Prohibited Items for Moving Containers

If you’re sending your belongings to an international location, most likely than not your items will be neatly packed in a container making their way across the ocean to their new home. Shipping containers internationally are the most viable option for most people because it the least costly and most flexible in terms of logistics.

Be careful though! Containers are not built to transport every content in your home. So take note of the following as understanding what is and what isn’t allowed to pack for your container might save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future when dealing with the customs office.

Hazardous Materials

These are items in your household containing material that is considered corrosive, flammable, or explosive. Below is lists of common items that belong to this group of non-allowables.

  •              Paints
  •              Cleaning solvents
  •              Car oil
  •              Charcoal
  •              Lighter fluid
  •              Bullets and other ammunition
  •              Batteries
  •              Fertilizers
  •              Aerosols
  •              Kerosene
  •              Gasoline
  •              Propane
  •              Fireworks
  •              Matches
  •              Pesticides

Non-Storable Perishables

The items in your container will be stored for considerably long periods dependent on your move. Perishables are sensitive to temperature change and humidity– elements that your items might likely be exposed to making them mold and rot. Do not pack the following items:


  •             Any type of plants or seeds
  •             Any type of refrigerated or frozen foods
  •             Any type of animals
  •             Produce
  •             Canned foods that have been opened

Materials that might carry dirt

Each country varies in their customs policies and the level of strictness they enforce them with, but you can be sure that every country is not keen on the introduction of harmful bacteria or new species of life form into their ecosystems. Make sure to remove dirt from any footwear, gardening equipment, sporting equipment, and hiking equipment you have before shipping them as these can be breeding grounds for various life forms.

Alcohol and illegal drugs

This one is pretty self explanatory.


Valuable Tips & Suggestions

  •   Go around your house or apartment and take note of what things can be either sold at your next garage sale, sold on sites such as eBay, or donated to charity. Once you’ve done this you have a more accurate idea of what you’re actually going to ship which will be helpful when you start talking to international moving companies.


  •  Use phone apps like genius scan to take make pdf copies of certain documents so you don’t have to ship them.

Note: This is very helpful but should not apply to important documents that you will need when you arrive at your new home. These important documents always have to be presented in original form or in the form of certified copies (birth, death, and marriage certificates, health documents, vehicle titles, certain financial documents, deeds and certain legal documents). Like passports and visas, important documents such as these mentioned should always be taken with you on your flight.

  •  Many of your electronics might not work abroad without transformers, and power converters because many foreign countries have different voltage requirements. Even if they do have the same voltage requirements their outlets might not have the same shape as the plug of your electronic equipment so you’ll have to buy an adapter. It can be a complicated process and a major hassle to figure out the right type of equipment to use for each and every electronic equipment you own (you’ll have to read the label and/or the owner’s manual for some of your electronic equipment and buy different types of transformers or power converters accordingly). Consider leaving your electronics behind. Depending on where you live, you can donate some of your electronics to charity and write it off your taxes for the next year. Just make sure to keep tax deductible receipts from the charity and receipts for those electronics.


  •  Rely on your friends and family. Think about storing any items that you can’t do away with with someone who has extra storage space. If that’s not an option, search for storage companies. This is especially more cost-effective if you are not living abroad for a considerably long time.


  •  Purchase insurance for your move. Many of your items will be in long transits and there is never a 100% guarantee that your items will arrive in perfect condition. It is always a good idea to purchase insurance even if it is just for peace of mind. Most international moving companies offer insurance packages for your move so always ask when you are in contact with a representative. Check out our helpful article for everything you need to know about moving insurance here.

We hope this article has shed some light on the international shipping process for our relocators. If you are moving soon or are interested in getting an early start to organizing your relocation abroad, the best thing to do is get quotes on your move. Getting quotes is the fastest and most simple way to get an idea of what your moving costs would be as you would be getting quotes from real international moving companies. The best part? It’s free.

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