If you have enlisted in the military as a single person and are preparing to ship out, it's a good idea to put your possessions into a storage unit. First, thank you for being courageous and dedicating your life to serve your country. Before you leave your civilian life and all of your possessions behind, here are a few important things to consider.
Civilian vs. Military Living
Your recruiter will give you a list of things to take with you to boot camp. Don't be surprised if the only things on this list are a photo ID, your social security card, and a change of underwear. One thing that is important to understand is that the military will give you everything you need to make it through boot camp. After boot camp, you will go to your MOS training location. There, you will likely be permitted to have one or two sets of civilian clothing, depending on how long the training will take.
After MOS training, you will be sent to your first permanent duty station and be assigned to live in the barracks where there will be very little room for personal belongings. However, you will be able to have more clothing and, depending on location, things like televisions and computers. As you go through your possessions, keep all of this in mind and separate the various things you may want at different times in your military career.
Separating Personal Belongings
If you already have a contract for a particular MOS, you will be able to find out from your recruiter what you can have in the barracks on that particular military base. Pack a box with the allowed personal items that you will want and give the box to a trusted loved one or family member so they can send the box to you at a later date. If you are going in on an open contract, pack one or two sets of civilian clothing and nothing else.
Go through the rest of your belongings and separate out the most important things you will want to have with you at your first duty station, such as more clothing, memorabilia, and electronics. Clearly mark these boxes with PDS (permanent duty station) and set them in the front of your storage unit. Later, when you get the orders to your first duty station, you'll be able to ship the PDS boxes to you through the military. Because of this, you'll need to inform the storage facility that a moving company contracted by the government will need access to the storage unit at a later time.
Including my husband and I, we have a family of six, but we live in a smaller house to help stash away more money in our children's college funds. Our family does a big house spring cleaning every year, and up until a few years ago, it used to be a lot more stressful. It got a lot easier when we decided to start renting a storage unit. Now, we keep our winter clothes in the unit during the summer and vice versa, and we store items we only use occasionally. Not having so much "stuff" around the house just makes it a lot easier to keep our house clean and free of clutter. I have learned a lot about storage units since we started renting ours, so I thought I would start a blog to share my tips on to help anyone who needs them!