Hiring a professional moving company to handle your move is one of the best ways to ensure your belongings are properly packed, secure, and protected. But your movers cannot pack or transport certain items according to federal law. These items, referred to as non-allowables, are things you must pack and transport yourself. But the best way to safely pack non-allowables isn’t always straightforward.


Below, the experts at Ace Moving & Warehousing share helpful tips for packing and transporting the items your movers cannot handle.


Why Can’t Movers Transport Certain Items?

Before we explain how to pack the stuff your movers can’t touch, you’re probably wondering why moving companies have this restriction in the first place. Essentially, it all comes down to safety, both for the professionals handling the move and the expensive equipment they use to get the job done.


Federal law prohibits moving companies from transporting flammable, corrosive, or explosive items due to the high potential for personal injury, property loss, and environmental contamination. But every moving company has its own list of non-allowable items they simply prefer not to transport.


Generally, these types of items are things that, if damaged, would cost a great deal to replace. Or, they’re things that have a high potential for damage during transport, such as live plants, animals, and other vulnerable items.


Below, you’ll find an overview of most of the items your movers cannot pack, as well as suggestions for packing those belongings safely.


Perishable Items

Most moving companies refuse to transport any perishable items to your new home. This is because such items are vulnerable to spoilage when exposed to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Professional movers do not want to be held liable for damage or spoilage of such items, which is why relocators are typically responsible for packing and transporting perishables on their own.


That said, some moving companies will transport perishables for moves that require less than 24 hours. If you’re just moving across town, make sure to inquire how your movers and packers typically handle these types of items.


To safely pack and transport perishables, follow these tips:


●        Use styrofoam boxes or coolers to pack perishables that must be kept cold. To maintain a constant temperature inside the box, include frozen gel packs or ice packs.

●        Use containers that have a strong seal to prevent leaks.

●        Pack perishable items last to ensure they remain cold for as long as possible.

●        Pack dry pantry items, such as canned goods and boxed foods, in small and medium boxes, depending on their weight. The weight of edible goods can add up quickly, which can cause the bottom of larger boxes to break. 


Hazardous Items

There’s a long list of hazardous items your moving company cannot handle. Some of the most common household goods that fall into this category include:


●        Fertilizer

●        Weed killer

●        Pesticides

●        Pool chemicals

●        Charcoal

●        Vehicle batteries, marine batteries, and standard batteries

●        Fire extinguishers


To safely pack these types of hazardous materials, you first must make sure that all containers are intact and in good condition. Make sure all lids are secure, and for extra protection against leakage, insert a piece of plastic wrap between the top of liquid bottles and their lids.


Use sturdy boxes to contain all hazardous materials and ideally, you should line each box with absorbent, non-reactive material. Pack each box so that you can close it completely and tape it securely shut. If you cannot stack a box, it’s not ready for transport.


Label each box as you pack it to ensure you remember there are potentially hazardous materials inside. When loading these boxes, always place them in an upright position and be sure to place them in a location where they’ll be subject to as little jostling as possible.


Flammable Items

Flammable items present a major safety risk to your movers and packers, which is why they cannot pack or transport such materials. Common household goods that fall into this category include:


●        Aerosols

●        Ammunition

●        Propane tanks

●        Lighter fluid

●        Motor oil

●        Nail polish and nail polish remover

●        SCUBA tanks

●        Gasoline and kerosene


Packing flammable items requires the same precautions as packing hazardous items. You’ll also need to make sure you do not expose flammable goods to high heat for prolonged periods. To ensure as little temperature fluctuation as possible, it’s best to pack and load these types of goods into your personal vehicle toward the end of the packing process.


Live Plants

Depending on the length of your move, you may not be able to transport your live plants to your new home. In an effort to control the spread of disease and pests, each state has its own rules regarding the transport of live plants across its borders. If you’re making an interstate move, be sure you research what those guidelines are in the state you’re moving to.


What if you’re just moving across town? Many professional movers will still refuse to transport your live plants as they have a high risk of damage or death. To safely bring your plants to your new home, heed the following tips:


●        Re-pot plants from breakable pots into shatter-proof pots a few weeks before your move.

●        Prune large plants about two weeks before your move date. Pruning plants helps simplify handling and transport during your move.

●        Inspect plants for disease and insects about one week before your move. If necessary, apply insecticide.

●        Water your plants normally two days before your move date. Don’t overwater! Excess moisture can cause plants to freeze and die in cold weather.

●        Wrap plants with a large bedsheet or light blanket to prevent leaves from falling off and branches from breaking.

●        Place each plant in a moving box to protect it during transport.

●        Load boxes into your personal vehicle so that they’ll jostle as little as possible during the drive to your new home.

●        Keep the temperature in your personal vehicle as constant as possible to avoid stressing or harming your plants during transport.


Not sure if your moving company can transport something you need to move. Check out a complete list of non-allowable items here.


Looking for Local Movers in the Twin Cities? Contact Ace Moving & Warehousing

When you’re getting ready to move, rely on our team at Ace Moving & Warehousing to help you get the job done safely and efficiently. We’ve proudly served the moving needs of Twin Cities residents since 1958, and we offer a comprehensive collection of moving services to suit virtually any need. To learn more or request a quick moving quote, feel free to give us a call today at 763-755-2045 or contact us online.