So you’re planning to hire a moving company to help you with your upcoming relocation? Awesome! You’ll save yourself a load of stress, time, and frustration by working with the pros. But although your movers will take care of the bulk of your moving process, there are some things they simply can’t (or won’t) handle.  


You’ll either have to dispose of or transport those items yourself, so it’s in your best interest to have a plan in place before you get the ball rolling. Which items will you need to find alternative transportation for? And perhaps more importantly, how should you move them on your own? Below you’ll find a list of the most common non-allowables and the best ways to move them safely.


Perishable Foods

If you have a bunch of open, perishable foods in the fridge as your move day approaches, you’ll have to move them yourself, toss them out, or eat them up because your movers won’t handle them. Perishables are subject to spoilage during transport, and moving companies don’t want to be held liable for reimbursing you in the event your food goes bad. If you must transport these types of foods, you’ll need to pack them in coolers and handle the job yourself.


Non-opened, non-perishable foods, on the other hand, are typically allowed in the moving truck since they won’t spoil. But before you pack any food items, check with your movers to verify what they can and cannot transport.


Hazardous Materials

According to federal law, professional movers cannot transport anything that may be corrosive or otherwise hazardous. And although it’s easy to assume you don’t own anything of that nature, you might just be surprised at what constitutes “hazardous” in the eyes of the law. What types of items are we referring to? Things like:


●        Ammonia

●        Car and marine batteries or regular household batteries

●        Fire extinguishers

●        Liquid bleach

●        Pesticides

●        Pool chemicals

●        Weedkiller or pesticides


How should you handle these things? Ideally, you’ll want to dispose of them before you move to minimize your risk of injury or damage to your other belongings. But if you prefer to hang onto them and transport them to your new home, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure each item is in good condition and fully intact.


Secure lids on any items that have them, and for additional protection from leakage, place a piece of plastic wrap beneath the lid before you screw it on. Place all hazardous materials in new, sturdy boxes and for extra protection, line each box with protective, non-reactive material.


For the best protection, it’s a good idea to purchase a few heavy-duty plastic totes and pack hazardous items in those. Secure the lids tightly and be sure to label each container or box so you know to take extra care when handling it. You can transport these items in your personal vehicle if you have space — just make sure to keep them in a temperature-controlled environment to minimize safety risks. 


Flammable Materials

In addition to prohibiting the transport of hazardous items, federal law also bars professional movers from packing or transporting flammable items or anything that could explode. These items include but are not limited to:


●        Nail polish and nail polish remover

●        Aerosol products

●        Lighter fluid

●        Propane and scuba tanks

●        Kerosene and gasoline

●        Motor oil

●        Cleaning solvents

●        Ammunition and loaded guns

●        Darkroom chemicals

●        Paints, varnishes, and paint thinner


What should you do with these items? Again, in the interest of safety, it’s best to dispose of them before you move. But if you’re set on keeping your flammables, you’ll want to follow the same packing and transport guidelines for hazardous materials. Keep them in the cabin of your vehicle to ensure they’re not exposed to high temperatures!


Live Houseplants

If you’re attached to your houseplants and plan on bringing them to your new home, you should know your movers probably can’t transport them for you. That’s especially true if you’re moving across state lines. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates the movement of live plants across state borders in an effort to control the spread of pests and plant diseases, so if you’re making a long-distance move, do your research.


You’ll need to check with National Plant Board to see if there are any restrictions around transporting your plants to your new home. If there are, you may have to leave them behind. If you find out it’s fine to move your plants, here are some helpful tips for getting them to your new home safely:


●        If your plants are in breakable pots, consider replanting them in shatterproof pots a couple of weeks before your move.

●        Prune back large plants to make the transport process a little simpler and reduce the risk of plant damage.

●        Examine plants for insects and apply insecticide as necessary. Do this about a week before you move.

●        Water your plants as you normally would two days before you move. Make sure the soil won’t be overly moist on move day!

●        Wrap plants with a light sheet or towel or some other form of protection to minimize the risk of damage to leaves, branches, and stalks.

●        Place each plant in its own moving box for protection from jostling and damage during transport.

●        Transport plants in your personal vehicle. If space is tight, you might consider renting a van or, if you prefer, simply make multiple trips if you’re conducting a local move.

●        Maintain a constant temperature inside the transport vehicle to minimize plant stress during transport.



Professional moving companies cannot transport any of your pets in the back of the moving truck. And no, they can’t move your pets in any other part of their vehicle, either. If you have furry, feathery, or leathery friends, you’ll have to get them to your new home on your own.


How do you do that? Ideally, you’ll want to transport them in your personal vehicle, but if you’re short on space, consider looking into a professional pet relocation company (yes, that’s really a thing). They’ll transport your pet locally, across state lines, or even to another country, and best of all, they’ll ensure your animal companion arrives safe, healthy, and as happy as possible.


High-Value Items

Although there’s no law barring professional movers from transporting your valuables, many moving companies prefer not to handle items of extremely high value. Whether that value is monetary or sentimental, it doesn’t matter — your movers know there’s always a risk of item damage or loss during a move, and that’s something you’ll have to reconcile yourself with, too. 


In the event one of your high-value items sustained damage or got lost, no amount of reimbursement would replace it. That’s why movers generally prefer that you transport your own valuables.  


Need Residential Movers Near Tacoma? Contact Ed’s Moving & Storage

If you’re planning a move from the Seattle-Tacoma area and need a reputable moving company to help you shoulder the work, our team at Ed’s Moving & Storage is at your service! Since 1965, we’ve provided Washingtonians with a wide variety of top-notch moving services, including full packing service, climate-controlled storage, custom move plans, and much more. If you’re ready to get an estimate, feel free to give us a call today at 253-581-2446 or request a fast quote online, and we’ll be in touch promptly!