Dual Use Preps – Preparedness Multipliers

Dual Use Preps

Guest Article by Bogan

The term “Dual Use” is commonly used in international politics and diplomacy to denote technology that has a civilian application but may also be used for military purposes. A crude example for illustrative purposes might be a nuclear power plant that can…oops… also be used to make atom bombs (ayatollah, anyone?). The term can also apply to a technology that can serve more than one purpose.

The concept can also be applied to the preparedness -minded. Items that can are commonly known to be used for more than one purpose. They include vinegar, baking soda and wire clothes hangars. These items have legendary utility as multipurpose commodities.



However, there are other less obvious items – household items – that can be considered dual (or multi!) purpose for the preparedness minded. But for MSB and other preparedness websites, these would not necessarily be known. Some examples a person can buy for a buck or so for a packet containing multiple items include:

Primary use – filter your coffee in the morning

Dual use – filter (or prefilter) water, oil, anti freeze. Use clothes pegs to clip the filter inside of a funnel and pour slowly away. Double up if need be. Start a fire. Blow your nose.

Primary use – Wash your dishes

Dual use – Filter – or prefilter – for your 2 cycle gas (petrol) powered appliance

Primary use – Keep your pearly whites gleaming

Dual use – Use to clean hard to get places in your gun, fishing gear, chainsaw, etc.



PACKAGING from other goods:
Primary use – get the good or product safely into your house

Dual use – Cardboard can be used to soak up oil spills on your garage floor, provide dry work area to slide under your car, cushion furniture (against scratches) and items in transit (such as propane tanks to avoid a spark)

Dual use – Bubble wrap can be reused multiple times. Also has insulating qualities to cover plants or pipes.

Dual use – Open cell foam insulation can be used as filters for your lawnmower or trimmer. Cut to fit.

Dual use – Polystyrene foam board. This is the white stuff that secured your latest appliance came in. Can be used to patch insulation on your home exterior, or to rejuvenate the flotation in your boat.

Primary use – contain food and drink

Dual use – contain hardware such as nails, nuts and bolts. Patch a tailpipe (Hold in place with coathanger wire!). Use to mix paints or other chemical compounds like epoxy, either inside the can or (if for small quantities) flipped over using the shallow bottom.

Primary use – educate and inform (that’s the theory at least)

Dual use – Start a fire. Insulate a cold beverage on a long trip, or to buy time for frozen foods when the electricity goes out. Outhouse material, when the TP runs out….

The point is there are countless things that have dual – or even multiple uses. Regulars on this site probably have a treasure trove of dual use tips and tricks, perhaps less obvious and even more useful ones than the examples above.




  1. We absolutely love the red Folger’s coffee plastic jars. So handy for so many things and ez for seniors to grip

    1. Bro. James – The red Folgers coffee plastic jars make excellent thread catchers or beverage holders on treadle and industrial power sewing machine stands. I discard the lid, punch a hole in the upper rim with a leather punch, and insert a surplus plastic-coated “S-hook” from an old stretched out motorcycle cargo net. Hang the coffee jar under the table surface somewhere on the stand to keep it out of the way.

      CD in Oklahoma

    2. Those plastic coffee cans are great for storing spent brass in until I’m ready to reload a batch of ammo. I mark the caliber on the can so I can keep the calibers segregated.

    3. The blue plastic Maxwell House coffee cans are great too. They have a wide mouth and convenient carry handle, as well as a secure lid. Potential uses: as a paint can you can easily hold while up on a ladder; to keep reel parts all together and secure for cleaning and/or maintenance; to break down and clean out a carburetor, or storage of who knows what.

  2. I have been saving so many things for dual uses. I finally had to get rid of empty jars, packing material, tooth brushes etc. I have run out of room! I have been saving so many things I need a warehouse just to store all of it. But I am keeping the box of really big huge coffee filters. But that is definitely a problem. I have a closet in the spare bedroom that no one that stays can use. It has water bottles, blankets, boxed food, jackets, and boxes of non-electric implements to be used if there is no electric. Actually all of my closets are that way and the outbuildings are stuffed. We really don’t want to build another outbuilding and to buy one now a days costs a fortune. How about an outbuilding raising at my house this summer? I’ll cook!

    1. old lady

      Count me in. I LOVE a good “Barn Raising”.
      I’ll bring the ‘metal siding cleaner’, wink wink.

    2. old lady
      I have plenty of Ryobi battery operated power tools, knowledge how to construct a building. Please do not make me do the roof trusses as, you do not wish me to waste a lot of good lumber & beside dh will not let me up on the roof …lol.

      1. She is smart, I don’t want my husband on the roof either!
        So we have 2, we are on our way!

    3. Look on the bright side – you have a dual-use domicile – shelter and storage. If you do succeed in building a barn be sure to put bunk beds in one corner then you’ll have another dual-use structure -storage and shelter. I have to have a sense of humor about it. I have a 20-year-old car that’s never been inside my two car garage and the newer one, 8 years old, hasn’t either.

  3. like probably all of you, jars and tins are nearly always re-purposed. Jars that can take a regular or wide mouth lid are great for dry goods ( with O2 absorber using jar sealer attachment). I also keep an old gravy jar on my kitchen counter filled with O2 absorbers. Jars can also be used to hold buttons and safety pins, nails and screws, and all sorts of stuff. Gotta love jars!

    Tins (such as from cookies) are great for storing teabags (to get them out of a carton that is not pest-proof). I also repurpose tins as sewing kits, and small ones that hold things like mints are great for keeping small items together in a GHB or in a fishing tackle box or in a camping gear box.

    The lids off of cartons or copy paper (about 12x 18) are great to use as a sort of carton for your canned goods if they are in a closet if you are tight for food storage space. You can stack them easily and I pack mixed cases of foods with similar expiration dates, so a case may have 4 rows of 4 different veggies in it – easier for a small family to use rather than a full case of a single item. This also works if you need to store stuff under a bed.

    Old toothbrushes and beat up t- shirts are great for cleaning.

    Great article, Bogan … I’n sure everyone will have a good list to share!

    1. So Cal, like your idea of lids with variety of canned goods, very convenient :)

    2. I noticed that the boxes of copy paper are transitioning to just being wrapped in plastic. I let out an audible gasp in the store! I use those copy paper boxes for so many things. :(

  4. I save and reuse/re-purpose all manners of food containers. My ammo storage depends on the clear plastic quart sized Kraft miracle whip jars for both factory and reloads. Each will hold any of the following: 200 rds- flush seated .38 spec wadcutters, or 1000 rds .22 lr, 1500 rds .22 shorts, well, you get the picture. I can readily see the contents of each, I place a small packet of desiccant in each, seal and write the date, manufacturer info, etc on a label of masking tape stuck to the top. I prefer these over the commercial plastic ammo can look-a-likes. I also use the larger clear plastic containers that peanuts come in.

  5. I must confess that I’ve been known to buy an item I didn’t really need just because I wanted what it was packaged in.

    1. I don’t eat pickles….but oh my, those big jars they are packed in!

  6. My mother was an expert at repurposing. One example: she used cans to isolate morning glory (the original devil-weed) to keep it from returning to the surface. She’d dig down about two feet, cut the stem off, cap it, and refill the hole. It worked. She was the upcycler before that became a word. :)

    I use cupcake liners for my soap, and tin cans for cheese molds. Those are the two that come immediately to mind. Cat litter for cleaning up oil. My car is repurposed as a dehydrator during the summer.

  7. Ammo boxes that keep the rounds separate can be re-used when you fly. Regulations require that if you declare a firearm/ammo when you fly, the ammo must be in such a container.

  8. What, you mean like pressure cookers, black powder, sparkplugs and high output ignition coils? Or that magnesium tape and big bucket of rust?

  9. Have a number of field manuals SF and SOP got years ago. All are DOD print shop and are outstanding. Great recipes for party favors and welcome prizes in the field using everyday items. If people had any ideal what was out there open source they would be blown away.

    1. Those FMs are quite informative.
      And yes, most people have no clue the info nor potential,

  10. I have the greatest reusable and edible containers – I put straw and hay in the top and out comes natural fertilizer from the bottom that does not need to be composted before use.

    1. Is that the kind that can make a great beverage and is always a hit at a barbecue?

  11. Whiskey is my big one it calms you is SHTF, it is a wound cleaner, fire starter aid and can be a great barter item

  12. Leading up to hurricane Erma I saved 20+ cat litter buckets that are made of heavy plastic and lids. These are actually thicker than the normal home depot and lowes buckets.
    I filled them all with water for additional sanitation flush water. Also used them to wash up with everyday. During zombie apocalypse I will be using them to create buried caches of canned foods and supply’s.

    1. White Cracker. That is a very good idea. I will be saving my cat litter buckets starting now. It occurs to me that if you store little baggies of rice, beans, etc. in them, you don’t even need to bury them. Just put the buckets with your other cat supplies and no one would think to look inside them. I actually use a combination of scoopable and regular litter (the regular is much cheaper) so I could easily store my buckets with the bags of litter and the boxes of plastic cat box liners No one would ever know.

      1. @ DaisyK
        Good idea on camouflaging your stored goods from everyday prying eyes. Remember to not to put your eggs all in one basket. Keeping buried caches out of the home is a good idea. When times become desperate for most people you should expect to have to abandon your homestead at some point when conditions become dangerous. You can always return after the threat has past and dig up your critical supplies.

