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Prepping on a budget: 10 Useful items you can buy at thrift stores and yard sales

Saturday, December 21, 2019 by

Thrift stores are retail establishments, usually run by charity organizations. The goods in these stores will likely be cheap and secondhand. For preppers, thrift stores are goldmines for equipment and supplies because they usually have a lot of cheap wares, from kitchenware to clothes and hunting supplies. Here are 10 prepping items you might find and should buy at thrift stores.


Even if you feel like you have enough clothes, you can never have enough, especially if you have kids that will grow out of their clothes quickly. Having a spare box of oversized clothing for your kids can save you a lot of time and money. Also consider going to thrift stores to buy footwear. Shoes wear out easily, and if you’re going to bug out, you’ll need extra shoes in case your old pair breaks down. (Related: How to find unique family heirlooms at thrift stores.)


Keeping your home warm will be difficult if the power goes out. An easy way to solve this is to get as many blankets as you can. Wrapping yourself in enough layers of blankets can keep you warm just as effectively as an installed heater.


The internet is a great resource. One quick search and you can find out about almost anything. However, if the internet goes down, you’ll need a different source of information. Thrift stores usually contain a lot of guide books that you can use such as cookbooks and repair manuals. If you have kids to look after, thrift stores may also have sets of children’s books that you can use to keep them busy.

Gun cabinets and cases

You need a safe place to store your weapons and ammunition. Thrift stores are likely to have corners of the store dedicated to selling cheap appliances like lamps and tables. If you’re lucky, that section will also have a gun cabinet where you can safely store your guns and ammo out of the reach of your children.

Alternatively, if you prefer a smaller, more portable storage unit, your local thrift store may also have gun cases. Having a gun case rather than a cabinet gives it the added benefit of portability.


If you prefer an alternative means of defending and sustaining yourself, some thrift stores may have a hunting bow. While firearms will come in handy, bows are also useful because they make no noise and are easier to carry around. Moreover, their other major components, the quiver, sight and arrows, can be homemade.

Fishing rods

Fishing is a reliable method of finding food, perhaps more so than hunting, since tracking wild game can take up so much of your time. Your local thrift store is likely to have a few spare fishing rods in the its hunting supplies section.

Canning jars

Preppers need to learn how to grow and preserve their own food. It’s for this very reason that they need to learn how to use canning jars. Be sure that the canning jars you buy aren’t cracked or chipped, as these may make your preserved foods go bad.


If you’re thinking of bugging out, you’ll need a bug-out bag where you can store all your emergency supplies. Backpacks are the best option, but you should also consider wheeled suitcases. If you’re bugging out in your family car, you can easily stack them in the trunk without any problem.

A jogging stroller

If you’re bugging out on foot and have a small child with you, consider a jogging stroller. These are different from regular strollers, as they can be used pretty much anywhere, from sidewalks and streets to trails, uneven tracks, grass, the beach and even thick snow.

There are dozens more useful items you can find at thrift stores. The trick is to think outside the box. Don’t limit yourself to the item’s original function, but consider its form as well. What else can you use a book, a suitcase or a canning jar for? In a thrift store shopping spree, the only thing that can limit you is your imagination.

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