What NOT to Pack

For a variety of reasons, there are a few things that you shouldn't pack and move yourself—or at least not in the back of a moving truck or trailer. Some items may explode or leak. Living things may discontinue living. You get the point. So what can you do about it?

Whether you are driving the truck yourself or having a mover transport your goods, some items should not be moved because of the danger of fire or explosion. Here's a list of stuff you either shouldn't move or should at least be especially careful about moving:

  • Aerosol cans (hair spray, shaving cream, deodorants)

  • Ammunition

  • Bleach

  • Car batteries

  • Cleaning products

  • Gasoline

  • Other automotive fluids

  • Insecticides

  • Kerosene

  • Lighter fluid

  • Matches

  • Oil-based paints

  • Oxygen tanks

  • Paint thinners

  • Paint strippers

  • Propane

  • Turpentine

  • Any other combustibles

Why the fuss over deodorant cans? Pressurized cans include propellants that can change state if left in a hot trailer for a few days. Combustibles such as kerosene can leak out and not only damage other things but potentially start a fire in your moving vehicle.

So what can you do about it? Take paints, aerosols, and other flammables to recycling locations in your area where they can be disposed of properly. If you're moving refillable propane tanks, have them purged and sealed by a propane gas dealer. Discard any non-refillable tanks.

Taking these precautions is better than later saying, "Gosh, I wish I'd..." For your safety, the safety of your possessions, and that of the movers, get rid of these items before moving day. Plan to replace them as needed at your new home.

Moving Words

Flammable or inflammable: easily ignited. Nonflammable or uninflammable: not easily ignited.

"Any plants or produce to declare?" In some interstate moves, you'll hear this question as you attempt to cross a state line—especially Arizona and California. I'm sure there's probably a prison full of people who have attempted to sneak an orange or a favorite rose bush into these states without declaring them. It's a major crime problem!

Actually, the concern is that if moving plants and bugs in from a quarantined area can impact agricultural crops in the new area. Kinda makes sense. In addition, many house plants just won't survive the harshness of being packed in a vehicle for a three-day cross-country trip through a variety of climates. So be kind to your plants and don't take them far away from the place of their birth. Donate them to friends or enemies.

If you have an aquarium or a goldfish pond, how can you get your favorite fish from here to there? That depends. If you're only moving a few hours away, transportation in plastic bags or half-full fish bowls is relatively easy. The problem can be trying to move tropical fish very far. They like their moderately warm water and will swim on their sides if they don't always get it.

Aquarium magazines have ads for products to help you ship fish via overnight carriers to the destination of your choice. But what happens at the other end? Some movers with expensive tropical fish contract with an aquarium shop in the area where they're moving to receive and hold the fish for arrival of the owners.

 
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