So much has been written on preparing solely for survival of TEOTWAWKI. What about after? What about five years after? Granted, if something minor happens and we could overcome it within a month or so, I truly see precious metals quite viable. However, should the whole world fall to its knees and we would be looking at years before any sort of progress could be made, I think material goods would be much more important.
This list is not meant to be a final checklist, but rather a starting point that you could adjust, add, or take away from. These are some items that you could stock, to start your own General Merchandise store:
Glasses: With so many people running around with contact lenses, lots of eyesight would be lost after the first few months of TEOTWAWKI. Try talking to friends and family that have old pairs of glasses lying around and ask if you may have them. If possible, keep the frames as similar as possible. This would allow you to change out one lens for another if need be. Go to your local pharmacy and purchase a few types of reading glasses as well.
Hearing Aids with Batteries: These are a bit more pricey, but if you can come across some save them for someone that may be willing to pay for them with a side of beef in post-SHTF situation.
Boots and Shoes: It seems all we hear about is the best type of clothes for when the SHTF, but what about footwear? People will be walking all day, everyday thus making shoes wear out faster. I’d recommend going to garage sales and second hand stores to stock up on various sizes and types of footwear for adults and children. Twelve months after TEOTWAWKI and people are going to want to ditch their sandals and oversized sneakers for a more durable and appropriate shoe.
Can Openers: You would be astonished as to the number of people I know that have stocked up on canned goods but only have an electric can opener. Buy a few dozen good quality hand can openers. These will likely sell fast.
Female Products: Per my wife’s instructions. Women will need time until they can make their own pads. Nuff said!
Herbs: Whether or not you know how to make herbal remedies, someone will. Possibly through a collection of people, enough remedies may become apparent as medicines. You could trade these herbs for some of the medicines that people would make.
Medical Supplies: Medical personnel close to you will probably have a small stock of supplies in their own home. This extra supply is so if they are unable to get to their work site to retrieve more. You could trade these supplies for some medical treatments.
Writing Supplies: Pencils, pens, markers, and paper. Most likely electricity will go out fairly quickly. Being able to write notes, signs, or for pleasure will become more commonplace.
Reloading Equipment: This isn’t necessarily for you to sell, but rather to make sellable products. Bullets will in a sense become a type of currency. It will be used daily for hunting and for protection. Carry sufficient equipment to reload common sizes such as .357, .40, .45, .223, .30-06, .308, 12 gauge, and others . Check out local tire shops. Some will give you the old lead weights for free.
Archery Supplies: This one is not really talked about in the prepper circuit, but is becoming slightly more popular. At some point and time, there will be no more cartridges [because there will be no more primers]. Period. That is until someone starts producing gun powder and cartridges. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you live in an area where guns and shooting are frowned upon, this will happen. A large number of hunters are becoming more involved with bow hunting. Carrying some extra arrows, heads, and strings will make you quite popular among these hunters.
Antiques: So when you inherited grandpa’s farm you got to looking around. You found old lanterns, a horse drawn plow, old hand tools, an antique sheller, etc. You understand the importance of these types of tools in a SHTF situation, so you bought new replicas that you know will last. Don’t chuck these antique originals in the junk pile. These can be sold to farmers who have not prepared, for a hefty price.
Fire Starters: Lots of people have matches and lighters in their house. Do you think they have sufficient to last five years? Stock up on strike anywhere matches, butane lighters, and magnesium fire starters. Once people realize there gas stove doesn’t light up without their electric starter, they’ll be calling you to trade.
Lubricants: Whether we experience an EMP or not, the lights will go out at some time. People will have generators and vehicles that are still going to run for awhile. I constantly read feuds between preppers over how many “trillions” of gallons of fuel they should have along with a stabilizer. What about oil for your motor? If you have enough fuel to last for three generations, how long will that motor last with nasty oil? Buy some common types of oils for two-strokes, gas vehicles, diesel vehicles, and tractors. Don’t forget to buy grease and penetrating lubricants as well.
Dental Care: There have been a few articles on the care of your teeth and gums, which means that people understand the importance of good dental hygiene. Stock up on toothbrushes and dental floss. People that understand the importance of these products will trade with high values.
