(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)
By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and The Flat Broke Cookbook
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!
What do you use on a regular basis to keep your thrift on? Did I leave out any essential thrifty fix-it supplies that help you get more life out of things? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.
28 thoughts on “7 Items I Keep in My Thrifty Things Survival Kit”
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.
AA & AAA batteries
Small energy first aid kit
“Survival” flash light
Headlamp flash light
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.
Amazon 🙂 You can get the granules (Celot) https://amzn.to/3i6i3AG
You can also get gauze with the granules in it. Use depends on the situation.
‘Beat me to it! Also add “feminine napkins” to your first aid kit. After all, they were DESIGNED to absorb a good amount of blood! ‘Got that tip from my doctor, also a prepper, way back when…
I bought quick clot at my nearest pharmacy then at Tractor Supply.
keep cayenne pepper in mind as well… works good for shock as well — rub into gums/cheeks.
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!
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.
I use bar hand soap to lubricate drawers to slide easier…works on stuck zippers also. Old candle wax works also.
Also works on screws.
This article was great! Thanks to all!
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.”
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.
Good list, and good ‘additionals’ from the readers…
Thrifty is misspelled on the toolbox…lol
Oh my gosh. Thanks for catching that. I wish I had rolling on the floor laughing emojis on here!
🤣 See if this website works for your website. It works for posting to social media and in the Subject line of emails: https://emojipedia.org/rolling-on-the-floor-laughing/
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.
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.
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.
1. Here, I rely upon windup flashlights; alcohol cleans a wide no. of items.
2. ‘Snail spam’ can repurposed for keeping the counter clean while you spoon out food from the crock pot; I do hand washing, so the cleaned crock pot drains on ‘sales papers’.
3. For chores around the home and outdoors, in a hardware store I found a very small screwdriver kit w/asst’d bits stored in the handle = great for fitting into small spaces.
4. In general I think about ‘how can I repurpose ‘X’ before tossing it.
5. Not sure this is a related tip but I’ve found Zote soap is more economical for washing hands, and clothes by hand; haven’t yet tried it for washing dishes.
All the tips listed here are great and they’ll be used. Thanks.
You were talking about an emoji for ‘rolling on the floor laughing’ but I couldn’t post it below your post. Kindly try https://emojipedia.org/rolling-on-the-floor-laughing/ . It works for social sites and emails both subject line and body. HTH.
Daisy, what no Utility Knife?!?! I keep several in the Tool Box and House. My favorite Model is the Stanley Part #299. Helpful Hints : When you dull one side of the Utility Knife Blade and flip it 180°, mark the dull side with a Black Majic Marker. That way when you dull the other half you know to throw away the blade
Also, a Crescent Wrench and a 5 in 1 Screwdriver is a absolute necisity + a Hammer.
I’m probably thick-headed, but why black dye?
Keep a couple of tubes of “Goop” or “Shoe Goo” in the kit. both are the same thing; urethane glue. “Goop” is marketed as “Goop,” “Marine Goop,” “Automotive Goop,” et cetera. It’s aal the same stuff! Urethane glue will just about bond water to air! It’s REALLY GOOD for temporary or permanent repairs, and is THE FIX for punctures in inflatable items! Just dab a kiss of the stuff on the puncture, let it dry, and inflate the item! It’s a PERMANENT repair that WILL.NOT.FAIL! Super glue is another toolbox staple. Keep both kinds; the liquid and the gel. They both have their places in MacGyverworld!
Amen on the Shoe Goo, Tom!!! I always have some in the House to repair clothing & shoes. Another item along those lines is a tube of Liquid Nails.
I love lists like this! While the WD-40 may not have to be name brand, I do suggest buying the best duct tape you can get. Or Duck Tape, depending on the brand. It might even require a bit of experimentation. I say this because I have used Dollar Store cheapo silver tape and it is absolutely not the same thing and won’t hold the same.
One of my favorites is my fence tool. I have one in multiple locations, including the car. It has pincers, cutters, hammer head, and long enough handles for good leverage.