What things not to pack when moving: List of non-allowables

What not to pack when moving home
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Take a look at your moving checklist and try to find the one task that will you keep you rather busy from the very first day of the preparation period all the way until the day of your actual home move.

Under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t have any troubles identifying the most time-consuming job in your moving timeline because, without a doubt, it’ll be the job of packing for a move. The good news here is that thanks to the large number and great variety of high-quality packing tips that we offer, you should able to handle the packing task like a pro packer. Naturally, you’ll be especially interested in learning how to pack for a move QUICKLY.

And now, let’s turn your attention to something important that you may or may not know: there are certain items professional movers won’t take due to their hazardous or perishable nature. As a result, there’s a good amount of things not to pack when moving – the so-called non-allowable items, or simply non-allowables.

So, what not to pack when moving? And WHY?

Why there are items movers won’t move

The short answer to why there are items that moving companies do not transport is SAFETY. Moving day safety is critical, especially when all types of household items are being relocated hundreds or even thousands of miles across the entire country.

The major reasons why movers won’t move some items are:

  • Hazardous items (see below) may damage the rest of the loaded household items for transport. Some dangerous goods may even damage the moving truck itself;
  • Dangerous items may pose serious risks to all the people involved in the house move, including to you and your family members;
  • Perishables (mostly various types of foods) will go bad during transport and may make a huge mess;
  • Pets and plants won’t normally survive a long distance move across the country.

This is why, moving companies won’t move hazardous materials, and they definitely won’t pack them for you. And, regardless of whether you’re using the services of a professional mover or you’re moving on your own, you shouldn’t pack such items forbidden for transport for the same reasons that we mentioned above.

Now, let’s take a closer look at what items not to pack for moving simply because long distance movers won’t move them for you.

Good to know: How much do cross country movers cost?

Hazardous household items

Hazardous items are those that are flammable (combustible), corrosive, or explosive. Under no circumstance should you pack such items for transport because the risk is just too great.

Some prohibited items that you must never pack are:

  • 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

Get in touch with a licensed firearms dealer if you own guns and ammunition. When completely drained of fuel and well-packed for the road, most movers will agree to transport pieces of yard equipment.

Make sure you call your mover and request their non-allowables list – the list of the hazardous materials that movers won’t move. Do it before you get down to packing the things you can pack by yourself.

Read also: Should I hire professional packers?


Any types of food (frozen, refrigerated or fresh) fall into the no-pack and no-move territory because they can get spoiled rather quickly on the road, start to smell, attract various types of insects or even let mold grow.

Even though professional movers will not transport perishable foods for you, that doesn’t mean that you should just go away and throw away perfectly good food. Instead, make sure you use up your food supplies before the date of your move. If you fail to do it, then kindly give any remaining food to neighbors or donate it to food banks to help some strangers in need.

Canned food is relatively safe for long-distance transport and some moving companies will agree to take canned products. Either way, don’t risk it and ask your mover in advance about their own version of the list of prohibited items.

Useful info: How to move a refrigerator


One thing to keep in mind is that plants are extremely delicate and fragile, and they will not usually survive being hauled days on end inside the moving truck, in the dark and exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations. Most house plants won’t survive even short local moves to neighboring cities, let alone endless cross-country moves. Another reason that moving companies are not allowed to transport plants is the possibility of transferring plant parasites from one area to another.

How to move non-allowables when it comes to plants? Unless you’re moving within the same town or city, do not risk killing your dear plants by packing and moving them. Instead, give them to friends to keep taking good care of them, or consider donating them to local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.

See also: How to move house with plants


Speaking of moving companies restricted items, pets are strictly forbidden to be transported by professional movers. Do not even think about endangering the life of your cherished animal pet by entrusting him or her to complete strangers – unless those strangers happen to be specialized pet movers.

All in all, you have several good options to move your pet to the new home:

  • Take your pet in your car. This is by far the best relocation choice both for you and your pet. Minimize stressful situations by staying with your animal friend at all times during the actual home move. If you pet does seem rather stressed out or nervous before the trip, discuss the possible use of tranquilizers with the pet.
  • Take your pet on the plane with you. Each airline company has their individual pet policy, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for air travel of pets.
  • Hire experienced pet movers. There are special moving companies that are licensed and experienced in pet relocation across the country.

Learn more: How to move a dog cross country ; How to move a cat cross country

Irreplaceable items

Normally, professional movers won’t move items of high sentimental value due to their irreplaceable nature. After all, anything can happen on the road and there’s really no point in risking damage to the only set of old photos you have from your grand-grandfather. The thing is that no amount of money can possibly compensate you for an item or items are clearly priceless.

Here are some example things that you should always take with you and never entrust to movers:

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

Even though you now know what to pack when moving and what to move by yourself, don’t forget to request the non-allowables checklist from your moving company before you initiate the packing project.

Must-read: How to get an accurate moving estimate

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