I have to confess, I don’t normally think of the Salvation Army as one of my top prepping stores. I’ve shopped for prepping equipment and supplies at a lot of different places through the years. Even so, I’d kind of forgotten about the Salvation Army, until my wife sent me there looking for a vintage pole lamp. Since I was in the store anyway, I took the opportunity to look around and see what sorts of things I could find that would be useful for prepping.
One of the keys to shopping in a place like this is to think outside the box. You’ve got to think about the form of the item you’re looking at, not just its original function. While it might be useful for that original function, there might also be other ways in which you can use the item. Just as long as it does the job, who cares if it looks tacticool? Isn’t it better if it doesn’t?
On this trip, most of what I found would be used for its original purpose; but that’s not true of everything. There were a few items I saw, which caught my eye for how they could be repurposed. But there were also items I expected to see, mostly because I’ve bought them at Salvation Army before, yet were AWOL this trip. This just shows that you can never be sure what you’ll find at a trip to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.
I found some fishing rods hiding off in a corner of the store, in a place I didn’t expect to. This made me think that someone had stashed them there, as if they didn’t want others to find them. What made it even more suspicious was that there wasn’t any price on them. So I suppose it could have been a worker who placed them there, hoping to buy the batch themselves.
Nevertheless, I found them; reminding me, yet again, that fishing is the most reliable method of harvesting food from nature. So there’s no such thing as having too many fishing rods. They will always be useful in a survival situation.
When the power goes out, one of the problems we’re all going to face is keeping our homes warm. At least, that’s a problem we’re going to face in the wintertime. Without the central heating we’re all used to, this is going to be a challenge, especially if the house doesn’t have a fireplace.
One of the many answers to that is to pile as many blankets on the beds as possible and share body heat. With enough blankets piled up, you can stay warm, even without that heat running.
We’re used to learning anything we need to know off the internet these days, but what will we do when there’s no internet to go to? As long as there are books around, we should be okay. Almost everything that mankind has discovered in the last several hundred years is written in a book somewhere, if you can just find the book.
This particular shelf of books was filled with do-it-yourself books and cookbooks. There were even a couple of cookbooks for those with diabetes and other serious medical conditions. Those looked useful, like something that might even save a life.
Then I spotted this fascinating set of children’s books. Keeping our children busy and happy is going to be a challenge in any post-disaster world. I think this set of “ChildCraft” books would have a real use in such a time, giving our children something to do and teaching them at the same time.
I was a bit surprised when I found this compound hunting bow hanging on the wall.
It’s a bit old and looks like it could use some restringing; but I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t work.
It would need a sight and the quiver is missing some pieces.
But all the major components of the bow are still there. with a little bit of work, someone could have themselves a nice survival bow here, both for hunting and for survival self-defense.
Speaking of weapons, they had a nice gun cabinet, AKA “arsenal” just sitting there, waiting for some hunter or prepper to come along.
This one will hold nine long guns, with space for ammo in the drawer below. While it didn’t have any sort of lock to keep the kiddies out, that wouldn’t be all that hard of a problem to fix.
While a lot of people prefer a gun safe these days, gun cabinets were the main method of storing long guns for many years.
I still have friends who keep their collections (arsenals) on display, in cabinets, whether just to show them off or to scare criminals away.
Related: How And Where To Store Ammo
And Gun Cases
Of course, if you don’t want to keep your guns in a cabinet, you’re still going to need someplace to store them. How about this nice gun case?They actually had several of these nice, hard-shell cases; including a couple of brand-new, top brand ones.
I could tell that they knew what they were by the prices on them too, although they were still much cheaper than buying them new in the sporting goods stores.
This was one that I was expecting to find and I was actually surprised how few I found.
Even so, I did find some canning jars at my local Salvation Army. Considering that more and more preppers are growing their own food and preserving it, this was like finding gold.
I don’t know about you, but I never pay full-price for canning jars.
Rather, I always buy them second-hand, unless the glass gets cracked or chipped, there’s really nothing that can go wrong with them, so buying them second-hand saves the money I would otherwise spend on them, so that I can use it for other things. I just keep my eyes open and buy them when I can.
Related: Canning Amish Poor Man’s Steak
When most of us think about a bug out bag, we think about a backpack. That’s usually the best option. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the only option or that we should limit out thinking.
This suitcase looked to be rugged and it had wheels. It would make a great bug out bag as well, and since it doesn’t have that “tacticool” look to it, it would be much more stealthy than a military-style backpack with MOLLE straps on it.
The other thing to consider is that if you’re bugging out in a vehicle, you’re going to be taking more than just your bug out bag anyway. In that case, the other bags will probably be suitcases of some sort. So you want to make sure you have enough to fill your vehicle and to carry whatever you’re going to be bringing with you.
A Jogging Stroller
Speaking of bugging out, this jogging stroller really caught my eye. If you have small children and are bugging out on foot, you’re really going to need something like this.But even if you don’t have small children, this stroller could easily be modified for carrying bags, suitcases, and just about anything you could imagine. Why, I can even see a perfect spot for putting a saddle-type sheathe for a long gun on it.
This is a perfect example of repurposing. Here we have something that’s designed to haul stuff, while not hindering the person pushing it along. While it is designed specifically with children in mind; the basic configuration is readily altered for use with a wide variety of other things. Just removing the canopy alone will make it possible to haul your bug out bag and a couple of other duffels, with no further modifications.
The one thing we all know we can find at any Salvation Army Thrift Store is clothing. What does that have to do with prepping? Well, even if you have enough clothing for yourself, I doubt you have enough for your kids. Kids grow, which means that the clothing they go into the disaster with are only going to fit them for a few months, maybe a year at the most.
One of the things we all need to add to our preps, but few do, is oversize clothing for our children. Most kids go up roughly a size a year. But we only have the size they’re wearing now. In addition, it would be a good idea to have some boxes in the attic or basement, filled with all the clothes they’ll need for the next few years. Sort it by size, one size per box, so that all you have to do is pull out the next box, when they are ready for it.
My wife did this, when our children were smaller. She would always keep her eyes open for kids clothing at the Salvation Army and garage sales. When she found something she liked, she’d buy it and add it to the appropriate sized box in the attic. That way, we always had a couple of years worth of clothing ready for when our children needed it.
Such a move not only helps with prepping, but it can save you a bundle. If you’re buying new clothing for your kids every time they grow, you’ll spend a bundle. We didn’t, because she had bought it when she could get it cheap.
Speaking of clothing, the same wife who did such a great job of stockpiling clothing for our kids, wouldn’t buy herself a pair of hiking boots. That’s just not her style, so spending $100 or so on a pair of boots that she didn’t even like just didn’t work for her. But I was able to find her some at the Salvation Army, at a price she was willing to pay.
If you’re going to bug out, you’re going to need hiking boots. Don’t try doing it with just tennis shoes; they don’t give your feet or your ankles the support they need. Hiking boots are much more rugged, making them ideal for a bug out.
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