Moving Someone's Else's Things: How to Decide What Goes in the Van

Get A Quote

There are any number of reasons―both positive and negative―why you might be taking charge of a move on someone else’s behalf. They could be an elderly parent, relative or friend with mental or physical issues, an ex-partner or roommate who has moved out and left their things behind, or even someone who’s relocated quickly due to an emergency or job-related situation.  

Whatever the case, for this article let’s assume you and the person you’re helping are on good―or at least speaking―terms. Also, that they will be somewhat involved in the process, even if it’s just back and forth via phone, texts or video calls.  

Move Basics You Should Know About 

Most quotes from reputable movers like Mayflower are based on weight, so getting rid of belongings that won’t be used or missed will make the move simpler, not to mention less expensive. Be strategic in your sorting. If things are broken, damaged, outdated or in overall poor condition, they’re best disposed of. It’s also a smart idea to check beforehand about items long-distance movers are not permitted to load. Our Non-Allowables Checklist offers some valuable guidance about what can―and can’t―go on the van. If you’re anticipating a delay on the receiving end, many long-distance movers―including Mayflower― offer short- and long-term storage solutions.  

Make Essentials the Top Priority 

Think about what the person will need right away in their new home. This includes clothing items, linens, towels, eyeglasses or contacts, appliances, cookware, glassware, essential furniture and other must-haves. If you’ll be packing these items yourself, check out our “How to Pack” series of articles on the Mayflower website. Also, check out our recommendations for putting together a “First Night Box”.  

There are certain essentials, including financial documents, passports, birth certificates, checkbooks, insurance papers and bank statements, that might be better left off the van and sent via Registered Mail. Sending them this way provides insurance coverage of up to $25,000 if they’re lost or damaged. You can also track packages and opt for delivery confirmation. 

Consider Getting Moving Protection 

Most reputable long-distance movers will offer protection options for belongings. In fact, every initial Mayflower move quote includes our Full-Value Protection Option. The standard amount of Full-Value Protection is calculated by multiplying the estimated weight of the shipment by $6 per pound.  

However, in the case of items such as jewelry, antiques, fine art pieces and high-end electronics, a per-pound calculation may not reflect their real worth. Check whether your long-distance mover offers additional protection for items of extraordinary value. For more details about the options available to you at Mayflower, visit the Moving Protection Plans page on our website.  

Don’t Underestimate the Sentimental Stuff 

Sentimental items can be a bit trickier. What may not seem important to you may mean a lot to the owner. This includes old letters, family photos, wedding albums, treasured toys and stuffed animals as well as other things that would be impossible to replace. When dealing with items of sentiment, some back and forth communication between you and the person you’re helping can prove invaluable. If this isn’t possible and you’re honestly not sure, keep these items with you. They can always be sent later.  

We hope this unique moving situation goes smoothly and successfully for you and the other person. And remember, you can count on a Mayflower Move Coordinator to help you Every Step of the Way®.  

Get a no-obligation quote from Mayflower.  

Want more tips and advice? Check out our state and city guides, decorating ideas and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.   

Plan Your Move With the Nation's Most Trusted Mover

Other Moving Tips and Guides

  • San Diego City Guide - Arial view of San Diego CA - Mayflower

    San Diego City Guide

    Just moved to San Diego and are ready to explore the city? Check out our ultimate insider’s guide from San Diego locals.
    Continue Reading
  • Moving Las Vegas, Nevada - NV Las Vegas Strip - Mayflower

    Your Guide to Moving to Las Vegas, NV: Tips, Secrets and Local Insights

    Discover everything you need to know about relocating to Las Vegas. Our expert guide provides valuable tips, secrets from locals and insights into living in Sin City.
    Continue Reading
  • Living in Florida - Mayflower

    The Truth About Life in Florida

    If you’re considering a move to Florida, first get the scoop on what it’s like living in the Sunshine State.
    Continue Reading