The Stuff That’s Illegal to Bring Into Texas

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Relocating to Texas, like relocating anywhere, comes with the responsibility of knowing the laws of the land. Every state differs, and some states are stricter than others. But when it comes to what you can and cannot transport across state lines – and what you can or can’t possess once you’re there – we are sure there is no state quite like Texas.

Here are all the things that are illegal to bring into Texas, broken down by type. Welcome to the wild, mild west.

Fruits and Vegetables

While Texas may have a reputation for oil wells and football teams, the state also boasts a humongous $100 billion agriculture industry. It is no surprise then that they have more than a few rules regarding what fruits and vegetables can’t be brought over state lines.

The good news is the Texas Department of Agriculture spells out all the rules right here in this document. The bad news is this document is 21 pages long and uses a lot of big words. If you’re the type to snack on exotic fruit with hard-to-pronounce names, you may want to read carefully over the TDA’s rules. For the rest of us, here are the basics:

Of particular interest is the citrus fruit family. As the Southwest Farm Press states, “With very few exceptions, no citrus plants, or even pieces of citrus plants are allowed into the state from anywhere.” The National Plant Board gets a bit more technical, explaining (on page seven) that, “any living or non-living rootstock, leaf, root, stem, limb, twig, fruit, seed, seedling or other part of any plant in the botanical family Rutaceae, subfamily Aurantioideae.” As citrus is a huge part of the Texas economy, even one bad plant could potentially ruin entire crops.

In addition to citrus fruits, Texas has plenty of prohibitions in place. If you’re coming from Florida or Puerto Rico, these things are some of the major items prohibited:

  • Apples
  • Avocados
  • Bell peppers
  • Blackberries

There are more than 50 kinds of fruits, vegetables, berries and spices that Texas prohibits coming from down south, due to Caribbean Fruit Fly infestation.

If you’re coming from anywhere in the US (except California, Arizona and parts of New Mexico), Texas also prohibits:

  • Hickory trees
  • Pecan trees
  • Walnut trees

As well as “…(any) parts thereof, except extracted nut meats”, thanks to the never-popular pecan weevil.

Finally, these vegetable plants are not restricted but heavily regulated coming from anywhere, due to a whole host of diseases and pests:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Eggplants

It’s all right here in this exhaustive “Summary of Plant Protection Regulations from the Texas Department of Agriculture. Give it a read if you have the time and the will. Or just play it simple and leave every last lemon, walnut and berry behind.

Pets

We have some good news for all you Texas-bound pet owners. The Lone Star State merely requires that all dogs and cats be certified as rabies-vaccinated.

The bad news is that something as simple (and responsible) as keeping Rover on a legal leash requires a watch, a map, a thermometer, a tape measure and a weather forecast. According to Texas statute “§ 821.077. Unlawful Restraint of Dog” :

  • (a) An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement:
  • (1) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
  • (2) within 500 feet of the premises of a school; or
  • (3) in the case of extreme weather conditions, including conditions in which:
  • (A) the actual or effective outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • (B) a heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or jurisdiction; or
  • (C) a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National Weather Service.
  • (b) In this section, a restraint unreasonably limits a dog’s movement if the restraint:
  • (1) uses a collar that is pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type or that is not properly fitted to the dog;
  • (2) is a length shorter than the greater of:
  • (A) five times the length of the dog, as measured from the tip of the dog’s nose to the base of the dog’s tail; or
  • (B) 10 feet;
  • (3) is in an unsafe condition; or
  • (4) causes injury to the dog.

Considering all this, it might just be easier to get a tiger.

We’re not kidding. Reading the Texas laws regarding owning exotic animals – including lions, tigers, bears and gorillas (seriously) – it seems only as difficult to register a “dangerous wild animal” as it does a pickup truck.

(While we’re at it, we’ll mention that it is legal in Texas to own flamethrowers, venomous snakes and, for the truly under-stimulated, military-grade tanks.)

