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February 15, 2019

Items you should throw away before moving

  • Move Management
Cleaning out your fridge and cupboards before a move is a must.

When you think about what's needed in a move to a new home, one of the first things that comes to mind is a way to bring your belongings from point A to point B. While this is a crucial consideration, it can also lead to not paying enough attention to another important part of a move: cutting down on your possessions.

Selling and donating are great options for many items, but there are certain things that need to be thrown away or otherwise securely disposed of.

Because of the potential danger of transporting certain items and other liability concerns from the perspective of your movers and packers, you should take care to get rid of the following things before the big day arrives.

A green, leafy plant inside a black plastic pot.You don't need to throw away plants, but you must plan to transport them effectively or give them away otherwise.

Expired food

A moving truck isn't a great place to keep perishable food, as they're not designed with the exacting temperature and humidity controls often required to keep food safe and palatable. As a rule, Atlas doesn't transport perishable food, including frozen, refrigerated and open food products.

These items often can't be donated, either, so the best thing to do is use them up in your cooking during the days before your move. If you can put together a meal plan, you can minimize waste and not have to worry about what you'll eat in the days before your move. From there, you can throw away or compost the remainder.

There are limited exceptions if the items are properly packed, require no servicing in transit, will travel fewer than 150 miles, will be delivered within 24 hours of pickup and your local agent agrees to carry the items. To learn more, reach out to your local agent.


Houseplants are similar to the perishable food category, as they face related issues in transit. The lack of sunlight and ventilation in moving trucks poses threats, as does the act of moving plants. You can always move a plant in your own car or give away a plant that's too large to move to a friend or neighbor. Learn more about moving plants here.

Old medications

It's best to transport your own current medications to avoid the small possibility of a delay or other complication preventing you from having reliable access to them. When it comes to old or expired medication, moving is a great opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinet and make sure potentially dangerous substances are disposed of properly. You have plenty of options, from the drop-off locations offered at many Walgreens to the Food and Drug Administration's guide for do-it-yourself disposal. You can also learn more about items we can transport but suggest you move yourself here.

Paint, gasoline and other non-allowables

There are a variety of items that are simply too dangerous to transport in a moving truck, whether due to the risk they pose to drivers, the vehicle or others on the road. We call these items non-allowables. You can find a specific list here, but a simple rule of thumb is to consider it non-allowable if it's flammable, pressurized, explosive, corrosive or otherwise poses a major potential danger.

Disposing of these items is important before a move. As with most things, you can try to give them away to a friend, neighbor or relative who might have use for them. If that can't happen, you should carefully read the product label to determine how to best dispose of it safely.

While it may require getting in touch with your local department of health or sanitation, you'll make sure you safely dispose of these potentially dangerous products.