Survival Gear At Garage Sales

AKA; Survival Gear Sale

Prepping doesn’t have to cost a lot of money if you know how to look for bargains. Garage sales and yard sales are great places to scoop up cheap survival items you might need for an emergency. The old saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure certainly applies here.

Many people holding garage sales don’t know the true value of what they’re selling, or they simply don’t see items for how useful they are and end up selling them for next to nothing. When yard sale season is here, get out there and start hunting down the things you need.

Make a list and take it with you. Don’t assume you will remember because there are quite a few prepper items to look for. Here is a shortlist of them…

1. Cast Iron Cookware

This stuff tends to be pretty pricey when buying brand new, but you can get it for about half the price at a garage sale. Cast iron pans are exactly what you need for cooking over an open fire, which is going to take the place of your kitchen stove when the power is out.

Keep in mind that if you buy used cast iron cookware, it will probably be very old and in need of restoration and seasoning. Which is not hard to do and can make it like new.

2. Camping Gear

Anything that has to do with camping, i.e. cookstoves, tents, lanterns, sleeping bags, and so on can all be major assets to your emergency stash. When the power is out or you are forced to bug out, camping will be the way of life and any gear you can bring along will make life easier.

3. Winter Clothing

Old flannel shirts, coats, gloves, and hats are very inexpensive at garage sales. Stock up on these things when you can. Buy several in varying sizes, especially if you have children that are going to be growing like weeds.

Having plenty of coats ensures you will always have something dry to put on if you have to go out and chop wood, hunt, or look for water.

4. Gardening Tools

Buy extra hoes, rakes, shovels, and other gardening equipment. Your prepper garden will need tending and you will likely not have gasoline to run your equipment.

These tools tend to break after time so you want to have backups. You also want to have plenty of tools so more than one person can tackle a big job at the same time.

5. Tools

After a major storm, you will need to take care of any repairs around your house. You may even need to build a shelter. Pick up extra screws, nails, hammers, wrenches, axes, screwdrivers, and so on.

Keep in mind that you can never have too many tools. If you have six hammers, you could always use one to barter with to get something else you need.

You can also find a list of the ones I consider necessity here at Powerless Tools For When There Is No Power.

6. Manual Kitchen Tools

Visit garage sales where older people have lived. You are sure to find old hand grinders and a variety of other hand kitchen tools that will come in handy when you don’t have electricity. Look for can openers, meat grinders, graters, manual hand mixers, and so forth.

7. Medical Supplies

Garage sales that are held following someone passing away who had a long illness are great places to find unused medical supplies. You can often find crutches, splints, slings, and bandages that are all unopened.

Look for boxes of gloves, face masks, and unopened packages of alcohol wipes and syringes. People will typically sell these items for very cheap just to get rid of the evidence of a loved one’s illness and passing.

8. Canning Supplies

There are plenty of people who don’t want grandma’s old canning jars, canner, and all the tools that go with it. Home preservation is something preppers need to do in order to store up enough food to last them for several months. Jars can also be used to store water.

9. Hunting Gear

When there are no grocery stores, you may have to hunt for your food. Buying new hunting gear at a big box store can be very expensive.

10. Bug Out Bag Gear

You are sure to find things like lighters, matches, rain ponchos, knives, and other things you can put into your bug-out bag. You could also look for small tarps and even backpacks that can be used to make a bug-out bag.

If you are unsure about building a bug-out bag go to this link, Build a Bug Out Bag.

11. Storage Buckets

Storage buckets of varying sizes are among the most useful items a prepper can have. They can be used for storing literally anything (food, water, coffee, flour, herbs, soil, etc.) while keeping them protected from the elements. You’re also likely to spend significantly less money per bucket when you go through a garage sale as well.

12. Sewing Supplies

While stocking up on spare clothing is essential, just as critical is purchasing sewing supplies so you can repair clothing, blankets, towels, and anything else made out of fabric. Look for old sewing machines in good condition, needles, canvas, fabric, and so on.

