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15 Things You Should Be Hoarding

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15 Things You Should Be HoardingNearly everyone has a drawer, closet or room filled with, well, stuff. The word ‘hoarding’ generally evokes terrifying images of a house overflowing with useless junk – newspapers from the past thirty years, every can or bottle the hoarder has ever drunk from, and a seemingly endless supply of containers, wires, screws, and other things lying all over the place.

But it’s not always a bad thing: Take a guess at how many of those things we just listed can be useful. It’s time to sort out the junk drawer. Here’s what you should be hoarding and why…

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1. Packing Crates

Online orders often come in large wooden packing crates, and these are surprisingly sturdy. (If not, they can be sourced from local stores who receive their stock on wooden pallets or in crates.)

If you can get hold of a couple of these, they can be used to store almost anything – with a little finishing it’ll hold up well, even against weather. Take them apart and, with a little DIY handiwork, you can transform it into something entirely new.

2. Newspapers and Magazines

Newspapers and magazines are often tossed away, but they make great kindling when you’re starting a fire. Newspapers are also (for the most part) sterile, which is why traditional fish-and-chips are served wrapped in newspaper.

Newspapers can also be used to transport or store breakables. (And, well, have you ever run out of toilet paper? Better old news than poison ivy.)

3. Potash

Potash is easily discarded, but can and should be saved up after a fire. It’s one component of homemade soap (the others being fat and water; there is a great recipe for this in the FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual) and potash mixed into soil does wonders for the soil’s mineral content: Want to revitalize soil for the next harvest? Potash.

4. Empty Tins

Empty tins are always useful to store things in. Keep your empty tins because, whether it’s a coffee tin or a small Altoid tin, you’re bound to find a use for it at some point. You can also turn empty tins into everything from a lantern to a small, improvised stove: They’re way too useful to dispose of.

5. Soda Cans

You can turn an empty soda can into a myriad of things. Just a couple examples off of YouTube include a Wi-Fi booster, a popcorn maker, a soda can stove, a torch and a camping water heater. Hell, you can even make chains from the tabs, thanks to this ingenious video from Grant Thompson – thanks!

6. Polystyrene

Polystyrene is not biodegradable and has a massive environmental impact, so don’t just throw it away.

When left to soak in gasoline, polystyrene turns into a flammable putty that can make a great firestarter in an emergency. (Coincidentally, this also happens to be very dangerous, so take the necessary precautions when you plan on playing with fire.) You can also mix polystyrene with orange oil to make your own glue

7. Batteries

You can create a spark, enough to start a fire with, by using an old battery and steel wool. You can also attach batteries directly to small LED lights if you quickly need some light in an emergency.

Always remove batteries from electronics that’ll go into storage for a while, and use caution when storing old batteries: They can pop and leak – right into those electronics – and the acid can burn your skin and eyes.

8. Old Lighters

Empty lighters can always be refilled, and lighters that are mostly screwed still have one useful thing: The flint. Dismantle the lighter and remove the flint. This can be used as a firestarter or re-fitted to another lighter. (For example, the flint from a Bic lighter will fit in a Clipper – good as new!)

9. Paperclips

Paperclips are about as versatile as good ol’ duct tape, so make sure you have paperclips (and bobby pins) around in your survival kit. They can hold things together, open up locks, and be turned into an improvised fish hook or compass. Obviously, there are a hundred-and-one uses – and you can stab things with it.

10. Wire

Never throw away those random bits of wire: You’ll always find something that needs to be held together with that random piece of wire, and then you might not have it around.

(The same, of course, applies to a piece of wire that’ll apply to a paperclip: If you can bend it, you can make it.) Sharp bits of wire can also be used as improvised nails in an emergency.

11. Glass Bottles

Clean and store glass bottles: These can be turned into lights or lanterns, used to boil water or bake cakes and, when properly sterilized, used to make your own homemade preserves.

