How much trash do you throw away each day? As a survivalist, you need to look at all of the items that you have on hand – including what you may toss in the trash – and think how else you could use them.
We’re definitely not saying that you should hoard everything and throw away nothing, but there are still a lot of things that we all commonly throw away that can be immensely useful when it comes to survival — and that may end up saving your life.
Here are 10 commonly discarded items that you can use for survival:
1. Old towels and rags. Almost all of us have old towels and rags lying around somewhere. Don’t throw those old towels and rags away; instead, wash them and set them aside for when you’ll need them in a survival situation. You can use them to make bandages, stitch them together to form blankets, or rip them up into smaller shreds to start a fire.
2. Gardening hose. Garden hoses (obviously) are used mostly for transferring water from one place to another place. This same principle applies in a survival situation, but to gasoline instead of water. You can use a gardening hose as a gas siphoner to remove the last ounces of gasoline from abandoned vehicles.
3. Empty food cans. Even after you’ve eaten the food out of the cans in your pantry, don’t discard them! Empty food cans serve a multitude of uses during a survival situation. You can string them together across your property and then fill them with pebbles to make an alarm system, or you can use them to cook food. You also can use them to help organize items.
4. Empty soda cans. The same basic principles that apply to food cans also apply to soda cans, but with soda cans you can remove the tabs and fashion them into fishing hooks.
5. Garbage bag. Many survival experts actually consider the simple garbage bag to be one of the most versatile survival items of all time. It doubles as a poncho so long as you cut three holes for your head and arms in it, and it can be used in the construction of a shelter. It also can be used as a bag to transport your survival items.
6. Socks. Rather than throw away old socks, keep them around for survival. While they don’t purify water, they will help to filter it by removing most of the sediment that is visible. Cotton socks are an excellent source of tinder for starting fires.
7. Altoid tins. Altoid tins are simply perfect for making miniature survival kits that you can fit in your pocket. They are durable and can be tightly shut to ensure that everything is kept together. Inside an Altoid tin, you can store things such as small knives, compasses, matches, lighters, bandages, gauze pads, needles and thread, fishing line, hooks, medications, kindling, and so on.
8. Paper clips. One of the most ubiquitous items in America is none other than the paper clip. You can use it as a fishhook, as an antenna or as a splint for fingers and toes. You also can use it for sewing or for hanging up clothes on a line.
9. Egg cartons. Egg cartons are simply great for planting seedlings and making small gardens that you can take with you on the go.
10. Old ChapStick. Many of us like to throw away old ChapStick tubes when the actual ChapStick is almost out, but we suggest that you save as many as you can. When applied to open wounds, ChapStick will seal the wound off against outside elements to (hopefully) prevent an infection from developing. When rubbed against cloth, cotton balls, or even wood, it’s a great fire-starter and will hold a flame.
What would you add to this list? Share your survival advice in the section below: