The time has come to pack for your upcoming move. You’ll need to purchase essential moving supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, packing paper, and more. You’ll also need to sort through your belongings and determine what’s worth taking with you and what can be tossed or donated.

But did you know that you can hire a long-distance moving company to pack your belongings for you? This is a great alternative to packing items on your own, but there are certain items that your movers can’t (and shouldn’t) pack. Below are some examples of items that moving companies won’t move on your behalf.

Food and Perishables

It’s not surprising that food and perishable items fall under the category of what movers won’t move. If you know that you have an upcoming move, it’s ideal to eat through your current items so you don’t have to throw them away during the move.

As you can imagine, it’s incredibly difficult for a team of movers to keep your perishable items cold during the move. If you have open containers of yogurt, butter, ice cream, leftovers, or other perishables, make sure to eat them or toss them beforehand. On the bright side, any unopened non-perishable items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, etc., are fair game for your moving team to handle.

Hazardous Chemicals

moving companies restricted items

The time of your move provides you with an opportunity to get rid of any dangerous household chemicals or hazardous materials. Make sure to thoroughly check your garage for any open containers of excess gas, fuel, or other potentially dangerous liquids and take them to your local dump. 

For long-distance moves, the best approach is to safely get rid of your household chemicals and purchase new ones at your new location. For local moves, you can put any potentially hazardous materials inside of your car to safely transport. Make sure that you aren’t using closed boxes to transport these items; instead, always keep the box lids open during transport. 

Scuba Equipment

what will movers not pack

Another example of what movers won’t pack is scuba gear. Although it sounds niche, some avid divers have scuba equipment on hand. In the majority of cases, you can expect your moving company to avoid moving these types of items, so you’ll need to come up with an alternative method of getting the equipment to your new space.

As scuba tanks contain highly pressurized oxygen, they might contain specialized gas mixtures. In the case of an explosion, these scuba tanks can quickly become dangerous to anyone nearby. On a moving truck, it’s almost guaranteed that these tanks would encounter bumps, making the moving process particularly dangerous.

Documents and Valuables

Most pack and move companies don’t want to be held responsible for moving any important documents or valuables. Even if your team of movers is willing to transport your valuable items, it’s worth considering keeping them with you at all times during the moving process. In the case that something becomes lost or damaged, it will be nearly impossible to replace them.

Here are some examples of valuables:

  • Heirlooms
  • Photos
  • Jewelry
  • Collections (stamps, coins, etc.)
  • Cash
  • Deeds, wills, bonds, stocks, or other important documents

Consider whether particular items can be repurchased once the move is over or whether or not you’d be devastated to lose them. 

Why Movers Won’t Move These Items?

Safety is the core reason that movers choose to avoid moving certain items as it is the most important factor during the process. Different moving companies have their restrictions surrounding what movers won’t move, so it’s important to do your research so you know what to expect when going into your move. 

This research can help you save time during the process as you won’t need to bother preparing them or packing them on behalf of your moving company. In some cases, there are illegal items that moving companies will avoid, so the issue isn’t only about safety, but it’s also about following the law.  

In addition to safety and legal reasons, professional moving companies also need to keep liability in mind. Moving personal items can add a layer of liability to your moving team in the case that something goes missing during the move.

Although it sounds like a fluke, this happens more often than you’d imagine. In the shuffle of the move, it’s possible that something could go missing. Moving companies often take the blame in these situations which is why we always recommend keeping your most prized possessions with you during the moving process. This will also give you peace of mind!

Items that Can be Moved With Additional Preparations

Some items can be moved as long as there is enough preparation. We’ve outlined some examples of items that movers can assist with, but you’ll need to make sure they’re ready to go onto the moving truck:

  • Barbecues that use a propane tank need to be removed before being loaded onto the truck. You’ll have to either donate the propane take or take care of moving it yourself.
  • Lawnmowers, chainsaws, weed whackers, and other gasoline-based items need to be completely drained of flammable liquids before movers are willing to handle them.
  • Refrigerators need to be emptied and prepared ahead of time. Make sure to empty your fridge and freezer, unplug it, and allow it to thaw at least 24 hours before your movers arrive. As a bonus, you can clean the coils to keep them in excellent condition.
  • Furniture and sofa are movable, but it’s always recommended to clean and dust these items beforehand so your moving team doesn’t inhale all of the dust. 


Packing and moving companies can significantly help with your move, but they aren’t able to move everything on your behalf. Remember that you can always contact each moving company directly to see what items they will or will not move for you. As a general rule of thumb, what will moving companies not move is usually for safety or legal reasons.

If you’re interested in using our family-owned moving company for your local or long-distance move, we’re happy to provide you with a free moving services quote! We’re looking forward to working with you!