Soap: Many people will start making their own soap, but many people will not know how. At fifty cents a bar, stock up on a pallet of this stuff. Even for certain people that are in love with their hair will use good old bar soap for shampoo. It sure beats using soap made from animal lard, or worse yet, no soap at all.
Kids Stuff: Children will be living in a far different place a year after TEOTWAWKI. No more Xbox, DVDs, iPods, and the list goes on. Most kids will be working to help the family survive by helping in the fields, homes, or learning a trade. However, we don’t want to completely throw away our children’s’ future. Stock up on some old fashion board games. These will not be solely for children, but for the whole family. When things calm down some, we will need to take some time to decompress everything that has happened. Stock up on story books along with textbooks. These children will someday be rebuilding the world we destroyed. Don’t let them lose their intelligence.
Adult Stuff: Kids aren’t going to be the only ones that will need to decompress. Our days will be long and difficult and at some point in we will have some down time to relax. As stated above, board and card games will help. Pick up some novels to sell that people could cozy up with next to a fire. Keep some bottles of perfume for women and some old car magazines for guys.
Tools: Most people have a socket wrench set and a hammer. If you live in the country, you probably have a mini hardware store in your shop. On the other hand, some people have a screwdriver and not much else. Keep a few extra tools around not only for yourself, but to trade as well. Sockets break, screwdriver tips wear down, and handles break.
Seeds: The starter prepper knows that they need "X amount" of food stored away. What about after it’s all gone? Seeds will become very important once people realize that TEOTWAWKI is here to stay and their supply of canned goods will not suffice until the lights come back on.
Canning Supplies: When harvest time comes around, people (hopefully) will have a bountiful crop of food. They will need a way to store this to get them through winter and into the next year.
Coffee and filters: The filters can be used for people that do not have percolators. They set their coffee pot up as normal and slowly pour hot water over the grounds. The filters can also be used to filter water for big chunks of stuff that we shouldn’t be drinking. As far as the coffee…we’re Americans. Coffee will be like gold!
Bibles: I stress that for this one, you use it not for trade, but as a gift. Help spread the word of God in a crucial time.
Baby Formula: Some children may not drink breast milk due to either a lack of lactation or an allergy to something in the milk. I do not think I would be able to use this as a trade or sellable item. Best leave this for a charity item.
Hand Pumps for Wells: I know of people that live in the country that are preparing to have the SHTF. They are storing food, fuel, water, and bullets. A number of these same people have yet to realize that when the lights go out, so does their well. Having a few of these around could be worth a huge amount in the barter world.
Solar Panels: For this, I would recommend putting them away in a faraday cage. Should an EMP blast occur, these could be trade to someone that is in great need of electricity such as a doctor, dentist, fire department, or the local Ham Radio operator to keep us up on the news. Don’t forget to also keep on hand batteries, charge controllers, cabling, connectors, and all the other goodies needed [to make small PV systems.]
Last, and certainly not least…. Books and Manuals:
Not everyone’s situation will be the same. You may live in an area without any medical personnel around. I may live in a climate that never gets below eighty degrees. Pick up books that people could use and the entire community could benefit from over time. Pick up a copy of Where There Is No Doctor or Seed Sowing and Saving. Find technical manuals and do-it-yourself (DIY) books. Purchase five copies of each one. Should you live in an area that is so desolate that your community is less than one hundred families; skills may not be readily present and must be learned. Knowledge is power.
The preceding list is just a guide. What I really hope to get out of this is for people’s minds to shift from preparing and trying to survive to looking past the final hour and realize that if you do survive, we will have to restart everything. If you are thirty years old, have all of you food, water, crops, and fuel squared away, start thinking about the next thirty to forty years you may live after the SHTF. We’ve focused long enough on getting ready for the big day, but what about the years and years after? As in the novel "Patriots" we will have bartering going on. We may even have some kind of barter stand that turns into a store. No matter how much you prepare and store, there will always be at least one thing that you forgot. That is why it will be important to have extra stuff, so that you may trade for that item that you forgot. Be Blessed in the difficult road ahead!