We’ve all heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” A quick search of Pinterest can give you thousands of re-purposing ideas for everything from toilet paper tubes to your child’s old baby crib. Lots of things can have a new purpose once their original use is over. Many items also can have multiple new purposes if you just get creative.
This can be particularly true for preppers. In a survival situation, you may find yourself having to make do with what you have on hand, and see how you can use those items to help you survive. There are literally hundreds of uses for everyday household items you would normally throw in the trash. Here are some common products that you can turn into prepping “gold.”
Usually pulled from the lint trap and thrown away after a load is dried, this little ball of lint could make a valuable fire starter. It can be saved in plastic zipper bags, then thrown in your emergency kit or camping gear so it’s ready to go.
You can put the lint that you’ve saved into an empty egg carton, then pour wax into each individual section. Cut them apart when the wax is hard and you have 12 ready to go fire starters. Egg cartons also are great to save if you have chickens and sell your eggs to others, and you can usually get others to save them for you, too.
If you purchase foods like spaghetti sauce, jam, or honey in glass jars – don’t throw them out! They can be used for canning, or other food storage. They could also be used to store other items or even as drinking glasses. Glass jars are also wonderful for making candles, which would be very helpful in an emergency.
Small Mint Tins
These are also very versatile. You can use them to create a purse sized first aid kid, a small money or credit card holder, They can hold medicines or an eyeglass repair kit, or even a small sewing kit. Once the mints are gone – don’t throw these out!
Has that old college shirt gotten to ratty or discolored to wear in public? Don’t pitch it! Cut it into strips, roll them up an put them in your emergency first aid kit. They can make a life saving bandage or tourniquet. You can also use t-shirt strips as fire starters. T-shirts can also be used as cloth diapers in a pinch, or to clean and dust furniture.
Yep, you normally put those in the trash every morning – but don’t do that anymore! Coffee grounds are great for your garden! They put nutrients back in the soil, and worms love them, too – which is also good for your soil. You can even put your eggshells in the coffee grounds to add in extra minerals.
This definitely has a lot of uses past reading the local headlines. Newspaper can be used to pack around glasses, plates and other breakable items to store them. It can be used as fire starter, or as extra insulation in a sleeping bag. We use newspaper to line our rabbit cage, or to protect our tabletop if we’re painting or doing other crafts.
These are perfect for holding lots of small things. For preppers – they make great storage containers for water purification tablets, medicine (great for the bug out bag if you just need a few day’s worth), seasonings, or fish hooks. You could also use these to store spare change or a house key. Since they seal tight, you don’t have to worry about things getting waterlogged inside.
These (when rinsed out really well) make wonderful water storage containers. If you freeze them, they can become usable ice packs for coolers, and then use the water inside for drinking. You can also cut off part of the top and use them as a scoop. They can even be used as planters to start seedlings indoors in the wintertime, getting a jump on a spring and summer garden.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to turning trash into treasure. If you’re willing to think outside the box and see what else could be done with an item, it’s a great survival skill to have. It might just save the day!