5 Things You Shouldn’t Pack When Moving Out of State

Moving tends to offer a fresh start, and that doesn’t just mean starting over in a new city! No matter how long you've been living in your current place, odds are that you have accumulated some “stuff.” Packing your belongings to move to a different state offers the perfect opportunity to go through everything to make sure you’re not moving things you don’t need.

If you’re just starting the process, or even if you’re already in the thick of it, this checklist will help remind you of things you shouldn’t pack when moving out of state. And, as an added bonus, we’ve included a list of what not to pack when moving – no matter the distance.

What Not to Pack When Moving Long Distance

Are you sure you should be packing that? Each of these things should be carefully considered before packing them for a long-distance move.


Yes, you will need to keep the most important papers, such as the birth certificates and passports of each of your family members, but what about that stack of medical forms that have been piling up on your desk? While you should keep the information on these papers for easy access, the best way to avoid shipping all that extra weight is by scanning them and storing them on your computer or in the cloud. Papers you can probably get rid of altogether include instruction manuals (you can usually find these online), bills that are several years old, and old schoolwork. When in doubt, scan it and move on. Digital copies don’t weigh anything, but stacks and stacks of paperwork can add a considerable amount of unnecessary weight – and packing time – to your move.

Garage “Junk”

Speaking of extra weight, this is the perfect time to sort through everything currently being stored in your garage; oftentimes, “junk” that you don’t really need can accumulate in the garage over time. Start fresh and think really hard about whether you actually need to keep that extra can of paint. Check other storage areas as well, like your attic and closets. If you come across items you haven’t used in a year or more, you can probably sell or donate them.

Perishable Items

This is especially true when you’ll be doing your move by car, or if you’re using a professional long-distance moving company to ship your belongings to your new home. When packing your kitchen up to move to a different state, consider how long that milk or frozen pizza might need to be out of the fridge or freezer.

When in doubt, don’t pack these food items:

  • Produce
  • Frozen food
  • Indoor and outdoor plants
  • Open or half-used food
  • Refrigerated food

Instead of wasting all that food, try to use what you can. Plan your meals so you use perishable items before they expire, and give food away to friends or family members. Canned foods and dry goods can often be given to local shelters or charitable organizations. For more information, check out our blog on What Should I Do with My Food When I Move?.

Bathroom Items

Okay, it’s definitely ideal to bring your toothbrush and toothpaste along on your trip to your new state, but just like in the garage, items that we don’t use often can gather in the bathroom. Take the time to go through everything in the cabinet under your bathroom sink or in the linen closet and decide which things are worth moving and which are not. It might be easier to purchase a new bottle of shampoo instead of bringing a half-used bottle that could leak in transit. Have hair tools or other bathroom items that you’ve never used? You might be able to sell or donate them.

Bulky Items

Unless it’s an especially sentimental item that you’d like to keep or if you feel that it may be worth the cost of moving it versus purchasing a new one later, it’s reasonable to think twice about whether you’d like to move with a bulky item. If you’re unsure of how much hassle or cost moving a bulky item like a couch might add to your long-distance move, don’t hesitate to reach out to our professional Southern California moving team at Affordable Quality Moving and Storage.

Another thing to consider with bulky items is whether you have space for them in your new home. An oversized chair might not fit in your new living room, or you may not want to clutter your office with a large bookshelf. Measure and evaluate your bulky furniture and other items, compare them to the available space in your new home, and decide what you want to bring. You can sell or donate bulky items that won’t fit or that you no longer need or want.

What Do I Do with the Things I’m Not Taking When I Move?

After going through your belongings while packing for your long-distance move, you may realize that you’re planning to leave behind a lot of stuff. So, what are you going to do with it?

You have options, including:

  • Donate it to a reputable charity
  • Leave it for the next tenant (be sure to speak to your landlord or the next owner about your plans before doing this!)
  • Give it to friends or family members
  • Sell it in a garage sale or online
  • Throw it away/recycle it

What Not to Pack When Moving, No Matter the Distance

There are several items that you should not pack when moving – whether it’s down the street or to another state or country.

The following are items you most likely cannot pack when moving:

  • Gasoline
  • Paint and paint thinner
  • Propane
  • Gasoline
  • Ammunition
  • Firearms
  • Fireworks
  • Nail polish remover
  • Oxygen tanks

Moving these items may be dangerous or illegal, depending on where you’re moving. Check local laws and talk to your Southern California movers about the items they can and cannot pack and move for you.

Our Santa Clarita Movers Are Here to Help

Are you considering a long-distance move? Whether you’re moving to the next state over or flying across the country to your new home, Affordable Quality Moving and Storage specializes in all types of moves as well as packing, unpacking, and storage solutions. Our Santa Clarita movers are licensed, insured, and fully qualified! We serve all of Southern California from offices in Burbank, Temecula, San Diego, and Santa Clarita.

Contact us now at (661) 622-2636 for your free estimate!