Not everyone has a junk heap in the back yard or a pile of metal scraps out behind the barn. But if you do, you know the value of metals. That’s why you put each piece of metal in the pile. You know it’s good for something, but you didn’t quite know what for, yet. And so the pile grows.
If, on the other hand, you are the person who cleans out the shed or garage every now and then and hauls stuff off to the dump, stop and take a second look. What in that pile is made of metal? If you find you have thrown out metal objects take it back off the truck!
Ok, got that straightened out. Now, what to do with that pile of junk? First, sort it according to type of metal (iron, lead, steel, nickel, aluminum, other particular alloys). Be sure to wash after handling lead and batteries. Sorting metal is important because it is easier to find what you need when you need it; and if you sell it you will get more for it if it is already sorted. Metal recycling companies pay less per pound if they have to sort it.
If you want to get fancy you can build bins to store it. The bin would keep sharp edges inside, protecting people who pass by from potentially harmful cuts and scrapes.
Now for the tough decisions. Almost every city with a population of 250,000 or more has a recycle company that buys all kinds of metal. Some will even come get it without charging you for it. But, as a prepper, do you want to sell it? Selling the metal will give you extra money for purchasing preps or just paying the bills. Keeping the metal should mean you have the equipment and skills to refashion the metal into something you need, or you know someone who will.
Once you have decided to keep the metal, it is important to make sure it won’t rust or corrode in it’s storage container. Some climates, especially coastal regions, are hard on metal. The salt air is continually at work to destroy some metals. Paint and varnish fumes would be a problem if you need to apply heat to the metals. Grease and oil each provide a suitable barrier to protect your metals from corrosion and rust but will need to be washed off prior to use or applying heat.