Moving Checklist

When you’re preparing to move to a new home, it seems like there are a thousand things to do. A professional moving company can make things go much more smoothly. They’ll load your furniture and belongings, carry them to your destination, and unload them. They’ll even pack for you if you want them to.

But you can’t leave everything to the movers. There are certain items they won’t pack and transport. You’ll want to be aware of these items so you can make arrangements to carry or dispose of them, and avoid unpleasant surprises on moving day.

This post provides a checklist of items moving companies won’t pack and transport. Some of these may surprise you. You likely have many of these items in or around your home. If you’re planning an upcoming move, you may find this post useful.

Things Your Movers Will Not Pack or Transport

Hazardous Items

Moving companies are prohibited by federal law from transporting hazardous materials, even for short distances. This is to protect you, the movers and their property, and the property of others which may be moving in the same truck as yours.

Hazardous items include flammable and explosive materials such as:

  • Gasoline and kerosene
  • Matches
  • Lighter fluid
  • Liquid bleach and ammonia
  • Cleaning solvents and other chemicals
  • Fireworks
  • Motor oil
  • Acids
  • Loaded firearms and ammunition

Some other items movers can’t transport are:

  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • Car batteries
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides and weed killers
  • Charcoal
  • Scuba tanks

Movers can transport lawnmowers and similar garden equipment as long as all fluids have been drained out.

If flammable and toxic items are dangerous for movers to transport, they’re also dangerous for you to carry. Unless you have a very short move, such as within the same town, your best course of action is to dispose of these items properly and then obtain new ones after your relocation. If you have any doubts about whether the movers can transport an item, you should contact the moving company well before your move.

Live Plants

Most moving companies won’t carry live plants. This is because many states have regulations about bringing outside vegetation, or bugs they may be carrying, into the state. Also, plants may die during transport or overturn and spill, endangering your other belongings or those of others.

Companies cannot transport plants more than 150 miles without a special permit. The movers may be willing to carry them if you’re moving a very short distance. If the movers can’t move your plants, you can move them yourself or donate them to friends or neighbors. Again, contact the moving company for clarification.


It may go without saying, but your dog, cat, lizard, or goldfish cannot ride in the back of a moving truck, even for a short distance. You wouldn’t want your beloved furry or scaly friend to be in a hot, bumpy truck anyway, right? After all, moving is stressful enough for your pets.

Instead, you can move your pets yourself in your own vehicle. Riding with you will ease your pets’ anxiety. Before the move, have your pets checked out at the vet, and if you are using a carrier, get them accustomed to it before the move.

If you’re traveling by air, check with the airline and find out its policies about transporting live animals and any arrangements you’ll need to make.

If you can’t have your pet travel with you for whatever reason, you could have a professional pet mover move your pets. Yes, there is such a thing. These companies specialize in moving dogs, cats, and other pets safely and professionally.


Most movers will not carry perishable food, which could spoil during transport and attract insects, rodents, and other pests. This includes frozen and refrigerated food and opened food products.

If you’re moving a short distance, your movers may be willing to carry a few items. You could also carry frozen and refrigerated foods yourself, in a cooler. But your best advice is to consume as much as possible at home before the move or give perishable foods away to friends or neighbors.

Non-perishable foods like spices, cooking oils, and unopened canned or boxed foods are typically not a problem for movers to carry.

Valuables and Sensitive Documents

Although the moving company may be able to carry your valuables, you should consider moving them yourself. While you can purchase additional insurance to cover valuables, some items are irreplaceable for sentimental or legal reasons. Some examples are:

  • Heirlooms
  • Photographs
  • Collectibles
  • Precious metals
  • Large amounts of cash
  • Wills, stock and bond certificates, medical, financial, and school records
  • Insurance policies
  • Tax records
  • Medicine
  • Computers and hard drives

Although movers can help with many aspects of your move, there are some items they can’t carry, and some you will probably feel more comfortable transporting yourself. Knowing these items ahead of time can help ensure your move goes well.

We hope you found this post, Moving Checklist for the Things Your Movers Won’t Pack useful. Be sure to check out our post, How Do I Find Trustworthy Moving Companies Near Me? for more great information.

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