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Thrift Store Preppers: Second Hand Survival Supplies

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

Author of How to Prep When You’re Broke and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

I have a lot of old school items that I consider preps. From manual kitchen items and tools to old-fashioned containers for organizing, many of my preps were acquired second-hand or inherited. Whenever I go to a thrift store or a yard sale or peruse online marketplaces, I always watch for things that could serve me well in an emergency.

I have loved thrift stores and second-hand shopping my entire life. I remember being a little kid and begging my mom to stop at yard sales. She was never really into it – during her upbringing, that just wasn’t something people did unless they had no other option.

When I moved out on my own, I immediately decorated my dorm room with yard sale goodies and thrift store treasures. Everyone loved coming into my cozy room to hang out. I was forever hooked on the unique “other people’s trash” as my treasure.

Later, when I became a prepper, I certainly didn’t have the budget to go out and spend a fortune on shiny new gear. But I was able to acquire tons of things by shopping at thrift stores, yard sales, and online marketplaces.

My rotary beaters came from my granny, as did some sturdy kitchen canisters.  I have a manual typewriter from my dad’s office, as well as his assortment of hand tools. I inherited his medical books from college, and even though they’re out of date, I have found them to be valuable resources.

I found an old Singer treadle sewing machine, like the one I learned to use to make doll clothes when I was a little girl, on a lucky outing to a church thrift store when I lived in Canada. Over the years, I’ve probably gotten hundreds of mason jars from yard sales. I have picked up Merrell hiking boots in my size with the tags still on. Once, I even scored buckets of unopened survival food from an estate sale that were still more than a decade away from the expiration date printed on the bottom.

If I’m about to make a bigger purchase, I always see if I can find it used first. And the sky is the limit. I didn’t have a place for it so I didn’t get it, but I have even seen a Harvest Right freeze dryer on Facebook Marketplace.

What can you buy second-hand?

Here is a list of a few things you can be on the lookout for when you hit this summer’s yard sales and visit thrift stores. It is by no means comprehensive but I hope it gets your wheels turning for things you can acquire.

  • Cast iron cookware (don’t worry if it’s rusted – it can always be cleaned up and made like new)
  • Mason jars
  • Manual kitchen tools
  • Manual hand tools
  • Solar items (make sure they have all their parts: cords, charger, and accessories)
  • Non-electric sewing machines
  • Non-electric typewriters
  • Camping gear
  • Games and puzzles (for entertainment)
  • Books
  • Containers to stash and organize preps
  • Winter gear like coats, gloves, and hats
  • Canning pots
  • Gardening tools
  • Old-fashioned washboard
  • Buckets
  • Food-safe water barrels (I bought one that had contained pickles)
  • Farm gear
  • Candles and candle holders

Basically, if the item seems to have all its bits and pieces and doesn’t require power, it could be a good addition to your off-grid preps.

Here’s a video about buying preps at a thrift store

I also found this video from our friend Fred over at Modern Refugee. It turns out that he too is a second-hand shopper.

What about you?

Have you ever made any secondhand prepping scores? What’s the best thing you’ve ever gotten from a yardsale, thrift store, or marketplace? What is your favorite source for used preps?

Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterestGabMeWeParlerInstagram, and Twitter.

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