21 Things To Look for Every Time You Go To a Yard Sale or Thrift Store
The Survival Mom
by Lisa Bedford: What
I Wish I Had Done Differently
silver flatware – Even if you can only afford to buy a spoon or
a fork at a time, sterling silver is known to have antimicrobial
properties. Some people believe that simply using silver flatware
as everyday eating utensils can ward off harmful microbes. Typically,
a single piece of silver, such as a spoon, will run about $50.
Buy from reputable sellers, such as established estate sale agents
and thrift stores.
related reference books – Peruse Amazon lists such as this
one and become familiar with titles, authors, and subject
areas. Books about homesteading,
skills, primitive camping,
survival, and so much more are very often found for just a
couple of dollars, or less. Other books to look for: Boy
Scout manuals, Foxfire
books, and issues of Backwoods
Home magazines and anthologies.
- Grain mill
– A good mill can run upwards of $300 and more, but it's not uncommon
to find them in yard sales and thrift stores. Familiarize yourself
with good brand names, ask to test the mill with actual wheat
(if possible), but otherwise, I've found mills in very good condition
for less than $50.
equipment – Good quality tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, lanterns,
cots, etc. are often sold at very low prices by people who thought
camping was a great idea, tried it once or twice, and decided
to stick with hotels! Their loss is your gain!
- Good quality
knives – Look for brand names such as K-Bar, Cold Steel, and Gerber
and know how to spot
quality. A Swiss Army Knife is also a good find.
supplies – In a crisis, you may end up being your children's teacher.
Workbooks, classic literature, flash cards, math manipulatives,
textbooks, and even school supplies are very often for sale by
homeschoolers who are moving up a grade or have decided to liquidate
their stockpile of school supplies.
- Winter wear
– I once picked up a super heavy duty men's winter coat for ten
dollars. I was thrilled because it looks like it's never been
worn and came in a dry cleaner's bag. Look for snow boots, winter
gloves, and other pieces of winter wear, and if you have kids,
buy this clothing in a size or two larger for future winters.
- Boots –
Work boots, riding boots, gardening boots, mucking boots, military
boots, motorcycle boots, cowboy boots, hiking boots, desert boots
– who knew there were so many different kinds of boots? Check
for quality construction and material as well as wear and tear.
When it comes to taking care of your feet, always go for quality.
- Tools –
There's just something about old tools from the 40's and
50's that beats the heck out of today's "Made in China"
label. Some sellers are savvy to the higher quality of their tools
and may ask a bit more, but in the long run, it will be worth
appliances – I get a lot of questions about survival following
an EMP or long-term power outage. If you find battery powered
fans, important appliances, and other tools, buy them, just to
be ready for a power-down scenario. Be sure to stock up on the
appropriate batteries as well.
- Food dehydrator
– No need to be a snob about this. I still use the inexpensive
Harvest dehydrator I bought a few years ago on Craigslist.
I spent $30 and got extra trays, fruit leather trays, and even
a couple of screen
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© 2012 The
Best of Lisa Bedford