Things You Should Never Pack for a Move

Are you moving soon? You may have countless tasks to manage and organize, but don’t put packing on the back burner. The sooner you begin sorting through your belongings and getting items packed away, the less stress you’ll have as moving day approaches.

However, before you pack anything, it’s important to learn which items are suitable for the moving truck and which ones you should leave behind or take with you in your car. The following guide provides valuable insight into what you should never pack when moving and advice on handling these items before moving day arrives.

Hazardous Materials

Cleaning supplies, gardening chemicals, and other hazardous items pose a significant risk during the moving process. These items are often flammable, corrosive, or explosive, making them unsafe and unlawful to transport in a moving truck. Hazardous materials you should never pack include:

  • Paints and varnishes
  • Propane cylinders
  • Lighters, lighter fluid, and matches
  • Fireworks
  • Ammunition
  • Aerosol spray cans, including hairspray and air fresheners
  • Cleaning solvents, ammonia, and bleach
  • Car batteries, gasoline, and motor oil
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers

Instead of packing these items, use them up or dispose of them safely. Many communities have specific collection programs for hazardous household waste. Always follow local regulations and never pour dangerous materials on the ground, down the drain, or in storm sewers.
Never pack for a move, Chicago, IL

Perishable Foods

Your refrigerator and freezer contain perishable food that should not be packed during a move because these items can spoil, leak, and attract pests. To avoid messes, unpleasant odors, and possible infestations, never load the following onto a moving truck:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Opened food containers
  • Dairy products
  • Meat, fish, and poultry
  • Any refrigerated or frozen food

To deal with these items, plan your meals so you consume as much perishable food as possible ahead of the move. You can also donate unopened, non-perishable food items to local food banks. Compost any remaining perishable foods or dispose of them properly in your regular trash the day you move.

Valuable Items

While it might seem counterintuitive, packing valuable items is not recommended. The risk of damage or loss during transit is quite low, but it’s not worth the risk for high-priced or irreplaceable items. Valuables you should keep out of moving boxes include:

  • Jewelry
  • Collectibles
  • Antiques
  • Artwork
  • High-end electronics

Instead of packing valuable items, keep them with you during the move, preferably transporting them in your personal vehicle where you can watch them closely. For valuables that are too large or numerous, consider hiring a secure courier service or purchasing extra moving insurance to protect them.

Personal Documents

Important paperwork and personal documentation should also stay with you during the move. These documents can be difficult to replace, and losing them could pose a risk of identity theft. Plus, you might need them while relocating to your new home. The important documents to keep with you include the following:

  • Passports
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Financial documents
  • Medical records
  • School records

Keep these documents in a secure, easily accessible place during your move. A portable fireproof safe could be a good investment for storing these crucial papers. Alternatively, if you find outdated bank statements and tax returns you no longer need, shred and recycle them to prevent holding onto necessary paperwork.


Moving plants can be tricky, as they are delicate and sensitive to environmental changes. Some states also have regulations against transporting certain plants across the border to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.

Instead of packing plants with your other belongings, transport them in your personal vehicle, if possible, or consider using a specialist plant moving service. If you’re moving long-distance, research the regulations in your new state and give any restricted plants to friends, neighbors, or local community centers before you move.

Hire Packing & Moving Services in Chicago, IL

Clearly, understanding what not to pack for a move is crucial. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a smooth, safe moving process. If you’re still searching for the right company to provide packing and moving services, look no further than Midway Moving & Storage.

With over 35 years of experience, we understand the intricacies of moving better than anyone. We prioritize safety, efficiency, and your satisfaction above all else, with the ability to pack, load, and transport your belongings so they reach your new home safely. Contact us today at 800-300-0002 for a free moving quote, and we’ll make your move to, from, or within Chicago a breeze.