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20+ Unusual Items for Stocking Up To Consider

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Going beyond the basics of family preparedness, this article explores unusual items you might not have considered. From creative uses for household items to surprising food options, these unusual items for stocking up will help you feel more prepared for any emergency.

Disaster preparedness is all about being resourceful and thinking ahead for your family’s well-being. You’ve likely compiled a list of essential supplies. We’ve talked about to start your food storage pantry. You’ve read about the critical importance of storing water. But what about those unexpected items that can make a big difference in a stressful situation? These suggestions will take your preparedness to the next level and help you feel more confident and prepared to face any challenge that comes your way.

Unique Prepper Items


  • Dried prunes. Dietary changes and stress might affect your digestive system. We have four kids, and one of the quickest ways to clear them out is to have them eat a few prunes.
  • Vacuum-sealed Cheetos in a jar. Cheetos make me happy. What food makes you happy?
  • Popcorn is a filling and a fun snack to bring out for a little taste of comfort for the kids, especially if you pop it on the stovetop or over a fire (not microwaved). You can grind it into cornmeal. I’ve even had success with soaking it and cooking it slow and low like you would dried beans. It was not the best that way, but it was certainly edible.
  • Jalapenos. I have them dried, freeze-dried, pickled, and canned! I love spicy foods and can’t bear the thought of eating bland rice and beans in a future worst-case scenario.

Comfort Items

  • A huge amount of coffee makes life pleasant and safer. How many people do you know who are nice before their first cup of morning coffee?
  • If you must evacuate, bring a few things to help maintain your routine. That could be books to read for bedtime, a board game, chargers for their electronics, favorite music, a blanket or pillow… Whatever part of your family routine matters most, try to preserve it. If you keep some predictable routine, your kids will not feel as scared or frightened during disasters, power outages, or bad weather.
  • My Bible because when things go wrong, nothing brings me comfort like reading scripture.
  • Chewing gum. What’s more normal than chewing gum? Plus, it can help you stay awake.

Medical and First Aid

  • Activated charcoal is commonly prescribed at the emergency room to absorb toxins in the stomach. During a SHTF scenario, there will be an increase in food poisoning, arsenic, adverse reactions/celiac, etc.
  • Meat tenderizer to rub on ant bites. It works miracles.
  • Small tin of Vicks VapoRub. Triple use: Medicinal use per the label. Mixed with tinder, it is an excellent fuel for starting fires, even in the rain. Swabbed under the nose, it covers unpleasant smells like spilled sewage or dead bodies.
  • Knee-high (and some full-length) pantyhose. Possible uses include: (1) straining debris from water before sending it through the purifier; (2) using sterilized ones as you would cheesecloth to strain cooled bacon fat or make cheese (#2 was untested!); (3) tie strips around the garden fence and tomato cages to keep critters away; and (4) slip it over a leg or knee injury and unroll it over a gauze pad for an instant, flexible compression bandage that doesn’t stick and doesn’t show dirt as fast as white tape and gauze.
  • Gloves – all kinds of gloves. Many of us have a pair or two of work gloves for adult family members, and of course gloves / mittens for cold weather. Consider adding work gloves for elementary and middle school kids, bags of cheap gloves with rubber-coated palms (in more than one size, and some double-coated), Mechanix gloves, gardening gloves, dish-washing gloves, nitrile gloves, and even fingerless work gloves.
  • Thieves essential oil helps fight germs, including cold and flu germs.
  • Contraceptives. ‘Nuf said.

