Everything is falling apart. Costco and the grocery stores are gridlocked. Gas station lines are down the block. Where can you go shopping without getting stuck in crazy lines? Hobby Lobby!
Seriously. If that’s the only nearby store not already flooded by zombies, you have no choice!
It may seem like the seasonal section can’t possibly have anything useful for the apocalypse, but that’s not so. While no one will need a Thanksgiving Scarecrow in the apocalypse, a pile of raffia makes for some nice firestarter material and some “deco mesh” or wired ribbon by the yard could have lots of uses, no matter its decorative pattern.
Judging by the seasonal aisles in just about every store, Americans have an insatiable appetite for hot pads, tea towels, hand towels, placemats, and cloth napkins for every possible season and holiday. In “regular” daily life, it seems that most people use paper napkins and paper towels, not cloth ones. In an emergency, those will be used up in short order. With the apocalypse underway, now is the time to buy a supply of the sturdy cloth towels, and don’t worry if they are covered with autumn leaves or shamrocks! I promise it won’t matter!
If beach towels are in season and in stock, grab those, too. While technically not linens, a few extra throw pillows may come in handy if you expect family and friends to show up seeking refuge. (Do you have family members who assume they will just show up at your house when the S hits the fan? You need to read this.)
Depending on the store and selection, you may be able to find silicone hot pads and trivets in with the linens. Regular trivets are worth grabbing, too, if you don’t already have a few to protect your tabletop.
2. Paper Plates and Other Disposables
As great as linens are long-term, it’s also good to have disposable plates, napkins, flatware, and cups. In addition to those obvious items (in seasonal and solid, party colors), muffin/cupcake liners and inexpensive serving trays can make life easier in the apocalypse. The nice thing about cheap plastic serving trays is that they are super easy to wipe clean. Most don’t have nearly as many little nooks and crannies for things to get stuck on and encrusted in. Whether is unexpected guests, a lack of water or soap to clean regular items, or giving someone something “to go”, there is no denying disposables have a solid place in the apocalypse.
3. Bakeware and Serving Items
Chances are, in a post-apocalypse world you’ll be doing an awful lot of cooking. Gone are the days of fast food drive-throughs and restaurant meals.
Most of us have a kitchen filled with kitchen-stuff, but sometimes, it’s not in the best condition. Cookie sheets, muffin pans, loaf pans, and even springform pans are all very versatile. Depending on where you expect to be serving dinner in the apocalypse, extra cooling racks to put food on (and keep it off of the dirt or nasty picnic tables) might be a good score, too. Trivets go under hot pots and pans and don’t normally stick out much from the side. In this case, I’m thinking of using trivets as small, sanitary places where plates, utensils, and drinking glasses can be placed without touching the germ-covered surface underneath.
Hobby Lobby also sells scoops in a variety of sizes and more pitchers, jugs, and pails than I’ve seen just about anywhere else. Just looking at those old-fashioned metal pitchers makes me think of cold drinks on a hot summer day. (I’m not sure if that’s an image from the movies or books, but it’s not actually from my life.) Those pitchers, jugs, and pails could all be used to hold water for water storage, and if you live in an apartment or townhouse, you could use them to collect rainwater.
If you don’t already have storage containers for your dry goods like sugar and flour, grab those before you leave this area. Just make sure the containers you plan to use for food have airtight seals, otherwise, insects and humidity will damage the food. Hobby Lobby also has a great selection of glassware, including storage containers with cork tops or attached scoops.
4. Treat Making
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like treats, and chocolate is certainly popular among lots of people all over the world, going back centuries. Hobby Lobby has a nice selection of chocolate/candy forms and tools, and the chocolate and decorations to make them. Some of the other supplies in the candy/chocolate/cake decorating area that might come in handy in an apocalypse include a scraper, fondant cutter (think pizza cutter without a handle), and rolling pin. The scraper would be a good tool to help quickly clean work areas when you are preparing especially sticky or messy food. (You know the tool they use to scrape clean restaurant grills after they make burgers, etc.? It looks like that.)
So grab all the chocolate wafers they have left, throw a few molds in your basket, and prepare to delight your loved ones, and maybe start bartering. If you think comfort food is important now, wait until everything around you collapses. You’ll be grateful for anything that resembles comfort food. Read this for more reasons why I believe stocking up on comfort foods is important.
Most of us rely on our smartphones or some other electronic doodad to tell the time. What happens when there is no power? What if it’s never coming back? All the LED clocks in your home will become useless, but it will still be important to keep track of time. That’s when we need battery powered clocks like the ones Hobby Lobby carries.
Better yet, learn to make your own clocks and buy all the materials you need to start this for your own family or for bartering. They carry basic clock motors as well as arms, faces, and other supplies to make your very own clocks.