12. Broom Handles

Snapped broom and mop handles are easily thrown away: Don’t. Saw the broken end off and you’ve got a free wooden dowel: Turn this into a fishing rod, a walking stick, a spear, a support, a splint – or, if hollow, use some creativity and turn it into a homemade blowgun.

13. Plastic Bottles

Like polystyrene, plastic bottles present a recycling nightmare: Always reuse them when you are able to. Plastic bottles can be turned into plant holders, scoops, storage, lights, and lanterns. You can even build a shelter if you have enough plastic bottles around. Take a look at this article for some examples of houses built from plastic bottles.

14. Firewood

Collect logs for firewood: in the event of needing a source of light or heat, wood will always be useful. You can also order your own DIY mushroom kits online: Drill holes in a log and grow your own mushrooms.

15. Screws and Other Stuff

Now, what do you do when you’ve just finished putting together the couch and you’re left with three screws? (Call it a day and store them, of course.) Always keep loose odds-and-ends like zip ties, screws, nuts, bolts, and nails: Throw them in a coffee tin and forget they’re even there. They’ll be useful eventually.

What’s part of your “stuff” drawer and how has it proved to be useful? Share your own tips in the comments; we love hearing from you!

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11 Comments

  1. Roy n Renée on September 16, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    Needles, thread and many yards of material! Like polar fleece, wool, cotton etc.

  2. Dane Dixon on February 10, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Number 12, broome handles. I saw them off and make homemade escrima sticks. I also put a couple of fender washers on one end to act like a retention device. I make them various lengths for various reasons.One day I was walking along the road and someone was throwing out a mop handle complete w/mop. Couldn’t figure out what to do with the mop end, but the handle made a good walking stick.Gave it a pointy spike end. Stabbed the spike thru a tennis ball and, voila, I now have a disguised walking stick.

  3. Roger Bainbridge on February 10, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Sorry, But this is one of the least useful of all the article I have seen here.

  4. Dan Zacha on February 8, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    You forgot the basics in this article,water,food (non perishable) ,ammunition,salt, oil (both cooking and nonorganic types ace and synthetic), toothbrushes,toothpaste, antiseptics like Neosporin,hydrocodone,etc.the dollar store brands of hydrogen peroxide,rubbing alcohol,vinegar,spices,use your imagination. GOOD luck Dan

  5. Julie Allen on February 8, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for this and all the great articles you provide.

  6. gcaverly on February 8, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Always keep a stockpile of items on hand at all times. You never know when the SHTF. If Prepped and Ready for the coming of the hit you can reduce its impact. Its an eye and ears thing. Be a hoarder not a boarder and relay on someone else for you survival. Also remember trust can go away like a fart in the wind. Don’t be surprised or feel hurt or operate on a wing and a pray. You have to keep on keeping on when the collapse takes place in whole or in part. Also don’t feel hurt if tomorrow the wife you thought you knew turns into a hooker the next day. Be prepped to walk away, BPTWA. Reality is beholding to no one.

    • Yashash Dave on April 11, 2020 at 9:25 am

      That is why sir you will not survive SHTF more than a shitty single week. You know people once under stress takes down people like you forst. Your kinds of selfish and cowards. People fear you more than the disaster upon them.

  7. Lynn on July 11, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    One December, I found some of those solar lights (usually used along garden paths) on sale for 50 cents each. They’re in the junk drawer. They’re great prepping items: When I was in Florida during a prolonged hurricane season in 2004, the power was out for many days. After the storm, we’d charge the solar lights outdoors and then bring them inside at night. They made great “candles” — not bright enough to read by, but they kept you from running into the furniture and stumping your toe!

    • Alan on July 12, 2019 at 6:14 am

      I’m in Florida and I have a bunch of those, too. I keep them along the path to my front door. When the power goes out, I’ll bring them inside.

  8. Luisa on January 19, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Gloves of all types
    Cooking
    Medical
    Utility working gloves
    Protects your hands
    And eyes shields

  9. Grace Williams on April 19, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    My grandmother is a hoarder and I found a original copy of when jfk was shot.

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