Full List of Items Movers Will NOT Move

For a stress-free move, understand the items that you movers can’t move and what belongings you should move yourself.

All moving companies will move the standard items found in a typical home.

After all, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be moving companies, right?

OK, so we’re talking about things that everyone has like clothes, furniture, electronics, and appliances.

Most movers even have experience moving less common items like pool tables, hot tubs, and motorcycles.

What’s not so well-known is that there are lots of things that moving companies will not (and cannot) move.

Before we jump in, it’s important to address a couple of issues…

First, local and national laws prohibit the transportation of many of the items we’ll be covering.

These laws are in place to protect the public and environment from things like chemical spills, explosions, and the spread of invasive, non-native insect species to different parts of the country.

Also, movers may refuse to transport items that are irreplaceable, have deep sentimental value, or are extraordinarily valuable.

Let’s take a closer look.

Items That Movers WILL NOT Move

Houseplants

See how to properly pack and move houseplants.

Some movers will transport plants on local moves, but they’re generally prohibited on interstate relocations.

Plants and soil can harbor harmful insects, eggs, and larvae that can infest the van and your items.
They can also do significant damage to crops in states where they’re not native.

Ask prospective movers about their individual policy before signing a contract. Better yet, get it in writing.

Not sure who to hire? Pick from the best interstate moving companies.

Pets

Movers won’t transport pets either.

Sadly, your cuddly cat and talkative canary won’t be able to hitch a free ride next to your refrigerator—and with good reason.

They wouldn’t survive the hot and nearly airless conditions inside the van.

Most families take their pets with them in the car, and pre-plan stops at animal-friendly hotels along the way.

If that’s not an option, many movers have relationships with companies that specialize in transporting animals across the country and around the world.

See our tips for moving with pets.

Perishable Foods

Perishable foods are another big no-no when moving.

Not only do they spoil quickly and cause nauseating odors, but they attract insects that could infest your clothes, bedding, and furniture.

Canned goods are OK, but it’s a good idea to leave jarred or bagged items like jam, cooking oil, and pasta behind.

Give perishable items to neighbors, donate it to a food bank, or eat if before you go.

Cleaning Products and Hazardous Materials

Cleaning products and hazardous items are another group of non-transportable items that include many common household items.

And they tend to make cost-conscious families see red when they realize how much it’ll cost to replace them.

Here we’re talking about items that are often classified as corrosives, poisons, and pollutants.

They include:

Acids Aerosol cans Ammonia Car Batteries Cleaning Solvents
Darkroom Chemicals Household Batteries Liquid Bleach Motor Oil Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover
Paints and Paint Thinners Pesticides Poisons Pool Chemicals Weed Killer

Explosives and Flamable Items:

Ammunition and Loaded Guns Charcoal Charcoal Lighter Fluid Chemistry Sets
Fire Extinguishers Fireworks Gasoline Kerosene
Lamp Oil Matches Propane Tanks* Scuba Tanks*

*Some movers will move propane and scuba tanks if they’ve been purged, tagged, and certified as empty by a 3rd party.

Insider’s Tip: Though it may be tempting to stash a ‘conveniently mislabeled’ box of excluded items in the van, it’s a really bad idea.

Consider this…

A half-used bottle of olive oil or nearly-empty can of motor oil costs less than $5 to replace, but if either spill while in transit, it could ruin a $2,000 sofa.

It’s just not worth it.

And if you’ve done the same thing… but with fireworks and lighter fluid… and the van explodes in the Arizona desert?

Well, let’s just say you’ll have some explaining to do to 3-letter agencies like the FBI and EPA.

It’s best to give these items to a neighbor, leave them for the new homeowner, or dispose of them in accordance with local regulations.

Gypsy Moth Certification

If you’re moving from the east to western states like California, Washington, and Oregon, you’ll also need to provide a Gypsy Moth Certification Form for outdoor items you take with you.

This includes swing sets, BBQ grills, riding mowers, and patio furniture.

States like California have ports of entry where commercial vehicles like moving vans are subject to random stops and inspections.

The idea is to prevent the spread of harmful, non-native insects like gypsy moths.

If an officer spots an outdoor item in the van or listed on the inventory, and there’s no certification form, the entire moving truck could be quarantined.

Yuck.

It may sound dramatic but fear not because your mover can help.

The certification process is easy, and it’ll give you peace of mind.

Firearms and Ammo

Though ammunition is a universally excluded item, many moving companies will ship unloaded firearms.

There are a dizzying number of state and national laws that dictate how guns may be shipped.

Each professional mover will have its own policy, but they’ll usually just need to note make, model, and serial numbers, and verify that they’re unloaded and properly packed.

If you’d rather transport them on your own, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with regulations for all the states through which you’ll be traveling.

Items Movers Can Move, But That You May Want to Take with You

Obviously you’ll need clothes, toiletries, medications, and other personal items while traveling, but there are other things that often get overlooked.

Like:

Airline Tickets Car Keys Car Titles Cash Certificates of Deposit
Checkbooks Coin Collections Financial Documents Family Heirlooms Gold, Silver, and Diamonds
Insurance Policies IRAs, Deeds, and Tax Records Jewelry and Family Heirlooms Keys to Desks, Safes, Home, and Cars Laptop
Dental and Medical Records Medicine Professional Files (attorney, accountant, physician) School Records Personal Videos and photo albums

Many of these items are irreplaceable, extraordinarily valuable, or carry sentimental value.

Though you may not be able to lug them all across the country with you, it’s best to consider each carefully before deciding how to ship it.

Many interstate movers have a special inventory page that’s reserved for high-value items like jewelry, precious metals, and expensive electronics.

If they’re willing to transport them, they’ll want to know about them beforehand.

It’s also important to note that sentimental value doesn’t necessarily translate into monetary value.

Though your baby pictures may mean the world to you, from a dollars and cents perspective they’re worth very little.

If you couldn’t live with the loss of any of the items on the list, seriously consider taking them with you.

Especially on long-distance moves, once items are in the van, you may not have access to them for a week or more!

So plan accordingly to eliminate unneeded stress and hassle.

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