Moving from a three-bedroom house that's already busting at the seams into a cozy two-bedroom could be a challenge. But finding storage for all that extra stuff doesn't have to be a hassle. Housing, Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), and Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) can help. Whether it's winter clothes, a motorcycle, a recreational vehicle (RV), or even a horse, there may be an available storage option right on base.

The first stop is the base housing office. Housing typically controls the lots available to store RV's, boats, and motorcycles. Some bases charge a nominal maintenance fee, but others do not. Some bases also have marinas available to dock your boat.

MWR and MCCS often control garage storage facilities, marinas, and stables on base. Check with your MWR/MCCS information center for details and fees, which vary from base to base. Not all facilities are available at each base. If you have special needs, check to see what is available before you move. If you have a horse, for example, and are given a choice of duty station, see what facilities are available before committing to a station.

Once locked in the gated storage area, your vehicle may not be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Make sure you know who is in charge of letting you into the area and when that person is available. If you are issued a key, keep it in a safe place in your home.

Find out who is liable for your item in storage. Typically, you assume all liability. Inform your insurance company of what is in storage, the value of the items, their condition, the location of the storage facility, and the accessibility of the location to outsiders (whether it's gated, locked, etc.). If housing or MWR/MCCS assumes partial liability, make sure you have the dollar amount value and conditions of coverage in writing. Keep all documents in a safe place in your home or safe deposit box.

Take photos of your items before you store them. If storing an RV, take photos or videotape it from many angles, and record the date, if possible. The photos will be needed if you file an insurance claim. For storing boxes, label the contents on both the outside and inside of the box. Code each box with a number, then record what's in each numbered box and keep a copy of the record in a safe place in your home. This way, if you ever need something from one box, you'll know right where it is, instead of ripping through all the boxes to look for it.

One of the many perks of living the military life is that you have a variety of options at a lower cost than in the civilian world. Boarding your horse may cost upwards of $200 in town, but can be as low as $60 a month on base.

Housing and MWR/MCCS are there to help you improve your quality of life. Give them a call to see what they have to offer.

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