Moving to a new home is overwhelming enough as it is. Teaming up with a professional mover like this Asheville moving company can relieve a tremendous amount of the burden. Not only can they help you with packing your belongings and lifting heavy furniture, but they can also provide a large moving vehicle, transport everything from one place to another, and then unload everything into the new home. Make sure your moving company has insurance with a company like TWIS Insurance Services to make sure you’re covered if anything happens to your stuff. Before you get started, talk to your moving company about which items should not be packed into the van for safety or legal purposes. These categories of household items should be consumed, disposed of properly, or transported in an alternate fashion before moving.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials are at the top of every moving company’s list of items that are not permitted on the truck. This includes flammable items, chemicals and explosive materials.

Aside from materials that are obviously flammable, such as charcoal, lighter fluid, propane tanks, gasoline, and oil, you may not realize just how many innocuous household items are flammable, too. For example, nail polish, nail polish remover and aerosol cans, including your hairspray, are all fire hazards. While it is permitted to pack a lawnmower onto the truck, you must drain it of all its fuel first.

Chemicals that could potentially leak, causing damage to the vehicle or creating environmental harm, must not be loaded onto the truck either. This includes fertilizer, paint, pool chemicals, acids, household cleaning chemicals like bleach and ammonia, pesticides, poisons and batteries.

Moving companies will never transport explosive materials like guns, ammunition, fireworks, scuba tanks, and fire extinguishers. Not only do these pose serious safety threats, but it is also illegal according to federal law to pack these things with a moving company without telling them. If you are caught violating this law, you may stand to serve five years in prison and pay at least $250k in penalties as well.

So what should you do with all these things? First of all, never dispose of hazardous waste in the garbage. Careless handling of toxic chemicals can cause serious damage to the environment, leak into the water system, poison passersby or trash pickup workers, or start fires. Instead, use up as much of these things as you can before your move. If you still have some left over, give it away to friends, neighbors or family members who could use it. Otherwise, visit the nearest hazardous waste facility and drop off the leftovers according to their safety procedures.


Certain kinds of food should never get packed with your moving company since they can spoil, attract pests, grow mold, or spill and cause damage to the van or other packed items. For these reasons, never bring perishable, refrigerated or frozen foods on board. Consume your dairy products, fresh produce and opened packaged foods throughout the weeks leading up to your move. Or, consider throwing a going-away party with your friends, coworkers, family and neighbors. A cookout is a great way to use up lots of food items quickly. Plus, you can send your guests home with any leftovers.

Thankfully, nonperishable foods are allowed on the truck. This includes unopened canned goods, uncooked rice or pasta, or anything else you’d ordinarily keep in the pantry and not in the fridge. Still, it may be more trouble than it’s worth to pack all this extra food. Consider donating it to local soup kitchens or non-profits so it doesn’t have to go to waste. It’s also a wise idea to keep some nonperishable foods in your car or temporary accommodations so that you don’t have to go hungry or order costly meals out during the move.


Plants should generally not be packed onto the moving van since they could be knocked over, damaged, or deprived of water and sunlight for an extended period. It’s better to transport them yourself. Even if you have to road trip for several days, as long as they are well-watered, wrapped up safely in bubble wrap or tissue paper, and stored snugly in your car, they will survive the trip.

However, be aware that it may be illegal to bring certain plant species on the road with you. If you are moving somewhere several states away, your plant may not be native to the new locale. Even if you don’t plan on planting it outside, it could still contribute to the spread of an invasive plant species, insects, pests or plant diseases. Do some research online or check with the local environmental agencies in your new county before bringing your green babies.

You may find yourself in a pickle if you are unable to pack your plants or bring them to the new state. In that case, turn your potted plant into a thoughtful gift for your pet sitter, babysitter, mailperson, landlord, etc.


Though it should go without saying, pets don’t generally do well in a dark, hot, isolated space for hours on end. It would be cruel and inhumane to crate and load your animal friend onto the truck like a piece of furniture. Not only is it a traumatic experience, but she may also suffer from dehydration or starvation and have accidents that ruin your other belongings.

Some moving companies offer transportation for animals. However, it will likely be expensive and still traumatic for your pet, especially if she has separation anxiety. Whether dog, cat, bird, reptile or bunny, your little friend will be much happier and safer weathering the move by your side. 

Valuables & Delicates

Expensive items, such as electronics, jewelry, antique furniture, and cash, should always be packed in your car. Anything made of glass or other delicate material must be cushioned adequately or packed in a hard case to protect it during the move.

Plus, belongings of sentimental value, like collectibles, family heirlooms, and photo albums, may not be allowed according to your moving company’s policy. That’s because possessions of sentimental value can’t truly be replaced by the mover’s liability coverage or by your moving insurance.

Aside from expensive or sentimental things, important documents and personal items can also be difficult or impossible to replace. Make sure to keep your birth certificate, social security card, state ID, medical records, keys, checkbooks and medications close to you at all times during a move.

In Conclusion

Don’t add complications to your life with unnecessary risks. Whether for safety or legal reasons, you should never pack hazardous materials or perishable foods with your moving company. Start planning now to consume as much as possible and give away the rest. Make sure you have a humane and risk-free logistical plan for your precious plants, pets and valuables. Knowing what not to pack in your moving van will ultimately save you trouble down the road so that you can start your new life off on a sound footing.