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Prepping doesn’t have to cost a lot of money if you know how to look for bargains. Garage sales and yard sales are great places to scoop up cheap survival items you might need for an emergency. The old saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure certainly applies here.
Many people holding garage sales don’t know the true value of what they’re selling, or they simply don’t see items for how useful they are and end up selling them for next to nothing. Yard sale season is here, so now is the time to get out there and start hunting down the things you need.
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Make a list and take it with you. Don’t assume you will remember because there are quite a few prepper items to look for. Here are 25 of them…
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If an EMP attack were to knock out most vehicles, or if gasoline were to become scarce and expensive, bicycles would become a decent option for transportation. And while you can purchase bicycles at virtually any grocery store with a sports aisle, you will spend significantly less money buying used bikes in good condition from a garage sale.
2. Board Games and Puzzles
You need something to do during the long hours without electricity and all of those gadgets we’ve come to depend on. Good old-fashioned board games and puzzles will be an ideal way to pass the time.
You can find these for under a dollar in most cases. The more you have on hand, the less you will be dealing with bored family members.
3. Bug Out Bag Gear
You are sure to find things like lighters, matches, rain ponchos, knives, and other things you can put into your bug-out bag. You could also look for small tarps and even backpacks that can be used to make a bug-out bag.
Related Article: 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Bug Out Bag
4. Camping Gear
Anything that has to do with camping, i.e. cookstoves, tents, lanterns, sleeping bags, and so on can all be major assets to your emergency stash. When the power is out or you are forced to bug out, camping will be the way of life and any gear you can bring along will make life easier.
Related Article: 15 Camping Essentials for Beginners
5. Canning Supplies
There are plenty of people who don’t want grandma’s old canning jars, canner, and all the tools that go with it. Home preservation is something preppers need to do in order to store up enough food to last them for several months. Jars can also be used to store water.
6. Cast Iron Cookware
This stuff tends to be pretty pricey when buying brand new, but you can get it for about half the price at a garage sale. Cast iron pans are exactly what you need for cooking over an open fire, which is going to take the place of your kitchen stove when the power is out.
Keep in mind that if you buy used cast iron cookware, it will probably be very old and in need of restoration and seasoning. Here’s how to do that.
7. Emergency Supplies
Related Article: 50 Survival Supplies You Can Never Have Enough Of
8. Firearms and Ammunition
These are extremely difficult to find at garage sales for real steals, but you can always look. Consider saving up some cash and setting it aside so you can make a purchase when you do happen to come across a really good deal. Look for reloading equipment as well.
9. Food Dehydrator
You may have to look extra hard for this one at garage sales, but old food dehydrators in good condition will be available for only a fraction of the cost than if you were to purchase them new.
A food dehydrator is essential to have because it removes moisture from food (meats, fruits, vegetables, etc.) in order to preserve them so they last significantly longer for storage purposes.
10. Gardening Tools
Buy extra hoes, rakes, shovels, and other gardening equipment. Your prepper garden will need tending and you will likely not have gasoline to run your equipment.
These tools tend to break over time so you want to have backups. You also want to have plenty of tools so more than one person can tackle a big job at the same time.
11. Hunting Gear
When there are no grocery stores, you may have to hunt for your food. Buying new hunting gear at a big box store can be very expensive.
Fortunately, there are plenty of hunters who grow tired of the sport and prefer to rely on the market for their meat. Look for bows, ammunition, trapping supplies, and camouflage gear.
12. Lawn Mowers
You may be surprised by how many people decide to sell off their old lawnmowers, and for a significantly discounted price than if you were to purchase one new. While keeping your lawn in good condition may not be high on your list of needs after a disaster happens, you also most likely won’t want your lawn turning into a jungle either.
In addition to lawnmowers, you can also look for other pieces of equipment such as weed eaters, leaf blowers, hedge clippers, and so forth.
13. Manual Kitchen Tools
Visit garage sales where older people have lived. You are sure to find old hand grinders and a variety of other hand kitchen tools that will come in handy when you don’t have electricity. Look for can openers, meat grinders, graters, manual hand mixers, and so forth.
14. Medical Supplies
Garage sales that are held following someone passing away who had a long illness are great places to find unused medical supplies. You can often find crutches, splints, slings, and bandages that are all unopened.
Look for boxes of gloves, face masks, and unopened packages of alcohol wipes and syringes. People will typically sell these items for very cheap just to get rid of the evidence of a loved one’s illness and passing.
Related Article: 11 First Aid Supplies You Can’t Have Too Much Of
15. Outdoor Furniture
Patio sets and other outdoor furniture could provide extra seating and surface area, not to mention potential materials for other projects. Look for pieces made of sturdy materials like wood or metal, as these will stand up better to the elements.
16. Quality Knives
It’s no secret that quality knives can be very expensive. But again, it’s possible to find quality blades for discounted prices when you go to garage sales. Even if the blades have become rather dull (hence why people may be selling them), you can still easily sharpen them yourself if you know or learn how to do so.
In addition to knives, look for machetes, axes, hatchets, tomahawks, scythes, and other bladed weapons or tools.
17. Sewing Supplies
While stocking up on spare clothing is essential, just as critical is purchasing sewing supplies so you can repair clothing, blankets, towels, and anything else made out of fabric. Look for old sewing machines in good condition, needles, canvas, fabric, and so on.
Remember, when disaster strikes, your clothing will inevitably become torn and dirty, and there won’t be any resupply from online or physical department stores. Learning how to repair your clothing, and having the necessary supplies to do so is not something to overlook.
18. Silver and Gold Jewelry
If the dollar fails, silver and gold will be the only currency that has any value. You wouldn’t want to exchange a silver dollar for something like a pack of toilet paper, which is why you want those bits and pieces of old jewelry.
Handing over an earring or a broken silver necklace makes much more sense. You could also melt down the broken silver and gold jewelry and make your own bars.
19. Solar Panels and Generators
Old solar panels or generators could be worth their weight in gold in a long-term power outage situation. You might need to learn a little bit about refurbishing solar panels or fixing generators, but the potential benefits far outweigh the initial time investment.
20. Storage Buckets
Storage buckets of varying sizes are among the most useful items a prepper can have. They can be used for storing literally anything (food, water, coffee, flour, herbs, soil, etc.) while keeping them protected from the elements. You’re also likely to spend significantly less money per bucket when you go through a garage sale as well.
Related Article: 15 Brilliant Uses for Buckets
After a major storm, you will need to take care of any repairs around your house. You may even need to build a shelter. Pick up extra screws, nails, hammers, wrenches, axes, screwdrivers, and so on.
Keep in mind that you can never have too many tools. If you have six hammers, you could always use one to barter with to get something else you need.
22. Used Books
From wilderness survival guides to edible plant identification, there’s a plethora of information to be gleaned from books. Don’t overlook old cookbooks either – learning to cook without modern conveniences is a skill unto itself. There’s also a good chance you’ll find a wealth of DIY and home repair manuals, perfect for when you have to handle repairs on your own.
23. Water Collection Supplies
Rain barrels, buckets, or even kiddie pools can be used for collecting rainwater, a potentially invaluable resource if public water supplies are compromised. Tarps and other large, waterproof materials can also be rigged up to funnel rainwater into your collection containers. Remember to have a plan for purifying any collected water before consumption.
24. Winter Clothing
Old flannel shirts, coats, gloves, and hats are very inexpensive at garage sales. Stock up on these things when you can. Buy several in varying sizes, especially if you have children that are going to be growing like weeds.
Having plenty of coats ensures you will always have something dry to put on if you have to go out and chop wood, hunt, or look for water.
25. Wood Burning Stove
Though not as common, a wood-burning stove is a fabulous find at a yard sale. When the power goes out and you’re in need of a warm meal, a wood-burning stove is a wonderful asset. Make sure to pick up a chimney cleaning kit too – you’ll need it for proper maintenance.
We hope you found this list helpful. If you’re a homesteader, check out these 17 Homestead Items to Look For at Yard Sales.
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