7 Items I Keep in My Thrifty Things Survival Kit

I write about all sorts of survival kits on my other website, but one I haven’t written about is the one I have for all my frugal activities. Without further ado, here are the things that every thrifty soul should keep close at hand.

Duct tape

It sounds like a cliché, but there are so many things that duct tape can quickly repair. I have duct-taped the back of a sofa after it got ripped during a move, the leg of a table, tarps, backpacks, sneakers, and much, much more. Was it sexy and beautiful? No, probably not. But the value of your ability to eke out just a little bit more wear from an item cannot be overlooked.


It doesn’t have to be name brand. Any kind of lubricant can be worth its weight in gold. From silencing squeaks to making hinges and moving parts work again, lubricating fluid is a valuable repair asset.

Black dye

At least once a year, I run all of our black clothing through the washing machine with a package of black fabric dye. It makes faded clothes look brand-spankin’ new. (Be sure to run a load of darks as your next load after this so that you don’t stain light-colored clothing.

Hot glue gun

Not only can you use these for all sorts of DIY crafts, but you can also use it for a multitude of repairs. I have used my hot glue gun to “weld” plastic bread tags onto plastic clothing hampers that have split. I’ve also used it to repair shoes, books, and toys. A dollop on each side of a plastic hanger can give clothing a little something to cling to. I’ve even seen YouTube videos of people repairing electrical cords with hot glue, although I have not done this myself.

Zip ties

Plastic zip ties have a multitude of uses. I use them in my garden every year to hold my tomato tipis together and also to secure wobbly plants to the piece of bamboo I stuck in the ground to stabilize them (Be sure not to tighten it too much – they need room to grow.)

You can use zip ties to make all sorts of redneck contraptions, like attaching a teeny flashlight to the side of your glasses or holding a trouble light overhead on the beams of your basement. You can also use them to tame the mass of cords at the back of your entertainment center. In a pinch, I have even been known to put my hair in a ponytail using zip ties. (This was back in the days when I worked in an automotive shop.)

Staple gun

What CAN’T you do with a staple gun? I’ve used one to reupholster furniture, to cover a piece of plywood with fabric, to attach posters to backing before putting them in a frame, and to attach “skirts” over some lower kitchen cabinets with longlost doors.


You can clean with it, cook with it, pickle with it, and kill weeds with it. It’s as multipurpose as a kitchen item can get.

There are probably lots more of these thrifty tools, but the things are above are the ones I would personally feel lost without. I certainly didn’t just get them and put them away – I use them all the time.

What about you?

Use this list as inspiration to put together your own Frugalite survival kit! And tell us what you use on a regular basis to keep your thrift on.


7 Items I Keep in My Thrifty Things Survival Kit
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of TheOrganicPrepper.com, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

17 thoughts on “7 Items I Keep in My Thrifty Things Survival Kit”

  1. I love the black dye tip, we do a bleach / blue tie dye once a year to get more wear out of the kids stained clothes . Also pink n Sears are the best for a quick clothes repair until you can do it properly.

  2. Multi-tool
    Razor Blade
    AA & AAA batteries
    Disposable gloves
    Quik Clot
    Small energy first aid kit
    “Survival” flash light
    Headlamp flash light

    1. Where would you recommend picking up quick clot? I have wanted to add some to my EDC, but not sure where to find quality and not spend too much.

  3. We keep the twines off square hay bales. Can be braided to make a makeshift halter or lead rope, can be used to tie up tomato plants or peppers or even make a trellis for vining beans, squash and cucumbers. Can make temporary repairs to fences or gates. Makes a great cat toy…. our youngest feline loves to chase a twine drug past his hiding spot!

    Just used several twines to tie two corral panels together to make a barricade for neighbor’s fence when huge oak fell over & collapsed her pasture fence in Hurricane Sally… the barricade is keeping her horses out of our yard , as well as keeping them out of the downed wire fencing.

    Definitely one of my favorite frugal fix it items!

  4. Sharpie markers (black, brown, blue and red are most essential, in that order- at least at my house)- for marking things (obviously), hiding scuffs or scratches on shoes, hiding scratches on furniture, etc. (A walnut or almond nut meat can also hide scratches in wood furniture… just rub it in and buff.)

    Black, white and metallic Sharpies (oil based)- for hiding blemishes on fixtures, appliances, sinks, tubs, etc.

    Spray paint (the metallic ones are great… brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, etc) – for changing/updating/repurposing fixtures and household items of all kinds

    Beeswax – save candle butts for lubricating sticky drawers and doors, threading needles

    Goo Gone or Citrasolve- for removing stickers on jars, etc.

    Hand Sanitizer – for removing unwanted Sharpie marks (even from fabrics)

    Old toothbrushes and interdental brushes – for cleaning all sorts of little things

    Baling wire – for repairing things in the yard

    Also- any time you paint a wall or trim in your house, transfer any leftover paint into a plastic or glass screw-top jar. It will last for years for touch ups.

  5. Baling wire has been mentioned, but lots of people don’t have access to it. A good widely available substitute today are the wire rolls that contractors use to tie together rebar during construction. Those wonderfully useful rolls of rebar wire are inexpensively available at Home Depot or Lowes. For high strength emergency repairs, it’s hard to beat.

    A full roll of velcro also has uses for holding all kinds of things together — that may need to easily be undone and reapplied over and again. Cut off the exact lengths and size as needed, when needed.

    It’s a mistake to discard used car, truck or bicycle inner tubes. They can be cut into long lived reusable high strength rubber bands for holding all kinds of things together. Tin snips have been the farmer’s classic tool of choice for such cutting to size.

    Not all tools for repair, modification or repurposing things are well suited for carrying in a toolbox. A good bench vise is key to being able to hold gadgets or materials steady so you can devote BOTH hands to tool use (saws, drills, files, grinders, etc), although lots of contractors either mount such vises onto the tailgate of their pickups or inside a truck bed work shed.

    If you have a lifelong addiction to learning how to do, use, conserve or fix things, YouTube also doesn’t fit into a toolbox. More than just a place to learn the lyrics to “Put the lime in the coconut”, the number and availability of how-to videos is limited only by your interest and available eyeball time.

    This isn’t the place to cover all the possible shop tools you might want to acquire for whatever repair, repurposing or invention projects might fit your skills or ambitions. But for inspiration, it’s worth knowing a quote from the great Scottish philosopher and teacher Thomas Carlyle who said

    “Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.”


    1. For tying things, holding things ect i keep zip ties, wire, a few bread bags or plastic grocery bags, bread bag tags, feed sack string, tire innertubes, many things. Different weights. A saver with places for things.

  6. Most of the animal supply places also carry Clot-It in 2-8 ounce containers at very reasonable prices. Check online sites like California Vet Supply & Jeffers. Check local feed & livestock supply stores.

    These stores also carry things like Vetwrap, 4×4 gauze, rolled gauze much more reasonably priced than the drug store or Walmart.

  7. My wife Kym keeps a multi-bit screwdriver readily to hand, whereas I prefer single-tip single-purpose screwdrivers of every conceivable length. A set of 80 pieces covers every possibility, on sale at $30.

    1. Her’s has 9 bits: #0,1,2,3 Robertson ( or as Americans say, “square head”), #1 & 2 Phillips (“star”), 3/16 & 1/4″ slot, Torx T15. Just $8.98 on amazon if you add it to a $25 order.

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