What not to pack when you move?

Are you getting ready to relocate your family or business? Do you have everything you need to start packing? Boxes, duct tape, bubble wrap…? Get started then! But wait! Before you start wrapping and packing every item in your house, let’s talk about what not to pack when you move.

Items that should not go into the moving truck can be grouped into two basic categories: things that are not allowed in the moving truck (usually for safety reasons) and things you probably don’t want in the moving truck in the first place.

Things not to pack when you move – prohibited by law or company policies

In order to keep yourself and the moving crew safe during the transit, there is a list of various items you are not allowed to put into the moving truck. The items fall into different categories such as perishables, flammable and combustible items, compressed gasses, or hazardous materials. When you hear the phrase hazardous materials, you probably think of some dangerous (and potentially radioactive) substances. Truth is, you’d be surprised how much of those you have in your household – under the sink, in your garage, or even in your bathroom vanity. Be that as it may, moving companies are prohibited by law to transport some of these across state lines. Even though most of these substances are harmless in your house (when used and treated properly), they can be a ticking bomb on a truck that reaches high temperatures during the summer.

Bottles with household chemicals
Even some rather common household chemicals can pose a threat on the moving truck

Flammable and combustible materials

Some of the things on this list are super common (such as nail polish remover or batteries), others perhaps not as much. Still, it’s important to list as many of them so you can check and see what items in your household you need to pack separately. You can pack them carefully and take them with you in your car, or dispose of them in an appropriate, environmentally friendly manner.

  • Motor oil
  • Nail polish remover
  • Paint and varnish
  • Propane tanks
  • Signal flares
  • Sternos
  • Ammonia
  • Batteries – specifically lead-acid batteries
  • Bleach
  • Fireworks
  • Gasoline and kerosene
  • Lighter fluids
  • Matches

If there is any item you are not sure about, and we forgot to list it, you can contact some of the North Las Vegas movers and ask them – they’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Compressed gases and poisons

Compressed gases and poisons sound like something you would steer clear in your everyday life and not just when you’re moving. However, these items are very common – just ask the gardeners or check out your hairspray. Again, you can either pack them and take them with you or dispose of them properly and purchase new when you get to your new location.

  • Aerosol sprays – includes spray paint, spray cleaners, and hairspray
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Weed killers and other gardening chemicals
  • Insecticides/pesticides
  • Cleaning chemicals – includes adhesive removers, carpet and rust cleaners, and bathroom cleaners
  • Pool chemicals


In addition to flammable and poisonous substances that can pose a serious threat in a moving truck, there are also some food items it’s best not to pack when you move. While there are some non-perishables that make the cut, it is best to leave the food behind. Perishables on the moving truck can attract rodents, insects, develop mold or bacteria, and cause damage to your other things or the truck itself. Types of food that shouldn’t go onto the moving truck are food stored in glass jars or Tupperware, food in containers that can be easily crushed or leak, fresh produce, frozen food.

Three glass jars with food - do not pack them when you move
Don’t pack food into the moving truck

Here’s what you can do:

  1. plan meals accordingly so there is practically no food left when the moving day comes, or
  2. donateMove For Hunger is a national non-profit organization that has created a way to reduce food waste and fight hunger.

Miscellaneous items you should not pack when you move

People are often surprised that they are not allowed to take their liquor onto the moving truck. Ask your moving company about their policies regarding alcohol. Are you relocating to Las Vegas? Perhaps throwing a cocktail party for all your friends before you move to the Entertainment Capital of the World is a good way to start this journey. Another item not to pack when you move is guns and ammunition. Not only is it not allowed on the moving truck, but you also don’t want even the slightest chance of losing a gun registered to your name. Last but not least, don’t plan to send your pets or plants onto the moving truck – they can’t be in the dark and without food/water for so long!

Things not to pack when you move – you choose to keep them off of the moving truck

In addition to the mentioned items you can’t pack on the moving truck, there are also items you might choose to keep closer to you. You might exclude them as a way to ensure they remain safe during the trip, or you may need to access some items during or directly after your move.

Sentimental and valuable items

In order to make sure your most valuable and irreplaceable items are safe and sound, it’s best to keep them with you at all times. Some examples are:

  • Address book
  • Cash – perfect for tipping your moving crew
  • Cellphones
  • Collectibles
  • Photo albums
  • Fragile antiques
  • Jewelry
  • Laptops
  • Any other memories or souvenirs that are irreplaceable

Important documents

Not only is it of the utmost importance not to lose or damage such documents, but it is also possible that you might need to access some of them during or shortly after the move. We’re talking about personal identification (photo IDs, passports, Social Security cards), bill of lading and other moving documents, housing documents – deeds, financial/tax/insurance documents, checkbooks, car titles, medical records.

A pile of documents - what not to pack when you move
Organize and pack your documents neatly so that you can access them on a moment’s notice

Essentials box

Having your essentials on standby is crucial to making your first days in your new home comfortable. So, you should have a separate box that is not to be packed with other stuff in the moving truck.  You could fill this box with items as simple as a change of clothes or basic hygiene products. Before you start worrying about unpacking, here’s what to pack in your open-first box:

  • A comfortable change of clothes
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Deodorant
  • Pet food
  • Phone charger
  • Prescription drugs
  • Sheets, blankets, and pillows
  • Shower curtain and liner
  • Small toolkit
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Towels
  • T-shirt for sleeping
  • Water bottle
Toothpaste tube and a bit of paste on a blue toothbrush
Make sure you have all the essentials easily accessible, especially hygiene products

Now that you have a detailed list of what not to pack when you move, you can start making a plan and safely relocate your family or business.

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