What Not to Pack before a Big Move?

October 30 2018

There are certain items professional movers will not take due to their hazardous or perishable nature. Thus, there is a good amount of things not to pack when moving. These are often termed as the non-allowable items.

Why do movers not move certain items?

There are items that moving companies do not transport. This is because of safety issues mostly. Moving day safety is critical.

Here are the most prominent reasons why movers do not move certain items:

  • Hazardous items may damage the rest of the loaded household items for transport. Some of these items may even damage the moving truck itself.
  • Dangerous items might pose serious risks to all the people involved in the house move.
  • Perishables will go bad during transport and may make a huge mess. These are mostly food items.
  • Pets and plants do not survive a long distance move across the country.

Moving companies will not even pack the perishables for you. In fact, you yourself should not pack such items forbidden for transport for the same reasons.

Hazardous household items

These items are those that are flammable, corrosive, or explosive. You should not pack such items for transport because the risk is just too great. This should be maintained under every circumstance.

Here is a list of the prohibited items that you must never pack:

  • Acids, ammonia
  • Aerosol cans, deodorants
  • Antifreeze
  • Black powder
  • Car batteries
  • Charcoal
  • Cleaning supplies, bleach
  • Disinfectants
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fireworks
  • Fuel-operated yard equipment
  • Gasoline, kerosene, petroleum products
  • Guns and ammunition
  • Lamp oil
  • Liquor (alcohol)
  • Motor oil
  • Nail polish, nail polish remover
  • Paint, paint thinners
  • Pesticides, fertilizer, weed killers
  • Poisons
  • Pool chemicals
  • Propane tanks

Try to get in touch with a licensed firearms dealer when you own guns and ammunition. In case you are completely drained of fuel and well-packed for the road, your mover might agree to transport pieces of yard equipment.

You should call your mover and request their non-allowable list. Do it before you get down to packing the items you can pack by yourself.

Food items

Most of the food items, like frozen, refrigerated or fresh, fall into the no-pack and no-move territory. This is mainly because they can get spoiled rather quickly on the road and start to smell. They usually attract different types of insects. It gets more disgusting when the mold grows.

Though professional movers will not transport perishable foods for you, you need not throw away good food. You can use up your food supplies before the date of your move. In case you fail to do it, give any remaining food to neighbors or donate it to food banks.

Canned food is safer for long-distance transport. There are some moving companies that might agree to take canned products. But still make sure to ask your mover in advance.


It is a fact that plants are extremely delicate and fragile. These will seldom survive being hauled days on end inside the moving truck. Darkness can affect these as well. Extreme temperature fluctuations might damage these. In fact, most house plants won’t survive even short local moves to neighboring cities. Also, there is the possibility of transferring plant parasites from one area to another. So, moving plants is a big no for most of the moving companies.

How to move plants?

Keep in mind that you can think of moving plants only when you are doing a local move. Else, you are bound to risk killing your dear plants by packing and moving them. In the latter case, you can give them to friends to keep taking good care of them. You can also consider donating them to local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.


Pets are pretty much forbidden to be transported by professional movers. You can endanger the life of your cherished animal pet by entrusting him or her to complete strangers. You can allow only specialized pet movers to handle them.

Here are some good options to move your pet to the new home:

Consider taking your pet in your car

This is the best option for you as well as your pet. You can minimize stressful situations by staying with your animal friend at all times during the actual home move. In case your pet seems stressed out before the trip, you can consider the use of tranquilizers with the pet.

Consider moving your pet on the plane with you

Keep in mind that every airline company has their individual pet policy. So, make sure that you are well informed about the specific requirements for air travel of pets.

Consider hiring specialized pet movers

Most of the special moving companies that are licensed and experienced in pet relocation across the country.

Irreplaceable items

Most of the professional movers do not move items of high sentimental value. This is mainly because of their irreplaceable nature. Keep in mind that anything can happen on the road. There is no point in risking damage to the only set of old photos you have.

Here are some example things that you should always take with you and only you:

  • Expensive electronic equipment
  • Expensive jewelry
  • Family heirlooms
  • Money (Credit or debit cards)
  • One-of-a-kind artwork
  • Photo albums
  • Valuable collections

Though you now know what to pack when moving and what to move by yourself, make sure to request the non-allowable checklist from your moving company. This should be done prior to initiating the packing project.

At the time of deciding what not to pack when moving, it helps to know what you’re moving company is actually not allowed to move by law. There are many common household items in this category as mentioned above. These items do not go on a moving truck for safety reasons. So, you should plan to transport these yourself or repurchase these once your move is completed. Also, you shouldn’t pack anything on the moving truck. You might need these items during the course of your move or when you first arrive at your new home.