Should You Warehouse Goods For Future Trade?

By: Tom Chatham

There are many common themes espoused by those preparing for future difficulties. One of the things many will agree on is the need to store an ample supply of food. This should be enough to take care of your needs and possibly extra to share or trade with others. The need for storing excess wealth is another concern if you have wealth to preserve. This is usually done with precious metals that are compact and easily transportable. Beyond these obvious items what you may want to store depends on your location and situation.

One item many will want to store is extra ammo which is a sure bet to be worth more in the future and be in high demand. Other items will depend on the things you perceive others in your area will likely seek out in desperate times when supplies are scarce and distribution systems are unreliable.

Some may argue that all excess wealth should be stored in food or metals. The problem is you are limited to the space available to you and the ability to move those items if relocation becomes necessary. If storage is not a problem another thing you must consider is what will you trade for if the only things available are food and metals.

Even in the most desperate circumstances people will eventually need some of the other necessities in life such as hygiene items, tools and clothing to name a few. Once you are beyond the point of possible famine people will start to look for the other things that make life more livable. Some things people will gravitate to will be pleasure items such as liquor or tobacco products.

The more products available in the area the more trade will progress into large scale barter and sales. Those that hold silver or gold will eventually want to trade it for something they need. If you have some of those things in demand you will have the opportunity to establish a thriving business to rollover and increase your holdings.

Some of the things you may carry may be impulse items such as hard candy, knives, gloves, jewelry or beauty supplies. These things are items people are willing to sacrifice to get if they decide they want it even if it is not necessary to their survival.

There are legitimate reasons for warehousing goods for later sale or barter. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990’s one of the reasons they were able to get by was the fact that many of the stores had goods stored in their storage rooms. In the past, businesses in the U.S. operated the same way. Stores would get delivery every week and stock enough extra to keep the shelves full until the next load arrived. Today we have a just in time delivery system where stock is monitored by computers and when levels get to a certain level the computers automatically reorder a certain amount of goods for next day delivery. Very few modern stores carry inventory in the back room to keep the shelves full. When the delivery system breaks down, stores can run out of product almost immediately. This is why a catastrophic event will be even worse in the U.S. in the future.

With no excess inventory to absorb the buying pressure in the days following an event people will panic. Once the shelves are empty and no stock is available to the public the situation will deteriorate quickly. A person with a mini warehouse should not attempt to sell goods in the immediate aftermath of an event but should store supplies until a later date when the situation stabilizes and resources are almost impossible to find. It is in this time that some availability of goods will help the local population to move forward and reestablish some type of normalcy and begin the rebuilding process.

Commerce in the form of sale or barter is one of the building blocks to a vibrant community. The availability of goods will encourage the necessary work to earn the goods wanted. Work is the foundation of a prosperous society. If there is nothing to gain by work, only the minimum amount will be done for the purpose of basic survival. This will cause stagnation and prevent advancement of the community that will benefit all. Even the existence of one mini warehouse in a community will go far in advancing the recovery and stability of a community after an event. In extreme cases this product availability may not be possible for weeks or months following an event but the longer the duration before release of goods, the more valuable they will likely be to the community.

Several persons coordinating what they will warehouse will provide wider coverage and greater benefit in the end. There are many that may say having a substantial supply of goods will make you a target in any chaos that follows an event but that is only one of many problems you will likely face in such a situation. Secrecy is a major component in any long term plan following societal chaos.

In any given breakdown, stability will eventually return to society and it is then that stored goods will help to move the population forward in a positive way. Storing some of your excess wealth in such a way may be plausible for many. After a major event, the possession of gold and silver will be more valuable if you have something in the community to trade it for. Keep in mind that gold and silver are merely a medium of exchange, for them to be valuable there must be something useful to trade them for. There are many goods that would be difficult to produce in local communities after a crisis so the storing of them now will only add to the value of locally produced goods.

This type of storage plan may only work for a few but that is all that is needed to make a significant difference in the aftermath of an event. What you store, how much and how in depth you go is something you will have to decide for yourself. Only you can decide what will be most valuable to your community after the crisis passes and people decide to get on with their lives. Keep in mind that storing goods for after the crisis is different from storing goods that will be needed during the crisis such as food or ammo. You may want a plan for both situations. Even a few footlockers full of selected goods will go a long ways after a serious crisis. No plan will ever be perfect so a great deal of thought needs to happen to insure you are at least close to your target.

One other thing to keep in mind is that durable goods stored now will almost certainly be more expensive in the future which is one way to leverage your wealth. A mini warehouse is a way for someone to create a source of income for their family after the crisis and provide goods to the community to help fill the gap until normal production of goods resumes. There are many items that people desire that are relatively inexpensive now but could demand high premiums if they suddenly become unavailable. The amount of money you decide to allocate to such a program will determine what supplies you store. Someone with considerable wealth to put into supplies may store more expensive items such as boots or quality clothing while most people will be relegated to storing smaller inexpensive items. The following is a list of possible items to consider.

Disposable lighters
Zippo lighters and replacement supplies
Inexpensive knives
Winter hats
Lamp wicks
Lamp mantles
Lamps and lanterns
Bulk propane
Rechargeable batteries
Medical supplies
Hardware supplies
Playing cards
Tire repair kits
Bicycle repair parts
Canning supplies
Kitchen cutlery
Manual kitchen utensils and appliances
Hygiene supplies
Ink pens
Writing tablets


Posted on March 25, 2014, in Preparedness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If one REALLY believes that such goods won’t be available, then you’ll probably be flying to warehouse enough stuff JUST for yourself…forget trading any of it away !

    Some examples:

    Take something as simple as toilet paper ( and no, I don’t want to get into the argument you don’t have to have it, much of the world doesn’t ): I found we use two rolls/wk of a certain brand/size ( which they are always playing games with and reducing the amount as time goes on to hide the fact there really IS inflation ).

    So, over the course of a few months some years back, I made it a point to go to the store(s), and buy packs of ‘our’ brand/size. I then built a bunch of boxes out of plywood leftovers about 24x24x40″ ( or something like that….been a while back ). Lined each box with 4mil plastic, put 6-24roll packs…..144 ‘double’ rolls of Northern…. in each box, screwed the lid on the box, and wrapped the outside with heavy 6mil plastic, stapled and taped. Total of 12 boxes. 1728 rolls…..864 weeks worth…..around 16 years worth. Now those 12 boxes take up a fair amount of room….I’ve got them in the loft of one shed, the loft of my shop, and so on. LOT of folks don’t even have the room to do these kind of things.

    Canning Jars/lids:

    I figure we could live on two quarts/day of canned foods ( supplemented by fresh/frozen/dried foods ), so we needed about 800 jars (+ some breakage allowance) About 70-80 cases.

    So, about 10 years ago, I bought a whole pallet of quart jars (60 cases..4’x4’x5′) from a local country hardware store that got them in by the trailer load. They’re out of business and gone now, unfortunately, but they sold all kinds of cool stuff like in big volume. We already had 20 or so cases quarts and 15-20 cases pints, around from the ‘normal’ canning we’d done up to that point.

    Once you have the jars, you need to stock a PILE of lids. I order them from, a place in Florida, by the case also. According to our last inventory ( yes….we INVENTORY…you use stuff, you replace stuff ), had about 6,000 wide mouth and 2500 narrow mouth single pc lids. Also have a couple hundred Tattler reusable lids. ( Plastic lid, separate rubber ring )…..that’s about 10 years worth, but if NO more were ever manufactured, who would want to trade them away ?

    And so on and so on and so on….foods, fuels, ammo, chainsaw chains/parts…..heck, you just about name it, and I’m probably stocked up ON it if it will store long term.

    Not only does doing this kind of stocking up take a LOT of time, it takes a lot of your MONEY, and takes a LOT of places to physically store it. I have 8 barns/sheds (not counting the house proper) on site I’ve built over the years, and most of them are packed with some type of prep materials in one corner or another.

    • Way to go Andy, now that’s what I call warehousing! I believe in a system wide breakdown some things will disappear within a few weeks such as TP because most people don’t store very much of it. I like to remain optimistic and assume some type of production and distribution system will emerge again within several years. It’s the time between these first weeks and years that trade-able goods will be useful for trade. You are right about one thing, if a breakdown lasts far longer than a few years anyone with stored goods will likely save them for personal use. I think if it comes to that, most people will have a good sense of how long it may be before things will likely start getting better. All we can do is prepare the best we can.

%d bloggers like this: