Poll Results –What are the Best Items to Store for Barter and Charity?

Here is the second increment of responses to our barter/charity items poll.  Please keep them coming, and I will post subsequent increments in the days to come.  Many thanks!

Teresa suggests:
Having recently survived in central Louisiana (the place where all the Katrina and Rita people evacuated too) I have paid attention to what items disappeared from store shelves first. This is a list from my area…
Baby formula
Baby Food
Gas Cans
Ammo and guns –the Wal-Marts in the area refused to sell any guns or ammo once the levees broke. This freaked everyone out so the hunting stores and pawn shops ran out and were out for a while)
canned food–esp chili and soups
propane camping stoves
little propane bottles
sleeping bags
OBTW, we are still experiencing shortages of ammo, large bags of rice, beans etc.


“TFA303” suggests:
Baby Formula. It stores for 2-to-3 years, and if the mother of a newborn is sick or dies in childbirth (probably much more common in TEOTWAWKI environment) could be a life saver for the baby. Soy-base formula would be best, as any baby can take soy, but not all babies can take milk-based formula. I would probably consider this a charity item rather than a barter item.

“Lone Gunman in Texas” suggests:
wristwatches – Swiss automatic or manual winding (NO quartz/battery powered) – How important will it be for having a good concept of time??? Can you/your group coordinate various functions and actions without synchronized time coordinates among the group?
Clocks – windup only – electric and quartz could be useless – Good small Swiss windup 8 day clocks are cheap(don’t waste $$ on the Asian JUNK) – how about an alarm? What physical stress will any of us be under, which may dictate limited sleep periods, and an alarm would be needed to get someone back on duty!
MREs would have value for barter and for charity
Small water filters , such as Katadyn and Berkey
Sport bottles, for individual carry in a backpack
Salt – in all forms and types – not only for seasoning, but for meat preservation–salt blocks for livestock and wild game lure, large bags of rock salt, stock salt, etc
Multi-function belt & pocket tools, such as Leatherman etc – small handy and invaluable (again, don’t WASTE $$ on cheap Asian copies!)
Eye glasses and reading glasses – even the magnifier type from the dollar stores (and can be bought online auctions in bulk & mix of magnification). Also sunglasses.
Plexiglas for window replacement etc
Heavy plastic film – cheap and in rolls
Sun block and moisturizers and makeup!
Does everyone have a “disguise kit”? a wig, a fake beard, etc – how valuable might it be to have the ability to disguise yourself for certain occasions and activities?
Tarps – all kinds and sizes
Band aids and bandaging materials and gauze
Scissors & Razors – all types/kinds/sizes & (men may neglect shaving but ladies will INSIST on an ability to do feminine shaving!)
Sewing repair kits – a variety of needles and thread
Coffee and  Liquor


“SEG” suggests:
First, I need to mention that no ammo or guns will be traded, except to known and trusted associates. Don’t want to arm a potential enemy.
Some items that I keep in addition to what others have suggested, include:
wooden clothes pins
vise-grip pliers
nails, wood screws, hasp and padlocks, etc.
soap of all kinds, especially antibiotic hand soap
Ziplock freezer bags, assorted sizes
back packs
trash bags, assorted sizes, plastic sheeting rolls
alcohol, medicinal and drinking
plastic containers – trash cans, tubs, bottles, etc.
insect repellant and bug bite soothers
poison ivy soother
plastic plates, bowls, cups, flatware
fly swatter, fly ribbon, mouse traps, bug spray
plastic wrap, alum foil, wax paper
tape – electrical, duct, strapping
zip ties
spices, especially salt, sugar, and honey
planting seeds
Note: My supply is limited, so I don’t intend to be the community store, but rather to have something useful to offer for something I might need.


“Mr. Yankee” suggests:
Not much to add to the barter poll except to reinforce what has already been said. My barter plan is to stock shelf stable goods for my own family, friends, and neighbors to use.
I stock nothing specifically for barter, but I would be more than willing to share what I have in exchange for something I need (even labor).
My rule of thumb for charity when it is clear that we will not be resupplied any time soon is to feed anyone in need a hot meal and a bit for the road. After that any adult will be required to contribute toward the homestead if they want more. Bartering what they have for my supplies that I can spare is fine, but so too is working for them. Here in the north country there will never be enough stove length firewood on hand for the next winter (no matter how much is already cut).
Regarding Firearms and Ammo:
I store multiple rifles to share with those I trust, but I would be very hesitant to trade any firearms or ammo away to anyone outside my trusted friends and neighbors.
Gasoline, toilet paper, and over the counter medicines: will be high demand. But, I doubt we’ll have more of them on hand than we are planning to use. I’m not sure I’d be willing to part with them either. I think these will be the primary items that I can barter for anything I find my home in need of.
The items most likely to share with those in need are those on hand which store and travel well.
Likely trades are:
Soap of all kinds (bar soap, hand soap, laundry soap),
Other hygiene products – dental floss, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo
Tea and coffee,
insecticides (ant traps, flea bombs, flea powders, mosquito repellant, garden spray, etc.) – if the crisis lasts more than a year these will be incredibly useful during the second summer.
Aluminum foil – a lot of people will be figuring out how to cook on campfires, fireplaces and woodstoves. [JWR adds: Aluminum foil is also great for making solar ovens.  A piece of glass scrounged from a picture frame will suffice for the oven’s top pane.]