6. Candles and Candle Making
Having candles is great, but what happens when they are gone? Grab as many candles and all the tools and supplies you need for making your own. Don’t worry if you don’t yet know how to do that! The supplies will come with instructions or you can find someone to teach you. It’s absolutely vital to have multiple light sources. Pretty soon the batteries in your flashlights will run out and if the power is out longterm, it’s not going to be much fun living in a very, very dark world
In the same general area as candlemaking supplies, you’ll also find what you need for making soap, including essential oils, soap bases (Castile, olive oil, donkey milk, etc.), shea butter, coconut oil, palm oil, beeswax, and more. For more about soapmaking, read this and this.
In that same aisle are bottles of citric acid, essential for cheese-making.
7. Small Tools
It seems like everywhere you look in Hobby Lobby, there are more small tools for different specialty interests and the glues to go along with them. While fondant molds may not be a hot commodity post-collapse, everyone knows the value of X-acto knives. Woodworking tools including carving tools and small wood burners.
Tools in the DIY jewelry aisle look like they might be particularly useful since they include very thin wire in a variety of colors and metals, and all kind of metal pliers and snippers. Most of our homes have tons of things with small metal wires. Being able to cut, crimp, and otherwise manipulate small wires could be priceless.
The limited selection of clothing at Hobby Lobby is cheap and simple because it’s sold as a base for crafts. Plain t-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps, and even white canvas sneakers are yours at bargain prices. Depending on your situation, you may want to buy dark blue or navy for concealment, or neon t-shirts and sweatshirts to draw attention to yourself. Bright colors can help post-hurricane emergency responders find you or keep hunters from shooting at you accidentally. With fabric paint, you can DIY your own camo clothing according to the colors of nature in your area.
If you have ever been involved in Boy Scouts, you know the humble bandana has many uses in an emergency, including as a head covering, mouth covering, and a make-shift sling. Hobby Lobby has a truly impressive selection of inexpensive bandanas. Grab a handful, follow it up with another handful, then scoop up some more. They really are that useful and this list of uses will help broaden your bandana horizons.
When it comes down to it, Hobby Lobby is a craft store. They have kits like the “Lip Balm & Scrub Kit” to entertain kids and help them learn how to create and build. Spa kits and model rockets are safe bets for kid fun and may contain some useful apocalypse items, like essential oils. In an emergency, the plaster, clay, wide variety of glues, and other “craft” supplies in Hobby Lobby have plenty of other applications.
Speaking of model rockets, those could be used as a simple type of flare for alerts or signaling.
More unexpectedly, they have entire aisles for puzzles and for model kits (vehicles, mostly), as well as the BSA’s Pinewood Derby. Grab some of those and a few books near the registers and your family has a way to chill out and relax while you hide from the undead. More importantly, these are incredibly useful for future gifts. Even during the worst times, it’s important to continue with family traditions and holidays and the tips in this article will help you plan for that.
10. Containers and Storage Furniture
When I walked in, the first thing I saw was furniture. The start of the Apocalypse isn’t the best time for a new sofa, but a new storage rack, some sturdy metal chairs, or a coat rack might be just the ticket. For that matter, a simple shelf or set of coat pegs could help corral your post-apocalypse mud room so everyone can find their own things before they rush out to fight the zombies. I particularly liked the hanging shelves with a series of bins or drawers under them. (They also have solid, decorative shelf brackets, if that’s all you need.) If you need something more along the lines of boxes, bins, or sealable plastic crates, they’ve got all those too.
Think about the other people who will likely be coming to you for shelter. Will you need storage for their clothing and supplies? Extra chairs? Now would be a good time to pick those up.
While it’s no JoAnn Fabric in terms of fabric selection, Hobby Lobby does have rolls of vinyl, bolts of burlap and fake fur, batting, RIT fabric dye, and all the basic sewing supplies like needles and buttons. I’m a particular fan of vinyl from rolls for the apocalypse. Because it is far thicker than most places carry, clear vinyl from a fabric role is a better choice for covering your windows than anything I’ve ever seen at the hardware store and has a ton of uses. Of course, they also have colors and some with embossed patterns, although that would be harder to keep clean and germ-free.
Finally, faux fur and fake flowers make a great way to camouflage things and break up outlines.
12. Yarn and knitting/crochet supplies
Before human beings shopped at Walmart and Target for things like socks and sweaters, they made them by hand with yarn and knitting needles. Your grandma probably knew how to do this and you can learn, too. Grab skeins and skeins of 100% wool or wool blend yarns for the warmest socks and scarves and 100% cotton yarn for making dishcloths and towels. While you’re at it, add instruction and pattern books to your Hobby Lobby cart. When the apocalypse arrives, you’re going to have a lot of time on your hands and knowing how to knit and/or crochet will keep everyone busy doing something useful. Check this list for other handy supplies you’ll want to have as well.
When you think apocalypse, collapse, SHTF — Hobby Lobby probably doesn’t come to mind, but now you have a shopping list of thing that will genuinely be useful if the worst happens. What else would you add to my Hobby Lobby list?
Coming next: The Dollar Stores
Don’t miss the other stores in my series:
- Tractor Supply
- Sally Beauty
- Harbor Freight
- Whole Foods
- National Parks & Historic Sites
- Dollar Store
- Hobby Lobby
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