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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.