Thrift Store and Yard Sales
Sterling silver can have antimicrobial properties. Using this type of flatware can help ward off harmful bacteria. So if you can just pick one or two utensils up at a time, it’s worth it. These will run about 50 bucks a piece typically.
Survival Related Reference Books
Be on the lookout for survival related books that could include homesteading, gardening, primitive camping and wilderness survival. Tangible books will be a real asset in a SHTF scenario, not so much eBooks (unless you print them out).
A good grain mill can be as much as $300 plus. Finding them in yard sales and thrift stores can be easier than you might think. Make sure to ask to test it with wheat or some other type of grain before buying it. You can score a decent one for less than $50.
Not everyone is cut out for camping and people buy up sleeping bags, stoves, lanterns etc. only to go camping once or twice. They end up throwing this stuff into the yard sale pile.
Look for good name brands such as K-Bar, Cold Steel, Gerber and Swiss Army.
In a SHTF scenario, you could be your child’s teacher. Finding old school books and supplies could be a great find.
Lots of times you can find all sorts of clothing, especially winter wear. People go through coats like underwear. Most of the times they never even look worn.
If you find a pair of boots that are name brand and look in decent shape, consider buying them – especially if they are kids. Kids outgrow things and what’s to say it isn’t good enough for your kid? Even adults can find a pair or two – boots are good enough to get muddy and do the dirty work in.
Tools are somewhat irreplaceable items if you are left with nothing after a disaster. They are hard to re-create in nature. You can find some older made in the USA tools if you look hard enough which beat the heck out of the made in China stuff.
Battery Operated Appliances
Anything battery operated will come in handy as long as you have batteries to power them with. Following an EMP, battery powered fans, radios etc. will be coveted items.
It’s a great find at a yard sale, even if it’s inexpensive. Should be able to find a cheap-o for around 30 bucks.
Check out yard sales or estate sales for quality fishing poles and nets. Fishing may be part of your survival plan, so keep your eyes peeled for these types of bargains.
If you’re attending a estate sale, most of these types of supplies will be found in the actual garage. You can find emergency radios, lanterns, backpacks, first aid kits and more usually.
Tough Kids Clothing
If you have kids you probably already know the brands that are durable. Kids can really do a number on their clothes, so check out brands like Gymboree – they are some of the toughest little jeans out there. Also keep your eyes open for larger sizes when they hit their growth spurts.
People like to get rid of jars. They are great for starting your own canning system. Look for “Ball” brand jars. You can get the lids and rims on Amazon cheap. Other items to look for are magnetic lid lifters, funnels, jar tongs and pots. Make sure you do your research on this stuff though, sometimes you can find them cheaper brand new.
Manual Kitchen & Household Tools
Be on the look out for manual egg beaters, flour sifters, can openers and meat grinders. These work great in a power outage or EMP attack.
Cast Iron Cookware
People do sometimes sell this stuff at yard sales or estate sales. You can also find good deals on Amazon if you catch the sale price in time.
This basically goes along the same lines as the survival or homesteading books. Look for recipes for outdoor cooking, canning, dutch oven cooking with basic ingredients.
Gardening Tools & Supplies
This is a really easy find at yard sales. Gardening is a fad to most people and not a way of life so they end up throwing these out at their sales and at a solid discount.
First Aid & Medical Supplies
Sometimes you can get lucky and land an army first aid kit complete with surgical gloves, bandages, butterfly strips, surgical scissors and sterile gauze. If it’s an older person’s estate sale, lots of times they will have a hospice nurse or caretaker that may leave first aid items behind.
Hunting Supplies & Firearms
It’s probably rare, but sometimes you may find hunting rifles and possibly handguns for sale. Most of the time families will pass these down to other family members, but every now and then you can get lucky and simply ask the person in charge if they care to part with any weapons.