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37 Household Items On Every Prepper Checklist

There are several different categories of supplies you’ll need to build an inventory of as you start your SHTF planning. Broadly speaking those are: Bug out supplies, water purification and storage, first aid and hygiene, survival gardening, generating power, long shelf life food stores, bushcraft, self-defense, clothing, tools, and a Bug out vehicle. You can get as specific as you dare…

To go along with all of those prepper checklists, you might be asking yourself what household items do preppers use and why? There’s a list for that…

This post won’t discuss what goes in your bug-out bag, your first aid kit, or your inventory of canned vegetables. What follows is a prepper checklist of household items that you’ll want to begin to accumulate for general purposes.

This list doesn’t really fit exactly perfectly in one shtf prepper list as the items have general and alternate uses. Many of these emergency supplies are relatively small and are fairly easy to keep properly stored.

What Household Items Should I Stockpile?

Preppers are industrious people and we look at products differently and explore their uses. This list of everyday life items will hopefully bring to life product uses you haven’t previously been aware of if you’re new to SHTF planning.


As you prep for SHTF you’ll likely think of flashlights. In our house, we have one in nearly every room in the house and our cars. And we have backups.

Flashlights allow you to move about in darkness, perform tasks, and signal for help. On your prepper checklist prioritize flashlights with long battery life or rechargeable options to ensure extended use.


Spare batteries should be one of the first everyday items on your prepper checklist. You’ll need them to power various emergency devices including flashlights, radios, optics for firearms, and walkie-talkies.

If you have some steel wool, you can use a 9V battery as a fire starter.

An inventory of batteries gives you a reliable source of energy in grid-down or bug-out situations. This allows preppers to maintain communication, navigate, and power needed devices for extended periods.

Duct tape

Preppers stockpile duct tape because of its versatility in emergency situations. Duct tape can be used for temporary repairs, sealing and reinforcing objects, securing items together, and creating makeshift shelters. Its uses are limited only by your imagination.

Duct tape is lightweight, compact, and easy to store, which makes it a practical item for every prepper checklist.

Zip ties

Zip ties are very useful in emergency situations. Their durability makes them great for securing things and doing makeshift repairs. Because of their adjustable length and strong gripping power, zip ties can be used to build a shelter or immobilize a threat.

They’re an ideal item for a bug-out bag or an emergency kit and give you a reliable tool to address various needs during uncertain circumstances.

Aluminum Foil

You’ll find aluminum foil on this prepper checklist because of its multi-purpose utility in survival scenarios. Aluminum foil can be used to reflect heat, insulate, and protect from the elements. It can be used to cook food, build an improvised stove, signal for help, and preserve food by wrapping it tightly.

Foil can also act as a barrier to protect sensitive electronic devices from electromagnetic interference.

Its lightweight, compact rolls it easy to store and carry. All of this makes it a valuable asset in an emergency situation where adaptability and resourcefulness are mandatory.

Pencil sharpener

Pencil sharpeners are a practical and often overlooked tool for emergency preparedness. Not only do pencil sharpeners provide a manual and portable method to keep pencils sharp, but the shavings make great kindling material to start a fire.

tarps for your shtf prepper list

All-weather tarp

Preppers stockpile all-weather tarps because they’re durable and versatile. They’re used to build a temporary shelter, temporarily seal your home’s leaking roof, and even camouflage resources.

Tarps are built to withstand harsh weather like rain, wind, and UV exposure. They can serve as barriers that offer shelter and keep your space dry. They’re also invaluable when it comes to keeping firewood dry.

They’re fairly easy to carry and store. As you start prepping you’ll want to have several different sizes of tarps in your SHTF preps.

Heavy mill plastic paint tarp

Plastic tarps make the prepper checklist because of their strength and utility in different scenarios. The fact that they’re stored in rolls and easy to fold helps a lot too.

Plastic tarps are resistant to tearing and punctures, making them suitable for a range of situations. Preppers rely on them for shelter, harvesting water when it rains, and as temporary barriers against wind and rain.

The heavy-duty nature of these tarps enables them to withstand demanding conditions, ensuring durability and longevity. Preppers can adapt these tarps to various needs, making them an essential part of their preparedness supplies.

Hooded Rain Ponchos

Rain ponchos are convenient and effective protection against rain and wet conditions. They help prevent hypothermia and maintain body temperature while you operate in foul weather.

These lightweight, waterproof garments provide full coverage, including a hood, keeping preppers dry and comfortable during outdoor activities or emergencies. Rain ponchos are ideal for bug-out bags or emergency kits.


You should stockpile twine, cordage, and rope as part of your SHTF planning. They’re sturdy and flexible so they’ll serve multiple purposes in survival scenarios.

They can be used for building shelters, setting traps or snares for hunting (and skinning), securing equipment, creating makeshift clotheslines, or building emergency tools. You can build a rope ladder. If you have a tire iron you can create a grappling hook.

