You’re moving! You’ve got everything lined up: the house, the job, the movers… you’re all set. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the big day, when the moving company rolls up to your house and starts packing all your things into boxes right away. But movers may not be able to pack every item in your home for shipment. Knowing what items movers cannot accept for packing and transportation makes your move much less stressful.
My first job in the Air Force was as a transportation officer. One of the areas that fall under transportation is working with commercial movers to ship household goods. My second job in the Air Force was working in an aerial port (military airport) preparing and loading cargo and passengers aboard aircraft transiting international air space and borders. I learned first-hand many of the restrictions placed on items that can be shipped by ground and air. Many of these same restrictions apply to moving your belongings across town or around the world. Knowledge is power and knowing what movers are allowed to accept and not accept is key in planning and preparing for your move.
If you’ve done your homework, there will be very little for you to do besides watch as your belongings get boxed up one room at a time. Then they’re loaded onto the van in preparation for the big move! If you haven’t made the necessary preparations, you may be left with an unexpected pile of items the movers did not pack for you. Take care of these items movers cannot accept and move for you ahead of time and you’ll save yourself a big moving day headache.
Items Movers Cannot Accept
Knowing which items your mover cannot accept to pack or transport for you allows you to remove or make other accommodations for these restricted items.
Use your grill as much as possible prior to your moving day, because movers aren’t able to pack up charcoal, lighter fluid or propane tanks. They also cannot take other flammable items such as kerosene (or your kerosene filled tiki torches), lighter fluid (which means all your lighters too), and even paint remover.
If it rots it stays. All perishable food must be kept out of the moving boxes. So eat up or throw it in a cooler, because movers just can’t take anything that will rot on the moving truck. This includes fresh fruits or vegetables, anything that must be refrigerated, open food items, breads, meats of course, and basically all frozen goods.
Even if your plant is the type that can go weeks without water, your movers won’t be able to pack them for you. That’s because they must comply with law that dictates plants not be transported more than a certain distance without approval. Plants can carry pests or other insects not native to certain parts of the country, so movers choose to avoid the hassle all together.
Okay, movers will pack up all your valuable items and and put them on the truck for you, but wouldn’t you rather transport valuables yourself? We’re talking expensive jewelry, cash, financial documents, rare collector items, etc.
Children & Pets
We’re not serious about the children, but we’re halfway serious about the pets. Getting caught up in arranging the move itself, sometimes pets can get lost in the shuffle. It’s only when moving day comes that owners realize they’ve got to figure out how to get their pets to their new destination. Sorry folks, movers can’t move your furry friends for you. There are specific pet moving companies who can, however.
Movers can pack up batteries as long as they are gel batteries that do not spill. Car batteries and similar corrosive batteries are not allowed.
If you’ve got a pool, make sure you’ve got a plan for all of those expensive pool chemicals. Movers cannot load them up on their truck, so dispose of them safely or make room in your personal vehicle.
Most movers are able to move your firearms for you, but they cannot move the ammunition. You’re better off selling the ammunition or giving it away to another gun owner rather than trying to figure out how to get it from point A to point B – especially if you’re flying to your new destination. If you decide you want to transport the ammunition yourself, take the time to research transportation restrictions for ammo and the requirements of each state you will travel through.
Items Near & Dear To Your Heart
This falls in the category of shouldn’t rather than wouldn’t, because movers will technically pack all these items for you. But if something happened to your shipment, and items were destroyed, those sentimental possessions are irreplaceable. Consider taking those things that are closest to your heart with you on your own, such as pictures, childhood mementos, records, videos, etc.
As most of these items are fairly inexpensive, it may be best to leave fertilizers, insecticides, bug sprays, soil, etc. with neighbors. Movers won’t pack up anything like this and put it on the truck.
Select Beauty Items
Most of your makeup is just fine to find its way onto the moving van, but things like aerosol sprays, nail polish and nail polish remover simply cannot go.
All Other Flammables, Corrosives, or Explosives
Anything that can explode or degrade must be left behind. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Anything in an aerosol can
- Gas tanks of any kind (to include fire extinguishers)
- Paint remover
- Oil of any kind
- Fireworks (yep, even sparklers)
- Cleaning solvents
- Gun Reloading supplies
- Sterno (flammable hydrocarbon jelly for cooking)
Fueled Up Power Equipment
You can have movers take power equipment such as weed eaters, lawn mowers, chainsaws, etc. But you must make sure that all equipment is completely drained of the fuel and oil and run out for at least 24 hours before moving day.
Select Kid Toys
Make sure to take a quick look through your children’s toys before the movers arrive to weed out anything that is prohibited. This includes kids chemistry sets and easy bake ovens that have open food containers.
Depending on the state to which you’re moving, you may or may not be able to have the movers pack up your liquor cabinet. Laws vary state to state regarding the transportation of liquor.
If you’re an old school photographer who does all the developing yourself in the basement or garage, hats off to you for having one of the coolest hobbies. But, you’ll need to find a different way to get those expensive developing chemicals from point A to point B. Your movers cannot pack and ship them.
Throw out your rat, mice, ant, etc. poison because the movers cannot take this in their moving truck for you. The same problems you have in your current home with pests, your neighbors may have too, so it’s best just to share those items with your neighbors.
Some Art Supplies
If you’re an artist, you know how expensive all those supplies to work your craft can be. Plan ahead of time to ensure a safe way to get any supplies that are corrosive or flammable to your new destination.
Once you see this comprehensive list of items movers cannot accept, you begin to understand that it has to do with safety. The safety of your other belongings, the truck, the movers and the environment are protected by prohibiting the shipment of flammable, corrosive and poisonous items. Knowing that these items are prohibited and that your moving company cannot accept them is for your own safety and the safety of others, makes it easier to understand and prepare for your move.
For my top moving and travel tips, hacks and printables check out the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.
I’m a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I’ve moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what’s really important to them.