There are certain items and substances which the pack out team have to disallow from their lists of things they will pack, transport and store.

Gasoline, paint, nail polish remover, and other flammables come to mind, as do guns, ammunition, insecticides and other volatile compounds.

Lotions can expand, or the bottle may split. Perfumes can evaporate, spill, or even ignite (and they can run about $100 per ounce or more – way more). Lipstick can melt. A jar of Crème de la Mer (moisturizing cream) can cost more than $2000 at Nordstroms. Still, some teams will pack out cosmetics for short term storage, and the Contents Manager will decide that sort of option on a case-by-case basis.

Industry spokesperson Barb Jackson CR, adds, “1. Cosmetics have an expiration date…so if we store them for 6 months, they are rancid when we return them – it’s a huge liability 2. They get contaminated. 3. They are an overlooked total loss item that NEEDS to be listed as such due to the sheer cost of replacement.”

Surprisingly, (depending on the condition of the collection), the contents valet will pack out fine wines — and they will do a superb job of it, including the creation of a temperature controlled chamber to maintain a constant and proper chill for when it arrives in their facility. But depending on state and county laws, they may not move open containers of liquor.

They probably won’t move cleaning supplies. First of all, the cost of packing out such powders and liquids would be more than replacing the substances themselves. Secondly, they would pose a risk to other items in the trucks and vaults at the storage facility.

Due to possible contamination and limited shelf life, frozen foods and other perishables won’t be found on the “transportable” list. Such items may be disposed of, but we don’t “restore” food.

Living things are also not on the list – everything from plants, to goldfish, to parakeets, dogs, cats, snakes, contents specialists restore inanimate objects – they aren’t set up to care for pets.

And we strongly recommend that you keep important papers with you (driver’s licenses, marriage certificate, tax records, property deeds, unpaid bills, car and house keys, medicine, expensive jewelry). If jewelry needs to be cleaned and decontaminated, special arrangements can be made.

Of course there are many other items that you may want to keep close to you, but which you may prefer the contents pros to take. For example, we have had cases in which legal documents needed to be cleaned and deodorized, or family photos have been damaged and needed to be restored (sometimes electronically). On these occasions the Contents Manager will spend time with the owner documenting the items and seeing to the transport, appropriate treatment and storage of your valuables personally.

A trained, experienced Contents Manager won’t waste your time, your money, and certainly won’t discard anything without expressed, written permission.