Moving Guide

Banned Together: Cargo We Can’t Carry

| Moving Tips | Gerry Clark

“Unmovable” traditionally means rigid or inflexible. At National Van Lines, we’ve adapted the term to cover things we just can’t transport.

Legally speaking, our hands are tied when it comes to putting certain belongings inside our big rigs and embarking on interstate moves. When you consider the following items, you’ll likely see these restrictions make lots of sense—even if they sometimes might seem inconvenient.

The No. 1 rationale behind government-dictated legal restrictions is safety. For prohibitions based on National Van Lines’ own safe-moving policies, our primary consideration is protecting your possessions. Either way, we can’t budge when it comes to not moving these objects.

Hazardous items ahead

Federal officials are unmovable on relocating what are deemed hazardous materials, primarily flammable, explosive, corrosive or eco-unfriendly items. Plain and simple, it’s illegal to transport these items because they can explode under certain conditions. Consider recycling or taking these items to a hazardous-waste collection site before your cross-country move. You also might give them to friends or family members. Consult municipal or county officials on proper disposal methods if required.

This prohibited-items list isn’t exhaustive. Please talk with your pro movers if you’re unsure about an item’s safety.

  • acids
  • ammunition
  • bottled gas or propane
  • lamp oil
  • charcoal
  • all flammables, including matches and lighter fluid
  • explosives and corrosives
  • fireworks
  • fire extinguisher
  • car batteries
  • motor oils and fuel
  • paints, thinners, oils and varnishes
  • cleaning solvents
  • Sterno cans, chafing-fuel cans and cooking-fuel cans
  • aerosol cans
  • ammonia and liquid bleach
  • nail polish and nail-polish remover
  • pool chemicals
  • poisons
  • pesticides, fertilizer and weed killer

Plant plan

Most moving companies won’t take your plants, and National Van Lines and our nationwide team of certified moving consultants are no exception. We love greenery, too, the more beautiful and rarer, the better. However, experience tells us the heat and stress inside our interstate moving vans kills vegetation.

You could try squeezing that prized rubber plant into your own vehicle if you’re driving as part of your cross-country move. But be aware: Regulations sometimes govern plants, too. Many states prohibit their entry to thwart infestation that might threaten money-making crops. Others admit them only under certain conditions. Some don’t regulate plant travel at all. Make sure you understand your state’s regulations before transporting floral favorites using your own vehicle.

Plant preservation also involves not transporting eco-hostile pests, including the destructive gypsy moth, so make sure mini-menaces aren’t tagging along for the ride.

Thought for food

Do we transport food items? Yes…and no.

We say, “yes,” to dry, jarred or canned goods. Pack your boxed, dry food in medium cartons, and tape openings shut to prevent spillage. Put jars or canned goods in newsprint-cushioned book (1.5 cubic foot) cartons.

Sorry, but it’s a no-go for any perishable or unsealed food items. That includes produce, refrigerated or frozen food, and other opened food items. Perishable items attract vermin and other hazardous pests that might damage your belongings.

You might put perishable items in a cooler and transport them on your own for short-distance travel (less than 24 hours). Still, check with your National Van Lines professional long-distance movers before attempting to move edibles.

Also consider donating your usable food. Through our affiliation with the not-for-profit organization, Move For Hunger, many of our National Van Lines agents nationwide will pick up non-perishable food items from people who are moving and deliver them to local food pantries. Since National Van Lines joined the Move For Hunger network in 2014, our agents have delivered more than 170,000 lbs. of food (or nearly 142,000 meals).

Cherish is a word

They’re not explosive or corrosive or potentially messy nor do they attract hazardous insects or vermin. Still, we don’t advise moving certain prized possessions via our tractor-trailers. We’re pro movers and experts in knowing how to pack fragile items for shipping, but accidents sometimes happen. We’d much rather a mishap occur involving an easily replaced item vs. a priceless heirloom. That’s why we say you shouldn’t place the following items on our moving vans cross country. Instead, carry them with you.

  • coins
  • valuable papers (e.g., bank bills, currency, deeds, notes and drafts)
  • jewelry and precious stones
  • stamp collections
  • passports
  • birth certificates
  • cash
  • car keys
  • financial or medical records

Other cherished items are ideal candidates for our specialty moving services, which are designed for unique and precious objects. From antique pianos to billiards tables and fine art, some belongings require special handling and delivery instructions to maintain their value. Discussing these added protections with your residential movers can provide you peace of mind on the move ahead.

At National Van Lines, we’re anything but unmovable; it’s just that certain objects have to be.

National Van Lines makes long-distance moving easy. As a national moving company, we’ve been helping families move memories for nearly 90 years. Contact us online or call 877-590-2810 for answers to your questions plus a FREE moving quote.

Contact us to learn more about our various moving services and to request a free moving quote.