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Why Moving Companies Can't Move Everything

When you're planning your big move and you hire a moving company, you might assume that the movers will move, well, everything. Surprisingly, that's often not the case! Here's a list of some items your movers aren't able to move, why, and what you might be able to do about that.


It's actually illegal to transport plants over certain distances in many states. This has to do with the kinds of bugs and fungi that could be present on your plant, and questions about native habitat. Besides, movers may not want to take the risk of transporting your precious orchid collection even across town.

So What Do You Do?
If you're talking about a long distance move with basic house plants, the best thing really is to leave behind the old ones and buy new plants at your new home. If you're just moving across town, borrow a car or truck and move them yourself.

If you really do have a precious orchid collection, you might be able to get a special permit to move them; talk to your moving company about where you might apply for one.

Hazardous Materials

You might not think of paint cans or fire extinguishers as particularly dangerous, but these are absolutely materials that most movers won't move or touch. The risk is just too great. Your movers should give you a list of items they can't move, but a good rule of thumb is that if you can't throw it in the trash, your movers won't move it.

So What Do You Do?
Either move it yourself, or replace it at your new location. Unless you just bought all the paint you need for your new home, it's probably easier to just replace things.


So you're taking a vacation, and you can't bring Fido or Miss Kitty with you. You might think your movers could bring your pet along for the ride to your new home? Absolutely not. If movers won't take perishable foods (which they won't) because of the risk of spoiling, they absolutely will not take your beloved pet. And even if they would, moving trucks get incredibly hot during travel, unless they're temperature controlled.

Move your pet with you, or hire a pet transportation service if you can't.


Okay, many movers probably will move your jewelry, your stock certificates, your legal documents, or your cash reserves, but you shouldn't let them. It's not that movers aren't trustworthy, it's just that there are too many risks to these items, no matter how much insurance there could be on them.

So What Do You Do?
Keep your valuables with you. If you can't for some reason, consider leaving them with a trusted friend until you can safely reclaim them.

Big, Unwieldy, or Special Items

Not all movers will handle big or special objects. Your grand piano, for example, may require a special, experienced mover. Your pool table may be too big and awkward to be moved. Not all movers have the appropriate equipment to move a car.

So What Do You Do?
If you have items that you think might be a problem, discuss them with moving companies while you are getting quotes for your move. When you get references, specifically ask if the movers have handled these sorts of items before. If you don't feel comfortable with the movers transporting these goods, or if they simply won't, ask about specialized movers. There are companies, for example, which specialize in transporting vehicles like cars, trucks, and boats, from one location to another.

What Should You NOT Do?

Don't hide from your moving company what you're packing. Their rules exist for a reason. Sneaking your nail polish collection into a box marked "bathroom stuff" and hoping for the best is dangerous for the moving company, the movers, and for every single item that you own.

When you're debating what to do with items your movers won't move, ask yourself:

  • Can I easily replace this at my new home?
  • Is this something I use regularly or absolutely need?
  • Is this an heirloom item that I wouldn't want to lose?
  • Is there a safer way to transport this item which is in my price range?

    Thinking through these questions will help you decide what to do with the various things your movers just aren't equipped to handle. It may be frustrating to you to consider restarting your incredible houseplant collection, but let's face it: you can buy another ivy plant where you're going. It's easier than trying to get a special permit or even packing it in your car and hoping for the best.

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