15 Survival Items Lying Around Your House Right Now

If you have put off prepping until very recently, you might well be unprepared for events that follow. Just imagine it… That fateful day comes when the sky literally starts falling, the government implodes or society collapses. The power goes out, the seas roar and the mountains give up their dead, cats and dogs living together, total hysteria!

Boy, it sure would be nice if you would’ve prepared for this moment, huh?

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You’ve read the articles, perhaps on this very site. Your friends and family members who are preppers begged you, pleaded with tears in their eyes to get ready, to get trained, to start stocking up.

But you didn’t do it… Through procrastination, a desire to invest in other things or just a bad bout of analysis paralysis you deferred buffing up your personal readiness, and now it appears that the grim reaper is walking up the driveway. You’re completely unprepared. Doomed…

Not so fast! As it turns out, you don’t necessarily need a giant shopping list full of state-of-the-art tactical and camping gear to be prepared. In fact, many survival essentials can be found readily in nearly every home across the nation, including your very own home.

wood from an old barn
Wood from an old barn. Lots of ideas come to mind on how to use it on the prepper homestead.

Whether or not you have put off prepping or you have just been caught flat-footed without any supplies on hand take heart because we are going to share with you a list of 15 survival items you can find in your (or someone else’s) home right this second.

canned foods on can racks in pantry

#1. Canned Food

One essential survival supply that you’ll need in pretty much all situations is food. If you are like me and many other people chances are probably pretty good you have a little bit of extra fuel with you all the time in the form of body fat, but even though you can go for weeks, even more than a month without any food at all and not die this will take a terrible toll on your mind and body, not to mention your attitude.

You might have to engage in all kinds of strenuous activities and challenging tasks in order to survive or sustain in the aftermath of a SHTF event. Chances are also pretty good that you have a decent supply of canned food in your pantry right this second.

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Canned food is a great survival staple because it is almost always ready to eat as soon as it is opened, requires minimal preparation and is easy to store for most people, and long-lasting. You might be facing a few mystery meal menus but that is far easier than going hungry!

#2. Coffee Filters / Tea Sachets

There is hardly a household in the world, at least the Western world, that does not drink coffee or make tea on a daily basis.

Though both of these are valuable sources of caffeine, and can do much to boost your mood and your alertness the supplies needed to make them have valuable survival purposes in addition to their advertised uses.

The fine, porous and gauze-like material that coffee filters and empty tea sachets are made of makes for a great “initial” filter for found water prior to boiling it.

These fine papers can easily filter out larger sediment, debris, and other things you don’t want to be drinking though they won’t do much about viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.

But that is where the boiling comes in, after all. All you need to do is affix them to a container and pour your recovered water slowly through them.

#3. Water Bottle

Water is one of the most essential survival necessities and you can only go a couple of days at most without a drop of water to drink before you die. Chances are you’ll be incapacitated long before that.

Almost everybody has a water bottle or two rolling around their house that they use for road trips or forays to the gym, and now it can do double duty as your mobile source of drinking water in a disaster.

You would be wise to fill up every container you can with drinking water at the beginning of any disaster scenario. From your tap or another source, it makes no difference so long as you do it before it gets cut off or contaminated.

You can definitely use your water bottle for this purpose, or use it to collect found water supplies for later filtration and purification. A sturdy water bottle that won’t break is always useful in a survival situation.

#4. Dental Floss

It’s always important to take care of your teeth, and if you’re like most people, that means you’ll have a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss on hand. You should still take care of your teeth during a long-term disaster scenario, but that isn’t why we want floss in particular.

Sure, it will still do the job it was made to do, hell or high water so long as you have the time, but it can do so much more for a survivor than you might be expecting.

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You might be surprised to learn that floss is actually a surprisingly tough cord. It works great as a lashing, a lanyard, for setting up snares, tripwires and other traps, and for countless other uses that call for a strong, thin and flexible cordage.

Anytime the situation calls for knots, lashings or wraps floss will probably work in a pinch. If you have a couple of rolls floating around in your house you will be all set.

#5. Basic First-Aid Kit

If there was one thing you’ll be able to count on during any sort of disaster scenario it is that injuries and illnesses will be all too common an occurrence.

To complicate matters, you probably won’t have easy access to typical medical professionals to include first responders, which means you need to become your own paramedic and doctor until such time as the patient can reach or gain access to higher level care.

