Part of preparing is acquiring adequate supplies to survive an emergency, but an equally important part is making the most of the supplies you already have.
Every day we throw away valuable supplies that could be critical in an emergency; the key is knowing what to keep and what to throw away. Otherwise, you go from being prepared to being a hoarder. That’s both inefficient and unhygienic. Below, I’ve compiled a list of everyday items with multiple uses that most people throw away:
- Broken crayons, candle stubs, and any other form of paraffin wax can be used to make new candles, or along with other items to make fire starting tablets.
- Dryer lint can be used as tinder, or when combined with paraffin wax or petroleum jelly, to make fire starting tablets.
- Cardboard egg cartons can be used to sprout seeds or as the container for fire starting tablets.
- All types of wood. Lumber can be used for construction and scrap wood (not pressure treated) can be used as fuel and in hugal beds/permaculture.
- Water jugs/soda bottles can be used to store water, rice, beans, etc.
- Rope—longer pieces can be used for climbing and shorter pieces can be used for lashing gear.
- Plant waste (fruit and vegetable scraps, yard clippings, etc.) should be added to your compost pile to create natural fertilizer.
- Certain fruit and vegetables, such as pineapples, carrots, and sweet potatoes can be regrown from scraps.
- Bacon grease can be used for cooking and lasts forever. Simply strain it through cheese cloth into a mason jar.
- Medicine bottles can be used to store fishing gear, tinder, and other small survival kit items.
- Newspaper can be used as garden mulch or to prevent weeds from growing, to clean windows, and as tinder.
- Cardboard boxes can be used to store the food you’ve canned, making it easy to grab and go if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Glass bottles and jars can be used to store food and liquids.
- Bins, bags, and buckets can be used to store/transport all sorts of things, and makes it easy to keep things organized.
- Spice bottles can be used to store the spices and herbs gathered from your garden.
- Outgrown clothes can be used as barter items, to give to needy families, as rags, or combined with a stick and flammable liquid, to make torches.
- Hair clippings (human or pet) can be used as fertilizer in your garden and to keep deer and other animals away.
- Small bits of used soap can be melted down and combined to form usable sized bars of soap.
- Lighters, even when empty, can still be used to start a fire using the flint and striker.
- Wire of all types and sizes can be used for lashing gear, transmitting power, and building expedient antennas.
- Twist-ties have almost unlimited uses, such as fixing eyeglasses, securing plants to stakes, and of course, sealing bags.
Is there anything you save that I don’t have on the list?
Other useful resources: