Know What You Can't Pack When Moving

Man with Truck and Moving Boxes
[Paul Bradbury]/[OJO Images]/Getty Images.

When you're planning a move and are hiring movers, there are some things you shouldn't pack and move with you. Most moving companies will have a list of items that they won't move, most of which are dangerous goods and should be properly disposed of before you move.

Some items can be moved but must be properly packed. To be sure that you're not moving anything that you shouldn't be, make sure you ask the moving company before you start preparing items for shipment to make sure they're packed and stored and ready to move without any risk or safety issue.

And even if you're moving, you may want to take extra care in packing certain items, especially if you're moving a long distance.

Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods include any material that is flammable, corrosive or explosive. Dangerous goods are considered unstable and illegal to move. If you have dangerous goods, call your local recycling pickup service, fire station or the closest EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) office to find out how you can properly dispose of these items. Or ask a neighbor or friend if they could use it. 

While this list is fairly exhaustive, make sure you ask your mover for a full list as some movers might move specific items if properly packed and marked or labeled.  For instance, some movers will carry your full propane tanks while other companies will refuse to move them. Best to ask to ensure there aren't any surprises on moving day.  

  • Acid
  • Sterno
  • Darkroom Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Motor Oil
  • Gasoline
  • Charcoal
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Fertilizer
  • Paints
  • Car Batteries
  • Matches
  • Nail Polish & Remover
  • Ammunition
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Aerosols
  • Kerosene
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Chemistry Sets
  • Fireworks
  • Motor Oil
  • Paint Thinner
  • Batteries
  • Loaded Weapons
  • Weed Killer
  • Ammonia
  • Lamp Oil
  • Propane
  • Cleaning Fluid

Perishables

While perishables aren't dangerous, they can make a mess and cause damage to other items if not packed and stored properly.

If your move is local, proper packing and storage can enable you to take perishables with you. Just be careful with meat, eggs and dairy products. Spoiling can happen quickly even in colder temperatures.

If your move is to a new home far away, requiring a long distance move, dispose of all perishables. You may also want to find a new home for your plants especially if you're moving to another state or to another country.

Again, ask your movers about plants and how best to pack them if they agree to move them to your new home. You should also be aware of rules about moving to a new state. Often when I move, I take my plants with me in my car which means I can ensure they're packed properly and get to my new home without too many problems. 

Items of High Value

Now, high-value doesn't necessarily mean it has a high price value, rather it is sentimental or a "can't live without" item. I like to think of them as the "can't live without them" stuff, things that you might grab if racing out of the fire. As an aside, if we're moving any distance, I photocopy all important documents such as any identification, licenses, insurance records, etc... Just in case.

So when you're packing, think twice about shipping the following items with the moving company:

  • Personal Files (marriage license, passport, birth certificate, wills, insurance papers)
  • Home Movies or Personal Video Tapes
  • Address Books
  • Flight Tickets
  • Financial Statements
  • Photos
  • Photo Albums
  • Car Keys, house keys, safety box keys
  • Deeds
  • Tax Records
  • School Records
  • Check Books
  • Jewelry
  • Collections (art, coins, stamps, etc...)
  • Letters
  • Stocks
  • Computer Software
  • Computer Back-up Disks
  • Medicine
  • Children's artwork