How to Store a Printer

Jon Fesmire |

Did you just get a new printer, but might need the old one as you expand your office? Maybe you’re moving, and don’t know how to pack your printer correctly. Let us help.

In this article, we will cover inkjet printers, which are the most common, with advice at the end for storing laserjet toner.

Cartridges

The first thing to know about storing your inkjet printer is this: do not remove the ink cartridges. If you do so, the ink will most likely clog or leak.

Instead, shut down your printer. This procedure may vary depending on the type of printer, but for most, pressing or holding the power button will do it. Proper shutdown will move the print heads into a safe and sealed position and prevent clogging, leaking, and ink drying.

Preparing the Printer

Next, unplug the printer’s power cord, and any connections to the computer. Wrap and bind the cords, and set them aside.

Carefully remove any paper left in the paper tray, or that may have gotten stuck in the printer.

Your printer likely has a variety of panels and doors, some of which can flap open when moving the machine. Use Scotch tape or masking tape to secure these openings in place. This will make moving the printer much easier, and safer.

Packing the Printer

When storing electronics, it’s always best if you can use the original packaging. However, few of us keep the boxes our printers and computers come in, with their bulky styrofoam cutouts and plastic bags.

So, if you no longer have the plastic bag for your printer, place it upright in a new trash bag. Find a box the printer will fit in comfortably, and set it inside, again, right-side-up. Put the cords in separate bags and set them inside. Fill in the empty space with crumpled paper or styrofoam peanuts. Finally, seal the box with packing tape, available at your self storage facility and at most drug stores and home supply shops.

Using a Sharpie, write, “Printer. Fragile.” Draw an arrow to the top of the box and beside or underneath it, write, “This Side Up.” That way if someone besides you moves the box, they’ll know how to handle it.

Storage

It’s important to store your printer in a place that’s not too hot, not too cold, not too humid, and not too dry. That means don’t store it in your garage, attic, or basement. Instead, it will be comfortable where you’re comfortable, in a relatively cool, dry (but not too dry) place.

A good, safe place for your printer, and just about anything else you need set aside for a time, is a climate controlled self storage unit. Extremes in humidity and temperature can cause serious damage to your printer, including to the delicate internal electronic parts. Climate control keeps your belongings cool and dry, safe from mold, mildew, cracking, and warping.

Toner Storage

Toner for laser printers works a bit differently than ink cartridges for inkjet printers. You can keep the toner in the printer, but should do so for no more than six months. Keep the packaging for your toner cartridges. Follow the instructions for your laser printer on how to remove the cartridge, and place it, right-side-up, in its original packaging. Store it beside your printer.

With your printer properly stored, it will be ready for you when you need it, whether that’s in your new office, or your new home.