        1. White Cracker,

          I am old and have Post Polio Syndrome. Digging a large hole in the ground is not something that would be easy. That is why I like your “hide-in-plain-sight” kitty litter bucket idea.

          The more I think about it, the better I like it. The buckets are filled with “clean all natural clay.” A person could wash out the buckets and dry them completely. Then you probably could safely store anything you wanted.

          However, I would see if I could stuff a 13-gallon plastic bag inside, with the opening hanging out to act as a funnel. Then I could pour in rice, beans, pasta, hard candy, whole wheat, or whatever, Then close up the bag and fasten with a twist tie and replace the lid. I plan to try it as soon as I have an empty one.

          I could store some in the basement, some in the garage, and some under the tumbleweeds in my vacant lot. I planted a row of 30 lilac bushes behind a row of 25 Nanking cherry trees in that lot, so eventually, once the hedges grow, I could hide things between the two rows of hedges.

        2. DaisyK
          all sounds good. If they only originally contain “clean natural clay”, save some of that clay to put over top of the bags inside, to further disguise/hide.

          — also, on hiding in plain site…well — maybe you’d like to have, or do have, some outdoor sitting spots? Easy to make them with lift up seats etc…

        3. Anon,

          I am sorry to be so dense, but what do you mean by “sitting spots”?

        4. Sitting Spots like some recycled pallets used to make square boxes to sit on and admire your garden. Hide the square kitty litter bucket inside.

          Please think however that that kitty litter bucket will NOT be protected from temperature swings. A lot of cache supplies would not last long that way. Thus the root cellar style of storage :-)

        5. Daisy K
          — sorry, wrote in a rush. Should have said, bench for the garden, etc…grin. ====however, NH Michael is correct. Outside, even enclosed under a seat, they will be more susceptible to deterioration from cold/heat.

        6. Anon, & NH Michael
          I didn’t mean I was going to store things in kitty litter buckets NOW. First, I have to empty a few. Then, I will store them in my basement where the temperature runs 50-55 degrees summer & winter.

          What I plan is that if TSHTF, then I will start hiding things. I have quite a few places to hide things but only my basement is temperature controlled.

        7. DaisyK
          ah..Well, still good to have it figured out in one’s mind what to do. That way, if SHTF…one can act quickly.

          Besides, it must take a while to empty a quantity of kitty litter buckers….Maybe you need more cats? (grin)

        8. DaisyK
          occurs to me, if you are considering that at some point in the future you may need to hide goods outside/under stuff / in stuff outside etc….it would be good to “establish” those locations now. That way they can “weather in”, come to look as if they have always been there, and will be less noticeable in the event you need to use them. Freshly dug earth/freshly placed benches/etc might draw a marauder’s eye.

        9. Anon,

          Good idea.

          Actually, I already have some holes already dug. When my dog was alive, he liked to dig. After I became a prepper (and realizing how hard it is for me to dig holes) I started leaving the holes. After all, I don’t care about having a pristine yard, and everything is hidden from view by my privacy fence. So I already have holes dug. The dirt from the holes was used by me to add to the dirt in my garden beds. After a few years of looking at the holes, I know exactly where they all are. A couple are big enough to hide a kitty litter bucket and, with just a little digging, some of the remaining ones could be used for that as well.

          If I have some holes left over, they make good ankle breakers for anyone who might trespass on my property in the dark!

        10. DaisyK,
          If you’re going to put the buckets in the holes the best and least expensive thing to do is use plastic garbage bags . Place the bucket in a 20 gallon bag. Squeeze it up around the bucket and tie/tape it closed. Then put it in another bag,squeeze it up around and tie/tape it closed.
          Worms and such as well as water will find its way into a kitty litter bucket once it’s underground. Double bagging will help deter that. Plastic garbage bags will last 10-20 years buried in dirt depending on the mill thickness of the bag. The excess of the bag above the tie makes it easy to pull up.
          One othet thing . Make sure there are no rocks in the hole before you put it in. Cover it with rock free dirt. Because the soil has been disturbed you will need to either compress the dirt on the bucket or mound it higher because it will sink down.
          Save some topsoil because subsoil looks different and will be a dead giveaway to someone who is looking that the soil has been disturbed.
          My suggestion would be to make these holes a place for short root flowers/herbs maybe with a border or stick potted plants on them.
          I teach people to mark their caches well.with something they will remember.
          Trust me your memory will betray you.
          Anyone looking at your yard would expect flowers or plants.
          Only you would know that they mark the spot of your cache…

        11. Bill Jenkins

          Boy! I sure started a long conversation. (Actually, the person who first mentioned kitty litter buckets started it.)

          Anyway, I don’t still have the topsoil from the holes my dog made; I put it in my garden. I am not looking for long term storage — just a place to diversify my preps so that they are not all in the same place.

