If you are hiring a moving company to move you, they will likely give you a sheet of “non-allowables” with all the items movers cannot pack or move.

A good rule of thumb when wondering if an item can be moved or not is:  if it can’t be thrown away in the normal trash or recycling, movers likely won’t move it.

Here is a list of 52 items that movers cannot or may not want to move:

  1. Paint
  2. Motor Oil
  3. Anti-Freeze
  4. Solvents
  5. Pool Chemicals
  6. Pesticides & weed killer
  7. Cleaning Supplies
  8. Bleach
  9. Guns & Ammunition
  10. Ammonia
  11. Acids
  12. Fire Extinguisher
  13. Nail polish remover
  14. Car batteries
  15. Poisons
  16. Lamp oil
  17. Chemistry sets
  18. Matches
  19. Darkroom chemicals
  20. Sterno
  21. Fertilizer
  22. Nail polish
  23. Gasoline
  24. Propane Tanks
  25. Paint Thinner
  26. Aerosoles
  27. Lighter Fluid
  28. Charcoal
  29. Kerosene
  30. Fireworks
  31. SCUBA Tanks
  32. Muriatic Acid
  33. Nitric Acid
  34. Batteries With Acid
  35. Living Plants
  36. Perishable Food
  37. Pets
  38. Cash
  39. Jewelry
  40. Checkbooks
  41. Financial statements
  42. Keys
  43. Personal Documents (birth certs, pink slips, anything with your social security #)
  44. Medicine
  45. Laptops
  46. Tablets
  47. Cell Phones
  48. Medical Records
  49. Airline Tickets
  50. High-Value Collectibles
  51. Photos
  52. Irreplaceable items (Family Heirlooms, Ashes, etc.)

Hazardous Household Items

When moving your home, it’s a good time to rid your garage of certain household chemicals and hazardous materials. Check your neighborhood hazardous material dump days and take the items you don’t need there.

Google Search: Where To Get Rid Of Hazardous Waste Near Me

If you are moving long-distance, it’s best to get rid of all your household chemicals and buy new ones at the new location. If you are moving locally, you can transport any needed items in your own car.

DO NOT transport these items in your car in closed boxes. If you must transport them yourself, keep the box lids open and in a secure location in your car and drive safely.

Flammables & Explosives

This one kind of goes without saying. Movers won’t take anything that is flammable. It is extremely dangerous if liquids or fumes spill and ignite. Believe it or not, every year a few people who are moving themselves make this mistake and create disastrous situations that lead to fatalities.

Living Plants


Some local movers will help you move your plants. Just ask them. But, when moving cross country that will change. It is illegal to move living plants more than 150 miles without a license. This is because pests can hitch a ride on your house plant and allow those pests to be introduced into a new area. Fake plants are ok.

Perishable Food


Movers don’t want to move any kind of food. Especially if you’re moving long distance or into storage. Consider donating your food to a local food bank and throw away any expired perishable items. Consider hiring a mover from Move For Hunger. They will donate the food to the local food banks for you.


Movers cannot take any pets onto their moving trucks. You need to either bring your pets with you in your car or on the plane or hire a dedicated pet relocation company. These tips for moving with pets will help you and your pet get acclimated.

Personal Items & Valuables

Expensive Watch

Movers do not want to move any personal items or valuables. Before the movers show up, you need to collect all of your personal items and items of extreme value. In fact, some movers will make you sign off on liability of these items before they walk in the door.

Why Movers Won’t Move These Certain Items

The main reason movers won’t move these items is for safety. You must understand that safety is the most important factor when moving items.

Each professional moving company will have its own version of a non-allowables list of prohibited items – a detailed list of non-transportable goods which you shouldn’t bother packing or preparing for packing simply because the moving company you choose to hire will not pack or move them for you.

Some of those items that movers can’t move are also illegal to move, so it’s not only about moving companies being too cautious – it’s also about professional moving companies abiding by the law.

After safety & law comes liability. When it comes to your personal items, movers don’t want to have liability if something small turns up missing. It happens more often than you think. With so many people coming in and out of your home before the move (prospective buyers, home inspectors, repair companies etc.) movers often take the blame when items go missing. Make sure you pack and move anything personal and of high value yourself before the movers arrive.

Items That Can Be Moved But Need Preparation

Below are a few items that movers can move but you need to prepare them before the movers put them in their trucks.

Lawnmower, chainsaw, weedwhacker and other items with gasoline and oil must be drained of all flammable liquids before moving.

Barbeques that have a propane tank must be removed from the barbeque. Movers will not put a propane tank in the moving truck so you either have to give it away or move it in your car yourself if you are moving locally.

Refrigerators should be emptied and prepared before moving. You should empty, unplug, and clean your refrigerator 24 hours before the movers show up. Also, make sure you clean the coils behind the refrigerator in order to keep it in good energy-efficient running condition.

Dust Furniture & Clean Your Sofa. Your movers likely won’t want to breathe in all your accumulated dust from your furniture or have to deal with crumbs in the sofa. Make sure you do a quick clean and dusting of all your furniture and vacuum your sofa.

An Outlook For Moving Long Distance

If you are wondering which items movers will move or not and you are moving long distance, always error on the side of caution. Long distance regulations on moving certain items are more strict than local moving. When hiring a moving company, always ask them for their list of non-allowables and ask them about any questionable items.

Moving long distance is much more expensive than local moving. When moving long distance, the cost is based on the weight of your goods and the distance moving. The more items you can get rid of, the less money it will cost. When moving long distance, always consider the cost of moving it vs. the cost of buying new at the new location.

An Outlook For Moving A Short Distance

If you are moving a short distance you should be able to take more of these items with you since you have the ability to make multiple trips in your own car. If you want to hold onto all of your paints and garage items, or items like the propane tank or fire extinguisher, you can always move those items in your own car.

However, it’s very important to take caution when moving the items in your own car. Consider taking the side streets if you can or not taking all the flammable items at once. Use a lot of caution when moving hazardous materials in your own car.

Related Questions

How To Prepare For Movers – Moving your home isn’t as simple as hiring a moving company and “presto” everything is done. No matter how good the moving company, there are going to be some action you need to take so the movers can properly do their job. Here are 16 things to do before the movers arrive to help your relocation be as smooth and cost-effective as possible.

7 Ways To Get Rid Of Old Furniture Before Moving – The hassles of making your new home comfortable for you and fixing your previous apartment for the new tenant is stressful. The additional trouble of dealing with your other possessions which you no longer need can be overwhelming. You certainly want to avoid moving unwanted items to your new home to save valuable space.

9 Charities That Offer Free Donation Pickup – Donating your unwanted items is a great way to declutter your home, it’s great for the community, and it will help you save money if you are getting rid of things before a move. If you know what organizations to contact, you can schedule a free donation pick up and you won’t have to leave your home. Donating to a charity is a great way to get rid of your old furniture and other items.

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