Don’t Throw That Away! 25 Not-So Useless Items To Stockpile

Prepping is one of the most important tasks that a survival conscious individual will handle. If you are one of those ones, you know how important it is to not only make sure you have a great plan for when the SHTF, but also to have the necessary and vital items in your survival cache when it does. Being ill-prepared leads to disaster.

No doubt you’ve tried to think of everything that you might need, but even if you’ve planned for a long time, you might still forget some of these everyday items that are multipurpose and can be extremely useful in a survival situation.

1) Shoelaces

Shoelaces can be used to bind for a splint. Place a couple of extra pairs of shoelaces in your first aid kit and you have yourself some handy binding cord.

They can also be placed in your bug out bag and used for alternative trapping wire. Use the shoelaces to snare a trap and you can catch a delicious wild animal for dinner.

Shoelaces can also be used to tie items high into the tree to keep away from bears or other wild animals.

2) Garbage Bags

Garbage bags have several uses. But it’s important to note that in order for this everyday item to serve you well in an emergency situation, you need to invest in heavy duty, thick plastic bags. These ones are great quality and will not fall apart when you need them most. So let’s see how many different uses you can get out of a thick industrial strength garbage bag.

  • Emergency poncho or emergency cover – Use the bag to cover you and keep you out of the elements.
  • Cut it into a few strips and braid them into a sturdy plastic cord.
  • Clothing to keep in the heat when you’re in colder climate areas.
  • Roll and form a groove to collect rainwater in the event that you need hydration.
  • You can use it as a pillow by filling it with leaves.
  • Split and tie it in a tree to form a sun barrier and tree shade to sit up under.
  • Debris movers – pile debris on top and slide out of the way with a garbage bag.
  • Makeshift gurney – Same as the above but use to move people instead of debris.

3) Shopper’s Loyalty Cards

You know those cards that almost every supermarket keeps asking for in order for you to take advantage of those great deals? Well, these little guys are also excellent survival aids. How so?

These cards can serve as a firm edge to scrape insect stingers out of a victim. Loyalty cards also are good as finger splints if you cut them into even strips. They can serve as your go to splints in case you jam up your finger really bad.

4) Pantyhose

Pantyhose are no nonsense in many ways than one. Pantyhose are made of super stretchy nylon making them excellent bindings for a makeshift shelter. Using the hose to hold a garbage bag in place, you’ll be able to secure you a stable shelter to rest.

5) Saran Wrap

The number one way to use Saran or clear plastic wrap is to use it as a cover for a burn. Covering a bad burn with the clear plastic wrap aids the healing of the wound.

6) Plastic Containers

If you’re like most people, you’re probably trying to reduce how much plastic your household consumes. If you have leftover milk jugs or even tubs that were used to hold deli meat or ice cream, these can be reused.

Try using tubs to store leftovers or freeze large batches of soups or sauces. Plastic bags can be reused as trash can liners or to organize your closet.

7) Dryer Vent Lint

Lint from a dryer vent is a great accelerant, always igniting instantly when put in contact with a heat source. That’s actually how some house fires are started.

When the homeowners neglect to clear out the dryer vent, the fire hazard increases each day that passes. Fire departments have long agreed that debris caught in the vents of a dryer have been the culprits in many sudden house fires.

Collect the lint from the dryer vent each time you dry a load of laundry and store it in a zip lock bag. It’s extremely important to keep the dryer lint dry, because if it gets wet, it loses it incendiary properties. Store and pack in your bug out bag for quick access. See more uses here.

8) Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly

Immediately you will know why putting this item in your emergency kit is a good idea. Petroleum jelly, like dryer vent lint, is an excellent fire starter. Soak a few cotton balls in it and store in a tin container to have instant access to them later. Petroleum jelly is also a good waterproofing agent as well.

9) Condoms

Condoms are excellent choices for keeping things dry. If you happen to have an excess of condoms in your inventory, toss them into your emergency bag.

Fill the condoms with anything you don’t want to get wet when you are bugging out. Some items that initially come to mind are matches, lighters, dryer vent lint, and other kindling material that needs to stay dry.

10) Thick Socks

Thick socks, particularly wool socks come in handy in a survival situation. Thick long wool socks serve as a barrier for your feet. If you are bugging out in the desert, these socks will prevent your feet from freezing during the night when the temperature plummets. Socks can also be used as a dressing for a wound.

When used with other items in your first aid kit, you have an excellent absorbent wound wrapping. Thick socks can also be used as a basic water filtration system to filter out harmful debris when you’re in search for drinkable water.

11) Paper Clips, Big and Small

When you realize that you’ve forgotten your emergency fishing kits, you can resort to your stash of paper clips to rig up a homemade fishing hook. Tie a nylon rope to the end of a stick, and then attach the clip on the end of the rope to create your very own homemade fishing line.

12) Spare Glasses and Magnifying Glass

Use glasses and magnifying glasses as fire lenses, using the power of the sun to ignite fires.

13) Shredded Paper and Newspapers

No matter how far back in the woods you live, you’re likely to receive your fair share of junk mail. Don’t toss it in the trash! Shredded paper and newspapers are excellent additions to your farm.

Paper can be added to your compost to help it break down more quickly. It can also be used as animal bedding. It works best for chickens, as pigs or other livestock are more likely to taste it. If you shred glossy paper from magazines or newspapers, keep in mind that it should be mixed in sparingly. Chickens have a hard time walking on glossy paper.

14) Tampons and Maxi Pads

At first thought, you may have cringed a bit when thinking about adding these items to your emergency kit, especially if you’re a male. Let’s take a look at why these feminine items are a perfect addition into your kit. 

Tampons are designed to absorb blood, so it’s only logical to use one on a wound that is deep. Plug the wound and stop the bleeding with a tampon. Maxi pads act the same way in that they absorb blood. You can use it as a gauze and wrap the wound with nylon to secure it.