          Putting them inside a double layer of plastic bags is a good idea. So is the idea of a flower or other plant on top. In the summer I have a few flowers planted (to attract bees) and I could probably transplant some on top. But they might not survive the transplanting.

          My yard is not something to brag about. There are lots of weeds, bare spots and even rocks laying around. So it would be hard to spot disturbed earth and think (“Oh here is where the buried treasure is”). In the winter, I could probably place the buckets in my garden and cover with earth. Most of the garden is frozen, but there are bare spots (holes) where I harvested the veggies last summer. Right now, there are huge holes where I just emptied the entire space around my potatoes and put the excess dirt in other planter boxes or raised beds. There is room for some preps with a little soil or compost on top. I wouldn’t forget where they were, or if I did, I would discover the buckets the next time I started to turn the earth to plant more veggies.

          Again, I am not thinking about long term storage. I am thinking about starting to store some extra food and other preps (tp, candles, cat food, ammo, or whatever) in the buckets and keep those buckets in my basement where they would remain at around 50 degrees year round. Then if an emergency hit, it would be easy to bring those buckets up and store them around the property so that they are not all in one place.

          I only have two cats and use a mixture of litter in buckets and the cheaper stuff in bags, so it will take me a while to accumulate very many buckets.

      2. I make up food buckets with these, by putting everything in ziplocks and vacume sealing…I have everything from tuna, single serv.meats, instant foods inc.potatoes , rice,oats, grits, pancake mix, protein powder,,gravy mixes, spaghetti n’ spaghetti sauce mix, w/ all ingred for sauce/all dry. mac n cheese,(jar of cheese sauce, peanut butter and Jelly/honey, bullion..
        drink mix ,few bottles of water,seasonings,dehydrated vegs…powdered eggs or egg whites.

        1. I used the empty kitty litter buckets in my chicken coop for nesting boxes,

    2. – On the subject of kitty litter buckets. Got a bicycle with a sturdy luggage rack? Take two buckets, decide where to drill holes so they will not interfere with the pedals, drill necessary holes to mount two of the brass coat hooks like are intended for the back of doors and such. Mount them upside down with small bolts and nuts, so the buckets will hang on the side of your luggage rack, and you now have waterproof carry/storage capacity for about two grocery bags of whatever to get through floodwaters, rain, etc. on the cheap. Might prove to be a useful trick to know.
      – Papa S.

    3. I’ve just discovered these pails, and they are indeed indestructible, but I only store non-food items such as charcoal and wood pellets, due to the strong perfume; is there a way to cleanse that out?

      1. Old Chevy
        If you are referring to kitty litter pails, they will air out if you leave the lid open for a few days. Otherwise try washing out with cheap golden colored mouth wash(equate-w/mart brand), or spray it inside and close lid for a day or two then rinse. See that works for getting rid of the smell.

        1. Mouthwash, that’s a good idea. I just looked up “kitty litter pails” on YouTube and there are a lot of ideas on use. Only one on cleaning the perfume smell using baking soda; I’ll try the mouthwash and then let some baking soda sit in it for awhile. I will most likely use these pails for camping supplies, liquid fuels; in which case total elimination of odor isn’t necessary. Thanks for the tip.

  13. Most here are to savvy for me to suggest something they already know about.
    However, one thing I do is save small containers like when I purchase chickweed and put this in various chickweed containers so I have access in most rooms instead of just the bathroom–same with lotion..I never have to leave the room for either.
    Scissors are in every room too.

    1. JJ
      You reminded me, a Computer Keyboard; Also used as a hammer, a pry bar, and as a Chalk for the Truck when working on it and at times that additional wedge to support a heavy load…. HAHAHAHA

  14. Bogan;
    Good article, thanks for taking the time to contribute to the Blog, I know Ken likes a break now and again.
    There are literally thousands of items that can be “reused” or as you say “Duel Use”.

    A few that I would like to mention;
    News-Paper; after read, use to clean windows, than start the wood stove
    Containers; after ya dump the Sauerkraut out and eat, the Jars can be used for a LOT of things that others mention.
    Socks; Warm feet, once worn-out, filters, glass protector, Gag Gift for Christmas Stockings, cleaning rags
    Aluminum Cans; cut in 1/2 and use for small throw-away mixing containers in the Shop, melt down and make Sinkers from
    TP; (you-all KNEW I was going to say this) besides the obvious, use as Nose wipes, fire starter, shaving cuts and pimples, Bra stuffing (you know it’s true), Shoe filler for oversized shoes

    That said, I agree that Storage is the biggest problem, after how many pounds of Dryer Lint can one store?

    1. Since I started reusing my bottle lids I ran into a snag–I can’t label the lids anymore since I know I might not be using them for the same product the next time. Sharpie on the bottle works (and cleans right off with hand sanitizer) but only works if the product is a light color. So I found a bunch of old socks and cut them up. Write the product on the sock, put the sock around the bottle as a label. Reuse the label.

