18 Things A Prepper Should Never Throw Away

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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 – which is both inefficient and unpleasant.

If you do this right, you will save a lot of money also. Below, I’ve compiled a list of everyday items with multiple uses that most people throw away:

1. 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.

2. Dryer lint can be used as tinder, or when combined with paraffin wax or petroleum jelly, to make fire starting tablets.

3. Cardboard egg cartons can be used to sprout seeds or as the container for fire starting tablets.

4. All types of wood – lumber can be used for construction and scrap wood can be used as fuel and in hugel beds / permaculture.

5. Water jugs/soda bottles can be used to store water, rice, beans, etc.

6. Rope – longer pieces can be used for climbing and shorter pieces can be used for lashing gear.

7. Plant waste (fruit and vegetable scraps, yard clippings, etc.) should be added to your compost pile to create natural fertilizer.

8. Certain fruit and vegetables, such as pineapples, carrots, and sweet potatoes can be regrown from scraps.

9. Bacon grease can be used for cooking and lasts forever. Simply strain it through cheesecloth into a mason jar.

10. Medicine bottles can be used to store fishing gear, tinder, and other small survival kit items.

11. Newspaper can be used as garden mulch or to prevent weeds from growing, to clean windows, and as tinder.

12. 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.

13. Glass bottles and jars can be used to store food and liquids.

14. Bins, bags, and buckets can be used to store/transport all sorts of things and make it easy to keep things organized.

15. Spice bottles can be used to store the spices and herbs gathered from your garden.

16. 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.

17. Hair clippings (human or pet) can be used as fertilizer in your garden and to keep deer and other animals away.

18. Small bits of used soap can be melted down and combined to form usable sized bars of soap.

Is there anything you save that I don’t have on the list?

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  • By Jason, June 16, 2013 @ 17:41

    Toilet paper paper towel empy rolls…we use em for packing lint into for a portable fire tender

  • By Sue Gage, May 7, 2016 @ 15:43

    Also scrap vegetable pieces can be used to make broth for soup…

  • By Darlene Demandel Holmberg, July 26, 2016 @ 16:09

    Come winter, I’ll shred some of my egg cartons for doghouse comfort, mixed with wood shavings. I have 2 boys that shred new dog beds in record time, and flat cardboard makes an excellent nest in their houses.

  • By Ed K, January 2, 2017 @ 19:18

    I also use old disposable (paper & styrofoam) cups for seed planters, scrap cardboard to make seed starters and as insulation for the hen house I’m building w/ scrap wood, old prescription bottles to hold harvested seeds from my garden and to stratify apple and other seeds needing chill hours and have killed poison ivy by boiling old pickling brine I saved, laying ice melting salt around the stems and pouring the scalding pickling brine onto it The salt, vinegar and the high temp (212 F) cook it while also poisoning its roots. It’s the first thing I tried that really worked on it

  • By Harvey, May 2, 2017 @ 23:07

    Along with hair clippings, coffee grounds and ground up eggshells can go towards your fertilizer and compost.

    They now have reloading kits with bullet molds for .22’s so you can save 22 brass for reloading. Lead can be used from old 6 and 12 volt batteries and tire weights.

    If you have a cleaver type paper trimmer, old bicycle inner tubes can be sliced up into rubber bands.

    Using one of the old time hand twist pencil sharpeners on a dried out pencil sized branch will give you all the fine fire starting tinder you can use. You can get a dozen of them for a buck at a dollar store.

  • By Berad199, June 13, 2023 @ 17:44

    I have mentioned this before but I feel this is worthy to add. If you get chicken feed bags, save the string you pull to open said bags. This string is some of the toughest string I have ever come across. To store string, cut the cardboard flaps off boxes, cut notches in flaps, and wind the string between opposing notches. When you need a string, unwind string. You can remove string from both ends or leave the bottom closed and the bags can be used as sand bags.

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