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What are some items that you think you should start hoarding for a major, cataclysmic disaster? Water? Absolutely. Food? Also absolutely. Ammo? For sure. First aid equipment? Definitely. Gasoline? Yep.
The list goes on. All of those things are incredibly valuable items to hoard for survival, and you can probably think of about ten or twenty other types of survival supplies as well.
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That being said, there are countless ordinary items–things people use every day–that are relatively cheap and can be used for survival. The wisest among us are already stockpiling them.
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Here are some things that everyone, including you, should start hoarding today:
Storing alcohol isn’t just about having a stiff drink when the world turns upside down. High-proof spirits can also be used for disinfecting wounds, starting fires, and bartering. Small, sealed bottles of liquor might become a valuable commodity in a prolonged survival situation.
All kinds of batteries apply here. You can keep them all stored in a container or cardboard box that you set aside in storage or in the utility room. In a true grid-down disaster when you’re relying primarily on battery-powered electronics, you’ll likely be surprised at how quickly you use them up.
This should serve as a good motivator to stockpile as much as you can. Make it a rule to buy an extra pack of batteries each week. You’ll also be surprised by how quickly your stockpile grows.
You’ll be happy you had plenty of blankets on hand if the power goes out during the winter. Wool blankets and quilts in particular will be effective for keeping you warm; cotton works too but also does a generally poor job of wicking away water. Also don’t forget to hoard pillows and sleeping bags.
There are a ton of uses for bobby pins in a survival situation, so they are among the very last items that you will want to throw away.
Examples of what you can use bobby pins for in a survival situation include as a DIY money clip, as fishing hooks, as a lock pick, to short circuit various electronics, or for its intended purpose, to keep hair back.
All kinds of books are applicable here: novels, books you enjoy, cookbooks, non-fiction books, how-to guides, survival guides, children’s books, and other books you just enjoy.
When the grid goes down, you won’t have access to Kindle or anything like that, and you’ll be forced to rely on physical copies. Survival books, cookbooks, and how-to guides will be useful, while novels can help pass the time and boost morale.
Unless you want to deal with chapped lips after a major disaster, then chapstick will be a very important item to store for disaster.
You can also use chapstick as a small, makeshift torch (just light it up with a match or a lighter or any other fire-starting device), or you can use it to help heal small wounds such as scrapes or cuts (just apply lightly to the affected area). Those are just a couple of examples of uses for chapstick.
Besides their obvious intended use for making coffee, you can also use coffee filters for many other things. Here are just a few examples…
You can use it as a food bowl, use it to wipe your butt, soak it in grease and get a fire going, or make an air freshener (fill it up with baking soda, tie it up, and then leave it out in the middle of a room), clean glasses, and make an emergency bandage or compress.
If you have children, you can never have enough crayons. Just imagine how bored they will be without their electronics! Crayons will help, at least a little.
Dryer lint is very flammable, just like crayons. It’s also easy to collect as well and can be a fast and efficient way to get a fire going. What’s more, you can easily collect lint in Ziploc bags for ease of storage.
The humble duct tape is surprisingly versatile. Not only is it great for quick fixes around the house, but in a disaster, it can be used for patching up tears in your clothing, tent, or sleeping bag, creating makeshift bandages, or even for securing splints. Its strong adhesive nature means it can also be employed as a simple tool for catching insects or trapping small game.
Egg cartons can be very valuable items for maintaining small gardens. They will certainly be more space efficient in contrast to other kinds of gardens, while also being easy to transport.
All you need to do is pour some soil into each compartment and then plant a little seedling. You can also use paper egg cartons as composting for your larger gardens. Here are some other creative uses for egg cartons.
Garbage bags have dozens of uses, not only in everyday life but in critical survival situations as well.
You can use it to keep your supplies dry, make a tourniquet, collect rainwater, block the sun, make a pillow, fix leaks, make a rope, and so much more.
The biggest advantage to storing glass bottles, as you can probably tell, is that you can use them later to store more water or other drinks (although it may be advisable to clean them out before doing so).
You can also use glass bottles to store other items such as medications, to get a fire going by filling them with water and then using it to reflect the sunlight, or you can break them apart and then use the sharp glass as blades.
One of the best uses for grocery bags will be to collect water. What you can do is take a grocery bag in good condition (without holes) and then use it to cover up some green branches or brush at the start of the day.
Come back twenty-four hours later, and you should see that a small sip’s worth of drinking water has collected in the bag. You’ll just need to make sure that the plants you select are not poisonous in any way, so be extra careful.
You can also use grocery bags to dispose of human waste, for storing any fruit or vegetables you forage, mark a trail, or help keep your gear dry from the wind.
The most obvious survival use for newspapers, and the use that most people are aware of is to use it as a fire starter. It’s not at all uncommon for people to ignite the edges of a newspaper with a lighter or match, and then place the paper underneath some small pieces of wood and other kindling to build a fire.
