How To Pack Your Belongings When Moving Home

Ray Vel
Last Updated:
May 10, 2022

Packing the more sentimental and more dangerous items for your house move requires care and attention, so we created this guide on how to pack these items properly before your removal company arrives.

Whether you’ve been familiar with this fact or not – there are types of liquids that you simply cannot move in a moving truck or a transport container. There are some items which your removals company wont be able to pack and move for you in the removal van, these are known as non-allowable items. Each removal company will have their own list which you should inquire about before moving day.  You are, of course, free to take them with you –- but you should always keep them by your side.

Follow these tips to save you from any last minute stress and help organise the restricted items in advance!

Flammable liquids not allowed to be handled removal companies
Non-allowable items cannot be moved by your removals company

A list of common non-allowable items by removal companies

  • Aerosol Cans
  • Bleach
  • Acids
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Motor Oils
  • Anti-Freeze
  • Liquid Fuels
  • Pesticides and fertilisers
  • Gas
  • Batteries
  • Flammables
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Fireworks
  • Alcohol
  • Paint and paint thinners
  • Perishable Foods
  • Pets
  • Plants
  • Irreplaceable Items
  • High-value items such as jewellery
  • Personal documents such as birth certificates and passports

If you are moving house to another country or an area, it’s vital to be aware of the regulations surrounding these hazardous substances.

Be sure to get a list of items from your removals company prior to your move. If you’re unsure on anything, talk to your movers for advice.

Three different coloured household cleaners
Pack your liquids securely before your removal company arrives

Securely pack your liquids before your house move

The majority of items which your moving company will not be able to transport in the van are liquids. Use as many liquids as possible and dispose of any potentially harmful liquids which can easily be replaced. If something is expired, damaged or hasn’t been used in the past year— bin it.

Packing liquids for house move

If you’re planning a long-distance move across the country and not just London, then make sure you take extra safety precautions to secure your items for the road.

Author’s Recommendation: How to label boxes when moving house?

Step One

Tighten all the lids on the bottles, and seal with a piece of tape. Alternatively take a square of plastic wrap and wrap it around the lid and secure with a rubber band. Pack your liquids by group: toiletries, kitchen items, cleaning products etc.

Step Two

Place small liquid bottles in a ziplock bag to provide an extra barrier of security.

Step Three

Pack your liquids into a plastic container because, unlike cardboard, a spill will not leak into other items. It can easily be cleaned if anything was to happen and re-used to store household items. We also recommend placing them in an upright position and putting some newspapers and towels between them.

Note: How to choose your moving date?

Step Four

Label the containers with its contents so it can easily be identified and separated from the other boxes on moving day. You don’t want to be scrambling to find your conditioner or cleaning supplies when you’re unpacking. Don’t forget to label any dangerous chemicals or cleaning products clearly to make it clear for the movers and packers.

With this care and planning, you can avoid spills and most importantly avoid any damage to your belongings and moving boxes! Take your time and feel free to consult your movers. They are very experienced with moving liquids, so don’t hesitate to ask them for guidance.

A stack of old paint tins
Securely pack your paint for your house move

How to Pack Paint Before Your House Removal

You should move and pack paint in a similar way to liquids, just remember to take extra care sealing the lids because the last thing you want is paint spilled everywhere!

A simple plastic bag is essential to pack the paint tins in during moving. We recommend using polybags (LDPE) for the most durable solution.

Transfer almost full tins into smaller containers to save space, and smaller paint pots jars as they are much easier to seal. For added security, tap around the edges of the tin to create a strong seal.

A blue steel drum holding corrosive and flammable liquid
Transport flammable liquids correctly

Transporting Flammable Liquids During Your House Move

If you are taking any flammable liquids with you to your new home, it’s important that you are aware of how best to pack and transport them to avoid any accidents.

The only safe way to move flammable liquids is in fuel containers. You are allowed to store up to 30 litres of petrol legally without informing your local Petroleum Enforcement Authority (PEA). You can store up to 10 litres in suitable plastic containers and up to 20 litres in suitable metal containers. If you have 30 litres then you will require a demountable fuel tank.

  • Packages should preferably be loaded in open or ventilated vehicles or open or ventilated containers
  • When filling containers with flammable liquids such as gasoline, the container should be placed on the ground or bonded to a ground so that static electricity cannot be built up.
  • Ensure the containers are kept upright by wedging them securely or strapping them down.

Man hunting with a rife dressed in camoflauge.
Pack your firearms and ammunition the right way

Firearms and Ammunition When Moving Home

You must inform your local rearms and Explosives Licensing Unit when you move house. A new certificate will be provided free of charge. In order to securely transport your firearm, you should keep the firearm out of sight and lock the vehicle at all times. Where possible, an essential part of the firearm, such as the bolt or the fore-end, should be removed and kept in the possession of the responsible person and any ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm and this too should be concealed from view.

A cat walking around a new home with boxes to be unpacked
Make moving home stress free for your pets

Moving Home with Pets

Moving house with pets can seem daunting, but with a little organisation you and your pet will remain calm on moving day. See our full article on how to move house with pets for an in depth guide.