      1. Use alcohol to clean off old label or label on paper tape./on side of jar.

        1. Just Sayin’

          if alcohol/rubbing alcohol won’t remove it, give nail polish remover a try…

        2. Acetone is cheaper. Goo be gone is like kerosene/fuel oil. Fuel oil tends to be cheapest of the adhesive removers.

      2. I use sharpie + waterproof first aid tape from the dollar store to label containers and freezer items. That tape is a great multi-purpose item for first aid, labels, sealing containers, making repairs and fixing holes in tents, plastic sheeting or tarps. About 5 yds. in a roll.

    2. Aluminum cans. Full of tasty beer, later turned into a rocket stove.

  15. Good day, Everyone,
    Ok, here are some dual purpose items:
    Duct tape: temp hold for cracked window, patch up for a screen, securing just about anything,
    can be used to secure a splint on an injury, cover up torn clothes or jacket, a water catchment system, to use in the building of a shelter, sealing stuff…
    Vaseline: skin protectant, fire starter, kitty hairball remedy in small amounts, to help lube a pipe fitting
    black strap molasses: cooking ingredient, nutritional supplement, gentle laxative
    salt/sugar: besides cooking, you can make an oral rehydrating solution with water:
    1 liter water, 1/2 tsp salt, 6 tsp sugar, mix and heat till dissolved, consume when cool
    (can added in a bit of mashed banana for potassium)
    Oil: cooking, oil/wick lamp (you can use cooking oil that is past BBD to use for jar/wick/lamp
    water bottle: obvious drink, frozen: a cold pack for food/compress for injury/to keep rabbits cook in summer (yes I do this with large water bottles that are frozen/makes nice AC for my “bunnehs” I also keep frozen water bottles in my house frig/freezer just in case power goes out, those water bottle “ice blocks” would help keep freezer cold longer
    flannel blankets: to keep warm and snug, cut up and use as personal washcloths, wipes, or sanitary products (use pinking shears to the cloths they do not come undone as fast)
    Hydrogen peroxide: 50/50 solution with water: surface cleaning product, dental care, clean hands
    Just for fun CANDY: quick energy, morale booster, hide a few pieces of candy have kiddos find it, use it as rewards-motivation for doing chores
    I am thankful for you all here!
    May it be well with you today!

    1. Can mix peroxide with a little urea and deisel fu,,,,,
      Oh thats not a good plan

    2. Shepherdess, On your rehydrating formula can half the amount of salt in your recipe ..to 1/4 tsp. and add 1/4 teaspoon of NO-Salt, OR NU-Salt, a potassium salt..(and a sodium replacer in recipes.) It will perfectly balance entire solution. and the electrolytes in the sick.

  16. Great post (and comments!). One other use for newspaper-stuff it into wet snow boots and it dries them quickly. Regular paper doesn’t work near as good, for some reason it has to be newspaper. My kids boots are all stuffed right now lol.

  17. While walking through the museum of Appalachia, I learned that the pioneers and settlers relied mainly on four resources/materials. Wood, leather, steel, and rock. While not necessarily a finished product, from these materials can be brought forth a plethora of useful items.

    1. Depending on the source of sand it can be made into lime and that has oh so many uses, garden, household etc, glass, takes special equipment for that but its a use

    2. I have heard you can also use sand to help wipe your keester! Never tried it but if there is nothing else… Probably better than a pine cone. Ouch!

      1. SAND, well guess this old girl will have to air dry…………………

  18. When I lived and worked in a large metropolitan area I repurposed inexpensive terry cloth bath sheets and towels for use as “urban camoflage” by draping a Little Mermaid bath sheet over my gun cases in the back portion of my plain jane p/u truck. I carry my shot shells in a heavy cotton shopping bag from the Natural Food Store (Don’t panic! It’s Organic!)

    Sadly, the Little Mermaid cleaned up one too many messes in the truck and has become threadbare over the years so she has been replaced with the gals from “Frozen”.

    On a more serious note, I have used Superglue to glue in place skin flaps on avulsion injuries such that people could keep on working. ( at the request of the patient only.) My gun cleaning kit also contains curved forceps and the larger forceps are handy for hook removal when fishing (catch and release). Curved forceps can be purchased for less at the local farm supply under equine veterinary supplies. Get more than one.

    In both the medical field and the gun smithing bench, I use scissors more than I use a good sharp knife. After all, you cannot go around scaring the s–t out of your patients by whipping out a big knife to cut roller gauze. Not to disrespect the beautiful knife featured by Ken some weeks ago but in my job and neighborhood, there are just not that many griz to skin any more.

