Preparing for A Move – What Not To Pack

The more you own, the more there is to think about when preparing for a move. Here are important things to remember before you or anyone else starts to pack.

  • Set aside jewelry, money, important papers or other valuable personal articles in a safe place that is not accessible to anyone entering your old or new residence (including packers and movers). Do not ship these items unless you make written arrangements with the moving company you are using -it is best to carry them with you.
  • Never pack matches, flammables (such as propane tanks) or other dangerous weapons or articles. You should always inform packers and movers of these items and set them aside. Hire help or sort out these items yourself before packing day. Common household articles not accepted for shipping or storage by the Moving and Storage Industry include:

packingandmovingtips-bella-organizingCombustible Liquids

  • Alcohols (Rubbing)
  • Lubricants (Motor Oil)
  • Anti-Freeze Compounds


  • Acids
  • Drain Cleaner
  • Photographic Acids Used in Developing Film
  • Bleach
  • Batteries (Wet or Dry)
  • Water Purifying Agents Used in Swimming Pools


  • Fireworks
  • Small Arms Ammunition
  • Flash Bulbs
Organize your move with sticky notes

Organize your move with sticky notes


  • Lighter Fluid
  • Matches
  • Wood Oil Stains
  • Petrol Chemical Base Garden Sprays
  • Paint or Varnish
  • Paint or Varnish Removers
  • Butane/Propane Gasoline
  • Signal Flares
  • Charcoal Briquettes

Compressed Gases

  • Aerosol Cans
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Scuba Diving Tanks

Seed, Fresh Fruits or Flowers

Additional packing preparation tips:

  • If taking refrigerators and freezers with you, completely empty, defrost, dry, and wipe them down before moving day. Ice melts into water, which can damage your boxed contents in the truck and create slippery hazards for both you and the movers. You will need to do this yourself, or hire someone (such as a housecleaner) to do it at least 12 hours in advance of the movers arrival. See tips on how to defrost a freezer HERE.
  • You are required to make preparations for disconnecting major appliances (such as gas stoves and dryers), and to provide special services to protect them during the move. You are also required to remove items attached to walls or floors such as draperies and tacked-down carpets. Some moving companies provide these services for a fee, or they may suggest local companies to assist you. Never assume that a moving company is going to do something you ask for last minute, as it may be a service they do not or cannot provide. Anything extra that movers can do for you last minute will take more time, cost more money, and delay your move. Make a “to-do” and “to-ask” list prior to scheduling the moving company.
  • Do not pack items of extraordinary value, such as antiques, art objects, gold or silver articles, etc., without creating an inventory list in advance. Provide this information to the moving company with a declared value for each. Movers may require to pack high value items themselves to ensure they are properly packed for shipping and do not have pre-existing damage.

Hiring packers or friends to help? Be prepared with these tips: Getting Ready for the Packers To Arrive.



Isabella Guajardo, also known as Girl With A Truck™, is a professional home organizer and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Living in Oakland and Monterey, she travels in her truck to work with clients throughout the SF Bay Area, East Bay, South Bay, Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz and Monterey Peninsula. She shares simple and creative ways to stay organized and stylish while reducing, recycling and re-purposing. Join Bella Organizing on Facebook. Gift certificates are available.

Call (510) 229-7321 to schedule a complimentary telephone consultation.