Professional movers are paid to aid you in every aspect of your relocation, and to safely move the contents of your household to their destination without misplacement or damage to your goods. However, there are certain possessions that movers won't move due to laws, ethics and safety regulations. When you are planning a move, it is important to consider these items and prepare for moving day by packing and transporting them yourself or disposing of them properly. This guide will list these prohibited and undesirable items for you, as well as provide you with the tips for moving them on your own.


Professional movers cannot transport anything that is flammable, corrosive, or explosive. These items can be dangerous to the movers as well as your property, and are illegal to transport. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Aerosol cans (deodorant, hair spray)

  • Weapons and ammunition

  • Acids/Ammonia

  • Motor oil/Antifreeze

  • Gasoline/Kerosene

  • Turpentine/Solvents

  • Pesticides/Fertilizer/Weed killer

  • Propane tanks

  • Yard equipment containing fuel

  • Pool chemicals

  • Paints and stain

  • Fire extinguishers

  • Car batteries

  • Cleaning supplies

  • Lighter fluid/matches

  • Fireworks

  • Liquor

  • Paint thinner

  • Nail polish and remover

  • Bleach

  • Charcoal

  • Lamp oil

Before moving, make plans to either give these items away to friends or neighbors or dispose of them properly. Call your local Environmental Protection Agency Office or fire department to find out the correct and safest method for disposal.

If you are moving any yard equipment such as a lawn mower, be sure to drain the gas from its tank before the movers arrive.

If your move is local, you may consider packing and transporting certain items in your own vehicle. If so, be sure not to expose them to any extreme heat and to use discretion.

It is also not advised to attempt to fool the movers by packing any of these items without informing them. According to the Department of Transportation, if movers are unaware of the presence of hazardous items on their truck, their liability is greatly limited should anything happen to your property during transport.


Movers typically prefer not to pack any perishable items on the moving truck because they can become spoiled, unsanitary, attract insects, and cause damage to your property. You are advised to empty and thoroughly clean out your refrigerator and freezer at least 24 hours before your move, using or disposing of all perishable food products. Unplug the unit to allow it to defrost and leave it open to air out and prevent the growth of mold or foul odors.
Some perishables that are not allowed on the moving truck include:

  • Frozen foods

  • Refrigerated foods

  • Fresh foods

  • Open containers of non-perishable foods

If you are moving just a short distance, the movers may agree to transport your items if they are packed properly, but it will depend on the company and their policy. If so, the movers will not be liable should your food spoil during the move.

You can also pack some of your perishable food in your own vehicle for a local move. 


Plants are illegal to transport on moves longer than 150 miles--for more local moves it will be up to your movers' discretion. You are advised to pack and transport your house plants yourself, since they can be very delicate and susceptible to unfavorable temperatures and conditions. Click here to find out how to move your houseplants in your own vehicle.

Of course, pets are never allowed on the moving trailer under any circumstances. Air conditions are poor and temperatures can be extreme--even for very brief moves, you cannot stow your pet on the moving truck. Pets must be transported in your own vehicle, or taken on the plane with you if you are flying to your new home.

Unclean pet bedding, cages, carriers, food dishes, and toys may also be prohibited on the truck because they are considered unsanitary, may attract insects or cause odors. Thoroughly clean any pet amenities before moving, or transport them in your own vehicle.


Some items, while not necessarily forbidden, are not advised for transport on the moving truck. These include items of extreme value, important documents, and sentimental possessions. Some examples of these items include:

  • Financial Statements

  • Check books

  • Cash

  • Credit cards

  • Airline Tickets

  • Keys (Car, house, safety deposit box, etc.)

  • Deeds

  • Collections (stamp, coin, baseball cards, etc.)

  • Personal documents (marriage license, passport, wills, insurance documents, birth certificate, Social Security cards)

  • Tax records

  • Medicine

  • Photos

  • Valuable jewelry/fur

  • Stocks and bonds

  • Car titles

  • Cell phones

  • Medical records

Because many of these items are extremely valuable, irreplaceable, or even priceless, most movers prefer not to transport them to limit their liability in case of loss or damage. In the unfortunate circumstance that your shipment is delayed, you may be without certain necessary belongings for a period of time--you don't want to have to wait a week for your medications to arrive. These items should be packed and moved in your own vehicle so you can ensure that they are safe and arrive at your new location as promptly as you do.

J&M Moving and Storage

22 Sheffield Ave, North Providence RI

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