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What To Do With Your Food When Moving

During long-distance moves, National Van Lines will not transport any perishable or unsealed food items, including produce, refrigerated or frozen food, and other opened food items. Perishable items can attract vermin and other pests that could damage your belongings.

While you might be able to transport perishable items in a cooler on your own if you are traveling only a short distance, with a transit time under 24 hours, you should always check with your National Van Lines professionals before attempting to move any food goods.

Although you will not be able to transport most of your food, don’t let it go to waste! Here are 7 steps for what to do with your food before moving.

Step 1: Make an inventory of your food and perishable goods.

Before deciding what to do with your food, put together a complete inventory of what you have. Do a thorough assessment of your kitchen and anywhere you may store food, including the fridge, freezer, pantry and cupboards. Sort your list of food items into the following categories:

  • Perishables: frozen and refrigerated items such as meat, vegetable,  milk, ice-cream, yogurt, bread, pizza etc.
  • Canned foods: soups, vegetables, fruits, meat etc.
  • Boxed food items: cereal, chips, snacks, biscuits etc.
  • Cooking and baking supplies: flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry pasta, rice etc.
  • Liquids: sauces, cooking oil, olive oil, dressings, alcohol, beverages etc.

Your inventory should also include the expiration date of each item or how much longer the item will still be edible.

Step 2: Throw out expired food items

The next step is to look through your inventory and identify the food items that have expired. Any food that has passed its expiration date should be thrown away as they can’t be consumed or donated. Where possible, empty the food contents so that the containers can be recycled (for example, cardboard boxes, milk cartons, jars and bottles).

Step 3: Eat most of perishable foods before moving

Before your scheduled moving date, eat as much of your perishable foods as possible. These are essentially food items in your fridge and freezer. This will not only help you reduce food waste, but also save you some money by not going out to eat or ordering takeouts. Some ideas to help you use up your perishable foods include making stir fry, salads, sandwiches, pastas, soups and frittatas. Get creative and see what other recipes you can come up with using only the ingredients you have in your fridge and freezer.

Step 4: Share food with friends and neighbors

If you have too much food and don’t have time to eat them before moving, share the food with your friends and neighbors. Invite your friends and neighbors to a barbecue to celebrate your move. This is a great opportunity for you to use up your perishable food items such as hamburger patties, chicken, buns, vegetables and fruits.

Step 5: Donate non-perishable food items

One of the best things you can do with non-perishable food (rice, pasta, canned food etc) that you don’t plan to use or bring with you is to donate them to charities and local families in need. National Van Lines is affiliated 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).

Step 6: Pack food items you are moving

If you have followed the steps above, you are now ready to pack the food that you will be moving with you to the new home. We highly recommend checking your mover if you will need to move any food items. Below are some key things to keep in mind:

    • Do not pack frozen food. Many moving companies (including National Van Lines) will not transport unsealed and perishable food items as they can attract vermin and other pests that could damage your belongings.
    • Pack canned food in small boxes. This will make it easier and safer to lift and move the boxes since canned items can become very heavy when many of them are packed together.
    • Seal all dry and open boxes of food. Use tape to seal and place the items in resealable ziplock bags before packing them into cardboard boxes. This will help to prevent any leaks and spills during the transport.
    • Wrap glass containers in waterproof ziplock bags and bubble wrap. This will help ensure food items in glass containers and jars are kept secure during the move.
  • Clearly label each box containing your food items. This will help you to quickly identify where your food items are so that you can unpack them as soon as you have arrived at your new home.

Step 7: Prepare food for your moving day

Lastly, don’t forget about the move-out day. Moving day is an extremely busy and energy-draining time, so having some food and beverages on hand will help to keep you and your family (including pets) energized. If you have hired professional movers, it is a nice gesture to also offer them some snacks and beverages. Consider preparing food that can be easily eaten during the move such as sandwiches, protein bars, biscuits, crackers, nuts and dried fruits.

Need more advice on what to do with your food before moving? Get in touch with National Van Lines online or call 844.910.1943 for help – plus a free moving quote.

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