My International Movers

The Ultimate List of Items Movers Won’t Move Across the Border

Amelia Mead May 21, 2018
Posted May 21, 2018 In Moving Fundamentals,
Amelia Mead

Originally from Chicago, currently everywhere, Amelia is a freelance writer working on bringing all the moving tips to you.

However hands-on a relocation company might be, there are always some items movers won’t move. Although we always recommend calling up the agency you plan on hiring to ask them about their specific policies, we’ve listed up the most commonly evaded objects. With this list, you’ll know what to expect while preparing for the move, being maximally ready to deal with the possible trials and tribulations any move entails.

Did You Know That There Are Items Movers Won’t Move?

Whether you wish to live in Venezuela or want to move to Scotland, when it comes to relocation, most of us would love to have supernatural powers and transport all our things to the desired location across the world. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option, and if you want to be living abroad, you’ll have to go through every phase of the process known as moving abroad. And when it comes to the stage of hiring an overseas moving company, you have to do a bit more than just figure out what to pack and how to pack it so that it doesn’t break.

The thing is, every relocation company has its own rules and regulations when it comes to the things they place on their trucks. Because we know how stressful relocation can be, we don’t want you to lose precious time researching what these items are. Rather, we did the snooping for you – and here is what we found out!

What Won’t Movers Move for Clients Moving Internationally?

First of all, it’s important to know that no two companies are the same, and the rules and regulations vary in the same way too. While some things stay the same across companies, such as the prohibition to transport anything illegal or unlawful in the destination country, other exceptions will depend on the specific overseas shipping company. So, here is a list of the most commonly forbidden stuff, and the rest we’ll cover later on in the article:

  • Explosives, including fireworks and crackers,
  • Guns and ammunition,
  • Acid-based batteries,
  • Flammable liquids and charcoal,
  • Paints and bleach.

Why Don’t Professional Load the Entirety of My Inventory?

If you are a curious creature, you might wonder why professionals won’t load everything off of your relocation checklist onto their trucks. Well, there are a multiplicity of possible reasons, but two of them stand out. First off, it is risky for the fragile items, the mover, the driver, and the insurance company as well. For some, it could be life-threatening; for others financially. Secondly, if anything is to happen, especially to the humans working the job and helping you relocate, you will be the one to be held accountable. Since this is not why you’ve hired a mover, it’s best to stay safe and keep others that way as well.

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The First Thing an International Moving Company Won’t Deal With Are Hazardous Materials

Most of the objects on our previously mentioned list are excluded due to their dangerous potential. Not only are some of them, like guns and ammunition, problematic to transport due to the requirement of licenses and regulations, but most of these pose a real danger to the lives of those transporting the goods. To be frank, most hazardous materials could be detrimental to you too, so we do recommend weighing out the pros and cons of storing and relocating overseas things like propane cylinders, lighter fluids, gasoline, matches, candles, and the like. These are easily replaceable, non-expensive items you can repurchase at any time, so the risk of taking them might not be worth it.

Cleaning Materials and Other Chemicals Are a Definite No-No as Well

Another set of liquids that will not be packed and shipped by a relocation company is your set of cleaning supplies. Although you’ll be using them up to the last minute of your move, so that you’re able to perform a move out clean (likewise, you’ll require them to disinfect your new apartment as soon as you move abroad) it will be best not to go packing these and take them with you. Not only do these items have a tendency to spill and make a whole mess over the rest of your home inventory, but they can also get on fire and pose a real threat.

Even Some of the Things in Your Vanity, Like Nail Polishes and Removers, Can’t Be Placed on the Truck

While your foundation and blush might be free of toxic substances, not everything you use for beautifying purposes is. That definitely goes for your nail polish and polish removers. Contrary to popular belief, nail paint and its companions are full of flammable substances that could easily start a riot in a truck if anything was to go wrong. This could be the perfect time to start going to the nail salon or at least gifting your nail polish collection to a younger sister or a best friend. Not only will it turn your move safer, but you will surely surprise a loved one with an awesome gift that’ll remind them to keep in touch with you.

