The lost art of repurposing items.

In this world we live in today, if we need something, we simply go to the store and buy it and if something breaks, we just throw it away.  We live in a disposable society unlike days gone by where nothing was thrown away.  Everything had a primary purpose and a secondary one as well.  Nothing was wasted and people made the most of each and every item regardless of what it was.  This was the catalyst for many inventions and discoveries that are now commonplace in today’s world.  In today’s post, we are going to look at how a few items can be repurposed and discuss the value of doing so.

Now granted, many of the products produced today are designed in such a way as to prevent them from being used in any other way than the intended purpose and are not easily repurposed without great effort.  Let’s put that aside and focus on other items that can be easily turned into valuable products and tools that you might otherwise not have in a SHTF situation.  Let’s start with something simple like and old coffee can.  It makes no difference whether it is made of plastic or metal, it can still be repurposed into a number of different items that can be quite useful for SHTF scenarios.  These can make great small cache containers when sealed with a plastic lid and buried in the ground with small amounts of ammunition or food supplies.  They can also be filled with sand and pebbles for a makeshift water filter with holes in the bottom of the can for the water to run out.  Another excellent use for these are to cut the bottoms out of them and place them around small starter plants in your garden during spring to protect the from the wind and insects while they are just getting started.  There are literally hundreds of uses for these and should never be thrown away.

The next one is the ever valuable 5 gallon bucket.  In a SHTF scenario, these will quickly become worth their weight in gold.  There are thousands of uses for these from storing food away from bugs to carrying water for your own use or use in the garden.   I even use one to store my water hose in for easy carrying.  If you fill one with concrete and place a fence post in it then let the concrete set you will have a post that can be placed anywhere and can be used for placing signs on or mounting early warning devices on in areas where there are no trees available.  I would however recommend painting them to so that they blend into the surrounding vegetation and are not immediately visible by others.  These too, make great water filters when filled with sand and pebbles as well as being use to make supply caches with.  I would strongly recommend that you keep as many of these and the lids on hand as space allows.  Many fast food restaurants will give them to you or sell them for very little if you only ask.

Old junk cars contain a myriad of items on them that can be repurposed with very little effort and a good imagination.  Fan blades and alternators can be combined to create makeshift wind powered generators and the pulleys can be use to make block and tackles out of, for help in lifting heavy objects.  Do not overlook the steering wheel as it can be mounted on the end of a rod and used as a large handle for winding rope or cable on over a fire pit when raising and lowering large grills above the fire.  Tires can be made into sandals, and the rims can be used for making a rack to keep firewood up off the ground when grilling.  The axles can be used for building  large carts to be pulled by horses, mules or cattle.  You can pretty much think of an old car or truck as a virtual miniature hardware store for many of your needs.

Old refrigerators and freezers that may no longer work can be turned into ice chest for keeping meat cool and away from bugs and animals in both Summer and Winter.  This also brings up another point, that we tend to look to repurpose things based on the current season.  When you are trying to decide on how to repurpose an item, we need to think about other seasons as well.  Just because something won’t work in the summer, it doesn’t  mean that it won’t work in the Winter.  Be resourceful and think outside of the box.  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention!  You can make drying racks out of old window screens and that dryer hose that you no longer need can be used to vent smoke away from your cooking area.

Fill old pillowcases with the stuffing from old car seats or foam to make pillows or sew several of them together to make a make-shift mattress for a bed.  Hang water bottles filled with water from the ceiling in front of a sun lit window to draw more light into a room if there are no electric lights or to save power during the day when needed.  There are tons of things that you can make from old junk and when there are no more stores.  Be practical and think before you throw something away but don’t go overboard and become one of those hoarders like you see on TV.  🙂     I guess the point that I am trying to make here is that at one time our ancestors looked at everything to see not only what it was, but what it could become later and if we are really going to prepare for SHTF then we need to learn to do that again.  It is a lost art and one that, as Preppers, we need to relearn if we are going to survive when TEOTWAWKI hits.  Well, that is it for today and I hope I have given you something new to think about.  Until next time, Keep on prepping!

-The Sargent-

Leave a Comment