When you’re preparing for a residential move, you have a lot to think about and plan for.

Packing your clothes, dishes, and home décor items are fairly straightforward endeavors. When all that is done, however, you inevitably end up with a pile of random items that you aren’t sure what to do with.

If you plan to use a professional moving company, you might be surprised to discover that some items simply cannot be loaded into a moving van. Some disallowed items may be the result of federal transportation laws and guidelines. Others may be due to the moving company’s own policies.

These are a few of the items you should ask about in advance of moving day.

Gas Tanks & Cans

Pressurized tanks, such as propane tanks and scuba tanks, may not be legal for your moving company to transport. In some cases, they may be able to move these items if they are completely empty.

Likewise, gas cans must be empty in order to be loaded onto a truck. Lawn mowers, gas-powered weed eaters and similar items may be allowed, but you must drain the gas tank and carburetor beforehand, and leave the gas gap off for a few days in advance to allow fumes to dissipate.

House Plants

Live plants are often on the no-go list for professional movers, especially if you are moving to another state. Many states have bans on certain types of plants and require them to be confiscated at agricultural checkpoints near the state’s borders.

Hazardous Materials

You may have to get rid of substances such as battery acid, kerosene, paint remover and similar hazardous materials before you move. Most moving companies will not transport corrosive or flammable materials. Other potential red flags are fire extinguishers, aerosol cans and paint.

Perishable Foods

Check before you try to pack any fresh or perishable food for your movers to transport. Any foods that could spoil are typically not allowed. Likewise, any fruits or vegetables that are prohibited for transport across state lines will generally be on the no-go list for long-distance moves.


Firearms and ammunition are a common source of confusion when it comes to professional movers. Most moving companies will transport firearms as long as they aren’t loaded. Few will allow ammunition on board, due to its potentially flammable nature. Gun safes and gun cabinets are generally acceptable as long as they are within the company’s weight limit and you can demonstrate that any firearms they contain are not loaded.

Antiques & Valuables

Movers generally have their own policies about moving fragile, valuable and oversized items. Pianos, for example, may or may not be on your mover’s list of items they will transport. In other cases, they may agree to handle these items as long as you agree to pay for additional insurance coverage.

The best way to make sure you don’t get any unexpected surprises on moving day is to talk to your moving company. When you request a quote, ask for a list of items they will not transport, or that will require additional consideration. As you’re planning your move and preparing for packing, make a list of any items you aren’t sure about and call for clarification prior to the big day.

At Mesa Moving and Storage, we have moved all kinds of interesting items for our customers over the years. We have been in business for more than four decades and we always work hard to ensure our customers get the industry leading service we’re known for. We do move all types of specialty items, from pianos to boats, so you don’t have to worry about finding someone else to handle it for you.

We have multiple locations throughout the Intermountain West, including Utah and Montana. Contact us today to learn more about our value-added commercial and residential moving and storage services.