15) Grass Clippings

Whether you’ve just finished mowing your lawn, or you’re raking leaves in the fall, this type of litter is definitely the good kind. Feed the clippings to your rabbits or chickens and watch them go crazy for the crunchy treats.

If you feed clippings to chickens, just limit how much you give them (they can have a hard time breaking it down). Never, under any circumstances, feed grass clippings to young chicks, as they aren’t developed enough to process it.

Don’t have any livestock? Grass clippings can also be added to the compost to help speed up decomposition.

16) Duct Tape

This wouldn’t be a great list article if we didn’t mention duct tape as one of those everyday items that your emergency kit can’t do without. You can find duct tape at any hardware store or discount store. Duct tape is a miracle wonder in itself. There are so many uses for duct tape already and more than likely you’ll find other uses for it.

Some uses for it in a survival situation include but are not limited to, taping and securing a broken limb, repairing your bug out bag, waterproofing your shoes and clothing, and trapping insects and even small animals in an adhesive trap.

See dozens of uses for duct tape here.

17) Needles & Thread

These items are good for stitching and repair clothing or gear. In a pinch you can also use the needle and thread combo to stitch up a wound.

You can also take a needle a curve it to make a very sharp hook for snagging small fish in the water.

18) Paper Coffee Filters

Disposal coffee filters serve many purposes. You can use them to filter debris out of the water in order to provide clean drinking water for yourself. You can also use coffee filters for replacement toilet paper, paper towels, and kindling material.

coffee can

19) Coffee Cans

Almost every homesteader will have to purchase coffee at some point in time. It’s a great way to get yourself going on those chilly October mornings when you want nothing more than to crawl back in bed. Furthermore, it can’t be grown in most northern climates, so buying prepackaged coffee grinds or beans is a must for most preppers.

Don’t hurry to throw out your cans! Aluminum or plastic cans are best for re-purposing (cardboard ones tend to rot). Hang onto them and use them to scoop feed for livestock, collect small pieces of hardware or leftover paint, or as extra pantry storage. They can even be used as makeshift planters in the spring!

Silica Gel Toolbox

20) Silica Gel Packets

Have a handful of silica gel packets left over from your last department store purchase? You’re in luck. Silica gel packets can be placed inside a gun cabinet or safe to help control moisture.

Moisture wreaks havoc on firearms and ammunition. The silica helps to absorb moisture and moderate the humidity inside the case.

Just in case you’re not convinced to keep them, here’s our article with no less than 50 uses.

pallet

21) Pallets

Pallets have gained a lot of popularity for their multipurposing abilities in the last few years (thanks, Pinterest). However, there’s a reason why homesteaders are flocking to the warehouse parking lot in droves. Pallets are excellent to reuse.

Pallets can be broken up and used piecemeal for any project that requires scrap lumber. They can also be used to stack feed bags or other valued items you don’t want getting wet.

If you don’t already have access, in most cases, they can be scrounged at little to no cost from lumber companies, hardware supply shops, or farm and garden stores.

22) Egg Cartons

If you have chickens, you already know how invaluable egg cartons are to any homesteader. Save any and all egg cartons and collect them from friends and neighbors.

Store them in a dry location so they don’t mildew and reuse for multiple seasons. Egg cartons can also be used to store small items such as nails, earrings, or tacks.

23) Citrus Peels

If you enjoy munching on oranges, lemons, or limes, don’t think the enjoyment has to stop once breakfast is finished. Citrus peels can be recycled to use as zest for various recipes, scents for homemade candles or potpourri, and as cleaning agents.

If you have hard water, a lemon rind (ideally with some remaining juice) is great at removing calcium and lime scale build up. It also smells great and can remove bacteria from dirty surfaces such as countertops and cutting boards. Simply rub the fruit over the surface you wish to clean, and wipe dry.

24) Bones

Roasted a chicken or leg of lamb? Don’t hurry to throw away those bones. When boiled down, used bones make great soup stock. They can then be added to your compost pile for a boost of calcium.

25) Fabric Scraps

Pieces of fabric can be repurposed for use in homemade woven rugs. They can also be used to make dish rags or DIY pet collars.

Wrap Up

This is just a short list of everyday items that you can use for survival purposes. Survival is extremely important and one needs to be on the top of his game if he is going to prep efficiently.

Go through your personal inventory and see how many of these items you can find and start pulling these items together. You might be able to think of a few more items to add to this list, if so make sure you jot them down and collect them as well.

The point is having a survival stockpile that can extend your life and those with you. Knowledge is also the key to successful survival. It’s one thing to have these items, it’s another to know how to use them.

Without the proper knowledge, a person can stock up loads of survival items and gear, but still die because of the lack of experience to execute the things he’s learned.

Don’t let that be you! Now that you’ve gotten your list of 15 everyday items that you can use for survival, start making trial runs and practice using them in the suggestions of this article. Practice, be prepared and be ready to act.

updated August 8th 2019 by Rebekah White

About Mira J. Ross

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Mira has been prepping for 10 years. Living in the outskirts of metropolitan Atlanta with her 3 children, she's preparing not just for SHTF events but also for everyday emergencies.

5 comments

  1. Avatar

    You forgot to bring the fishing kit, but, hey, you remembered to grab those paper clips!! Yeah.

  2. Avatar

    I don’t think many folks wear panty hose any more but my daughter’s worn out ballet tights do the job & are stronger. These are often seen at yard sales.

  3. Avatar

    Please make your lists with a print button. Makes it a lot easier than having to cut and paste.

    • Avatar

      Just copy and paste the entire article to wordpad. Then you have it and can play with it at your leisure.
      That’s how I handle it.

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