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Packing Like a Pro: What Items Are Prohibited?

Wednesday Jun 20th, 2018

From your sofa to your sports car, we’ll help you transport just about anything, to anywhere. However, there are a few items we do not allow on our trucks in order to ensure everyone’s safety and the safe arrival of your possessions.

So, before you start packing up your belongings, let’s review some of the items professional movers can’t transport. By packing like pro, you can help ensure a safe move from pick up to drop off.

No Chemicals or Hazardous Materials

While it may seem obvious, professional movers will not allow chemicals in their trucks. This is for the safety of the movers and your belongings. These chemicals include, but are not limited to:

  • Ammonia
  • Bleach
  • Charcoal/lighter fluid
  • Chemistry sets
  • Cleaning solvents
  • Darkroom chemicals
  • Fertilizer
  • Fuels/Oils
  • Nail polish
  • Paint thinner
  • Paint/Varnishes
  • Pesticides
  • Poisons
  • Pool chemicals
  • Weed killer


We recommend giving these products to your friends and family or taking advantage of a household hazardous waste collection program, community collection days, or finding a hazardous waste center near you. Do NOT pour poisonous chemicals down your sink or throw them away with the rest of your trash.

When packing, also consider more innocuous items that are prohibited, such as batteries (including car batteries), aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, matches, propane tanks, and scuba tanks. Many of these products contain chemicals that, when placed under pressure or exposed to certain temperatures, can become incredibly dangerous.

No Perishable Items

When it comes to moving, especially long distance relocations, transporting perishable items can cause serious problems along the way. Whether it’s food going bad or a plant dying during the trip, it’s better to donate or toss these items. Perishable items include, but are not limited to:

  • Food (frozen food, leftovers, opened containers, etc.)
  • Plants
  • Produce

In rare instances, if the move is short, movers may allow you to pack perishable items. Be sure to ask your relocation consultant about plants and foodstuffs before your move.

Think Twice About Personal/Sentimental Items

While some personal items are not strictly prohibited, it’s important you ask your moving company about their policy. Many professional moves caution homeowners about transporting these items, as many times they’re irreplaceable.

Moreover, most homeowners are going to want private, financial, and otherwise important documents in their possession during the move. It should also be noted that, while we do transport electronics, some personal electronics are sensitive to temperatures in the back of the moving truck. Be sure to ask your moving company about the products they allow. Generally, personal and/or sentimental items include, but are not limited to:

  • Airline tickets
  • Car keys
  • Car titles
  • Cash
  • CDs & vinyl
  • Cell phones
  • Collections (coin, etc.)
  • Computer discs
  • Financial documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Jewelry
  • Laptop computers
  • Medical/dental records
  • Medicine
  • Photographs, photo albums
  • Professional files
  • Research projects
  • School records


Guns, Ammunition, or Explosives

There is some grey area about moving firearms. If you’re a gun owner, you need to research the particular gun laws in the state to which you’re moving. It can also be helpful to consult a lawyer, as federal and state firearms laws change frequently.

While you should feel free to ask your moving company about their company’s policy on transporting firearms, it’s ultimately your responsibility to follow the law. That being said, The Peaceable Journey Law does allow gun owners to transport weapons so long as they’re permitted to own firearms in both locations. Remember, each state has their own gun laws!

For instance, according to Gun Laws 101, California requires guns to be in a locked box and unloaded during transport. Likewise, in New York, firearms must be locked away, unloaded, and the journey must be “continuous.” But really, as per the Peaceable Journey law, guns should be unloaded while being transported, no matter the state.

Although most movers will transport your firearms, ammunition is always prohibited as bullets are combustible. Obviously, this means explosives are out of the question as well.

Additionally, according to, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) guidelines prohibit you from marking or indicating in any way that there is a gun inside a crate. If you’re unsure of how to transport your firearms, consider using a federally licensed firearms dealer who will ship your gun(s) safely.

Start Your Professional Move

If you have any questions regarding what we can transport and you’re looking for a team of trained professionals, click here to contact us or call us at (814) 454-2481. As an agent for North American Van Lines, we have a network of agents and a fleet of trucks to relocate your belongings around the corner or across state lines.