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What Movers Won't Move & What You Should Move Yourself

By on May 10, 2016
What Movers Won't Move & What You Should Move Yourself

When you have to move or relocate, it can be quite stressful. Having a moving plan is essential and can ensure no detail is forgotten. Knowing what to pack, when to start packing and what to pack with is a great place to start. Do you move your own things or do you hire a reliable moving company? These are just some of the things you’ll have to consider.

Even if you do find the full-service movers of your dreams, there are many materials they simply will not move. Don’t be caught by surprise on moving day by knowing exactly what can’t go on the moving truck.

Items Mover’s Won’t Move

Below are some items you’ll have to transport yourself if you choose, with a few you may not have known about before. Your moving company will likely provide you with a list before your move as well of anything in addition to this list that’s company specific.


You may think the most risk a moving company faces while transporting hazardous charcoal is its friability. This means that it can break down into powder form during handling and transport. Although there are many variations in the quality of charcoal, none can really be considered a highly volatile material. However, this still can be a liability. The only charcoal that may hold a little bit more risk is hard burned charcoal, which is high in fixed carbon content, much more friable and low in volatiles. This is almost pure carbon and quite strong, yet is still incredibly difficult to ignite. This type of charcoal is rarely seen on the market, never mind in your moving truck. 

Fire Extinguishers

You would think a fire extinguisher is probably the safest item you could possibly have in a moving truck. That seems to be true, provided the perfect transport conditions are met. Yet, full-service movers still don’t want to take the chance. 

Constant handling and rubbing against other items or materials, whether before or during the move, can cause critical inspection records being scraped off the extinguisher. The same handling and rubbing can lead to the corrosion of the fittings of the protective container which could make it very hard to access the fire extinguisher in a time of emergency.

Nail Polish

Nail polish has been classified as a dangerous good and can no longer be shipped via third parties. This is because it has been classified as a Class 3 Flammable Liquid. They must be appropriately packed, labeled and marked.

To be able to transport nail polish, movers have to pass the IATA Dangerous Goods Transport Exam. Most full-service movers don’t have these qualifications and as a result, won’t move nail polish.


Bleach is considered a hazardous material and won’t be allowed on moving trucks. Bleach can cause irritation to the eyes and the skin. It also liberates toxic gases when it comes into contact with acids. Bleach is a solution of sodium hypochlorite that is corrosive to living tissues, and inhalation can be followed by pulmonary cedema. Properly dispose of any bleach before your move.

Miscellaneous Items

Other items movers won’t move are:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammonia
  • Ammunition
  • Batteries
  • Car Batteries
  • Charcoal Lighter Fluid
  • Chemistry Sets
  • Cleaning Solvents
  • Darkroom Chemicals
  • Fertilizer
  • Firearms
  • Fireworks
  • Fuels & Oils
  • Gasoline
  • Kerosene
  • Lamp Oil
  • Liquid Bleach
  • Loaded Guns
  • Oxygen Tanks
  • Matches
  • Paint Thinner
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Paints
  • Pesticides
  • Poisons
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Propane Tanks
  • Sterno
  • Weed Killer

Throw Out Before Moving

Food & Perishable Items

Moving companies will also not move anything labeled as perishable items. These are items such as food, plants or living things. The main reason is because these items can die or spoil in transit. Due to your contractual agreement with them, it’s possible that they can be held financially responsible for any of these losses. Here are a few examples:

Frozen Food

These are things such as tubs of ice creams, popsicles, TV breakfasts and dinners, hot pockets, chicken nuggets and fish fingers. It’s best to empty your freezer prior to moving if you’re moving a far distance. If you're doing a local move, you can transport these items in your vehicle. 


This means any plant in any form. If you have to move some potted plants, it’s best to move them yourself.


This generally refers to any food group that is farm produced such as fruit and vegetables, meats, oats or grains. These should be consumed or given away prior to moving. 

Refrigerated Foods

Similarly to produce, drinks, meats, meals, fruit and vegetables should not be put in the moving truck. Even in a short distance, they are more likely to spoil in transit.

Open or Half Used Foods

There is a reason why open or half used foods are kept in the fridge or freezer and not your nearest moving van. This can only lead to unwelcomed spillage as well as rotten food.


Pets can’t be transported in a moving truck because of poor temperatures. It can be extremely cold or extremely hot for an animal. There is also a possibility of heavy items falling and moving around. Pets must be moved with you in your own vehicle or on a plane if you're flying to your new location.

Be Mindful of Personal Items

Then there are your personal items, which is completely up to you if you would like to move them yourself or have them moved in the moving truck. This is to ensure that items and objects of personal and sentimental value do not get lost or damaged. This includes items such as:

  • Airline Tickets
  • Briefcase
  • Cash
  • Cellphones
  • Confidential Documentation
  • Rare Collections
  • Deeds & Wills
  • Jewelry
  • Laptops
  • Medical Records
  • Medicine
  • Moving Documents
  • Family Photos
  • Financial Documents
  • Furs
  • Stocks & Bonds
  • Securities
  • Tablets
  • Valuable Jewelry
  • Work Files


Knowing what you can move from what you can’t move can save you a lot of time and money. Personal items are something that you just don’t want to take a chance with, especially if you have items that cannot be replaced. The best thing to do is pack and move these items yourself. That way, you’ll have peace of mind that your most prized possessions are safe. Hopefully, this list will help you navigate the list of do’s and don’ts by moving companies. It’s always a good idea to confirm these various rules with your local moving company.

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