What Not to Pack: A Guide to Non-allowable Removal Items

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
11th September 2017 (Last updated on Friday 1st November 2019)

Compare My Move has created this guide to explain to movers what not to pack in the removal vans during moving day. We’ve compiled a list of the non-allowable items which removal companies won't be able to take to ensure your move is more efficient and organised.

We know the feeling: you’re fully geared towards moving day, you’ve planned your boxes, plotted your packing and organised your items. The last thing on your mind is what not to pack. However, it is something you do really need to consider.

There are some items that even professionals can’t touch. These are the ‘non-allowable’ items that are unsuitable or unsafe for a removal team to move. Every removal company will have their own list of prohibited non-allowable items which you should inquire about before your moving day.

This list includes the sentimental, the living and the dangerous. They are the items that may need to be either moved by yourself or completely disposed of altogether. We hope this guide will save you from some last-minute stress so that you can organise everything in advance and separate the restricted items from the moving boxes.

This article will cover the following points

Non-Allowable Items Dangerous Items Perishable Foods Pets and Plants Valuable Items Saving Time and Money on Your Removal

Non-Allowable Items

Non-allowable items
  • Dangerous Items
  • Perishable Foods
  • Pets and Plants
  • Valuable or Sentimental Items

In this guide, we'll discuss the non-allowable items that removal companies cannot handle or transport. From dangerous items to your beloved pets, there are a variety of things that your removal company will not transport and that you'll have to handle yourself. Below, we go through each category explaining what's included in the list, why they can't be transported in removal vans and how you can take care of them yourself. 

Dangerous Items

This first part of the list is the most important as it’s about keeping you and the removal team safe during your moving day. Dangerous items are generally flammable, corrosive or even explosive (or any mixture of the three) and can include compressed gasses, radioactive materials and poisonous substances. 

If any of these items listed below need to be moved, then keep in mind that you may have to move them yourself as the removals team won’t be able to handle them due to various safety legislation. If you have a few fireworks stashed in the attic that you forgot to use on bonfire night, then remember to safely dispose of or handle them yourself during moving day. 

Part of the list includes common household items you may not have originally thought of, so it’s worth keeping them in mind so you won’t have to do any last-minute repacking.

Prohibited household items may include:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Paints and paint thinner
  • Lighter fluid
  • Petrol
  • Fireworks
  • Oxygen bottles
  • Propane Cylinders
  • Motor oil
  • Matches
  • Radio-pharmaceuticals
  • Cleaning solvents including liquid bleach
  • Household and car batteries
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Aerosols
  • Fire extinguisher

Research in advance and discuss which items are worth bringing with you to the new house yourself and which should just be disposed of. Consult the label of any chemicals or materials for instructions on how to correctly dispose of or even transport them. If you’re unsure on anything, talk to your removal company for advice.

Perishable Foods

Simply put, these are the items that may ‘go off’ or decompose during transit. Perishable food shouldn’t be packed onto the removal van and any fridge or freezer will need to be thoroughly cleaned and defrosted before being packed.

This is because of the potential for mess and the difficult clean-up it requires after decomposing. The removal company might take well-sealed non-perishable foods, however, so it’s important to ask questions before moving. But generally, open, frozen, perishable or refrigerated food cannot be taken onto removal vans. 

As you are expected to defrost and clean your fridge and freezer ahead of moving day, why not invite your neighbours over for a final farewell meal? You never know what delicious foods you may uncover from the darkest depths of your freezer. Any foods that can’t be used can be given to neighbours, friends, family, donated to charity or simply transported by you as a moving-in snack. This way you won't unexpectedly find more stuff to move, and when getting removal quotes from house moving companies, you'll know that they are as accurate as they can be. 

What to do with perishable foods

Pets and Plants

Although your dog might love his dog-bed, he certainly won’t appreciate being packed away alongside it. Removal vans aren’t the most hospitable places and can get very hot, so they aren’t suitable for transporting pets.

Remember that moving your beloved pet will be your responsibility and so you need to plan accordingly. Contact your vet and talk to the removal company for specialist tips on how best to transport your animal friends. It might be a good idea to ask a friend or family member to pet-sit over the moving period so that you’re completely settled and fully unpacked before your inquisitive pet arrives. 

The same applies to household plants as they are living and ultimately fragile things, no matter how careful you are. Plant pots are also surprisingly heavy and can take up a lot of room. The dark, cramped environment of the back of a removal van is far from optimum for plant life, so make sure your favourite fern is safely transported by you during long journeys. Compare My Move even has a guide to help! Read our article on How to Move Plants for more information.

Valuable Items

All of Compare My Move’s removal partners have both Goods in Transit Insurance and Public Liability Insurance as standard. But, as you know, there are many possessions that are simply irreplaceable, even with the added precautions.

Sentimental and priceless items such as photo albums, birth certificates and family jewellery should be packed separately and moved by you. The same goes for tablets, laptops and computers. It’s well worth keeping valuable items at hand just because of the slight chance of any possible damage. No matter how experienced or qualified a professional is, there are some items that are just too important to risk.

Ensure you have a separate box containing all your important paperwork and documents so that you know where they are at all times. Irreplaceable items need to be safe and with you at all times. Check with your own home insurance provider to see if these valuable items will be covered during the move.

Saving Time and Money on Your Removal

So there we have it, Compare My Move’s guide on what not to pack. You should always check with your removal company for specific guidance and information, but we hope this guide gets the ball rolling so you feel fully prepared ahead of moving day. 

To save yourself both time and money on your removal, fill out our quick and simple form to get connected with up to 6 reliable removal companies in your local area. Discuss the moving company’s restricted items whilst comparing and don’t forget to start packing as soon as possible.