Military Storage Overview

Military members and their families may be relocated often with their jobs, often on short notice. Whether moves can involve a Permanent Change of Station (PSC), Temporary Duty (TDY) or Temporary Additional Duty (TAD), self storage can be a convenient way of accomodating with long or short-term use. 

Planning ahead can be an important factor in finding the right location for you and for your budget. Whether you have six months or one week before moving, planning ahead can help find the right loation for the right budget. 

There are military programs that can assist you if you decide to do it yourself. According to, “The Do-It-Yourself (DITY) move is a voluntary program that allows you to be reimbursed by the government for moving your own belongings.”  So before you start packing your items you should check to see what kind of allowances the military will make for doing a DITY move. 

There are many things to consider while you search for a public storage facility.  Planning ahead will help to make your move efficient and easier.

Determine your needs

How big of a storage space will you need? What are the items you will be placing in storage and what items will you not be storing?  Are you storing a few boxes or an entire apartment or household worth of goods? Will you require outdoor parking for car or boat storage, as well?  Once you have figured out what items will be stored you can check them against our storage calculator.  The storage calculator is a handy way to determine the storage unit size that meets your needs, and help prevent you from overpaying for a space that is larger than what you will need to accomodate all your items. If you’re relocating to another state or overseas for a long period of time, amenities like air conditioning and security are important things to consider. Knowing how much storage and which type of storage you will need, helps in planning your budget and moving expenses.

Locate specials and discounts

Often there are discounts available for military and active-duty personnel and their families. If you will be deployed for many months or years, there are long-term rental specials available ask to see if one will work within your budget, many storage companies offer pre-payment discounts.

Consider other services

Most storage facilities have a variety of additional services available.  A majority of locations offer online and automatic payment processing options, which is very helpful for someone whose military deployment is an extensive assignment or in a remote location.  Many storage businesses sell packing and moving supplies (such as boxes, locks, furniture covers and more), Some storage facilities have trucks available for rent or to use for free when you rent a space from them. 

Moving and deployments can be stressful for military personnel and their families.  Moving your household and family should be a simple undertaking but it is one of the most stressful situations that can happen to one's life.  Proper preparation and planning can help reduce the stress of moving, using self storage can be a hassle-free process.

Choosing a Moving Company

Moving to a new home can be a frustrating and demanding process. For many military personnel who receive permanent change of station (PCS) orders every few years, moving is a part of life. Proper research and planning can make your move much less stressful so you can focus on other important factors such as finding a new home. 

There are essentially two choices when it comes to moving, do it yourself, or hire a moving company.  If you decide to do it yourself, you will be responsible for moving your own items and noboday will take care of your personal belongings better than you!  You will probably save a lot more money moving yourself. But you also have all the work to do yourself with fewer helping hands and damaged items are strictly your responsibility. 

Professional movers on the other hand, are typically well trained in the packing and loading process. You can save some time by hiring professional movers and professional movers know how to pack properly to protect your items. If they don’t protect your items, replacement costs may come out of their pockets! 

Finding and choosing a “good” moving company isn’t always easy. Be sure to find a reputable moving company, we suggest running a Google search with keywords like “bad movers in my town” can attest to that. We have all heard horror stories from friends or family about shody moving companies. That’s why it’s important to sort fact from fiction as early as you can, to ensure you get a quality moving company. 

Prepare yourself before you request a quote:

  • When do you need to move? Keep in mind that month end, Fridays and weekends are busy times for most moving companies. They may charge more for service during these times. Move on an “off day” if you can and ask if they offer a discount for relocation during the company’s less busy times.
  • Where are you going to? Are you moving locally in town, long-distance or overseas?
  • How much stuff needs to be moved? How many rooms in your home will need to be packed up?  Mentally walk through each room, listing the big items first (like furniture, appliances, and other items that don’t fit into boxes).  Try to figure out how many boxes it will take to remove all the other contents in the room. Don’t forget to think about patio furniture and the contents of your garage or shed.
  • Do you want help with packing, or do you want to do the small stuff yourself?
  • Will you transport valuable or fragile items?
  • How much insurance will you need? Use your list to estimate the replacement value of each item.

Now you’re ready to start calling around for estimates. But whom do you call?

Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to source a moving company. If you know someone who has recently moved, find out which moving company they chose and what they thought of the service.  Real estate agents might also be able to recommend and which moving companies to avoid. 

Use the internet to search and compare moving companies both locally and nationally. There are several independent websites offering unbiased information and comparisons of moving companies, like Beware, some mover-directory websites gather your contact information and sell it to multiple movers; your phone may start ringing a lot.  Consumer ratings sites, like, can also provide customer feedback and expansive customer reviews.

Shopping and comparing; what to ask a mover:

  • How long has your company been in business?
  • Do you own your own equipment, or do you contract out?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • Are you a member of the American Moving and Storage Association?
  • Do you have any references that I may contact directly?
  • Will you do an in-home estimate, at no charge?

Check to be sure the companies that you have narrowed your search down to have good standings with with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

If you will be hiring a full service moving company then arrange for at least three or four in-home estimates to get a better idea of your moving costs. Reputable moving companies do not mind taking the time to provide in home moving estimates since it is the only way to get a close-to-accurate moving quote.   It is also a good way to screen out unreputable moving companies intent to run a scam on you as they do not often like to provide free in home estimates. 

Show the moving company everything you plan to move.  Detailing everything that will be moved will allow the estimate to be more accurate. Let the moving company estimator know about any issues at your existing home — or the home you’re moving into — that could complicate the moving process. For example lots of stairs, narrow angles, tight hallways and poor driveway access are just a few things that might add to your overall costs.  Ask the estimator what concerns they may have about packing and loading locations. 

Cost is an important factor when hiring a full service moving company but reputation is the deciding factor.  Do your research and get a good feeling with the company before you make a hiring decision.  Not all moving companies are equal so the better questions you ask and the better research you do the better the decision you can make on finalizing a mover. 

Once you make a decision, you’ll be asked to sign a contract outlining the details of your move. Read the contract. If anything seems strange or confusing, ask for clarification. Make notes right on your contract. If the mover dismisses any phrase in the contract by suggesting, “Don’t worry about that,” cross out the sentence. Ask the mover to initial and date any contract changes in pen. 

Don’t forget to give your movers a call a few days beforehand to confirm your arrangements. Be sure you (or a trusted friend) attend all inventory counts and truck weigh-ins in person. Make your own notes. Keep all documents and records in a safe place where they can’t be misplaced during the move. 

These basic guidelines should help you position yourself for a successful move. For more information on all things self-storage read here.