But back to the world most of us inhabit. If you are relocating to Texas, you should know that certain species of fish and other aquatic life are prohibited. Despite their lengthy explanation on the environmental and economical destruction wreaked by the lionfish, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department doesn’t list this non-native critter among their outlawed types of marine life. Here are just a few of the fish that are prohibited:

  • Tilapia
  • Piranhas
  • Freshwater Stingrays
  • Freshwater Eels
  • Temperate Basses
  • Oysters

All resources and information considered, it seems reasonable to believe you’re okay bringing your parakeet with you to your new home in Texas. But we strongly recommend checking with your local authorities as to what laws apply to your pets. As an example, in Waco, all dogs, cats and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies; all pets must be spayed/neutered and microchipped; dog houses must have at least three walls in addition to a roof and a floor that is not the ground; and no, you cannot give your pet its rabies shot yourself.

Alcohol

The good news here is that Texas puts no limits or taxes on any alcoholic beverages you are transporting into the state, as long as you are in the process of relocating to Texas and the alcohol in your possession is intended for personal consumption only.

The bad news is that the Texas heat will skunk your swill faster than you can say “Lone Star Lager”. So you better hope that your’s isn’t a long distance move in the heat.

Keep in mind, however, that once you are actually settled in the Lone Star State, you’ll be subjected to fines and/or jail time if you fail to declare that case of tequila on your way home from Mexico, or any other alcohol you bought out of state and are transporting back into Texas.

As for figuring out the laws in your particular municipality for purchasing beer, wine or liquor, good luck.

Plants

Texas has no apparent problems with houseplants that are grown indoors in a commercially-prepared potting mix (rather than in soil) and are free of pests and diseases. These may enter Texas without certification.

However, according to the same “Texas Dept. of Agriculture Summary of Plant Protection Regulations” we saw earlier, “houseplants grown or kept outdoors require a phytosanitary certificate from the department of agriculture of the origin state indicating freedom from pests and diseases.”

We’ll be blatantly honest here. There seems no guarantee that your word will be good enough if someone wearing a TDA uniform asks if you’ve ever put your rubber tree plant out on the patio or the front porch, and you say no.

And just in case you were wondering, you can’t bring all that firewood for your backyard chiminea. Texas doesn’t even like Texans moving firewood from one part of the state to another, for fear of spreading potential or active infestations. Check out the Texas info on DontMoveFirewood.org – and consider giving that chiminea a good washing too before trying to carry that across the border into Texas.

Firearms

And what would Texas be without guns? In keeping with their wild, wild west reputation, the state makes it easy for lawful firearms carriers from other states to legally carry in Texas, either through reciprocal or unilateral agreements with those other states. In other words, just like having a driver’s license from another state allows you to legally drive in Texas, having a permit to carry a firearm in another state allows you to legally carry your firearm in Texas.

The analogy is not perfect, of course. Texas has no firearm-carry agreements with Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maine, Vermont or New Hampshire. And while you have 90 days upon relocating to Texas to switch your driver’s license over, there is no requirement whatsoever to register your firearm in the State of Texas.

None.

How’s that for wild?

It’s not complete anarchy, of course. “Texas requires any individual in possession of a handgun to inform a law enforcement officer of their permit or license to carry if an officer asks them for identification.” Texas also spells out restrictions and requirements regarding carrying in vehicles, open carry and places where carrying is illegal.

As far as transporting your firearm from your old state to your new home in Texas, your most pressing concern might be following the laws of the various states you may be passing through along your way.

In some ways, Texas seems like an almost lawless land. In others, the laws can seem unduly convoluted. You can have a gun. You can get a tiger. Just be sure to leave the tangerines behind!


Illustrations by Subin Yang

A Trash Bag Is by Far the Most Useful Movehack Item. Here’s Why

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When you’re in the midst of a move, you may find yourself running to the store every other day to pick up supplies. It may seem like you can never have enough boxes, tape and packing paper, but there is another item you should add to your essentials list… trash bags!

This versatile item can be used in so many ways to help you move. Let’s review all of these trash bag hacks.

They’re Essential for Hanging Clothes

Instead of purchasing wardrobe boxes for your move, we suggest keeping your clothes on their hangers and protecting them with trash bags. All you have to do is take a stack of clothes off the rack and bring a trash bag from the bottom of the clothing up towards the hanger. Then, use the drawstring on your trash bag and tie it tight around the hanger. This will ensure that the bag doesn’t come off during transport. It’s the perfect garment bag hack! Bonus…buy those scented trash bags so your clothes smell fresh when you get to your new home!