  • Have a designated room with your pet’s essentials when you are packing, or it’ll feel stressed and confused
  • Inform your microchip company and vet of your new address immediately after you move in incase your pet goes missing.
  • It might be a good idea to ask a friend or family member to pet-sit over the moving house period so that you’re completely settled in and fully unpacked before your inquisitive pet arrives.
  • Consider using products such as Feliway to calm your cat’s nerves. You can spray or plug-in before and after your move home.
  • Pack your pets food, food bowl, water bowl, carrier, litter tray, treats, toys in one box which you can unpack first to make your pet feel at home as soon as they arrive.
  • Arrange a designated room for your pet away from the chaos so it can settle in.
  • If you have a cat or a dog, it will want to explore its surroundings. Of course you know your pet best, so let it take its time until it feels ready. As territorial creatures, it may sense traces of other pets who may have lived before in the house or apartment. To avoid unnecessary territorial markings or signs of hostile behaviour, clean your new home thoroughly to get rid of any canine or feline scents.
  • Give your pet lots of affection to calm its anxiety.
  • Animals tend to pick up on our stress so try to stay calm when you are around it.
  • Try to keep your pet's routine when you move.

A selection of household plants in pots being prepared for a house move
Pack your plants correctly when moving home

Moving House with Plants

Plants are what make your house into a home, so when moving it’s important to prepare your leafy friends so they survive the trip whether they go in the moving van or your car.

Read a full-detailed article on how to move house with plants.

You should consider these factors in order to adjust your watering schedule in advance.

  • Season
  • Temperature
  • How often you water it
  • The change in climate from your old to new home (if you’re moving around in the UK or London you have nothing to worry about!)

A week before you move house, remember to:

  • Prune dead leaves and cut back any excess foliage.
  • Refresh the soil by replacing the old soil with fresh, sterile soil so there aren't any bugs.
  • Water your plants (depending on the weather).

To pack houseplants:

  1. Wrap the pots with newspaper and place them close to each other in a box with the lid open
  2. Cushion the empty space with bubble wrap or packing paper so they don’t slide around during the journey.
  3. To protect plants wrap them in cones of craft paper. Cut a piece so its width is the same as the height of the plant—then wrap the paper to make a cone shape and tape closed.

Consult your moving company about how best to move your plants. If they are small it is best to transport them in a car with you, however if they are larger they may be able to be transported in the moving van.

In your new home, give them a few couple to recover from the shock of relocation. Some of them may lose their leaves or wilt, but they should go back to normal in no time!

Packing Tip: Tips For Packing Electronics!

Someone looking through family documents in a file
How to pack your important doucments for your house move
Related Article: How to lift heavy objects by yourself?

How to Pack Important Documents When Moving House

Moving house can be a stressful period, and you soon realise that you will need to do some major organisation, it can feel overwhelming. Its all about prioritisation! Your documents are something you do not want to forget about, because sorting them out earlier on will save you from paperwork troubles later on. Organise your documents by category in ring binders or plastic sleeves. Although the process of sorting out documents sounds boring, taking this time to create a filing system will help you in the future.

The first thing to do is collect all of your important documents from around the house: check bookcases, drawers and filing cabinets.


  • Moving documents: inventory list, contract, written estimates
  • Chequebooks
  • Computer hard-drives and backups
  • Financial statements
  • National insurance
  • Legal documents
  • Property-related documents, such as lease documents, selling and buying agreements, insurance coverage for home and auto, warranties, vehicle registration
  • Letters
  • Personal files: birth certificate, wills etc)
  • Passport
  • Tax records

Save any photos onto an external flash drive and ensure your devices have a secure password. You should also scan or take photos of important documents so you have a back-up copy.

Keep the folders somewhere you know of at all times incase you need to access anything at short notice. Put all the items in a box and label it very clearly, indicating that it is not to be moved with the rest of the household goods in the van.

A selection of sentimental items like rings and a wallet
Be sure to sort your sentimental items before your house move

Sorting Your Sentimental Items Before the Removal Company Arrives

There are some items which are priceless in a home. Photo-albums which hold thousands of memories, video tapes of family growing up and sentimental family heirlooms. These items should be packed separately and moved by you.

Sort your jewellery collection before moving home.

How to Pack Jewellery for Your House Move

The last thing you want is unpacking to see tangled chains and misshapen earrings. It can be a challenge, as not only do you need to keep your expensive pieces safe and secure, but you should have a strategic way of packing it. Read our full article on how to pack jewellery when moving house.

Speak with you removals company beforehand about the insurance plans which they provide to cover your more expensive jewellery. This way, if anything becomes lost or damaged on moving while in their hands, you’ll receive some level of compensation for your loss.

1) Take an inventory of all your items

2) Sort through everything and separate valuables from costume. Also donate or  get rid of jewellery you don’t wear anymore and is taking up unnecessary space.  

3) Organise the pieces by type.

Moving house in summer? Here are some tips to moving house in the summer season.

How to pack your jewellery


  • Individually pack each necklace in its own snack-size ziplock bag, and place them all in a larger bag to keep them all together.
  • If your jewellery came with a small fabric bag, then use these to pack the item to save you using plastic.
  • For more delicate chains and necklaces, placing them in a padded pouch, box or both is most suitable. If your pouch and box is not padded you can use bubble wrap, paper towel or cotton pads.
  • If you’re really worried about tangling, and have the time, then a great tip is to thread the necklace through a straw and clap it at the end. This way there is no chance that it can catch on anything!


  • Using a sheet of foam or a cardboard piece will do the job of keeping them secure. Pierce the end of through and secure it at the back with some tape or the earring back. Then wrap it in packing paper before putting it into the moving box.
  • Pill organisers are also great for keeping earrings safe.


  • Rings are easy to pack as they will not get tangled. Use a secure box or sunglasses case to pack your rings.

Don't forget to read about unpacking after a move!

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