How Self Storage Can Help Military Members and Families

Last Updated on March 9, 2023

There are currently more than 1.36 million men and women on active duty in the United States Armed Forces, not to mention the more than 850,000 people in reserves. Active military members can often be assigned to long-term deployment and will have to relocate multiple times during their time in the armed forces, which for some includes packing up the whole family. After relocating, many service members live in relatively small military housing.

Between deployments, relocating, and tight living spaces, the additional room of a storage unit can be a huge convenience for giving military members a secure location for keeping their belongings in both short and long term assignments.


Photo by Carl Wycoff

Since enlisting means you’re going to relocate at least three times between basic training, technical school, and your first duty assignment, you’re likely going to face some wait time for permanent housing. In such a case, temporary space may be provided for military members and families, but what of all their belongings? Whether you’re a single member moving out of an apartment or a family of six relocating from a multi-room house, a storage unit can provide the room and security desired during this location.

The most apparent convenience of self storage is the space. Storage units can range from the size of a locker to the size of garage. Typically speaking, a 10×10 unit provides enough space for the contents of a one-bedroom apartment while 10×20 or even 10×30 storage units give room enough to store multiple bedrooms, living room furniture, appliances, and other items in your home.

Not only does self storage give the additional temporary space needed during a relocation, but it can also keep your belongings secure from theft and the elements. Many storage facilities offer basic security measures such as electronic gate access and video surveillance, and some offer advanced measures such as individually-alarmed units and on-site management. If moving to an area with extreme seasonal weather with freezing temperatures or high humidity, find a storage unit with climate control, which maintains a moderate temperature and humidity level to protect sensitive items such as wood and electronics.


Storage units

If you’ve been enlisted for awhile, you know that deployment overseas can last anywhere from 12 to 36 months. Much like relocating for a duty assignment, long-term deployment can leave you in one place and all your belongings in another. You may elect to sell off most of your things, but you don’t need to. Self storage facilities can give you a place to keep all your things while you’re overseas.

Again, much like relocation, you can use the convenience and security of a storage facility while you’re on deployment. In addition to finding a facility with both the space, security, and climate control you may need, be sure to look for a facility that offers month-to-month leasing.

Month-to-month leasing is a great storage option for those overseas in case you have a deployment extension, as it will afford you the ability the continue self storage beyond your original plans. In the military, where life and schedules can change quickly and frequently, you’ll be glad that you have some flexibility to continue services you may need.



One of the most popular forms of storage with military members is auto storage. Whether for personal or financial reasons, people often have a hard time parting ways with a vehicle, and fortunately self storage can help with this as well.

Storage facilities can offer three forms of auto storage: outdoor, covered, and indoor. Outdoor auto storage is the cheapest and most popular form and is essentially a large outdoor parking space. Covered auto storage provides an awning or some other type of coverage, and is best used in places that can have the occasional hail storm or other forms of severe weather that can damage a vehicle. Indoor auto storage provides complete protection in a locked garage door. This is the best choice if storing in a region with extreme seasonal weather as well as for more valuable vintage and sports cars.

In addition to selecting what form of auto storage you want, again make sure you find a storage facility with strong security features such as video surveillance and on-site management to ensure your car is safe while on deployment.


Military Housing
Photo by NNECAPA Photo Library

While some military members and families choose to have a private home, many still use military housing. And while there has been recent improvements in overall size of military homes, you know that living on base means little to no space.

While larger storage units are great for relocating, smaller units are ideal to help get the most square footage out of any home. A 5×5 unit is comparable to a spare closet, and a 5×10 is more like a walk-in closet. Either way, a storage unit can provide a cheaper alternative for more square footage to store non-essential items such as seasonal clothing and decorations as well as documents or spare furniture.

While security is always something to consider, climate control should be a priority when using this form of long-term storage if you’re stationed in an area with extreme weather, such as humid summers or frigid winters. Too much moisture in the air can promote mildew and mold growth on documents and even fabrics, and fluctuations in temperatures can cause wood to warp, plastics to snap, and electronics to short circuit. Climate control acts as an air conditioner, heater, humidifier, and dehumidifier to ensure items stay in a moderate environment.

If you’re looking to rent self storage at any point during your military career, keep in mind that many of the facilities on offer discounts to service members as a show of appreciation. Call in to one of our storage representatives, and we can help identify which storage facilities offer a military discount in your area.


All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.