  19. Toilet paper rolls (minus the paper) are great for storing electric cords. Roll them up and stuff them in. Label them. Paper towel rolls work for longer cords.
    An excellent way to store long electric cords: hold the plug in your left hand and form a loop. Put your right hand through the loop. Grasp the cord and pull it through the first loop and form a new loop. Again, draw more cord through and form another loop. Continue until the length of the cord is looped. Join the plug and socket. You can now throw the cord in a corner or in the truck.
    To unwind: unplug the two ends. Start pulling the socket end. It will unwind easily.

  20. Funnels can be had from plastic bottles and jugs. Forgot which brand, but I cut the bottom off of a small plastic juice bottle to use it to put oil in my car, and the threads on the bottle matched the threads on my valve cover. 😊

    1. When my friend had a sick chicken we used a vinegar jug with the end cut off.

  21. Great Article Bogan!

    It has a lot of us sharing ideas today. I use an old 2 liter soda bottle with a large hole cut in the side to refill my bird feeders every day. Cutting the spout off results in a fine scoop for kitty litter or other stuff.

  22. Here’s another few:

    – Those long necked plastic bottles that automotive additives like “Heet” make an excellent funnel for machinery and other equipment. You can even get fancy and slice them at an angle so they can be tilted to pour into hard to get places.

    – Big soda bottles make great bee/wasp and minnow traps when you cut them 2/3 to the top and then insert the neck section (reversed) into the main body. for insects add something sweet to the water at the bottom, and for the minners, any ole fishy thing like old fish guts works just fine.

    – Old milk jugs make great holders for your toilet plunger and swab brushes. Cut to fit, with the handle clicked upright into the mouth of the jug that you have slit for that very pourpose.

    – Old vinegar jugs sliced open work well as bailing scoops for your boat, and for pooper scooping for pets. They are made of heavier plastic than the milk jugs.

    – to make a duct cleaner for your dryer, a toilet swab brush can be repurposed by drilling a hole near the head cutting the rest of the handle off, and attaching it to a piece of old lawn hose cut to suit. This will bend around corners as well!

    – An old baby bottle cleaner can be used to clean the lint out of your dryer filter area.

    Grist for the mill!

    1. Old milk jugs make great holders for your toilet plunger and swab brushes

      great idea–I now use large green flower vases

  23. Shepherdess, give saltwater a try in those bottles, as it freezes colder and therefore should last longer.

  24. Yes, I am partial to the big vinegar bottles. Perfect size for a boomer lady to haul and store water. Heavy also.
    I keep to many brown glass vitamin bottles. Hard for me to throw away. Like Bro. James I also use the small Folgers coffee containers. Rattle one with cats treats inside and it will wake the dead. Like the paper tube idea. Really sturdy ones come in the plastic wraps.

    1. Will start saving those, too. I hadn’t noticed that they were thicker.

      1. I jus checked them out. They are significantly smaller in diameter.

  25. and with the soda bottles some gravel, sand, charcoal, and cotton you can make a good water filter.

  26. I’m surprised no one has mentioned 550 Parachute Cord. You can do so much with a 100 foot hank. Make survival bracelets, shoe laces, rifle sling, belt, clothesline, water bottle holder, tent stake rope, use the inner cores for snares and fishing line. There are many prepper books out on para cord projects.

    1. If you don’t have paracord. Most everyone has extension cords. I have used them on job sites when no rope was available for lifting, as guidelines/draglines. Have towed 4 wheelers miles back to camp. It can also be taken apart like paracord. One of the insulated wires can lift quite a lot. The individual copper wires can be used for fishing, sewing,etc.
      Something else is aluminum foil. Countless uses for cooking,food storage, boiling water. I made a solar cooker from an old satellite dish and aluminum foil. You can make one out of a box and aluminum foil. 🌞🌽

      1. Livin’ in the Woods ——-good suggestion on the extension cord. Once I read it, seemed obvious…but….

  27. From the gardener side of life you can use cardboard and newspaper (3-4 layers thick paper) to smother weeds cover with good mulch and compost materials and in about 10 days you can punch a hole and plant your seedling.

    That technique is called Lasagna Gardening. I love it as you do not till and it even smothers poison ivy!!!

    1. Yes, but cull the color printed paper as it may contain un wanted chemicals.

      1. Most colored inks today are soy based. Remove the slick ad sheets as they are covered with some type of lacquer, I don’t know what it’s made from. I feed my worms newspaper and shredded printer paper and no ill effects.

  28. Very useful post.

    Uses I’ve seen for Tin Cans
    -split and flattened as shingles
    -candle holders (sometimes with fancy patterns cut/punched into sides)
    -light bulb “covers” (sometimes with fancy patterns cut/punched into sides)
    -molds for soap/cement/candles
    -cut into ornaments
    -butting out cigarettes receptacle (put sand in bottom)

    the landfills must be full of old toothbrush (handles)..even if re used for scrubbing, the handles are usually fine. —- any ideas for all those handles?

