What NOT To Pack in a POD

Here’s the quick answer: Moving containers offer a convenient solution for relocation, especially for those needing storage or preferring not to drive a rental truck. To maximize efficiency and avoid costly mistakes, it’s crucial to know what to pack and what not to pack in a POD. Prohibited items include sentimental items, perishable goods, hazardous materials, houseplants, and weapons. By following proper packing guidelines and knowing the restrictions, you can ensure a smooth and safe move.

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Why should you listen to us? At moveBuddha we have evaluated 4,400 local and national professional movers, including the best interstate moving companies and the best moving container companies, to help you avoid big moving mistakes. And we have uncovered everything you need to know about what you can NOT pack in a POD.

What not to pack in a pod

Whether you choose a pro mover or a moving container company, the same packing tips and rules still apply regardless. For example, loaded guns and flammable goods should be obvious and off-limits for packing inside a moving pod. Request a copy of the pods’ container company’s non-allowable items before renting.

Continue reading below for a list of items not allowed inside a moving pod and tips on how to load a container.

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Sentimental items

Some moving pod companies may have certain guidelines regarding valuable and sentimental belongings. When you are in the process of moving, your best bet is to keep these items with you in a separate box.

Moving pods are safe and secure. Nonetheless, there is still a chance that something could break or become damaged. For this reason, it is important to eliminate the risks of an accident by always keeping valuables with you or at least wrapping them securely in bubble wrap or plastic wrap.

The same applies to items that have sentimental value.

Some of the most common valuable items are:

  • Money
  • Jewelry
  • Furs
  • Firearms
  • Computer software or programs
  • Credit cards
  • Medicine
  • Financial documents
  • Sentimental items
  • Family heirlooms
  • Electronics
  • Medical and/or dental records
  • School records
  • Laptops
  • Collections
  • Keys
  • Car titles
  • Cell phones
  • Checkbooks
  • Photo albums

If you still decide to pack these items in a moving pod, you still want to make sure you read the company’s liability options.

Some companies require customers to have coverage for their moving pod and its contents. The two most common levels of liability are the contents protection option and the container-only option.

As these options offer a certain degree of protection, they will not provide total compensation for the loss of damaged items.

Perishable items

Perishables are foods or unopened food that can go bad. Packing these items in a moving pod is far from a good idea.

It has the potential to attract bugs or rats while leaving you with seriously spoiled foods at the end of the move.

Before you plan on moving, it is highly recommended that you discard or donate open or perishable foods.

You can place nonperishable items in a moving pod including canned goods, soups, rice, unopened sauces, and pasta.

The perishable items that should not be packed in a moving pod are:

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Frozen treats
  • Fresh produce
  • Refrigerated food
  • Opened pantry items
  • Opened beverages

Hazardous items

Regarding unsafe or dangerous materials, moving companies and pod companies refuse to transport these items.

Ahead of your move, you must adequately dispose of these items as soon as possible. Additionally, most hazardous items can be easily replaced after relocating to a new home.

These items will be labeled as such with a hazardous note directly on them. Hazardous items are chemical-containing materials that are highly combustible and may even be explosive, especially in a hot, moving truck or even in a closed self-storage facility.

Don’t pack these hazardous items in your moving container:

  • Fertilizer
  • Paints
  • Paint thinner
  • Aerosols
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Propane tanks
  • Poisons
  • Motor oil
  • Charcoal
  • Pool chemical
  • Scuba tanks
  • Batteries
  • Acids
  • Charcoal lighter fluid
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Gasoline
  • Loaded guns
  • Nail polish remover
  • Ammonia
  • Matches

The most important thing to remember is not to throw hazardous materials in the trash. If you do, you are putting the trash pick-up service in danger.

The safest way to dispose of hazardous materials before moving is to visit your local hazardous waste facility drop-off center. All the centers have clearly labeled bins to make disposal quick and straightforward.


You also want to be aware that moving pod companies will most likely not allow indoor or outdoor plants inside the pod. The reason is that many states have certain laws about which kinds of plants can and cannot be imported.