Savvy preppers understand the importance of medical skills, and will take pains to assemble a comprehensive medical kit that includes trauma supplies, and then get training on how to put those supplies to use.

You might have neither, but chances are you have some useful medical supplies in your bathroom closet or medicine cabinet right now. This could be over the counter medications, bandages, gauze, medical or vet tape, ace wraps and so forth.

These are all helpful supplies that will definitely come in handy so don’t neglect them and make it a point to assemble them in one place in an easy to access container.

#6. Duct Tape

The versatility and usefulness of duct tape might be a meme but that does not mean that the meme isn’t true. Duct tape is one of the most useful and versatile preps that anybody could have in any kind of emergency or disaster scenario.

Duct tape is ideal for building and improvising, impromptu repairs or just about any other task you can think of. Most preppers won’t leave home without a quantity of duct tape on or about their person, and rarer still is the home in America that doesn’t have a roll in a junk drawer or garage workshop.

Consider the damage that could be inflicted on your home by one of several disasters. You might suddenly have a need to fix a hole in your roof, reinforce a cracked or broken window, patch a leaky container or desperately tape together two disparate objects in order to affect a hasty repair.

Don’t roll your eyes at the stupid jokes and DIY projects: duct tape is a survival superstar that you likely already have.

#7. Bleach

Bleach is likely to save your favorite white shirt from a spilled glass of cabernet, but it might save you in other ways during a survival scenario.

Bleach has all kinds of uses for the savvy prepper beyond laundry day, including its ability to sterilize surfaces, tools and skin. This is invaluable in all sorts of “gross” situations and is also vitally important in certain scenarios to cut down on the intrusion or infestation of germs.

But beyond keeping your home and possessions sparkling clean and utterly germ-free bleach has another, less known capability that is just as important.

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Regular, scentless bleach is capable of sterilizing water supplies by killing pathogens within the water that you cannot see, ones that might be too small to be removed by even the best water filters.

There are no special tools and no special setups required for this capability; only knowledge of the proper ratios and a little time for the bleach to work.

#8. Flashlight

Disasters great and small are highly likely to inflict damage to our power grid or even destroy it entirely, plunging our technologically advanced society into utter darkness.

The lights in your home, on your street and around your town that flicker to incandescent life at the flip of a switch are dependent on an increasingly aged, tottering and highly vulnerable network of interconnected systems. It does not take much to bring the whole thing crashing to the ground.

As it turns out darkness, real darkness, conceals many dangers and will greatly complicate your efforts to survive. This is why the ability to banish the darkness at will with a personal lighting solution is so invaluable and the best tool for the job far and away is the humble flashlight.

Though a significant subset of preppers are borderline obsessed with personal lighting tools, looking for the next brightest, most efficient or most feature packed light around any flashlight will do when you are in a jam so long as it works and you have batteries to power it.

#9. Paint Bucket

What might be the most innocuous survival item on this list is one you should be grateful for! If you have a clean or relatively clean and usable 5-gallon, plastic paint bucket at your home, you are in luck.

I’m not talking about anything special or a super secret survival bucket, here: I am talking about the standard, plastic 5-gallon paint pail that you can get at any hardware store in the nation, and the bonus points if you have one that has the heavy duty gasketed lid to seal any of its contents.

These buckets are incredibly valuable especially when utilities and services start to fail. Aside from its most mundane use of carrying tools, gear or vital supplies in a pinch you could also employ this bucket as a dedicated indoor emergency toilet when water and sewage services are offline.

You can use a clean bucket (one that has not been used for toilet duty at any time) to carry a large quantity of found water. You can even use it as a simple stool or small step ladder.

#10. Freezer Bags

Heavy-duty plastic freezer bags or another useful multi-purpose item that you should already have in your home.

It will help you preserve left over portions of your grandma’s favorite casserole but they also work well in a pinch for compartmenting and carrying additional survival supplies, waterproofing sensitive documents or electronics, and even carrying water if you happen to have some with the conventional zipper lock and not that stupid slider that leaks no matter what you do.

You’ll find all kinds of uses for these modern, sturdy plastic bags in a survival situation and it is worth mentioning now that you definitely get what you pay for.

Ziploc brand in particular is notably superior to all competitors and almost never leak, even when filled to capacity and handled roughly.

