What won’t Movers Move

What won’t movers move?

Relocating your home can be stressful, especially if you are moving to another state. Now that you have made it to planning the move itself, you can avoid last-minute complications if you know what movers will and won’t move.

What’s the list of items movers won’t take?

Here is the short version. Movers won’t move plants. Regulations designed to forestall the introduction of pests into new areas prohibit them from transporting houseplants over 150 miles. They won’t take your pets in the moving truck, which seems obvious, but people try it all the time. Perishable food can’t go, so use it up, give it away, or take it with you in the car.

The moving company won’t take anything hazardous, including flammable, explosive, and corrosive items. This list includes things you might not think of, like paint, paint thinner, aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, charcoal, lighter fluid, some batteries, acid, and the more obvious ammunition, firearms, and fireworks. Don’t try to hide something dangerous and sneak it into a shipment. If anything goes wrong, the presence of a prohibited item will void the carrier’s liability for any damage you incur. Here is a comprehensive list of material  excluded as dangerous: 

AcidsFire extinguisherNail polish remover
AerosolsFireworksPaint thinner
AmmunitionHousehold batteriesPesticides
Car batteriesKerosenePoisons
CharcoalLamp oilPool chemicals
Charcoal lighter fluidLiquid bleachPropane tanks
Chemistry setsLoaded gunsReloading supplies
Cleaning solventsMatchesSCUBA tanks
Darkroom chemicalsMotor oilSterno
FertilizerNail polishWeed killer

Your best bet with any of these items is to dispose of them before your move date.

While there is no danger from these, most moving companies will not transport personal financial documents. This includes checkbooks, banking records, tax returns, insurance policies, medical and dental records, titles to vehicles, deeds to property, airline tickets, research information, school records, laptop computers,  and other critical information, whether paper-based or maintained on different media. Many will also balk at assuming responsibility for irreplaceable sentimental items such as wedding albums and videos, photographs, address books, collections (butterflies or coins) and physical objects such as cash, car keys, and medicines. If you have these things, you need to transport them personally.

Moving is a great time to reduce your collection of financial records, and only keep what you need. The Internal Revenue Service requires that you keep your tax return for two years after you file it, or three years following payment of the tax if that is later.

Are you holding on to bills and pay stubs? In most cases, you don’t need to. If you have a direct deposit of your pay, there is already an electronic record. If you receive an old-fashioned paper paycheck, you can keep your pay stub until the end of the year to ensure that the stub total matches up with your W-2, then shred. For bills, unless you keep a credit card statement to document a tax deduction or do not have any other receipt for a significant purchase, destroy those also. While some records, such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, name change recordings, military discharge documents, and social security cards—need to be preserved indefinitely, most financial material can be transferred to digital media or destroyed.

If you are disposing of any financial information in anticipation of a move (or any time), make sure that you do so safely. Never put documents with personal financial information in the trash—this is an invitation to identity theft. If you do not have a shredder, you may want to get one. Excellent personal office shredders are inexpensive and do a great job turning your old records into packing material. Another option is to look for local shredding events, often sponsored by financial institutions or elected officials.

Pictures also can be transferred onto a digital platform, which eliminates the need for physical prints, and this process is a great way to organize the hundreds of old photos you may have in boxes. Use your best judgment about the rest, and once you decide to include it, carefully pack and label each box, and ensure that you can bring it with you by whatever means you are making the trip yourself.

How do I move my pets?

Pets cannot travel in the moving truck, no matter how brief the journey is. You can take your pets with you, either in the car or by air, or engage a pet moving service to do the same. For many pets, moving is stressful. They know that something is going on, but they don’t understand what. The pet may try to escape, and cats, in particular, are known for trying to return to the previous home.

Try to minimize the confusion for your animals by segregating them from the move as much as possible. Keep the pet isolated in one room while the movers are loading the household goods into the truck. Place cats into carriers well ahead of departure to reduce the chance of last-minute wrangling. Keep a picture of your pet with you during the journey. If anything happens, you will have the image handy to make searching for the pet easier.

Visit your vet before you go, verify that the pet is current on all required vaccinations, and, if possible, get a referral to a new vet in the destination area. If your pet does not have a microchip, an identification tag is even more important during the journey to aid in retrieving him in the event of separation. Check the licensing requirements in your new state, as it might be different. Hawaii has stringent rules governing dogs and cats coming from the mainland, and many states refuse to allow ferrets and some reptiles as pets.

Will the moving company take care of my valuables?

Jewelry and artwork also deserve special attention when you move. If you have valuable artwork, engage a specialist. Do not attempt to pack paintings, sculpture or other pieces on your own, and question the mover about its expertise in handling high-end pieces. Please don’t assume they know what they are doing. Insist on full valuation coverage for your art, and if the mover can’t provide it, use a third party.

For jewelry that is of more sentimental than monetary value, you are better off packing and transporting it yourself. There are many clever tricks to move small pieces without damage—try threading necklaces through drinking straws, for example, or segregate each item in its section of a fishing tackle box. These tactics can avoid tangling and breakage. But keep the package with you when you go. For precious items, talk to the manager of the bank or jewelry store in which you usually store them. They can probably advise you on an appropriate armored car transport or another alternative.