    1. I’ve been told they make good shanks. File one side down to a point and you got yourself a good poker that metal detectors won’t pick up.

    2. Yep and before we bought our well bucket I made one from an can so we could get a look at our water in the new well.

      1. JJ— have used tin cans for cookies/biscuits…— as well as, different sized tin cans to make different sized/stacked cookies. Pretty good jello molds too

    3. Cut off the brush end of the toothbrush, then boil in a pan of water until it has softened. Once soft, semi-flatten one end of it and use a nail to make a hole through the plastic. Then bend the whole toothbrush length to make a hook. You could make a lot of hooks for hanging not-too-heavy objects this way.

  29. Dental Floss makes pretty good thread for sewing some kinds of things by hand. Document Binder Clips work good in place of straight pins for holding fabric in place for sewing seams (especially on thick woven fabric, leather, or vinyl). Vintage steering wheel “spinners” make pretty good clamp-on knobs for a temporarily hand-operated sewing machine. Chenille Stems (Pipe Cleaners) work well to clean debris out of sewing machine oil holes and other small crevasses. Empty Chewing Gum or Mint containers (with the small flap opening) make good safety pin holders. I know I’m forgetting other things…..

    CD in Oklahoma

    1. Oh! I remembered another one! Old Newspapers can be used to make sewing patterns.

      CD in Oklahoma

      1. Speaking of patterns,
        Do you by any chance have or know where i can get a pattern for an M 65 coat? I want to sew one out of some nice southwest print fleece i got but dont have a coat or pattern

        1. Nailbanger
          On the M 65 coat. Are you referring to a military style jacket or something else? Could you please be more specific on the nature of the pattern.

        2. Yes, the military jacket, believe they were Korean warish vintage or up into the mid 80s, i like the style, little longer, big pockets, collar cant find the pattern anywhere and none of my friends have them,

        3. Nailbanger
          There is the style for the Vietnam era where the jacket is long like the shirt of that era. Then there is the jacket that is tailored with a band at the bottom for a more tailored fit. Now that I have an era to work with…which one is on the search bucket list???

        4. Think the longer one, will be for lounging around and such, am making moccasins with removable liners made from suede and the same fleece for the liners, even though were on maui its still cold up here,,, keep hoping that glowbull warming will get us down into the 20s!

        5. Laughing to myself,,,,
          I know im in trouble when they are calling stuff from the 80s vintage!
          What the hell is wrong with people now? I think everybody has gone wacko! Just sayin, not here on MSB but the worlds gone crazy

        6. Have you thought about buying an old one to use as a pattern? Numerous different sizes on eBay.

        7. me
          Have you seen some of the prices for those jackets. I thought about purchasing one to tear apart an construct a pattern until I saw the prices…ouch!! That was what I was going to suggest to Nailbanger.

          Will go back an see if there is one on a bidding list.

        8. I did, just super broke right now, so looking for patterns, asked all my friends too and only one i found was way too big and am not that great at patterning yet

        9. Nailbanger – Sorry, no. I don’t have any access to a pattern for that.

          CD in Oklahoma

        10. Every now and then I run into one in a thrift store. Always worth checking out the thrift stores. Not at all uncommon to find old style
          military clothing as the patterns have changed so many times over the years. I’ve even found tiger stripe fatigues.

    2. Friend of mine uses dental floss like sinew for sewing rawhide and such

    3. Have used dental floss to repair a knife sheath that was coming apart at the seams. It is strong and 4 or 5 years later is still holding that sheath together.

  30. Check out your car. The foam padding in the seats can be used for body warmth, a mattress and a pillow. Think about the uses for the glass windows. How about the rubber mats? Tires? Wires? Loads of stuff is there.

  31. Sorry, didn’t mean “your” car exactly. This is more for when the great disaster strikes.

  32. Well I’ve had my share of duel use while camping over the years . . .

    You can take an empty veggie can and drive a nail in the bottom (in the middle), then take a 2×2 (or a tree limb you cut off) and drive a nail part way in the end of it,(so you may remove it). Now use the butt of the hammer to mount the veggie can on the end of the 2×2 making a holder for your tikki torch. What, no torch? Just fill an empty beer (or soda) can with kerosene and shove in a home made wick.( you know like a sock, or ripped up rag of some sort). Unless your prepared and happen to have some “lifetime” torch wicks.

  33. Cat litter boxes:
    1) That are stuffed with medical supplies, an over grown first aid kit all items vacuum sealed for cleanliness. On the top is a list of the contents which are included in the bucket. Each bucket has a medium size pair of good scissors for cutting the vacuum bags and used for other items. Extra pair of cheater eye glasses-jic.

    2) PVC pipe fittings- Each bucket is marked on the top and side, for the size of pvc & the part contained inside.