This gives them an edge over lesser brands and are definitely worth the extra couple of dollars for insurance, not just for preventing messes in your fridge or freezer but also for ensuring they are up to the task of survival duty!

#11. Hand Sanitizer

Germs are always your enemy especially in a long term survival situation. As you probably already know clean water is one of the most precious resources on Earth and even more precious when you cannot depend on it appearing at the turn of a tap.

For that reason, you might not be washing your hands like normal with soap and water if you have any other option. That is where hand sanitizer comes in.

Hand sanitizer is utterly effective, portable, and very convenient compared to soap. It requires no water, and it dries away to nothing leaving no residue behind making it useful in any situation but most especially when you don’t have the water to spare or you’re just away from a reliable water source.

Chances are pretty good you have a hefty quantity of hand sanitizer in your home after the events of the past year, so be grateful for that. Don’t get caught flat-footed again and make sure you keep this vital prep on hand.

#12. Plastic Roll Sheeting

Those of us who work in construction or just have grand ambitions of repainting our living room probably have a roll of plastic sheeting stashed somewhere.

Often used as a drop cloth to protect floors and carpets or for masking off furniture, fixtures and possessions that we don’t want to get dusty plastic sheeting does double-duty as a useful survival resource.

Thicker mil plastic sheeting works beautifully for sealing out wind and rain, vital for repairing a home that has been damaged in a natural disaster. It also works well to provide us extra insulation when we need to beef up our shelter or provide insurance when dealing with anything nasty that could contaminate ourselves or our surroundings.

One great and convenient use of plastic sheeting is as a liner material for a container or other reservoir that can be used to catch mass quantities of rain to top off your water supply.

#13. Backpack

Everybody has a backpack of some kind somewhere…

Maybe you are a cubicle warrior and rely on it for surviving your daily commute. Maybe you use yours for hauling workout clothes and footwear to the gym and back again. Maybe you are already a hiker with a trusted and well-worn backpack always ready for an adventure.

Whatever the case, your backpack will probably become your new best friend in the middle of a survival scenario.

Preppers who have spent any amount of time in and around the survival-sphere are familiar with the concept of a “BOB”, or bug-out bag, which is a label that describes a backpack preloaded with all the things they will need to survive when the time comes to evacuate.

You might need your backpack for the same thing, and not just to carry all of the useful tools we have shared with you on this list but also valuables like cash, jewelry and critical personal documents. Having a pack that can easily be carried hands-free is essential in many survival situations.

#14. Superglue

Super glue is just the ticket when you need to fix that broken coffee cup or put that scale model of the Titanic together. It is both respected and somewhat feared for the speed and strength of its bond.

Everybody knows somebody who has super-glued themselves to a stationary object- or to another part of their body! And that is assuming they haven’t done it themselves!

Though it makes for an entertaining tale with the benefit of years gone by for anybody who has experienced that torturous situation they will come away with a whole new level of respect for common superglue.

The speed and strength of super glue that so recommends it for various repair tasks make it an ideal survival tool. The same qualities that perform at the workbench or the hobby desk work when speed is of the essence in a potentially life or death survival scenario.

You can easily fix your footwear, your equipment or a leaky tent with super glue and it even has some efficacy as a liquid stitch for small lacerations. That is a lot of capability in a little-bitty bottle!

#15. Axe or Hatchet

So long as you live in a household that has its own property and own trees to maintain chances are you will find an ax or a hatchet clanking around in the garage. These sturdy hand tools are ideal for chopping wood, and though you might not be getting your lumberjack on in a survival situation, well, actually you just might!

You can use an ax or a hatchet to process wood, living or dead, in order to render it into more convenient and useful sizes and shapes for use as kindling or proper firewood, critical for building an efficient, controllable and long lasting fire in an emergency.

They also have significant utility for extrication and light demolition and, if things really go pear-shaped out in the world, you might have to rely on this ancient tool (and weapon) for brutal up close combat against people who would hurt you or take what you have. It does not take much training to effectively wield an ax in battle.


You might be way behind the “power curve” when it comes to prepping or you might just be far away from your own survival stash.

Even though you have been caught flat-footed with disaster looming you can drastically improve your situation with common items that can be found in almost any household.

A trip to the kitchen, to the garage and to the bathroom closet will usually furnish you several important pieces of gear and other supplies they can give you a leg up on your survival challenges. Review this list, check it twice and then see what you can come up with in your own home.

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