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Preppers are preparing to survive in a world where modern conveniences are obsolete. After the SHTF, we won’t be able to run to the corner market to pick up milk, bread, and other staples. This is why we store so much food. However, have you thought about how you will replace all the other things we use on a daily basis–containers, cookware, clothing, and other items?
It’s important to have a “repurposing” mindset. Many of the things you have and use today can be used again. Before you throw things away, you need to think twice about it. For all you know, your trash today could very well be your treasure tomorrow.
Here are some examples of things you should stop throwing away and start setting aside for the future. Remember, during long-term disasters almost everything has a use.
1. Dryer Lint – Believe it or not, this is a precious commodity that you should be stashing away. Dryer lint makes fantastic tinder. Every time you do laundry, add it to a Ziploc bag to keep it dry. It can also it be used in combination with melted wax egg cartons to make some handy fire starters, which brings me to the next item…
2. Egg Cartons – These are more versatile than you may have thought. Obviously you can use them to store the eggs you collect from your chickens, but you can also use them to start seeds for your garden and to make fire starters (see the link above).
3. Coffee Cans – These are so versatile! You can use them to hold water, dried food, nuts and bolts, as a pot for growing plants, and much more. Here’s a list of 31 uses for coffee cans. If you’re not interested in those uses, you can always make a coffee can survival kit.
4. Old Crayons and Candles – Broken crayons and the ends of candles should always be saved. They can be melted down and poured into an old jelly jar or mayo jar and made into a new candle. They don’t have to be pretty. You just need a jar of wax that will burn.
5. Baby Food Jars – Use these to store small things like screws, nails, nuts, bolts, etc. You can also use one to make a survival candle.
6. Glass Jars – Larger glass jars are even better. Whether they are mayo, pickle, or jelly, they should all be saved. There are all sorts of things you can do with them. Here are 11 ideas.
7. Bacon Grease – Saving grease is another thing you can do with glass jars. Strain the grease and let it harden in the jar. In the future it can be used for cooking to add a little flavor to a pot of beans.
8. Spice Bottles – These can be reused to hold the spice you grow, to hold seeds you harvest from your garden, or to hold any other tiny items that need to be organized.
9. Pill Bottles – These have numerous uses, especially in your bug out bag. You can stash a fishing hook and line in a pill bottle. You can also stash some matches, tinder, lint, moss, bandaids, etc. And that’s just the beginning. Here are 22 ideas.
10. Newspapers – These can be used in the garden to act as mulch. It also has the obvious use as tinder. You can use it to stay warm, stuff it in the crack under the door to stay warm, or break it down to create firebricks.
11. Twist-Ties – When you finish a loaf of bread, save the twist-tie for use in the garden. They make good plant ties for beans, peas, tomatoes, etc. You can also use the ties to seal up bags of dried goods.
12. Margarine Tubs – The ones with lids are very handy gardening containers. You can also cut out the bottom and put the tubs around your lettuce, cabbage and celery plants to keep the leaves off the ground and give the veggies a nice, uniform shape.
13. Tin Cans – Soup cans, tuna fish cans, and other types of tin cans are useful for melting wax. Also, you can use tuna cans to make a wax and cardboard stove.
14. Old Clothes – If you have clothes that don’t fit or are out of style, stash them away to use when you don’t have anything else. You can also use the clothes to trade for things you do need.
15. Damaged Clothes – T-shirts and other clothing that are ripped, torn or stained can be saved and used as rags. When you don’t have paper towels or an endless supply of sponges to wash your dishes, those old t-shirts will come in handy.
16. Bar Soap Slivers – All the bits and pieces of old soap should be saved in a bag until you get a nice accumulation. Melt the soap bits down to create a new bar of soap.
17. Cardboard Boxes – These can be used to organize supplies and keep like items together. You could also keep some essential items in a box that you can grab and go should you have to bug out.
18. Wire Pieces – These can be used to fix fences, secure plants, and tie thing together. Little bits and pieces of wire are perfect. Store them in one of those old coffee cans or in a cardboard box.
19. Old Tires – You can use old tires to make outdoor furniture, chop it up to create a weed block for garden paths, use them as giant garden containers, and much more. Here are a few more ideas.
20. Cardboard Rolls – When you finish a roll of paper towels or toilet paper, keep the cardboard rolls. You can turn them into kindling and logs, make a plant guard, organize string, and much more.
21. Bread Bags – These have many uses as well. You can use them to store food you harvest, as shoe covers when it’s raining or snowing, to keep matches and kindling dry, and more. Here are 33 uses for bread bags.
22. Old Grocery Bags – These can be reused as insulation, padding, or to carry things. Tie them together to form a rope that you can use to hold a door shut or open, put over your feet to keep your feet dry, or create a makeshift pond to collect water. Here are 48 other uses for grocery bags.
23. Plastic Bottles – 2-liter bottles, gallon jugs, or any other kind of plastic bottle can be used to store water (just be sure to add a few drops of bleach) for up to 6 months. But that’s the the first of many uses for plastic bottles.
Before you toss something into the trash, spend a few seconds thinking about what else you can use it for. Think outside of the box and you will discover some pretty creative, unique ways to transform your trash into potentially life-saving treasure.