Household Items

  1. A sewing repair kit. Clothing needs to last as long as possible; it may be hard to replace.
  2. An Altoids tin with a small plastic container of denatured alcohol to make a small, portable stove.
  3. Binder clips can be used for numerous things.  Keeping bags clipped down, clipping items to clotheslines, hanging items to dry, hooking tarps together, and more!
  4. Sillcock keys” or “4-way keys.” Outside of fast food restaurants and gas stations are water spigots that don’t have a traditional handle. This prevents unauthorized people (read “homeless”) from using the water for drinking, bathing, etc. The water can only be turned on with a sillcock key. Having one of these in your bug out bag may help provide you with a water source that others won’t be able to access.
  5. CASH. When there is no power, we need to have CASH. For those stores that are open, many can help you if you pay with cash because they won’t be able to run credit or debit cards.
  6. I have an entire 5-gallon bucket dedicated to just hair doodads:  hair brushes, combs, barrettes, bobby pins, and hair ponies. There are five girls here, and we all have tons of hair. I can’t stand having hair in my face when I’m trying to get stuff done!!!
  7. Paracord (made in the USA, and available in many colors). If you’re dropped in the middle of the jungle, it’s the one thing you want. Snares, fishing line, stashing a food cache, rappelling down a cliff, bivouacking above the forest floor. It makes it easier to build a lean-to or create a shelter. It has a zillion and one uses. Just about anywhere in the world, you can make something sharp, i.e. a blade. But it’s hard to create a rope that will support your weight. Paracord rules!
  8. Super Glue is useful for repair tasks and as a stopgap if you’re out of bandages.
  9. Dental floss can substitute for thread, fishing lines, snares, and lashing small items.

These are some of our favorite ideas from YOU, our readers!

  • Vicks or Mentholatum is also good to have on hand for athlete’s foot. (Jan)
  • Paper clips have a plethora of uses, such as repairing broken zippers. (James B.)
  • Drawing salve draws out infections and splinters and boils, too. (Teri R.)
  • Diapers in both kids and adult sizes. If you have to hole up in the crawlspace to wait out a tornado or have to sit in a car for hours due to an evacuation, you really don’t want to worry about getting to a washroom. (Olga N.)
  • Chains and padlocks to temporarily secure things. When you need to go into the store or the bathroom, for example. (Edie)
  • Expanding on the chain and lock, it can also be used as a weapon, such as a ball and chain, or as a flail. (Gregg) Survival Mom comment: There are many, many locations where having a self-defense weapon of any kind isn’t allowed. Great Britain comes to mind. Knowing how to quickly improvise a self-defense weapon could be a lifesaver.
  • Cheetos also make great fire starters. (Lisa)
  • Another improvised weapon is a sock and lock, sock and rock, and sock and pool ball. (Rick)
  • Safety glasses for those who do not wear regular eyeglasses. A serious eye injury is something few can overcome. They are best avoided, for example hot cooking grease pops into eye, insect contact, etc. (King John IV)
  • The little corded retractors people usually wear on a badges and ID’s work great as keepers for gloves and mittens, especially for kids. Replace the badge snap with a small Keychain carabiner or other type clip to attach to the gloves loops. You can even use two retractor and clip or sew one to each arm of your coat, and your gloves can be worn with the retractor cable extended. If you have to remove a glove, the retractor keeps it on your coat. (Bemused Beserker)
  • Musical supplies: Reeds for sax, clarinet, etc.; guitar strings & picks; Violin/fiddle/cello rosin. (Mr. Gray)

Pro Tip About What Preppers Forget

  • When storing cash, consider different denominations. No point in revealing a $20 dollar bill when a $5 bill will do.


Why would I want to store unusual items?

Unusual items can provide multiple uses in an emergency situation. For example, pantyhose can be used to strain debris from water or as a make-shift bandage.

What do most preppers forget?

Preppers often forget everyday essentials (toiletries), boredom busters (games), and comfort items (stuffed animals). Don’t neglect these for a well-rounded preparedness plan!

What if I don’t have a lot of money to spend on prepping?

There are many unique prepper items on this list that are inexpensive. Binder clips, cash in small denominations, and dental floss are all affordable options. Read this article for ways to save money for prepping.

Need Help With Prepping?

By the way, if you’re just starting your prepping journey, check out The Survival Mom’s Prepping 101 course. It prepares you for the next emergency and helps you keep your home and family safe!

Final Thoughts

That’s it! We hope this article gave you some surprising ideas for your family’s emergency planning. These unique prepper items, from handy household items to interesting food options, can give you a boost of comfort and resourcefulness during a tough time. Remember, being prepared is more than just the basics. By adding a few of these extras, you’ll feel more confident facing whatever comes your way!

Please add your own favorite unusual items for stocking up on in the comments as well!

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