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    11 Off-Grid Items to Look For at Garage Sales

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    11 Off-Grid Items to Look For at Garage Sales

    Garage sales are the perfect place to find all sorts of treasures, especially if you want to prepare yourself to live off-grid. What others deem as trash may just be what you need to add to your stockpile. While you can purchase brand-new items to help with an off-grid lifestyle, you can save a lot of money and find diamonds in the rough by looking through local garage and yard sales.

    Keep an eye out for these off-grid items to look for at garage sales this year.

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    Tarps, Fabric, Curtains

    There are so many things that you can use as a temporary shelter. Look for old tarps in good condition, and heavy-duty fabric could help protect you from the elements. These items are great to have on hand and should cost just a few dollars. 

    Tarps are quite helpful in keeping away wet weather and can be used to make a quick shelter. Heavy-duty fabric is also a great way to shelter from the weather and can be rated for outdoor use as well. 

    Canning Jars

    It is pretty easy to find a box of unused old canning jars at a garage sale. Make sure that the jars are in good condition without any chips, cracks, or damage. Don’t worry if the jars don’t have lids and bands, as you want to always purchase new lids anyway. 

    Check each jar and look for brand labels, like Mason, Kerr, or Ball, to ensure that the jar is heavy-duty. Stay away from recycled glass pickle or mayonnaise jars that aren’t usually recommended for use in a pressure canner. Some mason jars found at garage sales are particularly old and can be worth quite a bit of money as well.

    Cord, String, Rope

    It is easy to overlook a pile of old rope, but it is such an essential part of living off-grid. Not only can cord and rope help build your shelter, but you can also use them as lashing or to hang up meat. Any kind of heavy-duty cord, like paracord, is a great find at a garage sale. String, cord, or rope is relatively cheap and can make a world of difference in an emergency. 

    Camping Gear

    Camping gear can be quite beneficial in an off-grid situation. Most camping gear is made to last and has great use in an off-grid living situation. Stocking up on lanterns, cooking equipment, or stoves is a great idea. Other items that are always useful include sleeping bags, hammocks, and lightweight dishes and utensils.

    Outdoor Hand Tools

    When you live off-grid, you will need some hand tools to aid your survival. Tools are often a large part of an estate or garage sales. Don’t worry about rust or those tools that look rough, as you can always repair or restore them back to great condition. Hand tools like axes, knives, saws, shovels, and manual plows are worth a lot to those living an off-grid lifestyle. 

    Large Containers

    Part of living off the grid requires you to have some sort of storage for water, food, and animal feed. Check local garage and yard sales for large containers that can withstand the weather. Plastic bins, large metal drums, or any kind of large container can help keep your family safe and healthy during an emergency. Some containers can even help you build an off-grid septic system or a gravity-fed water system.

    Use one to store clean water while another is used to make an underground cooler to keep food from spoiling. Containers with lids are pretty helpful in keeping away rodents and foragers that may contaminate or bring disease to your homestead.

    Bed Linens, Rugs, Curtains

    While buying bedding at a garage sale may seem odd, it is a good idea for those in an off-grid situation. Bed linens can include sheets, pillowcases, quilts, blankets, and comforters that are easy to wash and sanitize. Store the bedding in your stockpile to use on your bed and to add comfort. 

    Sheets can be used to help partition a living space as well as provide sunshade. Cut sheets into pieces to create lashing and strips of material that could be very helpful in an emergency. Rugs can add insulation as well as provide a soft spot for tired feet. Old curtains are also beneficial to provide shade as well as privacy.


    Old towels bought at a garage sale can easily be used in an off-grid lifestyle for a wide range of things. Towels can help insulate a shelter as well as be used for cleaning and keeping everyone warm. Don’t forget pets or livestock, too, who could use a few towels for warmth or use as bedding. You can also rip towels into strips to use for lashing as well.

    Cast Iron

    Any kind of cast iron cookware, dish, or pot can last decades with constant use. Cast iron is a formidable (and heavy) item that many off-grid homesteaders have in their kitchens. It cooks well, doesn’t wear out, and can be used in multiple ways over a fire. Look for cast iron that isn’t coated in enamel but is instead the usual metal color.

    Manual Kitchen Tools

    Those who live off-grid don’t have access to or want to use power from a municipal source. Manual kitchen tools help prepare food without the use of electricity. Look for hand tools, manual meat grinders, graters, and handheld manual blenders at garage sales. Peelers, can openers, and manual choppers are also helpful to have in an off-grid kitchen. 

    Sewing Supplies

    Living off the grid requires a few extra skills that many of us don’t have today. Sewing is a large part of living on a homestead, even if used just to mend holes or place buttons. Look for any sewing supplies that could be used on an off-grid homestead

    Buttons are valuable, as well as baskets of string, needles, and pins. Even if you don’t plan on making clothes for growing kids, a well-stocked sewing kit could mean the world of difference in connecting fabrics and making the shelter more comfortable. 

    Stopping to check out a garage or yard sale only takes a few minutes and could land you some awesome finds. Keep in mind all of these off-grid items to look for at garage sales next time you pass one by.

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      2 thoughts on “11 Off-Grid Items to Look For at Garage Sales”

      1. Thank you as an older person I do have quite a few older items so need to make sure they don’t get thrown out with things I really don’t need to keep

      2. I am 70 years old. I have experienced living with bare minimum growing up. There is a lot that I don’t know. I believe that something is going to happen and people. A.bunch of people are going to be caught with their pants down. People aren’t going to know how to take care of themselves or find things to eat or anything. These people whom are off the grid or prepared to go off the grid are in great shape. Then it’s going to be a lot of fighting, possibly killing by people whom don’t have a clue. They will totally go ballistic. I have some homestead books. Then I have the Foxfire Boos. I might should take a look at them again. Well I have rambled for a couple of minutes. We really do need to get serious about an alternate life style.


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