As a busy mom, I love it when something can be used for multiple jobs. It makes planning easier and exercises those creative muscles to think about alternate ways to use everyday items. In an emergency situation, multipurpose items are extremely valuable. When you think of emergency kits, or certain items to have on hand in a crisis, some of the following probably come to mind: flashlights, batteries, band aids, bottled water, and blankets. These things are great to have on hand, but don’t stop there. Once you have the basic essentials together, it’s time to get creative. Literally dozens of items around your home could prove incredibly useful in an emergency. Add these multipurpose tools to you prepper stash at home and stick them in your bug out bag too.
1. Dryer Lint – It makes a great fire starter! Instead of throwing all of that dryer lint away, fill up a gallon size plastic bag with some, and keep it with your other survival items.
2. Tampons – Not only are they handy for “that time of the month,” they can also be used to pack a wound or help stop a nosebleed. The plastic applicator also has other uses, including a makeshift straw, or a fishing bob. Sanitary napkins can be used as a bandage or gauze for an injury.
3. Cotton Balls and Petroleum Jelly – Coat the cotton with plain petroleum jelly, and you have an instant fire starter on your hands!
4. Chewing Gum – It’s not just for chewing anymore! Gum can be used for fishing bait, and aids in digestion. It also can help you to stay alert, something that is crucial in an emergency!
5. Large trash bags (Contractor Bags) – These have more than one use. They are water tight, and can make a great emergency poncho or rain jacket. They also could be used to catch water.
6. Dental Floss – Use it to fish, tie up a shelter, or hang clothes up to dry. It could also become a life saving tourniquet, or be used to tie up bags of food to keep animals out. Could also be used to cut soft foods like hard boiled eggs or cheese if you don’t have a knife.
7. Duct Tape – This is the universal tool. It’s been rumored that duct tape that can repair anything – and that very well could be true! Keep duct tape in your emergency supplies and use it to repair a hole in a tarp, waterproof your shoes, seal windows in a pandemic, or even cover a wound to keep it clean and dry. In an extreme case – use duct tape to make handcuffs. You might want to purchase duct tape in several colors, including camouflage to keep in your stash.
8. Tin Foil – This baker’s tool can form an emergency cooking dish, bowl, or cup. It is also an excellent insulator to help you stay warm.
9. Pencil Sharpener – Pencil shavings make great fire starter. You could also use the sharpener to turn ordinary twigs into sharp arrows.
10. Bandana – This tool should be in every prepper’s arsenal. It has countless uses, not limited to dressing a wound, covering your head, making a cooling rag, sanitary napkins, or even cloth diapers. It can also be used to signal help in an emergency. It could also be used as toilet paper, trail marker, or even a fire starter (when soaked in petroleum jelly or gasoline). You might consider keeping several colors of bandanas in your kit – neutrals and brights.
11. Glow Bracelets – Those fun little party favors found in skating rinks and treat bags can also used to identify important items like radios or batteries when it’s dark.
12. Mouthwash – Mouthwash not only keeps your mouth clean in a situation where you can’t brush, but it could also prove a great disinfectant if you need to clean a wound, or sterilize a knife. Listerine is also a powerful insect repellant. If space for a large bottle is an issue, travel size bottles would work well, particularly in a backpack or small first aid kit.
13. Safety pins – Other than their obvious use, they could be used in a pinch as a fish hook, awl, or a splinter removing tool.
14. Manual can opener – If your emergency food storage contains lots of canned goods, you will need this should the power go out and you need to get into sealed metal cans.
15. Bug repellent – This is a lifesaver if you find yourself in the wilderness. This item could save you from a life threatening bug bite.
16. Cigarettes – Even if you aren’t a smoker, these obviously make a great fire starter, and could be a valuable bartering item.
17. Metal Breath Mint Tins – These little hinged boxes make great personal first aid or survival kits. Prepare several and keep them in your larger kit or in backpacks.
18. Eye Glasses Repair Kit – These small kits could be invaluable if your glasses need fixing and you are not in close proximity to a store. Plus the kits come equipped with a tiny screwdriver that could be really important to pick a lock.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. I could list many more items you might want to include, but this is a great jumping off point. Look around your home and medicine cabinet and you might be surprised at the things you could add to this list. Planning ahead is the key to keeping calm in an emergency, and knowing that you are prepared can help to put you and your family at ease. Besides, won’t your kids think you are so cool when you can save the day with a safety pin and chewing gum?
What are your favorite multipurpose items for survival?