In a situation in which currencies have lost their value, regardless of how well you have stocked up, eventually you will need some item or skill that you do not possess. So how do you get it, do you beg or depend on the kindness of strangers. I hope not and that you have stocked up well and have a network of family or friends with whom you can barter.
While I believe in operational secrecy, there is always safety in numbers and working together. Now that doesn’t mean that I am going to invite people over and show them what I have stored. With very few exceptions, I would prefer to do any bartering away from my home. I believe in many communities that you would see a market area develop.
This brings up the subject of how and what to barter. I recently wrote a post on Bartering, For many a Lost Art. Click on the link for information on this subject. Now that brings us to the subject of what to trade. Now, I know people who stock items with the intent to use them for barter. This is ok if you have everything you need first, but most of us will never reach this point.
I think that barter will revolve around what we grow, produce or the skills we possess. Simple skills and having the tools to perform them will become valuable. Things like sharpening a handsaw, soap making, candle making, tanning hides, blacksmithing and other types of repair work. It seems like everytime I grow a garden, I have an abundance of something. This can be preserved or traded for something else.
If you discover that you are overstocked on some item of preps, I am sure someone else will need it. There are two items that I would caution you about trading and that is alcohol and ammunition. I have talked to individuals who advocate building a still and producing alcohol for sale. Personally, I think that this type of bartering will be a problem to you and your community. There is always someone who will cause problems while drinking and who knows what element of people it will attract.
Ammunition is something I would be very careful about bartering. If you trade ammo to the wrong person, it may be used against you. I think that the most valuable items other than maybe food, will be medical supplies like antibiotics. Many people who have chronic medical conditions will run out of medications rapidly. These types of medications or there herbal substitutes will be extremely valuable. Knowing and being able to produce herbal medications will be a good skill to have.
I believe that in almost any situation that you imagine, commerce will start up almost right away. Being able to produce marketable items or the skills to do repairs, will let you barter for the items your family needs.