Updated: December 21, 2022

There’s no question that packing to move typically takes longer than you expect. And at that 11th hour, it can be tempting to just throw everything that’s left in a box for the moving company or on the truck. 

Not so fast.

There are a number of common household items that cannot go on a moving truck. Keep reading to find out what you should never load in a moving truck, and what you should do instead.

Disposal of radio active waste

1. Hazardous Materials

There are many common—and possibly surprising—household items that are not safe for transport in a moving truck under any circumstances, says Jose Baluja from Joe’s Moving.

“Most of the items can be found in the garage or among your household cleaning supplies,” he says. Check with your moving company, but some of the more surprising items to be aware of are:

  • Household batteries
  • Nail polish and nail polish remover
  • Any aerosol cans (including hairspray)
  • Fertilizer, weed killers, and pesticides,
  • Charcoal
  • Cleaning supplies like ammonia, bleach and other solvents.

Of course, other obvious hazardous materials to avoid include:

  • Ammunition
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fireworks
  • Gasoline, kerosene and propane

Although you probably know that transporting a gallon of gasoline is never allowed, the same goes for gas-filled small engines, such as a lawn mower or snow blower.

“It is entirely safe and lawful to put a lawn mower or snow blower on your moving truck provided you drain all the oil and gasoline out of it first,” says Mike Glanz, co-founder and CEO of HireAHelper

If you don’t want to bring the household items in your own car and your neighbors don’t want them, make sure to dispose of these safely, in accordance with all local laws. Disposing of gasoline is particularly tricky; check out the tips here.

Rotten vegetables on a wooden background. Top view

2. Perishable items

Don’t just load your pantry into a box or your fridge or freezer into a cooler, cautions Baluja. Not only is the food likely to spoil, but you also run the risk of attracting pests, points out Glanz. Baluja adds there may be exceptions if a move is less than 150 miles and items will be delivered within 24 hours of loading, but be sure to check with your moving company.

A better bet is to use up as much food as you can before moving day (Your family will love this; we guarantee!) or donate what you cannot eat (and that isn’t expired!) to a food bank or your neighbors.

Drug warehouse

3. Potentially Illegal Items

Firearms, cash, drugs: Please don’t leave these items with your moving company or in a moving truck, says Ori Siri-Princz, long-distance moving manager at Oz Moving & Storage.

“Nobody wants to take their chances with what could be a legally fuzzy job,” he said.

4. Plants

Not only are plants prone to dying in the moving truck, but crossing state lines with certain plants can be illegal, says Glanz, “Even if you are just driving through, every individual state’s laws apply.”

Either bring the plant with you to your new home or leave it as a “thank you” to the teacher who always gave your child a smile, the neighbor who picked up your mail or the dog walker who never missed a day.

5. Pets

Do we even have to mention this? Seems yes, we do.

“We’ve had clients who think they can put their rabbits and fish on a moving truck without issue. Never do this,” says David Hauslaib, an owner of Greystone Relocation Concierge.

Not only does the inside of a non-climate-controlled moving truck get quite warm during transit, but being jostled around can create a traumatic environment for pets, he says.

Either transport them to your new home by car or arrange for pet-specific transportation. (Yes, it exists!)

6. People

Just, no. But, we do have to say it, don’t we?

Cathie Ericson
Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer specializing in business, health and lifestyle topics. Read more of her work at CathieEricsonWriter.com.