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Alex is the founder of 9Kilo Moving, which he started to help people easily find and choose the right moving company to make their move as stress-free and seamless as possible. He has spent over 20 years working in the moving industry, so he knows every aspect of the business and uses his knowledge to write about the industry and give moving advice. More on about us page

Things movers won't move

Moving is an exciting time. You're in the midst of throwing things out and packing up boxes of clothing and dinnerware. But you know that you'll soon be in the throes of throwing housewarming parties, decorating, planting a garden, selecting wall art, and just making your new place all your own. There are so many new joys to look forward to.

And yet, moving can be one of the most stressful things you'll ever experience, especially if you have numerous stairs, heavy furniture or a large number of possessions, are moving a fair distance from your current residence, or have some of the belongings that professional moving companies won't actually move for you at any cost, whether for safety, ethical, or legal reasons.

Don't find out about the latter at the last minute! We want to take some of the stress out of your move by revealing at least some of the items that movers won't transport. And if you're in possession of any of them, you can decide on a game plan well before the big moving day arrives.

Now some of the items on our list are probably things you'll want to keep with you anyway, and they're pretty obvious! But there are other things you might not have realized movers won't touch. Sit back and relax (at least for now) while we give you a rundown on household items that you'll have to scrap or make other transport arrangements for.

8 Things Movers Won't Move

  1. Over-sized Items
  2. Liquor
  3. Live House or Garden Plants
  4. Livestock or Other Animals
  5. Personal Items and Valuables
  6. Perishables
  7. Guns and Ammunition
  8. Anything That Potentially Poses a Hazard


1. Over-sized Items

If you have furniture such as a piano, pool table, fish tank, an ancient- er, heirloom chest of drawers, or the like, you may have to hire a specialty moving company to transport these items. Not only do they weigh a ton, but they will take up a lot of premium space in a moving truck.

And as heavy and expensive as pianos are, for example, they are also fragile. When you weigh the cost of pianos against their fragility, it makes sense to find moving professionals who can handle the task swimmingly.

Now, some moving companies specialize in the transport of heavy furniture. But others might not have the equipment or personnel necessary to handle these items with the care they deserve. It may take several men to even lift such pieces, and they'll have to know what they're doing. No one wants to risk injuries or cause damage to your items, so ensure that you only hire movers that have what it takes to safely move your heavy items.

2. Liquor

A moving company may or may not move liquor bottles for you. It may simply depend on whether or not you have liquor bottles that have never been opened and have been properly packed. But chances are that, unless the bottles are stored in such a way that they can't be consumed or spilled during the ride to the new destination, moving companies won't move liquor bottles that have been opened due to stringent laws pertaining to open alcohol containers.

To bolster your chances of having them move previously opened liquor bottles, screw the caps on tightly, tape the bottles shut, and pack them in double-corrugated boxes with cushioning placed between each bottle and its neighbor. Tape the box closed and clearly label it so that the moving crew can handle the fragile contents gently.

3. Live House or Garden Plants

Well, plants seem pretty harmless, right? You're probably asking yourself why a moving company wouldn't transport your crotons, potted petunias, or majesty palm plants. The United States Department of Agriculture prohibits the moving of live plants across state lines. Actually, it's not the plants themselves that are the problem. It's the pests that may be found on your plants that are the real concern.

Parasites or bugs such as the Emerald Ash beetle might decide to go along for the ride. These insects breed quickly and can destroy other plants and trees. Besides, movers must be specially licensed to move plants more than 150 miles.

See also: How to Pack Houseplants for a Move

Economic protection is another reason for the department's stance on the transport of plants across state lines. Since some plants might contribute to the economic stability of certain states, they are relied upon to bolster local economies. So it stands to reason that the United States Department of Agriculture would prohibit the transport of plants on which harmful bugs might hitch a ride and subsequently infest a farm and ultimately affect that state's economy. Phew!

Another reason that moving companies don't move plants is because they're so fragile. Those moving vans can get extremely hot or cold inside, depending on the climate or season, and movers don't want to be held liable if your plants don't survive the trip. It's recommended that you donate your house or garden plants rather than risk their demise or taking buggy creatures along to your new abode. If you're determined to bring your plants with you in your personal car or trailer, make sure that you're only moving locally.


4. Livestock or Other Animals

Hopefully, you can take your pets along with you in your car. But you'll have to find an animal transportation company to move any cattle or sheep or more exotic animals. As mentioned above, a conventional moving truck is no place for living things. As for domestic pets (cats, dogs, fish, birds), if using your own vehicle is not an option, consider using a professional pet moving company. Or make arrangements with an airline for air travel for your pet.

5. Personal Items and Valuables

While these might not be strictly prohibited by moving companies, your medical, financial, and school records as well as your identification documents are things that you don't want to lose track of. This also goes for medicine, keys, cash and credit cards, pictures, insurance policies, and airline tickets. We strongly recommend that you keep these items with you so that you don't misplace them in the midst of all of the ruckus. Besides, movers don't want to be responsible for your personal items or be blamed if they come up missing.

6. Perishables

Food in open containers, produce, and dairy items that might spoil in the time it takes to transport them may not be moved by professional moving companies. Some foods could rot even if the outside temperatures aren't too hot. Should the food spoil, insects or rodents might not be far behind. Movers don't want to risk this occurrence. Companies may use their sole discretion about transporting perishables, but if you're doing a short-distance move and they make allowances for you, make sure to pack your perishable foods well and properly.

Otherwise, rather than throw your perishables out, you might keep these items in a cooler in your car. Alternatively, you can clean out the refrigerator and freezer, give away your food to friends or a food bank, and start fresh when you arrive at your new residence. These precautionary measures don't apply to non-perishables such as canned goods.

7. Guns and Ammunition

Moving companies won't touch these items, so you'll be responsible for ensuring their safe transport. Firstly, you'll have to find out whether it's even legal to transport guns and weaponry across state lines if you're doing a state-to-state move. Each state has its own specialized regulations, and you'll want to do things correctly if you're thinking of moving weapons in your own vehicle. It's best that you locate a federally licensed firearms dealer and allow them to transport your weapons safely and legally.

8. Anything That Potentially Poses a Hazard

Moving companies have a lot to consider. They're concerned with the safety of their movers, the customer's possessions (or those of their other customers in situations involving consolidated moves), their own company's trucks or vans, harm to the environment, and harm to the public at large. So it shouldn't be surprising that they also won't move potentially hazardous items or materials such as:

  • Flares
  • Antifreeze
  • Kerosene
  • Fluid cleaning products
  • Pesticides
  • Propane tanks

They may also give a big thumbs-down to:

  • Ammonia
  • Aerosol cans
  • Disinfectants
  • Charcoal
  • Candles
  • Garden or power equipment that contains fuel
  • Nail polish
  • Vehicle batteries
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Scuba diving tanks

These items will have to be thrown away if you can't take them along with you, but luckily, they're replaceable. Many of them pose too great a risk of fire or explosion. In the case of some of the more surprising or seemingly harmless items, you might feel as though you're taking an abundance of precautions. But you have to take into account that some items could spill during transit and cause damage to other items. Companies don't want to be deemed responsible in such cases.

See also: How to Dispose of Hazardous Waste when Moving

This is by no means a complete list of the things that movers won't move, but it gives you some idea of things you should be prepared to give away or make alternative transport plans for when your moving day is approaching. Ask your moving company of choice for a comprehensive list of the things they don't move. With some care and proper planning, you'll soon be enjoying your brand new surroundings.


See also: How to Hire a Moving Company