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Our team is committed to finding movers we believe our readers will love, and we receive compensation from movers that we rank. We also may get a small share of revenue when you click a sponsored company's link.

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Items Movers Won’t Move

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    Verified Movers Team Blog Moving Industry Standards

    When it comes to moving, one of the most essential things you want to achieve is packing all of your stuff, and having it transported to your new home. And trust us – we know that there’s nothing more hectic than packing for a move. You’ve got all of your things to think about, and ensure it won’t break, spill, or be otherwise damaged in transit. In this kind of situation, it’s really easy to forget something: there are some kinds of items movers won’t move. For one reason or another, there’s simply stuff you have to dump, or transport or your own. And just so you’re not surprised by this come moving day, our packing guidelines are here to help!

    Why are there items movers won’t move?

    You should know right away – this isn’t some arbitrary list of items we’re talking about here. In fact, most moving companies have similar lists of items they refuse to handle. And it’s not about laziness or cutting expenses – it’s primarily about safety. Yes, your safety, and the safety of the movers. And there’s also the general public, and other risks to think about. Once you see what kinds of items we’re talking about, it’ll become much clearer why movers generally don’t handle them. So, make sure you plan for the transport of your:

    • Plants
    • Hazardous materials
    • Personal Valuables
    • Food

    It may be a surprise: but plants are on this list

    Okay, we bet you were expecting something a lot more exotic to find its place on the list of forbidden items than your house flora. But yeah, relocating plants requires a lot more care, money and time than you’d think. First of all, plants are fragile in transit – they can break easily. And let’s not forget that the inside of a moving truck can get really hot. These temperatures may harm the plants, especially across long distances – so don’t count on state to state movers to handle flora.

    And speaking of long distances, this is actually a major reason why plants are on the list of items movers won’t move. You may not have thought about this, but plants can be a breeding ground for bacteria, infections, and other pests. And these can reach new areas by getting a ride on your plants. That’s why it’s actually not legal to transport houseplants across more than 150 miles. Well, without a special license, anyway.

     A bird's eye view of a cactus in bloom, zoomed in on the flower.
    Most movers will refuse to handle plants.

    Dangerous items and materials

    There are some flammable and otherwise dangerous materials and products out there, that moving companies simply refuse to handle. And again, it’s not always their choice – some of these items also require special permits and licenses for transport.


    For example, gasoline, and other kinds of fuel are definitely something a moving company can’t transport. Really, the risk of an explosion or a fire is just too big, as is the cost of acquiring the needed permits. And before you ask – it’s the same regardless of the local weather. So it doesn’t matter if you’re hiring long distance moving companies Alaska or you’re moving to Texas – flammables are a no-go. So, if you’ve got any fuel you’re keeping around for any reason: don’t count on the moving company to take it to your new home. This also goes for any lighter fluid you’ve got laying around or stuff like charcoal.

    A fire started with wood.
    Anything flammable is a definite no-go!

    Anything that runs on fuel

    Speaking of which, here’s another similar kind of items movers won’t move: power equipment. Or rather, more specifically, power equipment that runs on fuel. So while your hair dryer is probably fine, you shouldn’t expect movers to handle your motorcycle. Or, for example, your lawnmower. Although, there is a chance a moving company may accept to handle this equipment if it’s been completely and properly drained of fuel. This means you’ll need to somehow drain all of the fuel out of the tank – or alternatively, just leave the machines running until all of the fuel is gone. We recommend you do this well enough in advance, at least a day before the big moving day.

    Your valuables won’t be handled by movers

    Okay, here’s something that really varies from moving company to company – it’s really a case by case type of thing. We’re talking about your valuables. Yes, stuff like cash money, or personal documents such as a driver’s license or other ID. You should know – these aren’t forbidden items per se, not really. But on one hand, most people tend to prefer transporting these by themselves – and on the other, movers shy away from accepting this responsibility, because the items are of such high value.


    So, regardless of whether the moving company you’ve hired has any internal policies on valuables – we recommend you keep them on your person while moving anyway. And sure, if there’s any lost cash or something valuable broken, theoretically movers might reimburse you for this cost. But what about the items that have great sentimental value, that money can’t replace? What about your precious photo albums with family photos that you haven’t got anywhere else? Or some ancient jewelry, or other family heirlooms? And let’s not even begin talking about various stamp and coin collections.


    Lastly, and this probably goes without saying: you don’t want your most important documents left in anyone’s care, not even a moving company’s. If you’ve got any stock certificates, or land deeds, personal wills – keep them with you, and transport them on your own!

    Food items

    You should definitely plan out what you will do with all of your food before and during the move. And yeah, there are firms out there that will even move your food: but most treat it as items movers won’t move. Also, even if a moving company accepts to relocate your food items, bear in mind they probably have canned goods, spices, and other boxed food in mind. Really, no one will transport stuff that can spoil in transit, like frozen food, or food placed in open containers. And this goes double for states with hotter climates! So, don’t expect New Mexico long distance moving companies to handle food that might go bad!

    A white dessert set with cakes and spreads, as an example of items movers won't move.
    Food is another kind of items movers won’t move!
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    Our team is committed to finding movers we believe our readers will love, and we receive compensation from movers that we rank. We also may get a small share of revenue when you click a sponsored company's link.

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