This aims to prevent the spread of pests, harmful insects, and diseases. In addition, plants won’t survive without sunshine anyway, which is more reason to carry them with you during the move.

Before you pack up your plants, be sure to check out your State Plant Regulatory Official first, and if it’s okay to transport the plants across state lines. Consider renting portable storage containers that can be opened from time to time for fresh air and sunlight.


Moving day safety is key. Weapons pose a serious threat to safety, so you want to contact a licensed firearms dealer if you own guns and ammunition.

Anything that can explode threatens safety, so gunpowder cannot be stored in moving pods. Most moving companies will also refuse to transport ammunition.

In some cases, movers will agree to transport guns on the condition that all weapons are empty (no ammo) and well-packed for the road. Some companies require they be locked in boxes, others have specific arrangements for packing and transport.

Check with your moving container company to see if they can transport guns. The rules can vary state to state (D.C. doesn’t allow any transport of guns while others are more lenient).

Renting a moving container

Renting portable moving containers may be more cost-efficient than if you were to hire a full-service moving company.

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A moving pod is a container you rent intending to use for relocation. A moving pod company will actually move the pod once you have packed it up and delivered it to your new destination.

The process of renting a moving pod is fairly easy and quick. All you have to do is hire a company. If you plan on packing the pod yourself and moving at your own pace, hiring a container from a company like U-Pack is ideal.

They will deliver the pod to your current destination. You pack up all your belongings, and the company picks up the pod, delivers it to your new home or business, or secures it in a storage container or storage unit.

Either way, you have easy access to your rented moving pod.

Packing a moving POD can be time-consuming, but with the right supplies and tips, you’ll have your belongings safely protected in no time.

Moving tips and how to load a shipping container

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If you’ve ever seen moving professionals load a moving container, you know there’s a right way to do it. By loading a container properly, you’ll balance out the weight and avoid creating gaps that can lead to item shifting and damage.

Here are some moving tips on how to load a moving container.

  1. Organize your items into categories: what needs to be packed away first, second, and third? This will make it easier to know where everything goes and make packing much more efficient.
  2. Gather the right supplies: strong moving boxes, tape, paper pads or bubble wrap, scissors, moving blankets, moisture absorbers to prevent mildew, and markers are all necessary to make your packing process go smoothly.
  3. Load heavy and large items first: Start with larger, heavier items first, like couches, sofas, and beds (you may have to use tie-downs or ratchet straps to keep the furniture from moving around), then move on to smaller ones. Try to fill up each box using small and large items so the boxes don’t become too heavy.
  4. Distribute weight: Place larger items on the bottom of the container and smaller and lighter items on top. This helps keep everything in place during transportation.
  5. Protect items: Wrap all fragile items with paper pads or bubble wrap to protect them from damage.
  6. Label your stuff: Label all boxes with a clear and legible description of the items inside them. This will make it much easier to unpack once you reach your destination.
  7. Secure items: Last but not least, don’t forget to secure the lid of each container before loading it onto the truck or trailer. This will ensure the items are all safe and secure until they reach their final destination.
  8. Go with the pros: You may want to consider hiring professional movers or a company like 1-800-Pack-Rat if you’re uncomfortable packing the container or U-Haul yourself.

They are used to packing pods and have all kinds of hacks for using all the available space and empty spaces efficiently and safely by packing the container floor-to-ceiling, especially if it’s a cross-country move. More cross-country moving tips

Following these tips can help make your packing process much easier and smoother when it comes to moving with a pod. Good luck!

More tips for packing a pod and moving

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Additional tips for packing a moving pod include the following:

  • Lining the bottom of the unit with blankets for extra protection and cushioning
  • Placing all furniture along the sides of the pods to keep them upright and to optimize space
  • Avoiding placing heavy items on top of furniture
  • Keeping the load level even

By adhering to moving pod guidelines and putting safety at the forefront of the moving process, you are well on your way to a successful move. With this list of what not to pack in a pod, you’re well on your way to a smooth moving day.

Need help with your move? Be sure to check out our list of the best moving container companies and compare quotes with our moving cost calculator.

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