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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Barter Larder

Original Article

Stocking Up On Trade Goods

I've mentioned my Barter Larder a couple of times.  But what is it?  Back during my prepping for Y2K I had a box set aside that I labeled as my Barter Larder, and it's stuck with me.  Essentially, it is my collection of items that I might be able to use for barter without dipping into my needed preps.  I can also use it for some charity as well.  Some of the items that currently live in my Barter Larder are:
  • buttons
  • needles and thread
  • travel-sized soap, shampoo, toothpaste
  • feminine hygiene products
  • 16 oz. water bottles filled with rice
  • small flashlights
  • ammo and holsters I no longer have guns for
  • work gloves
  • used, but name brand pocket knives
  • stocking caps and scarves
  • durable clothes that no longer fit (jeans, old BDUs, flannel shirts)
  • small first aid kits
  • convention backpacks and ditty bags
  • tools
The key to my idea of a Barter Larder is that it should contain items that I don't need, and that cost little or no money.  I don't know of anyone who is so complete in their preps that they can purposefully go out and buy items solely for future barter purposes.

Here's some ideas of how to build up your own Barter Larder at minimal cost or inconvenience:
  • buttons - every worn out dress shirt or jacket, cut off the buttons and stick them in a container - you might find a jar of old buttons at a yard sale for as little as a quarter
  • needles and thread - hotels often have courtesy sewing emergency kits in the bathroom, pick 'em up and add them to the larder - assuming you have a good sewing kit for yourself already
  • travel-sized soap, shampoo, toothpaste - free samples from the dentist or the store, freebies from the hotel bathroom again, often available for less than a buck at the store
  • feminine hygiene products - sometimes a lady will change brands or types while still having leftovers of the older type
  • 16 oz. water bottles filled with rice - I fill 3 liter water bottles with rice for storage.  Seldom does the number of bottles and pounds of rice come out even.  Leftover rice goes in a couple of clean, dry 16 oz. water bottles for barter or charity
  • small flashlights - free logo or promotional flashlights, bonus packs with batteries
  • ammo and holsters I no longer have guns for - if you've horse traded a gun or two in your time, you probably have some leftover ammo - need 2 rounds of .40 S&W, 77 rounds of .380 or 5 rounds of .357 Sig? come see me...  Years of police work and concealed carry have left me with more holsters than I have handguns for as well
  • work gloves - these can often be found at Lowe's, Home Depot, Northern Tool & Equipment, or other places on sale for 99 cents each or even cheaper.  I always grab a handful to keep in the shop, truck, and elsewhere, and a couple pairs make their way to the Barter Larder
  • used, but name brand pocket knives - I've got dozens of Wegner and Victorinox Swiss Army Knives, plus Bucks, Old Timers, Spydercos, and others - they can be found at yard sales, or in bulk closeouts for pennies on the dollar
  • stocking caps and scarves - I picked up a half dozen child sized watch caps at Wal Mart this week for only 20 cents a piece.  Spring is a great time to find super cheap cold weather gear
  • durable clothes that no longer fit (jeans, old BDUs, flannel shirts) - As I change in size, I put the outgrown durable clothes in the barter larder (lately, it's been because I've been getting smaller - a good thing!) - flannel shirts sometimes be found for $4-5 each, and after a season of wear, they have shrunk in the wash too much and go in the BL - sometimes thrift stores have everything in the bag for $5 sales and that can be a great way to add clothes to the BL
  • small first aid kits - promotional giveaways often have "band-aids" or small nylon pouches with a few pieces of first aid equipment
  • convention backpacks and ditty bags - if work sends you to different conferences, you probably don't need any more tote bags or those draw string backpacks - but a family needing some charity would be grateful to have one to carry their gear in
  • tools - upgrading from cheap tools to good ones - don't just get rid of the cheap ones - promotional giveaways sometimes include little multi-tools, screwdrivers, or even full kits
If you have something extra, before throwing or giving it away now, think about if it would be useful to someone during a SHTF scenario, either as a trade item, or as charity.  If you have the extra room to keep somethings, I encourage you to do so.


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