Prepping skills: Save money by learning how to scavenge and repurpose
09/15/2021 // Mary Villareal // Views

As a prepper, it is important to use your head to get creative ideas in case you find yourself in a bind. If you've ever watched a survival reality TV show, it is common for participants to get creative with the things they find -- and that it is applicable in real life as well.

There is a word for using things in a different way than they're originally intended to. This is called "repurposing" and this is a creative survival skill that you should try to work on.

In a post-disaster situation, there are different ways to repurpose various items: they can be items we have that no longer work, items that are no longer needed for their original purpose, items we barter in case we can find a way to use them and items we scavenge in case they can be useful.

To be proficient at repurposing items that you were able to scavenge, you should be able to see their potential for use: think outside the box. Some people are more gifted at this than others, but it can be a learned skill.

Learning to think outside the box is only one part of it, though. You will also need to accomplish the projects that you are planning to take on -- sometimes you make mistakes, but you will learn to improve on your skills eventually. (Related: Repurposing agricultural waste into a renewable resource: Researchers have combined biomass and electric energy to make a more sustainable fuel.)

Learning to repurpose

It is important to start repurposing as soon as you can. Take a look at your trash and try to figure out if there are pieces of garbage that you can turn into something useful.


There are a lot of places that you can look into when you plan on a repurposing project. You can look in scrap yards for materials to build things with if that is your priority. Craig's List and garage sales are also good sources.

Scavenging for items and repurposing them can save you a lot of money, not to mention, it gives you more opportunities to be ready for your prepping needs.

What are some items that you can repurpose for survival (and therefore start collecting as much of)?

Garbage bags -- Large, clear lawn bags could be useful in gathering water if you know the basics of building a solar still. You can dig a hole shaped like a funnel and place a cup at the bottom. Cover the hole with a flat plastic sheet and use rocks to hold the bag in place. Use more rocks to weigh down the plastic to its center so that the cup can collect condensation.

Non-digital watches -- You can actually use an analog watch as a compass. The method is not 100 percent accurate, but you can still get a general idea of directions every morning in case you find yourself in a nomadic situation.

Glasses -- Prescription glasses are great for use as fire starters. Stack up enough tinder and dry foliage, and hold the glasses about 12 to 14 inches from the fuel while making sure it hits the sun's rays. This will eventually ignite the tinder. Gently blow on the tinder when it starts smoldering. When the flame starts, add more tinder and wood until a strong fire gets going.

Duct tape -- This is one of the most versatile items you can easily find in your home in case of emergencies. There are a lot of ways to used duct tape for survival, including clothing and shoe repair, building and waterproofing shelters, and creating ropes.

Pantyhose -- This may seem weird for an SHTF situation, but pantyhoses are cheap, lightweight, easy to pack and very useful in survival situations. For instance, it can help you gather food, as it can be used as a fishing net. If water is your concern, you can also use it as a water filter.

Garbage takes on a different meaning for survival situations, so try to think outside the box and try to repurpose everyday items so that you can get a better chance of surviving when SHTF.


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