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You’ll obviously want to stock up on water, preserved food, gasoline, guns and ammunition. However, while everyone else is making a run on the pharmacy and frozen food, load your cart up with these post–crisis trade goods.


This cannot be emphasized enough. Get as much salt as you can lay your hands on. Without refrigeration, salt is now your main method of preserving food. It’s also a necessity for the human body. If you’re not near a salt mine or the ocean, salt will become difficult to replace. Go for the iodinized salt first, as it will have a higher value than the kosher salt and rock salt you can get in larger bags. Use the iodinized salt for seasoning and the kosher and rock salt will be for preserving foods.


We love hygiene. Most people don’t have the faintest clue how to make soap from scratch, nor do they have any real idea how long a bar of soap or bottle of body wash really lasts. Ignore the body wash—it doesn’t last as long and it’s harder to store. Instead, lay your hands on as many bars of hard soap as you possibly can. In a few weeks, these will become insanely valuable.

Feminine Hygiene Products

Most ladies only have one box of these on stock at a time. Eventually, people will learn how to make reusable pads (Etsy sells them now) but for the first four to six months after a crisis, these are an invaluable commodity.

Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Processed sugar might as well be gold. Most parts of the United States can’t produce either sugar cane or sugar beets. Even if you’re in a sugar beet region, processing them into refined sugar is a massive undertaking.

Meanwhile, bees are suffering from colony collapse syndrome nationwide, so honey will be rare, precious, and expensive. In addition to stocking up on sugar, don’t pass up the sugar substitutes. Most of them have a highly concentrated flavor, which means they’re lightweight and easy to transport. Think of how many servings of Splenda are in a box and how light it is compared to a pound of sugar.

Minor Medical Supplies

Pharmacies will be one of the first areas looted, but in addition to prescription drugs, there will be a huge need for over the counter minor medical supplies. Band-aids, rubbing alcohol, Neosporin, ACE bandages, and all the other small things we take for granted in a minor injury will become major valuables.

Practical Women’s Shoes

Within a week, sneakers, work boots, and solid, durable practical women’s shoes will become an incredibly valuable long term commodity. Many women will think they own a surplus of shoes, but most of those shoes are likely to be decorative pairs of fashionable heels or sandals, many of them quite flimsy and made to fall apart in one to two seasons. Once feet become people’s main form of transportation, useful women’s shoes will be a rare and valuable resource.