Topic Progress:

You are probably already in possession of many items that would have a high value in a barter system. The real problem is you likely don’t have the necessary quantity. For example, you probably have soap and basic first aid supplies, but do you have enough to keep for yourself and still trade with others? For most people the answer would be no. Take the time to look through the list below and see what you can add to your shopping list each week to increase your stockpile.

Useful Items for Trade

Some items have a greater intrinsic value than others. These are the items that other people will want and those that will be most difficult to come by during a time of instability. When you are creating your own stockpile, purchase items you will use on a regular basis when possible so a new supply is constantly being rotated in. You will also want items that can quickly and easily be moved should you need to change locations.

  • Alcohol–Medicinal grade alcohol but also the type that can be consumed.
  • Animals–Specifically animals that can be used for food or fuel. Those that continually produce food, such as bees, chickens, sheep, and milk producing mammals will be a constant source of bartering goods.
  • Antibiotics–Both oral and topical antibiotics will be in short supply.
  • Baby Wipes
  • Band Aids
  • Batteries–All sizes will be useful but especially those common for flashlights and other light sources.
  • Bleach–Bleach can be used to clean and disinfect and purify water.
  • Books–A well stocked library would include survival guides, field manuals, medical and first aid guides, local and regional atlas, craft and skill guides.
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Condoms
  • Cough drops
  • Dental floss
  • Drugs–Medications that are still within the expiration date will be the most valuable but many are still potent after the date on the packaging. Include a manual with the efficacy and shelf life expectancy for optimal barter value.
  • Duct tape
  • Essential oils
  • Fishing line
  • Flashlights and bulbs
  • Fuel–Any and all types of fuel.
  • Games and Cards
  • Gas stabilizer
  • Diesel additive
  • Eyeglasses–For bartering purposes you may want a variety of strengths, if you are more interested in making sure you are able to see well consider extras in your prescription and some that are stronger as well.
  • Hard candies
  • Heirloom seeds–These are seeds that have not been genetically modified. While non-heirloom seeds may be fine in the first year or two, long term they are not viable because most are not capable of sustaining reproduction.
  • Iodine–Try to keep both the tablet and liquid forms on hand.
  • Knives–All varieties of blades including assorted knives, box cutters, and razors as well as blade sharpening kits.
  • KY
  • Lighters
  • Matches
  • Orajel and Dentemp
  • Pain medications–Include oral and topical pain medications and those made especially for children.
  • Pencils and paper
  • Pepper spray
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Plastic bags–Plastic bags for garbage disposal, contractor bags, and bags for food storage.
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Precious metals–This includes any pre-1965 US silver coins
  • Repair Kits–The most popular examples will be shoe and tire repair kits.
  • Rope and cord
  • Shoes–Shoes that are new or in good condition are important especially for families with growing children. Work shoes will be necessary for adults as well.
  • Short season seeds
  • Soap–All varieties of soap including shampoo, deodorant soap, dish soap, laundry soap, and bar soap.
  • Spices
  • Sugar and Salt
  • Cloth Diapers
  • Sunscreen
  • Surgical gloves–Latex and non-latex for medical procedures.
  • Tarps
  • Tobacco
  • Toiletries–Items such as toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.
  • Tools–Tools will become more valuable as people begin to realize their need to repair rather than replace items.
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Wire–All types including wire for electrical appliances, phones, and fences.
  • Yeast

You may notice that food, weapons, and ammunition are not included. It isn’t that you won’t need these things but more that you likely won’t, or shouldn’t, be using them for bartering. If you are storing food choose those items with a long shelf life such as dried peas or beans, rice, and MREs. Ammunition and weapons stores that are known about by neighbors and those in the community may become a liability if those people become desperate enough.