They’re easy to store at home or in a bug-out vehicle, making them an indispensable priority on a prepper checklist.


This was one of the first items on the prepper checklist for our household. We have bleach stockpiled in dry form because its size and strength make that the easiest way to store it.

You should stockpile unscented bleach for its disinfectant properties and versatility in hygiene and sanitization. Bleach can help sanitize surfaces, utensils, and medical equipment.

Bleach can effectively kill bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms. In emergency situations where access to clean water may be limited, bleach can be used to disinfect water for drinking or sanitizing purposes. Take the time to learn the correct mixture amounts. You can use too much bleach.

Isopropyl alcohol

Preppers stockpile isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) for its antiseptic and cleaning properties. This is on our prepper checklist because traditional cleaning supplies may be scarce or unavailable in an SHTF situation.

Isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean wounds, sanitize hands, sterilize medical equipment, and disinfect surfaces. Its evaporative nature allows for quick drying, minimizing the risk of cross-contamination.

We purchased ours from a hardware store in 1-gallon cans of 99% concentration. It’s long shelf-life and compact size will make it easy to store. We can cut it down with distilled water as needed for hygiene or to prevent infections.

WD-40 or Silicon Spray

Silicon spray and WD-40 are great for their lubricating, protective, and preserving properties. WD-40 is a penetrating oil that can loosen rusted or stuck parts and protect against rusting. Silicon spray provides a dry lubricant and water-resistant barrier.

Both WD-40 and silicon spray can help maintain tools, equipment, locks, and hinges. If replacement parts are hard to come by, you’ll need to take care of what you’ve got.

coffee filter for your shtf prepper list

Coffee filters

Besides their obvious use in brewing coffee, coffee filters can be used to strain debris from scavenged water. Preppers use them as the first step in DIY water filtration systems to purify water for drinking or for cooking food. Because they’re lightweight they make a great portable water filter.

Coffee grounds

An SHTF situation without coffee is a worst-case scenario…

Not really, but it would be more difficult. Coffee grounds make the preppers checklist for their multiple benefits. They’re a great source of caffeine for headaches or an energy boost. They’re nice for morale.

Coffee grounds can be added to compost; they can also be added straight to gardens as a natural fertilizer to help soil quality and provide nutrients. Coffee grounds can also help deter pests in gardens.

Tea bags

Tea bags make the list of household SHTF preps for their versatility and potential benefits.

Apart from being great for morale, tea can serve other purposes in emergency situations. Some teas, like chamomile or peppermint, have calming properties that can aid in stress reduction and relaxation. Tea can also be used as a compress for minor skin irritations or as a natural remedy for eye puffiness.

Tea has a long shelf life and potential medicinal uses that earn it a spot on our SHTF prepper supply list.

Vitamin B1

Mosquitos will likely survive SHTF. They also do not like Vitamin B1. For that reason alone Vitamin B1 earns a spot on our household SHTF prepper supply list.

Vitamin B1 is necessary for energy metabolism, proper functioning of the nervous system, and maintaining healthy cardiovascular function. Natural sources of Vitamin B1 include sunflowers, peas, and beans. Consider planting these in your survival garden.


Flints work, but lighters are easier to use.

Lighters make the household prepper checklist because natural gas services to your house may not function in SHTF situations. You’ll need to cook food, purify water, and heat your home. It’s best to assume that lighter fluid will disappear quickly from store shelves which makes this a key item in your SHTF preps.


Every prepper checklist has a dependable source of light and heat. Candles offer a long-lasting flame to light a space during power outages or in off-grid situations.

Candlelight can be created from a variety of fuels including crayons, shortening, wax, or kerosene. They’re a useful alternative heating option and are frequently used in terra cota heaters.

Candles also contribute to a sense of comfort and psychological well-being during stressful times.

firewood for your shtf prepper list


Firewood is great in normal times, it’ll be even more important in an SHTF situation.

Preppers prioritize collecting and storing firewood in advance so they can stay warm, prepare meals, and boil water if necessary. With a stockpile of firewood, they reduce their dependence on other fuel sources and improve their self-sufficiency for meeting basic survival needs.

Preppers stockpile firewood to ensure a readily available source of fuel for heating and cooking. It should be stored properly to keep it dry during rain storms.

Fire Extinguisher

Whether SHTF comes as a natural disaster or societal decay there’s going to be a point where you’re on your own. In SHTF situations, fires pose a significant threat, and having a fire extinguisher readily available will give you the ability to save your life or others.

Fire extinguishers can keep small fires from spreading and causing extensive damage. Preppers prioritize fire safety in their SHTF preps and give themselves the means to deal effectively with fire emergencies.


