Don’t pass up those older, maybe even oddly colored, blankets at thrift stores and yard sales. Those cheap blankets can serve many purposes and can easily be tucked into corners until needed. You should keep a small stockpile or several of blankets on hand, depending on your gardening and livestock keeping habits for the following reasons:
- Let’s start with the obvious, blankets keep us warm and in an emergency situation, sitting underneath and on top of blankets when there’s no or little heat can quite literally keep us alive. Having more than enough on hand means we can care for extra people as well – the elderly neighbor, extended family and friends who come to visit, etc.
- Keeping a garden is an important part of the homesteading lifestyle and a late spring or early fall frost can destroy our plants quickly. Keep extra blankets in the garden shed for frost protection. When the weather forecast looks ominous, toss the blankets over sensitive plants to protect them from the damaging effects of a light frost.
Add a pocket to one edge of a quilt and hang it from a tension rod in windows, to add an extra layer of warmth during frigid cold spells. This helps keep the cold out from drafty windows or even just large windows that get cold from sheer size. These window quilts can help keep cold out and heat in, helping us use less wood or other forms of heat energy.
- Use them as makeshift beds. A few blankets piled on a floor add padding and a slightly more comfortable sleeping space. It’s not as comfortable as a bed, but for extra guests in an emergency situation, it would be appreciated.
- Pets and livestock occasionally need bedding beyond just wood chips or straw, these blankets can be a just as much a lifesaver for them as they are for humans. Keep a pile in the barn or outbuildings specifically for animal bedding. At worst, they get destroyed and can’t be used again, but most likely they can be washed and re-used multiple times.
- Receiving blankets and other thin cotton and wool blankets can make great scrap fabric. Hold onto these to repair thicker quilts that get torn or for piecing together larger quilts and throws. Depending on your sewing skill level, they can often be fashioned into coats, pants, pajamas, and more.
To keep your stockpiled blankets in the best possible shape, store them in plastic garbage sacks, space bags, or even plastic tubs to keep them from getting dirty between uses and to protect them from pests like insects or mice, especially when being kept outside.