You may think that my top 7 handy dandy preparedness "tools" are an unusual list for emergency preparedness supplies, but I’m quite certain that you will find them invaluable under the right set of circumstances. I love discovering and using items that serve a dual-purpose, especially when those purposes are compounded substantially. If I have something in storage, chances are it serves more than one purpose. Whether it be medical supplies, seeds, a heater or wood, virtually everything I relegate space to store has multiple uses that I familiarize myself with so I get the most use out of my space. Without further ado, here is my Seven Handy Dandy “Tool” list.
1) Duct Tape: We have an entire case of duct tape in our basement. You can use it medically as well as to fix leaking or broken items. It’s even viable to use to mend clothing or shoe, too. It’s also affectionately called the “100 mile per hour tape.” When I was in my early 20’s I was in a car accident and “needed” the insurance money to live off of. Consequently, I used duct tape to reattach the bumper and away I rode… for another year and a half until I bought a new car. While I never went 100 miles per hour—not that I’m willing to admit, anyway—it worked just fine in keeping my car together.
2) Super Glue: Yet another case of supplies occupying our storage area. This can also be used in lieu of minor stitches as well as prolonging the life of items that may break down. In an emergency, you may very well have to rely on yourself for such instances as opposed to a professional “fix-it man” or medical personnel.
3) Bounce Dryer Sheets: Ah hah. I knew I’d get raised eyebrows on that one. Here’s just a few ways that your dryer sheets will be useful to you. They repel insects, including yellow jackets, bees, ants, and mosquitoes. All you have to do is loop it through a belt loop, and voila, you are a walking citronella candle. They also repel mice. Simply lay them down around an area that you are trying to protect, and you’ve scared little Mickey away. You can also use them to dissolve soap scum (just wet and scrub), prevent sewing thread from tangling (rub on a strip of thread prior to use) and removing baked-on foods from kitchen items (simply soak with a sheet in it and it comes off). Not to mention the everyday uses it provides you with such as cleaning blinds, eliminating static from your computer and TV screens, deodorizing shoes, books, and photo albums. It will truly serve as a duplicitous ally when you’re “roughing it.”
4) Tarp, Tarp, and More Tarp: We buy the blue tarps from Costco and have a small stack of them in the basement. They are sturdy, water proof, and priced much better than even one good quality tarp elsewhere. In the event of nuclear fall out, roof damage, window damage, freezing temperatures, and a myriad of other instances, I find that this is one product that makes sense to have on hand. In fact, even if my tents were to fail to provide me with shelter, I can always combine the tarps with my duct tape supply and have suitable protection from the elements. *wink*
5) Foil: In addition to the regular, everyday uses of foil, you can also use it for emergency signaling, cooking and insulating. You can even put water in a well made foil and duct tape “pan,” let it sit in the sun during a warm day and have distilled water at the end of the day.
6) Lemon Juice: We’ve got a great supply list for this, too. Lemon juice is great as a:
d. Disinfectant (even for medical uses)
e. Dandruff treatment (add 1 T. prior to shampooing, then 2 T. diluted with water after rinsing)
f. Laxative—without the usual side-effects
g. Relief for a sore throat or hacking cough
h. Itch and pain reliever from poison ivy
i. Yummy flavoring
j. Blemish treatment (when mixed with honey)
k. Substitute for buttermilk (mix 1 T. with 1 cup of milk)
l. Tarnish remover
m. Bleach substitute in laundry.
I could share more with you, but since I’m certain I’m listed as a “right wing extremist”, I won’t egg anyone on talking about the self-defense measures that can be realized with lemon juice as well J
7) Salt: You’ve heard biblically of salt being a critical component. Perhaps after seeing all of these uses you’ll understand why I always take advantage of sales on simple table salt. In addition to all of the ways salt can be used, it’s also a necessary nutrient that many underestimate. Salt can also help:
a. Prevent lettuce from wilting
b. Repel ants
c. Prevent food from sticking to your griddle (just rub it in)
d. As a wood preservative (boil your clothespins in them and they will last a LOT longer)
e. A boiling water accelerator (faster boiling means using less fuel)
f. Remove mildew (when used with lemon juice)
g. Remove stains (even works on grape juice in your carpet—but hey, who’s going to really care about the carpet in an emergency, right?)
h. Kill weeds
i. Prevent your laundry from freezing when you hang them out to dry in cold weather
j. Make your milk last longer with a dash of salt
k. As a plaster substitute (when mixed equally with starch)
l. Substitute for toothpaste (with equal parts of baking soda)
m. Relieve sore eyes (when rinsed with salt water)
A pinch of salt also improves the flavor of a lot of items that may taste stale otherwise such as cocoa, gelatin (it sets more quickly as well), fruits (when putting them in also water—this also prevents them from turning yellow), tea, cooking apples and warm milk (makes it more relaxing as well). Also, egg whites and whipping cream whip up faster with a pinch. And last but not least, when you soak your shelled nuts in salt water overnight, all you have to do is gently tap the edge gently and they will easily come open, providing a whole nut instead of crumbles that you have to hunt to find among the shells!
In addition to all of these items, I would also recommend you Google multiple uses for vinegar, wheat, rope, isopropyl and rubbing alcohol and apricot seeds, among other things. Obviously it doesn’t cost you any money to at least gain this knowledge. And you may end up being a real, live MacGyver in the end.
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