Avoid Packing These

Eight Items to Avoid Packing and Why: What Your Movers Want You to Know

For most people, moving and packing aren’t included among their favorite pastimes. A move takes time and energy, two things that most of us are lacking. Even a move to a house down the street or right next door could be as complex and time-consuming as a move to a different state.

To make life easier on yourself, you’re probably looking for as many moving tips as possible to make the transition from one home to another a smooth and easy one. One of the most important things you need to know about during your moving process is what kind of things you should not pack up for the movers.

If you’re a little shocked right now, you should know you’re not alone. Many people are under the impression that moving companies will haul anything away. It seems like it should be a simple process—pack, have the movers pick up your possessions, and then deliver them to your final destination.

In many cases, it can be that simple. However, the simplicity comes from avoiding packing the wrong items. There are items that movers will refuse to move for you. Here are eight items that may be lying around your house waiting to be moved; items that will have to be transported by you, not the moving van.

Food and Other Perishable Items

Some foods may be transported just fine during your move. There are some, though that simply shouldn’t be transported in a large vehicle. Perishable foods could rot, mold, and cause a stench that permeates the rest of the items in the vehicle. Foods that are not perishable—nuts and dried foods, for example—can usually be packed and moved without issue. Another note about foods: anything in glass jars should not be packed. The jars could crack or break completely, causing food and/or liquids to drain out and damage your belongings.

Your Animals and Plants

Living things should never be kept in a moving van or truck for any length of time. There is rarely fresh air and temperature ranges can go from stuffy and sweltering to freezing. Any living creature, whether it is plant or animal, will not do well in such an environment.

Cash and Other Valuables

Most moving company insurance plans cover property by the pound, not by the value of the items. Therefore, if you have a lot of cash stored in a safe, jars, piggy banks, or your mattress it would be best to put it in the bank or take it with you. If you pack it and it is lost, stolen, or damaged it isn’t likely that the insurance will cover the full amount lost.

Sentimental or life-saving items (like medications) should not be packed into a moving van. As careful as movers are, accidents can happen and losing something with a great amount of sentimental value can be heartbreaking. And, losing access to medication that could save your life is something that should be avoided at all costs.

Your Personal Documents

Passports, wills, birth certificates, and other important paperwork should be kept with you instead of with the movers. Losing one of these documents can cause a lot of problems, especially if you need to leave the country for the move or an important event following the move.

Explosives, Including Firecrackers

Anything combustible should not be moved. In fact, it would be best to contact your local fire department to find out how to properly dispose of these items. The possibility of an explosion in the truck or van is too great. And, as much as you might value those items, would they really be worth it if they contributed to the damage or loss of most of your furniture, clothing and other possessions?

Some combustibles that should be disposed of or moved on your own include:

  • Ammunition
  • Black powder
  • Fireworks
  • Other explosives

It is important to note, too that if you’re packing for an international move that many countries won’t allow foreigners to bring firearms into their country.

Gas Tanks and Container

Movers will not transport tanks of gasoline fuel. They also avoid moving oxygen tanks and scuba tanks. The possibility of an explosion is simply too high. Don’t forget about the propane tank on your grill, either.

Toxic, Hazardous and Corrosive Materials

Household cleaning items, including bleach, will be rejected by most moving companies. These chemicals pose a threat to the health and safety of the movers. If the materials leak through their containers, they could cause dangerous fumes in a small, confined space that could be inhaled by the movers. Plus, the liquids can cause damage to your belongings, as well as the structure of the transport vehicle itself.

In addition to cleaning supplies, movers try to avoid moving most liquids, particularly hazardous or potentially messy ones like:

  • Paints
  • Motor oil
  • Cooking oil
  • Perfume/Cologne
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover


For the most part, movers won’t move alcohol. They are concerned about the possibility of damage to the bottles and the liquid could damage your possessions. There are some movers, however, who are willing to move a collection of alcohols if you are willing to invest in a custom crate.

Being Well-Prepared Now Will Make Your Move So Much Easier

Having an idea of what can and cannot be moved by professional movers will save you a lot of time and frustration. Instead of simply assuming that everything can be packed up into the moving van, make sure to first check with your movers to see if there are any limitations or restrictions not mentioned on this list. If you’re well-prepared right from the start, you’re more likely to have a smooth transition to your new home.

For more information about how to make your move an easy one, check out our other blog posts. Or, contact us. We would love to answer all of your questions.




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