Rules for Moving to Houston--What Movers Can't Move

by Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
 

Moving - Moving BoxesAs if moving weren't anxiety-filled enough, did you recognize that there are a few belongings your movers cannot put on the moving truck?

When you choose a moving company, they should supply you a list of the things that they can't haul to your new house in Houston. They are not attempting to make your life crazier, they are heeding the U.S. Department of Transportation statute (49 CFR 100-185) which spells out hazardous materials that are not acceptable to put on a truck. There are some items on the list of non-transportables that aren't hazardous, but that won't endure being in a closed truck and the moving company won't transport.

Considering you are a reasonable law-abiding citizen, it's possibly never occurred to you that you are actually harboring dangerous explosives wherever you keep your cleaning supplies. You've likely glanced around the garage and thought about your lawn mower going on the moving van, but there are lots of other things that are deemed to be dangerous and you'll need to be accountable for moving out of your residence.

Any item with chemicals is a definite “no” for putting on the truck. This is because chemicals have a bad tendency of doing bad things if they are mixed with other chemicals, which can quickly take place in a moving truck. A guideline is that if you can't throw something in your normal trash for pick up, it shouldn’t be boxed up and loaded on the moving van. So not only do you need to deplete the gas tanks on any lawn machinery (mowers, leaf blowers, weed whackers, etc), either use any fertilizers and grass seed or give it to your neighbors—a little Miracle-gro and a little leaking gasoline might have a disastrous result. And what’s worse—anything that is damaged will be your responsibility because you were warned what not to load on the moving truck. It's not the moving company's responsibility to double check all your boxes for contraband, so make sure that any hazardous materials-including old paint, batteries, aerosol cans, charcoal, and paint thinner—are NOT packed for the moving truck. The ideal thing to do is transport these items to your local hazardous waste drop-off facility or give them away to someone who can use them.

What not to pack for movingWhat about your houseplants? The pantry? Your cat? Believe it or not, a few people have asked that their pets be transported on the moving truck—the answer is absolutely not. That the moving company can't move your plants could be a bit more surprising. Long-distance moves create an issue due to the fact that some states are sensitive to foreign vegetation crossing the state’s borders, and you do not want to accidentlly introduce pests to either the truck or your new home. If plants are moving more than 150 miles you may need to obtain a specific permit to move them—so if you're the one who brought in canker worms or aphids, your new state of residence can find you. As for food items in your pantry, only box up new, non-perishable stuff with a long shelf life. Or, donate your unopened canned goods, cereals, and cookies to a local food bank, and start fresh at your new house. Trash anything perishable or open, unless you're going to ice down coolers and transport them yourself.

While your valuables are not hazardous goods or likely to start an ash borer attack, most moving companies are reluctant to move jewelry, cash, stock certificates and other costly possessions. The liabilities of being lost are too big, bring them along with you in a carry on, or place them with other essential documents.

Other stuff you may not think about as being hazardous—nail polish, cleaning supplies, liquid bleach, fire extinguishers—are also not authorized to be moved commercially. Again, anything chemical or flammable is not allowed on a moving van, so be wise and dispose of or pack those items separately. The easiest choice is to properly dispose of these items and buy everything new once you have moved, so you will have brand new fertilizer and nail polish to go with your brand-new home.