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Items Movers Won't Pack

A full service moving company has the manpower and resources to transport almost anything. However, there are a few items movers won’t pack, both for your safety and theirs. Some are hazardous. Others spoil. And some carry too much legal or financial risk. Many are so commonplace that homeowners are surprised movers won’t accept them. In order to avoid complications, make sure you know what can and can't go on a moving truck before it arrives.

Flammable Items

Anything that can catch fire endangers your moving crew. If the truck goes over a bump or gets hit by another vehicle, there's no telling what may happen. Under the right conditions, the contents could catch fire or explode. So, as a precaution, movers won’t pack:

  • Gasoline
  • Kerosene
  • Lighter Fluid
  • Propane
  • Motor Oil
  • Lamp Oil
  • Anti-Freeze
  • Fireworks
  • Charcoal
  • Matches
  • Nail Polish
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Sterno
  • Lithium Batteries

Harsh Chemicals

Acidic and corrosive substances need to be left behind. Movers won’t transport them and neither should you. A leak could damage your belongings. Or they could spill and set off a dangerous reaction. They might even seep out and harm the people carrying boxes to and from the van. This includes some seemingly innocuous items, such as:

  • Bleach
  • Vinegar
  • Dish Soap
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Oven Cleaner
  • All-Purpose Cleaners
  • Pesticides
  • Weed Killer
  • Rat Poison
  • Fertilizer
  • Ammonia
  • Chemistry Sets
  • Darkroom Chemicals
  • Mineral Acids
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Car Batteries
  • Household Batteries
  • Drain Cleaner

Contents Under Pressure

In a collision, there’s no way movers can be certain aerosol cans, scuba tanks, or fire extinguishers won’t rupture, even if your belongings have been secured. A hard turn or unexpected bump can cause items to shift and possibly cause a puncture as well. It doesn’t matter if you’ve emptied your scuba and propane tanks; movers won’t touch them. You’ll have to dispose of your aerosol cans and transport scuba gear in your own vehicle.


Though it’s legal to transport guns across state lines, the rules surrounding pistols, rifles, and shotguns differ tremendously from state to state. Ask your moving company about their policy regarding firearms. Movers will not transport ammunition, so have a backup plan if you need to transport ammunition.


No moving company wants to be responsible for the health of your plants. What’s more, plants often harbor insects and diseases, which can attack crops and wildlife when released into a new environment. While most plants are harmless, the potential consequences are so dire, moving companies won’t take them on.

Perishable Foods

Moving vans weren’t designed to store perishable food, as it can go bad during a long journey. So, unless you're moving a short distance and can transport it yourself, toss out anything that needs to be frozen or refrigerated. However, movers will accept non-perishable food: spices, pasta, rice, cereals, dried fruit, canned soup, etc. However, since these items are widely available, it’s generally cheaper to replace them than to ship them cross country.


Liquor laws vary significantly between states. Some don’t care how much you bring in for personal consumption, while others do. Liquor bottles are also fragile and can easily break unless packaged properly. Transporting alcohol long distance poses other problems as well. Moving vans aren’t climate controlled. Extreme heat or cold can damage your wine and spirits, rendering it undrinkable.

Although most movers won’t transport alcohol, there are a few companies who will. They’re equipped with refrigerated trucks to preserve your wine and special boxes to protect your bottles. They’ll even help you navigate state regulations. However, they aren’t cheap, so unless you have a large or valuable collection, it’s best to drink or gift your wine before you move.

Personal Documents

Deeds, wills, checkbooks, birth certificates, medical records, financial statements, social security cards, and similar items are not recommended for packing. Though it’s unlikely they’d be misplaced, the potential consequences, such as identity theft, are too great for them to take on. For your safety, it's best to keep them with you at all times.


For obvious reasons, pets don’t do well in moving vans. There’s no fresh air and the cargo section isn’t insulated, which means it’s often too hot or too cold. It’s also dark and there’s no way to check on them once the van is underway. In the interest of their comfort and safety therefore, pets need to travel with their owners or with a professional pet mover.

Help Moving Long Distance

Interstate moves can be a big challenge, but with the right team behind you, they’re a breeze. North American Moving Services has the resources and experience to transport your belongings safely and smoothly to your new home. Whether it’s a hundred miles or a thousand, our agents are by your side from beginning to end, making sure you have the support you need to reach your new home. Contact us today for a free quote!