After a major event things start to change on what is valuable. Need makes the supply and demand of items important. Here are some items it would be good to have extra of for trading for other items you may need.
Cigarettes. I hate smoking, and can’t stand being around anyone that smokes. Having said that, I recognize that in a SHTF situation many others will be cut off from their access to cigarettes, so there is plenty of barter potential.
Soap. Bars of soap, and even those little cleaning napkins/wipes that you get at the BBQ restaurants could be very valuable in a SHTF scenario. Ever see “The Book of Eli?”
Bullets. Obviously, it’s a good idea to have a decent store of ammo representing all calibers of the weapons you own. However, it is also a good idea to store extra ammo in common calibers (9mm, .22, .38, 12-guage shells, etc.) as a potential barter. After all, a gun without ammo is just an inaccurate throwing object.
Alcohol. Alcohol could serve a variety of purposes in a SHTF situation. It is valuable as a potential bartering commodity, and it also has medicinal uses. Did you know Vodka is a great home remedy to counteract the reaction to poison ivy?
MREs. More portable and easier to barter than larger 5-gallon buckets, or even #10 cans of dried foods, MREs are great to have on hand for bartering. Keep a variety of flavors and different kinds of foods because you could be holding something that could complete a meal for a hungry person.
Silver Coins. Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean only silver dollars with a full ounce of silver, but even older, less expensive coins with a high silver component (the 1964 Kennedy half-dollar, for example).
Detergent. Don’t think people are interested in bartering detergent? Check out the story about the recent rash of detergent thefts across the country. Apparently, Tide detergent on the black market is now referred to as “liquid gold.” Interesting.
Water bottles. To someone in bad need of water, a water bottle could be worth its weight in gold. Remember the rule of threes: you can live three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Store accordingly.
Matches and lighters. A box of matches is relatively inexpensive, but for someone needing to build a fire a pack of matches or a lighter could be very valuable. Be sure these are stored safely, and if they are not waterproof make them so by storing in a watertight container.
Sugar. My grandfather used to tell stories of things that were in limited supply in the Great Depression. Sugar was something he often mentioned. Imagine how easily you could win over a sweet-tooth with the promise of a bag of sugar in exchange for something you are short on.
Toilet paper. This one is rather self-explanatory, isn’t it? Sure, there are substitutes for Charmin, but who wants to keep using leaves when paper feels so much better.
Water Filters/Purifiers. Water purification drops and filters could mean the difference in offering family members treated water or potentially harmful, bacteria-infested water. Who’d be willing to trade for that?
Bleach. May be used to disinfect water, or keep living quarters and soiled clothing sanitized.
Batteries. Can be used to power up flashlights, radios, and other electronic devices.
Candles. Emergency candles would be a great barter item for those in need of providing some light to their living quarters without electricity.