You’re moving, now what? 

You have your moving list ready, what you can move, and what you expect the movers to handle, but… movers have surprising lists of what they dislike moving and what they won’t move. They dislike cheap, big-box store furniture, as it tends to break. They won’t move houseplants or nail polish, though an unloaded, secured firearm may be okay — maybe (though it’s way less hassle to have a firearms dealer do this to you). They won’t move your passports and high-end jewelry but will take the piano. They’ll painstakingly pack up your 400-pound bookshelf, but they don’t want your baby photo album. Largely, if your mover refuses to move specific items, there’s usually a safety or legal reason behind it. Otherwise, they may simply not want to take the risk on items they can’t place value upon or replace. After all, how do you recreate someone’s baby photo album? Ask your movers about the most interesting items they’ve handled if you want to hear some bizarre (or potentially horrific) moving stories. We listed some of our favorites, which contain some fun surprises.

Pro Tip:

Keep in mind that there are moving truck companies that make it so much easier for you to move house. Whether you need pod rentals, a storage container rental, even if you need to rent a truck or less than a truckload, Moving Truck rentals make it possible. They excel at providing you with quality trucks, vans, and trailers at affordable rates.

Weirdest things to move

Taxidermy can be awe-inspiring or downright creepy, depending on your outlook. A lot of that comes down to which animals they choose to stuff, and movers have seen them all. One lady had her cats stuffed and then proceeded to dress them up whenever she had visitors.

Generally, movers opt not to move pets. This is due to safety concerns for the animals. One guy tried to convince his movers to haul thirteen cats to his new home. He didn’t even intend to crate them. He offered to put the kittens into a small box and let the adults roam free in the back of the truck. When the movers said no, their client offered to crate them. Still, a moving truck has no airflow, so the company couldn’t ensure the animal’s safety. Moving cats, dogs, birds, fish, and reptiles depends on whether they can survive the trip. In a moving van, the odds are high that the answer is no.  Check with your local moving company for your city regulations.

Hollywood memorabilia and fandom can make for some interesting items to move. One company tells a story from LA. They were called for an emergency move at 3 AM to an A-lister’s home. They left names out, but the request was memorable. Move one chair (easily lifted with one hand) to a different room. Another company moved an entire literal shrine designed to kneel before Jennifer Lawrence. Best of all, one man needed help to move his full-size Batmobile.

Toy collections can be somewhat familiar, but some people take them to extremes. One memorable mention was a doll collection. There wasn’t just one big room of them — they were everywhere. Every room was filled to the brim with them. Another company noticed their boxes kept buzzing while moving. Upon unpacking, they discovered why. Not all toy collections are for kids.

Some people take non-perishables when they move internationally. Despite their limited space, they still prioritized cereal, soaps, toothpaste, and other comforts they couldn’t bear to leave behind. Little touches of home can help stave off homesickness.

Other honorable mentions are massive vintage décors, such as chandeliers and pianos. One medical student had a life-sized human skeleton. Various machines, such as a Red Bull voting machine, pinball, and arcade games, can be unique. Odds are if you can think of an item, a mover somewhere has hauled an entire collection of it.

One of the craziest moving stories ever is when a research facility in Brookhaven, NY, sold a 17-ton magnet to Chicago. This magnet was delicate and absolutely could not be damaged. They used an insanely large crane to place the magnet on a barge, which then sailed south past the Gulf of Mexico and back north once again, up the Mississippi, until they reached a port in Illinois. For the last 32 miles, they used a specially outfitted flatbed truck, and only drove at night and at a snail’s pace. It took them more than three consecutive nights of driving. They threw a party when the magnet arrived, safe and sound.

Items movers won’t move

wrapping moving

People are often surprised by what items movers won’t take. If you own a pool, they won’t take the supplies. They won’t take your scuba tanks and will be very dubious about lawnmowers and grills. This is because they won’t accept anything flammable. Gasoline inside your lawn mower may ignite, as could a scuba tank or a propane tank that isn’t empty. The back of a truck is very hot, especially on a summer day. Plus, there’s always the off chance the mover is in an accident. They don’t want their truck and your belongings up in smoke.

Movers generally won’t move open, perishable food. You might get lucky for extremely short distances, but they won’t do it for longer ones. Food can spoil fast in a hot, unventilated truck. That smell could permeate your furniture. Worse, spoiled food can attract insects, which can nest in your furniture. Your unopened, nonperishable food is okay.

Family heirlooms are another icky set of items for movers. Moving items is risky, and if something is highly sentimental to you, there’s no real way to replace it. Movers may take these items if they’re adequately insured or packed, but it’s a discussion you’d want to have with them before the truck arrives. Odds are, they will say no. This is the same for high-value items, such as passports and jewelry, pink slips, or anything with your social insurance number. They ask you to take it yourself if it’s very important to you. If the cost to replace is simply too high, they might decline — especially if it’s easy for you to move, like a baseball card collection. The general rule is that they want you to handle it yourself if it is priceless. Your passports, legal files, excess cash, medicines, records, keys, and tickets are things they can’t replace and therefore don’t want to move.

A mover won’t want to touch other materials, such as nail polish, nail polish remover, and liquor. No laws regulate nail polish or remover, but it is highly flammable. Liquor is as well, but it also comes with interstate laws that govern how much can be taken. This also goes for fireworks (no surprise there) and cleaning supplies. You may want to throw a few in your car instead (the cleaning supplies, not the fireworks). Another good reason a mover won’t pack up and take away your wine is wine can be damaged by light and humidity. That expensive bottle you’ve been saving? It was just ruined when it went on the truck. Other companies specialize in moving wine collections if you’re in need.

Speaking of interstate laws, if you’re moving to the west coast, you may need to ensure your outdoor furniture is Gypsy Moth Certified. The gypsy moth is an invasive species on the west coast, and while the certification is relatively easy to obtain, your movers may decline to take it without it.

Ultimately, if an item is unsafe for moving, it isn’t coming along. Lighter fluid may be safely tucked away in your garage, but it’s a major hazard in a moving truck. If it can ignite, they won’t take it. Other specific items can be moved if specially prepped. Anything that uses gasoline and oil needs to be drained. Propane tanks need to be certified empty by a third party. Refrigerators must be unplugged and cleaned at least 24 hours before the move.

Other flammable or hazardous materials include fertilizer, paints, aerosols, pesticides, motor oil, batteries, and acids. Your storage space is precious. Do you really need these things in the next home? There are great places to discard hazardous materials across the country, and we recommend responsibly disposing of what you don’t need.

Pro Tip:

“Hot tubs are likely the most difficult and semi-rare household items to move. Because of their size and density, many movers will not even touch them,” says Nick DiMoro of My Pro DC Movers.

truck movers

On the bright side, they will move your 7,000 porcelain dolls, your life-size taxidermied giraffe, and even that single chair you can’t throw away.