    Peach jars from Costco, pack beans, rice ,baking soda, anything that requires a glass jar. Fill put lid on but not tight, place in vacuum bag and seal. Mark date on the tab an store away.
    Baby food jars- I use the same process but for spices since they have a shorter shelf life. Glass jars hold the food products for a longer duration than estimated. Love putting the extra spices that are purchased in bulk into to these small jars an sealed. Spices are expensive, so we have to think outside the box for preservation of these items.

  34. We really like 1 gal. glass jars in our pantry. We put up our own dill pickles, but large pickles come in 1 gal. jars at a price. We donate the pickles to the churches lunch programs, and ask for the jars back. Win-win for all.

  35. Soup cans, bean cans, pop cans, beer cans. Dual use……. targets. Lol
    Or a rocket stove
    Deer horns—- drawer pulls
    Bailer twine —- endless uses
    Every construction project I save almost every piece of re- usable items that are left over.
    One winter the tractor wouldn’t start. Horses needed hay…round bales.
    So I drove a metal rod thru the bale and used a tow strap to drag those bales with the 4×4 truck. Was nasty that winter.
    Ideas are endless. When there is a will….there is a way. If ya throw it away, some day you’ll say,. Dang it I had a use for that.😓

  36. Mr Boston brandy bottles have a hand grip, cut the plastic bottle above the grip for a paint pail. The top is a funnel.

  37. We re-task all of our feed bags (dog, cat, chicken, horse) into garbage bags. Stronger, and hold heavier garbage!
    coffee filters get a few drops of essential oil (your choice of scent) to act as dryer sheets, throw in a 10 x 10 piece of aluminum foil as an anti-static sheet. works great. Use those same coffee filters with scent to stuff into stinky sneakers. Tea tree oil is wonderful here.
    we re-task all coffee cans, jars etc into various storage for the shop
    dirty (grey) water goes from troughs to gardens, from washing machine to gardens etc.
    cardboard egg cartons get filled with dryer lint and topped off with melted broken crayons or old canning wax or left over candles and turned into the best home made fire logs you can ask for!
    old jeans get cut off and turned into garden/shop aprons….just add ties for the waist. the kids love em. These also work great wrapped around 5 gallon buckets for tools and supplies
    just a few quick thoughts.

    1. Pioneer Woman — you wrote “cardboard egg cartons get filled with dryer lint and topped off with melted broken crayons or old canning wax or left over candles and turned into the best home made fire logs you can ask for” ———–don’t they burn up very quickly? Had always thought of this type of thing as fire starter and very quick burning?

  38. Speaking of Duel Use items;

    Last time I parachuted out of the back of a C-130 a couple of weeks ago I had a slight problem with the Chute Cordage, so I decided to make a long distance ‘Communication Device’, I detached the Paracord, tie all the pieces together, attach a used #10 can to each end and poof, you have a good means of communications, Kids have been doing this for many MANY years …. FYI, if you’re really fast you can do this on the way down to call home ….
    Ahhhh maybe not :-) :-) :-)
    FYI use #10 cans, they are bigger for us old farts so we can hear better HAHAHA

    Also the same Paracord can be as Dental Floss :-)

  39. Locally here in Texas we have the best Bar-B-Que place on earth and pickles are served with the meal if you want them. Well, about once a month the restaurant sells off their empty pickle buckets., washed out with the lid. The going price is $1.00 for a bucket and lid. These are food grade buckets with the gamma lid, I have never told the restaurant owner what they are really selling; I just buy the buckets, they are 6 gallon buckets.

    Also, there is a sausage making plant near by that purchases their sausage casings in 35 gallon heavy plastic barrels(food grade) with screw on lids. Sale price $5.00 for barrel and lid. These are in new condition just like the pickle buckets. This barrel lists for $80. I also purchase many of these to help them clear out their ware house, I have many uses for both the buckets and barrels.

    1. Texas boy — you did well scouting these out. Havent seen similar opportunities, but will keep my eyes open.

  40. I plant raspberries for a good source of fruit come summer. I also plant raspberries where I want to stop people because the raspberry produces thorns guaranteed to keep any but the most insistent away.

    1. Cleetus
      speaking of fruity thorn bushes…— try Sea Buckthorn. You will need to plant male and female bushes to bear fruit (very high anti oxidant)…– grows to about ten feet high, and spreads easily. Only one of the male/female has thorns (cant recall which)…But wow…those thorns are viscous.

  41. Big dog food bags double as sandbags.
    Kiddie pools for decontamination in the event of radiological/chemical attack.
    Old cargo net from a pickup bed as the basis for a ghillie suit.
    Old washer and dryer repurposed as a smokehouse.
    Old vegetable oil gone rancid can be used in lamps.

  42. plastic gal milk jugs ..cut out ‘top and part of side’ to make a berry picking bucket with a handle

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