DVDs—not enough to fill even part of a moving box—how should you pack them? Odd as this may sound, you should find space in another box that already contains items that will cushion or buffer them. Here are some suggestions:
- A box containing soft items like tee shirts, towels, bedding, and so on should work.
- A box with hardcover books. Place your disc case between two larger books.
- A hand-carried file box that’s only partially filled. If there’s no built-in divider, place the discs between cardboard sheets.
Unboxing CDs and DVDs After the Move
If you have one or more boxes of DVDs and CDs, try to place them together in the room where you’ll store them. You might not want to unpack the boxes right away, and that’s fine as long as you keep them in a cool, dark place.
When you’re ready to unpack them, you should also organize them by category.
If you packed your discs and other media with unrelated items like bedding, don’t forget to take them out and move them someplace else, where they won’t get lost or damaged.
Maybe pop one into your DVD player, too, if you still have one. Or watch it on your computer. I still have a PS4 that we still will watch a Blu-Ray on every once in a while.
What Comes Next?
CDs captured the public’s attention in the mid-1980, just like 8-track cassettes in the early 1970s. The difference is that CDs have stayed around a lot longer. In the mid-1990s, DVDs were all the rage for movie buffs (replacing LaserDiscs, which were little more than a flash in the pan).
As mentioned above, digital entertainment and information media offer the advantage of flexible viewing times.
Plus, they’re ours to own, not pay-per-view or subscribe to monthly. It might not be long before all home entertainment options move to the internet and DVD players go the way of VCRs. So enjoy your collections while you can still enjoy them!