If You Are a Sporty Person, Make Sure to Ship Your Scuba Diving Gear Separately

To more of our readers than not, this may seem like more of a trivia or fun fact, but it may mean the world to a few sporty individuals. The dedicated swimmers and divers among you will surely benefit from knowing it is up to you to pack up all your scuba diving gear and move it to your desired location, whether it is a home or a storage unit.

The thing is, scuba tanks store highly pressurized oxygen and can contain other flammable gas mixtures too. These are prone to exploding or catching fire easily, and a moving company will not put their employees in danger by loading the gear onto their trucks – which is only fair. Additionally, the gear, especially the tanks, might get a bump or two in the transport. So keep your stuff safe, and welcome the next scuba season with your gear intact. If you’re unsure of how to safely deal with your scuba gear for travel, we recommend checking out the following video.

Have Your Personal Documentation on You at All Times

Personal documentation is something you should always have on you, especially when you are about to change addresses. Remember the golden rule: if something can’t be replaced (or requires heavy bureaucracy to do so) it should be on you. The movers know it, and so should you. So whether the valuables in question are expensive jewelry, keys, cash, or your personal and travel documentation, make sure you have it on you. After all, if movers won’t guarantee the absolute safety of your stuff, you shouldn’t ask for it. So, all of your bank statements, financial records, IDs, driver’s licenses, and the rest should be in your possession while you move to another country.

Family Heirlooms Can’t Be Replaced, So Don’t Put Them in Potential Danger

Continuing from the aforementioned logic, we would recommend having all your irreplaceable items on you at all times. And besides most companies having policies on valuable things, some will have those related to sentimental objects as well. That is because not all valuable items are valuable just in the financial sense, and given that there is always a chance (albeit it being a small one) that an object will get damaged in the transport, it’s best not to leave anything up to chance. Especially when no amount of insurance or money can restore the importance and value of a family heirloom for someone who is now living overseas, away from their friends and family.

Perishable Foods Are Also Something You’ll Have to Move Out By Yourself

If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of food going bad in your fridge or cupboard, you may be understanding why professionals avoid taking it. From releasing smells to attracting rodents and bugs and even creating mold, there’s a bunch of things that can go wrong in this situation. And even though food isn’t hazardous per se and will not pose a danger to the driver and the rest of the cargo, it could be problematic for the vehicle it is located in. Luckily, unopened non-perishable foods, like soups, pasta, rice, and canned items can be carried without a problem. So, if you still have a bunch of fresh and perishable foods around in the weeks leading up to the relocation day, you should consider donating food and supporting a cause you feel passionate about.

Living Beings Like Animals and Plants Are Also on the List

Another thing that isn’t too shocking is the fact that movers aren’t transporting living beings. Although most people wouldn’t consider relocating their dog via a moving company, the story may be somewhat different when it comes to plants. However, the case is such that your loved greenery probably will not make it through the move to a new country if you’re not there to water it every step of the way. So, rather than packing up the vegetation that lives in your living room, it may be smarter to give it to a loved friend or family member. After all, you can always get a new cactus, even if you decide to move to Sweden.

Make Sure That Your Plants Are Eligible for Shipping Overseas

If you decide that you’ve put too much love in your greenery to leave it behind now, we get it. Being a plant-parent is a full-time job, and somebody’s gotta do it. However, an efficient move of plants is not only logistically difficult but legally problematic as well. Because parasites and pests love making a home in people’s flowers, it’s forbidden to relocate vegetation at a distance longer than 150 miles. However, if you are really invested in your vegetation, there are special permits you can obtain and ensure your entire garden moves with you.

They Might Not Be Able to Do Everything, but Professional Movers Make Moving Overseas a Much Easier Experience

Moving internationally is a full set of potential problems and activities, so it’s really crucial to be proactive about everything that goes with it. If you don’t want to run into any unforeseen obligations, such as packing your candles after you’ve already hired a company for packing assistance, you should call the moving agents right away to ask for their own list of non-allowable objects. And although there is stuff companies don’t move, they’ll still be of immeasurable help to your whole endeavor, so don’t give up on them just yet.



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