Surprising Items a Moving Company Won’t Move

If you’ve ever helped a friend move, you probably encountered a few “questionable” items among their possessions that seemed ridiculous to bother with or worse yet, just felt “wrong.” Well, you were probably too nice to say anything so you closed your eyes, held your breath or crossed your fingers and hoped you’d get to the new destination without mishap. If you’re the one moving those “crazy” items, you can be sure your mover won’t be so accommodating. Even if you do find a moving company that will bend the rules a little for you, you should be prepared that some items just aren’t going with you. paint buckets

Hazardous Materials

While it probably makes sense that you can’t move explosive items like fireworks, gas cans, propane tanks or ammunition, you may not think of these everyday items as hazardous:
  • Unloaded weapons
  • Paint, varnish and paint thinner
  • Batteries
  • Charcoal
  • Lighter fluid
  • Fertilizer
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Cleaning fluids and chemicals
  • Liquid bleach
  • Aerosol cans
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Oxygen/scuba tanks
Many of these common materials are flammable, corrosive or present a danger of explosion or injury. Even though some may seem insignificant, the risk is real and your movers will not want to take on that liability. You’ll want to plan ahead and give it away, safely dispose of it or plan on moving it yourself.

Outdoor Equipment

Yard and pool equipment can be a real challenge to move. Anything that could be considered toxic such as acid or pool treatment chemicals, weed killers or pesticides are considered “no-no’s.” Equipment like a lawn mower, generator, gas grill and even portable fire pit will be at the discretion of your mover. You’ll definitely need to remove as much gasoline as possible from the engine and discuss what is acceptable prior to moving day.

Food and Pantry Items

These items will definitely take you by surprise—perishable food items are not allowed on the moving truck, especially for long-distance moving. By definition, anything that has been opened (regardless of expiration date), frozen, refrigerated and fresh produce is considered perishable. The main concern here is that food would start to go bad on a long move, could attract rodents and insects or grow mold that could damage your property and theirs. Shorter, local moves may allow a box or two to board the truck, but the best option is to pack only non-perishable sealed, boxed or canned items. Plan to check out your new supermarket when you arrive to restock all those perishables. plants and homeowner

Indoor Plants

The friendly, highly recommended mover you hired will not care that the orchid plant that’s been in your family for generations needs some kind of transportation to your new home. While there are no regulations prohibiting moving houseplants from province to province (there are some if you cross the border into the U.S.), most moving companies will not move your plants because:
  • The plants will likely not survive the move due to the extreme heat in the back of the truck, and
  • parasites and insects on the plants or in the soil could be carried into a new region or infest the other belongings on the truck.
If you just can’t live without your favorite plant, consider taking a cutting to re-grow the plant or move it yourself.


You can be sure that your mover will not put Fido or Mittens in the back of their truck to transport to their new home. There are no circumstances where pets will be allowed inside the moving van. Temperatures and the air quality inside the vehicle are not safe for dogs, cats, birds, fish, exotic animals or others, so you’ll have to make other arrangements for their safe transport. Care should be taken when moving your pet as they can be extremely sensitive to environmental changes. Consider getting a full check-up for your animal and a suitable shipping container to move them in your own vehicle, via air or with professional pet movers. By making the move as stress-free as possible, your pet will make the transition to its new home healthy and happy.

Valuables and Irreplaceable Items

While most people wouldn’t think of handing over the keys to their car or an heirloom diamond necklace to a moving company, you can be certain these items are on the “not-allowable” list. Because they have extreme monetary value, sentimental value, or personal value and can’t be restored or replaced, you’ll need to keep these items with you or make special arrangements:
  • Expensive artwork
  • Valuable jewelry
  • Treasured collections
  • First-edition books
  • Electronics like computers, Smartphone, laptops, e-readers)
  • Personal documents like birth certificates, marriage licenses, wills, tax records, etc.)
  • Photos
  • Cash or credit cards
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Airline tickets
  • Medicine

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Liquor and Wine

Regulations regarding the transport of liquor and wine vary from province to province so it’s important to check with your mover before packing your expensive wine collection. Even if allowed, some movers may refuse due to the fragility of bottles and potential for breakage. If your mover accepts alcohol on the truck, they will have to be unopened and packed securely.


Save yourself time, money and aggravation by following this guide and requesting the list of non-allowable items from your mover prior to your move. While you may be tempted to slip a forbidden item into the bottom of a box, doing so will put your mover and your belongings at risk. The rules are in place for a number of reasons including your protection and peace of mind. Keep your special possessions out of harm’s way by packing and moving those items yourself. Although a reputable mover will have insurance for any mishaps, filing a claim for damaged or missing items will not help restore those things to their original condition. Be proactive, make sure your mover follows the Office of Consumer Affairs’ Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers, and take responsibility for those items you hold near and dear. For those other items that can’t be transferred through your hired moving services, consider making other arrangements or leaving them behind. You’ll be glad you did.