Pain relievers such as aspirin are essential for keeping fevers and headaches to a minimum. You can even apply pain relievers directly to scrapes, stings, or burns as well to help reduce the pain. Here’s a list of OTC meds to stockpile.
Besides their use in better-organizing files and papers, you can also use paper clips as makeshift fishing hooks, as clothes hangers, as a finger or toe splint, or as shims for repair mechanics.
If you think about it, paper clips are basically durable twist ties. Here are some more survival uses for paper clips.
Writing utensils such as pens and paper will be very important to store, in addition to paper. Another use for pencils is that when they are broken, the graphite inside is exposed.
Here’s a fun fact that most people don’t know when you bring the exposed graphite of a pencil into contact with your car battery and cable, it will turn red hot and then eventually burst into flames to quickly get a fire going.
Salt is another common household item that can become invaluable in a survival situation. Aside from its obvious uses in food preservation and flavoring, it can also be used for cleaning, preserving hides, and even as a basic antiseptic for minor wounds.
Besides your actual shoes, your shoelaces can really help you out in a survival situation as well. For example, you can use them to make traps and snares, to help build shelter, to fashion a splint for a fractured arm or a leg, and so on. In fact, if you think about it, you really should be able to use your own shoelaces for just about anything you could use paracord or smaller strands of rope for.
The lesson? Even if you do end up throwing your old shoes or boots away, at the very least you should save the shoelaces as they could definitely come in handy later. Here are some other uses for shoe laces.
Don’t throw your shoes away after they get torn or old! While most people will throw away their old shoes, most of the time those old shoes will still be fully functional. Why throw them away when you can just set them aside for storage should disaster strike?
After all, the protection of your feet should be of paramount importance when things get bad, and other people know this as well. This is why your old shoes could become valuable barter items when the grid goes down.
Soap is an essential commodity for maintaining hygiene and preventing the spread of disease. Especially in disaster situations, cleanliness is paramount to ensure survival, making soap an important item to stockpile.
Soap bars are compact, have a long shelf-life, and you can easily stockpile them in large quantities. Besides personal hygiene, soap can also be used for washing dishes, clothes, and cleaning wounds.
After cleaning your socks, you can use them as a pre-filter to remove large sediments and particles from the water. You can also use socks for storage and to make it easier to carry items.
Finally, you can also use socks as a weapon. Just place rocks, stones, pebbles, or spent brass casings in them, tie the end shut with paracord (or your shoelaces), and you can then wield it with deadly force against an attacker.
Soda cans fulfill a wide array of different survival uses. You can use them to store water or other beverage or food items, the tab can be shaped into a fishing hook, and the bottom of the can you can polish with chocolate in order to reflect the sunlight and get a fire going if you can hold the can properly and be patient.
In addition, you can also use a soda or beer can as a miniature stove as well. Simply cut it open, and then place a candle with a flame going inside of it. Hold your hands around the can to warm them. Here are some other uses for soda cans.
Super glue is not just for fixing broken household items. It can also be used to seal up minor wounds in an emergency. It sets quickly, prevents infection, and can buy you some time until proper medical attention can be reached.
Tin or aluminum foil truly is among the most versatile everyday items you can use for survival and disaster preparedness. You can wrap food, such as meat or potatoes, in foil and then place it in the coals near a fire to bake and cook.
You can also use tin or aluminum foil as fishing lures, to signal for help or use as trail markers, to scrub dirty pots and pans, and to remove rust from metal (just scrub directly against the metal). Here are many more uses for tin foil.
One of the most essential items to stock up on for a disaster scenario is toilet paper and for obvious reasons.
And not just the paper, but the leftover toilet rolls. What you can do with them is cut and then flatten them out for easier storage. When brought into contact with a flame from a lighter or a match, they will light up very easily. Here are some other things you can do with them.
Vaseline is immensely useful for two primary reasons: it can be applied to the site of scrapes, stings, or cuts to reduce pain and infection; and it’s very flammable so it can be used to help get a fire going quickly.
Stockpile both Vaseline and cotton balls together; the Vaseline-soaked cotton is an effective way to apply the Vaseline to your scrapes, and can also be lit up quickly with a match or a lighter when it’s pouring rain outside.
White vinegar, especially, has many uses in a disaster situation. It can be used for cleaning, as a simple disinfectant, and even as a food preservative. And, if you’re growing your own food post-disaster, vinegar can be used as a natural herbicide.
These are light, easy to store, and have a myriad of uses. From fastening shelter material together to fixing a broken bag strap to tying down gear, zip ties are a practical item to hoard. They can also be used as makeshift handcuffs if security becomes an issue.
The next time you think about throwing away any of the above items think twice. While it’s not like you should never, ever throw away any of these things, at the very least, you should be stockpiling them.
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