Make a Simple Donation Section

Trash bags make it super easy to corral and easily identify all of the items you’re planning to donate. This is especially helpful when it comes time to clean out that stuffed wardrobe of yours! We suggest that you keep a trash bag in your closet in the months leading up to your move.  As you try on items that you no longer love, toss them into the this conveniently located trash bag. Little by little, the bags in your closets will start to fill up with donation items, and you won’t have to spend an entire weekend purging out your closets! Trust us, you won’t want to move any other way.

Trust us, you won’t want to move any other way.

Transport Your Plants Without the Mess

Plants are a tricky one to move because no one wants dirt all over their vehicle – so grab that handy dandy trash bag of yours and place the bottom of the plant inside. This ensures that the dirt doesn’t get all over and you can easily move your greenery to your new space. If you can though, keep the top of your plant out so it still gets lots of fresh air!

Wrap Unusual Objects Easily

When packing, you’re bound to run into items that will make you scratch your head and say, “How the heck do I pack that up?!” (Lamp shades are one of them.) How can you make sure your shade doesn’t get dirty and gross on its ride to your new pad? Well, use a trash bag to cover those unusual objects and keep them safe!

If It’s Anything Other Than Sunny, You’ll Need a Ton of Them

If you’re worried about special items getting wet during your move, we suggest using a trash bag inside your cardboard box. Simply put your precious items in a trash bag (books, papers, throw pillows, etc) and then put that bag inside the box! That way it’s got double protection from the elements.

And You Can Throw Your Away Trash (Duh!)

Okay, of course, you’ll need trash bags for trash. And you’ll probably have a lot more than usual when you’re packing up your home to move. Stock up on a lot of garbage bags and you’ll be set for this, and everything else on this list for the duration of your move.

It’s official: you need to head to your nearest Costco before your move and find the largest roll of trash bags you can find. Trust us!

The Stuff That’s Illegal To Bring Into California

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Question: What do pecan shells, ferrets and flamethrowers have in common?

Answer: They are all things you can’t bring into the state of California.

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What Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year Can Look Like in Your Home

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Not only would it be festive to incorporate more green into your home for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but Pantone named green as their color of the year for 2017. Bold choice! This bright green hue oozes freshness, brings the outdoors in, and as Pantone states, “[Is a] refreshing and revitalizing shade and symbolic of new beginnings.”

It’s a smart choice too; Injecting a pop of green into your space will ensure that your home is ready for the holiday, sure, but you’ll also get those staying up-to-date vibes. Look at you go!If you’re interested in bringing a sense of outdoors inside, or maybe you’re just looking to refresh your space, we’ve got six tangible ways to stay on-trend by adding green to your space.

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There Are 3 Things Not Allowed on a Moving Truck. You Should Know What They Are

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Question: Which of the following items is not allowed on a moving truck?

(a) Lawnmower

(b) Ficus tree

(c) Shoebox full of cash

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We’re Crushing on These 5 Home Trends of 2017

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It’s the month of LOVE and the big love in our lives – besides our doting husbands of course – are all things for the home. Give us paint colors, throw pillows and accessories and we’ll be heart eyes all day.

Pinterest recently released their list of the top home trends that you’ll see taking over your Pinterest boards this year, so in honor of the upcoming romantic holiday, we thought it would be fun to chat about some trends that we’re currently crushing on.

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6 Eye Catching Bathroom Trends That Will Pump up Your Resale Value

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After sharing the 2016 trends in Kitchen Design, we were inspired to keep diving into more of the hottest design trends in home decor from 2016. This time around, we are tackling a space that may be a lot smaller than the kitchen but works just as hard for you…THE BATHROOM.

Making over the bathroom may not always be at the top of our priority list (especially if you’re on a tight budget!), but upgrading these small spaces can really make a big impact when the realtor comes to show off the place, or heck, even if you just think it’s time to make your bathroom awesome. Here are six sweet trends that can instantly bring your bathroom up-to-date.

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The Home Checklist That Gets You Ready for Fall

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And just like that, summer is officially over.

We don’t know about you, but the great news is that we both adore the Fall season. There’s just something about the crisp air and the falling leaves that gets us both giddy! But before we officially dive head first into the new season, we want to make sure that our homes are “de-summered” and prepped for autumn.

If you’re looking for a little guidance when it comes to home maintenance, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a checklist of things you’ll want to do in order to be 100% ready for the Fall months.

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