Hiring a moving company is a great way to remove some of the stress of relocating your belongings, but it doesn’t mean you won’t have to do any work.
There are certain things moving companies won’t move (called “non-allowables”) which means you will have to move them (or dispose of them) yourself.
These laws and guidelines exist to keep your stuff safe during transport, as well as to reduce the moving company’s liability (and their injuries). So make sure you prepare in advance so you’re not blindsided on moving day.
Never Allowed on a Moving Truck
The following items are not allowed on a moving truck under any circumstances. For the safety of your family, your moving crew, and fellow drivers on the road, leave the following off of the moving truck:
- Aerosol containers
- Ammunition (i.e. bullets, grenades, etc.)
- Batteries (car or household)
- Charcoal & lighter fluid
- Chemistry sets
- Cleaning solvents
- Darkroom chemicals
- Fire extinguishers
- Lamp oil
- Liquid bleach
- Loaded guns & reloading supplies
- Motor oil
- Nail polish & nail polish remover
- Paint thinner
- Pool chemicals
- Propane tanks
- SCUBA tanks
- Sterno cans
- Weed killer
Sometimes Allowed on a Moving Truck
Keeping perishable items on a moving truck for too long can attract pests or allow pests already inside to damage your belongings.
- Frozen foods
- House plants
- Refrigerated foods
- Open or half-consumed foods
In most cases, perishable items are not allowed on a moving truck, but exceptions can be made if your move is less than 150 miles and items will be delivered in 24 hours. This will be at the moving company’s discretion, however, and they will need to be packed properly.
Ask your mover how they would like perishable items to be packed before putting them in boxes or coolers.
Should Be Kept Off a Moving Truck
The following items are definitely allowed on the moving truck, but—due to their value—would be best kept with you, if possible. After all, couches and picture frames can be replaced, but original legal documents cannot.
- Deeds or wills
- Moving documents (i.e., your invoice, contract, or bill of lading)
- Family photographs
- Original documents (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.)
- Stamp or coin collections
- Valuable jewelry
Keep these items in your possession during a move, either in your car or in your luggage (for long-distance moves).
How To Pack “Non-Allowables”
If you own any of these prohibited items—and most of us do—you have a few options.
Use it Up
If you have plenty of time until moving day, the best solution is to use these items up. Throw a backyard barbecue to use up your frozen burgers and propane tanks. Go over the yard and driveway with the rest of the weed killer (the new owners will thank you).
You won’t have to worry about how to transport it and you won’t have to feel guilty about throwing away “perfectly good” things.
Give it Away
If the items in question are in good quality (or quantity), consider giving them to someone else who could use them. Perhaps your sister has always liked that shade of purple nail polish. Maybe your brother-in-law could use a new propane tank. And the new homeowners would probably appreciate all those pool chemicals.
You declutter everything else while packing. You might as well include the stuff you can’t bring anyway.
Throw it Out
The easiest option is to throw the items away, but make sure you do this responsibly. Batteries, poisons, flammable liquids, and other hazardous materials should never be thrown in the garbage can with the rest of your trash. Contact your local waste management company to find out how to recycle or throw away your hazardous household waste.
Do It Yourself
Lastly, you can always choose to move the items yourself.
If you’re driving to your new neighborhood, you can simply pack them in your trunk with the rest of your things. Just make sure you take plenty of precautions to make sure nothing leaks out or gets bumped too hard.
If you’ll be flying to your new home, you’ll want to make sure that any items you plan to take in your luggage will be allowed on the plane. Check with your airline to make sure they won’t remove the item from your suitcase during security (even checked baggage is subject to some restrictions).
Hiring a moving company can make relocating a lot easier, but don’t expect to be completely off the hook. You’ll still have to either transport certain items yourself or be responsible for getting rid of them before you move.
Keeping hazardous items and perishables off of the moving truck will not only ensure that moving day goes smoothly, but it will keep everyone safe during your travels.
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