Remember, when disaster strikes, your clothing will inevitably become torn and dirty, and there won’t be any resupply from online or physical department stores. Learning how to repair your clothing, and having the necessary supplies to do so is not something to overlook.

13. Quality Knives

It’s no secret that quality knives can be very expensive. But again, it’s possible to find quality blades for discounted prices when you go to garage sales. Even if the blades have become rather dull (hence why people may be selling them), you can still easily sharpen them yourself if you know or learn how to do so.

In addition to knives, look for machetes, axes, hatchets, tomahawks, scythes, and other bladed weapons to add to your stockpile.

Survival Gear Sales

Just another way to look at a garage sale. There are so many things out there one could acquire dirt cheap. Just remember to make a plan, develop a list, and organize your storage so you are ready before you have to be.

If you need some guidance you can get the free guide by filling out the form in the sidebar or go here.

And always remember, you must have water!



6 Replies to “Survival Gear At Garage Sales”

  1. This is a great proper list of useful stuff you might acquire at a garage sale. I especially like the idea of seeking out garage sales ran by older people where manual kitchen tools may be available at a good price. Younger folks today are lost without the Cuisinart. Necessity was the mother of invention for older folks, especially those that lived through the Depression. My aunt took over the country store my grandfather built in the 20s. She ran it for nearly 60 years. When it was time to close up shop, everything had to go and she had a mega-garage sale. I remember my 20-something nieces looking at some of the various hand-cranked kitchen tools trying to figure out what they were. I admit, even I didn’t know some of them. But they would be good things to have in a pinch.

    • Hi William,

      You are absolutely correct! When one is thinking about being prepared for survival through a disaster, the best mindset is to put yourself in the perspective of how our ancestors did it before the grid was a thing. There were so many cool gadgets that were invented to make things possible without powered equipment. 

      I remember growing up, all of us grandkids would have to help harvest the 3-acre garden and go through the canning process with my grandmother who lived through the depression with 8 children. I think these skills I acquired as a youngster are some of the most essential I have learned for survival. I have done all I can to pass them on to my children also.

      I do have to say though, there have also been some cool inventions that can make some of these things a lot easier too. You can find some of those on this link. Where To Start

      I thank you for your interest and wish you the best! Remember to PrebB4 so you are ready before you have to be!


  2. Anything at one of these sales is likely to be a bargain, and things like cast iron cookware you can also use around the house, not just in a survival situation, which is even more added value. A set of quality knives is the same in this regard, and is something I would look for regardless.  Gardening tools and camping gear is found more often than you would think, and are great to have just in case. This seems to be a very thorough list, and I think you can find most of the stuff on here quite easily. Great post!

    • Hey Alex, 

      What you have pointed out here is key to preparing for survival on a budget. Most of the things I have for survival are things that I use daily. In order to be truly prepared though, you have to have some extras stored away. That way if things are extended and something gets broken, lost or stolen you have a backup. 

      I wish you the best!


  3. Hi, I’ve just read this helpful article you’ve written about survival gear at garage sales. Sometimes we disregard the bargains we get together with quality from garage sales. I agree that many people holding garage sales don’t actually see the value they are selling because of the quality they sell with just low prices. I have checked powerless tools for when there is no power as you’ve advised gathering my list. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article and I’ll also be sharing it too because it can help many people.

    • Hi Kokontala, 

      I am glad you found this article helpful! This is a great topic that I truly enjoy researching and trying to help others realize this is something we should all do. It is best to be ready before you have to be.

      You are definitely off to the right start. Read up a little and make your list. Garage sales will be here before you know it. As you said, the quality of some of the things you can get for next to nothing can be surprising just because someone wants to get rid of it.

      Once you have stocked up and are able to stay in, you will be ready to prep for bugging out. In the event the shelter you had planned to be in during a natural disaster is removed from the equation, you will need to be able to bug out. I also have information on that at Build A Bug Out Bag.

      Stay focused, stay motivated, and be ready before you have to be! 



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