Charcoal briquettes provide a concentrated and relatively long-lasting source of heat, making them suitable for cooking in improvised stoves, generating warmth in a confined space, or boiling water to purify it. For these reasons, charcoal makes our SHTF prepper checklist.

Charcoal can also be used in emergency water filtration systems because it can remove impurities and enhance water quality.


Shortening makes the prepper checklist not because it’s edible, but because it’s flammable and has a long shelf life.

Shortening can be used to make small candles that will burn for days. Combining these with a terra cotta heater will give you a great source of warmth in cold environments.

Cotton Balls

Preppers stockpile cotton balls for their usefulness in fire-starting and first-aid situations.

You may have used cotton balls soaked with hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol to clean a wound. Your emergency kit should have several cotton balls in it for this purpose.

Cotton balls soaked in 70% isopropyl alcohol can also be used to build a burner for cooking food or heating a space. You’ll find it easy to keep a large number of cotton balls in your SHTF preps because they can be compressed and stored easily.

Magnifying Glass

This one might be a bit of a surprise for your prepper checklist, magnifying glasses are a reliable fire-starting tool that requires no external ignition source. By focusing sunlight, a magnifying glass can generate enough heat to ignite tinder or other flammable materials. This method is particularly useful when matches, lighters, or flints aren’t handy.

A magnifying glass can be small making it an easy add to a prepper’s survival kit.

toilet paper rolls for your shtf prepper list

Lint in Toilet Paper rolls

If you’re a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, you probably know this one. And what makes it really nice is that you don’t have to spend money.

Preppers stockpile lint in empty toilet paper rolls as an easy and effective fire-starting aid. Collect the lint from your dryer screen because it’s highly flammable and easily ignitable. Pack the lint in empty toilet paper rolls, and all you need is a spark. The cardboard tube protects the lint, making it easier to carry. We keep ours three in a ziplock sandwich bag to keep them dry.

Can opener

In an SHTF situation you likely won’t have electrical power and if you do, it may not be much. Preppers prioritize self-sufficiency in food preparation and they know they need a reliable way to open canned foods. That means having a collection of can openers.

You have a few options. In a bug-out bag, you’ll want the military style and around the house you can go with a bunker or butterfly style. You should also have a few church-key can openers in your emergency supply kit.

You’ll want to have a variety of styles because you don’t know what form of canned food you’ll need to open after a scavenging effort.

clothes pins for your shtf prepper list

Clothes pins

A clothes dryer would be an absolute luxury in SHTF. For this reason, your prepper checklist should have clothes pins on it. Clothes pins give you a low-tech way of drying your clothes.

They also serve a backup role in cinching down tarps over firewood and fashioning tarps into a temporary shelter.


In your SHTF preps, you’ll need to make sure you have a way to write. In another article about your prepper library, we suggest that you have a printed blank 3-year calendar. Together, these will allow you to keep track of important events and information.

A secondary benefit to being able to write is that the shavings can be used as kindling.


You may want to have 4 types of soap on your prepper checklist: bar body soap, laundry detergent, dish soap, and shampoo.

You’ll need to make sure that you can keep your dishes, clothes, and body clean in an emergency situation. We suggest bar body soap over liquid because it improves portability and helps avoid the loss of a valuable resource because it can’t be spilled. All forms of soap have long shelf life making it easy to store.

Toilet paper

Your SHTF preps should include an ample supply of toilet paper to stay clean and prevent the spread of disease. Personal hygiene and sanitation will be one of your bigger concerns in just a few short days if the wrong sort of events unfold.

In our house, we chose toilet paper coins because we can store 500 wipes in a relatively compact space. These are also great for adding a little bleach or isopropyl alcohol so you can create wet wipes to kill germs.

Garbage bags

Preppers stockpile garbage bags because of their multiple practical applications. As part of your basic SHTF prepper supply list, their most important function will be in the area of personal hygiene and sanitation.

We suggest heavy mil bags that will allow you to transport bags of human waste and soil a reasonable distance to your disposal location.

Garbage bags make our household items prepper checklist for a second reason. If you go out scavenging, you won’t want to bring luggage to bring back clothing and towels. Take garbage since they’re smaller and easier to carry.

Ziploc sandwich bags

Our prepper checklist has Ziploc sandwich bags on it because of their convenient size, sealable design, and versatility. These bags are perfect for organizing and storing small items like medication, fire-starting materials, or personal hygiene supplies.

Ziploc sandwich bags can also serve as makeshift waterproof containers for electronics, important documents, or food items. They’re lightweight and easy to carry and transport in an emergency supply kit or bug-out bag.


As part of our SHTF planning, we’ve looked made sure to have several buckets on hand for a variety of reasons. Preppers stockpile buckets because they can use them to build rodent traps, harvest water, and carry things.

Buckets are also great for scavenging runs, carrying vegetables in from your survival garden, and as part of a cleaning station. You’re going to want to have several buckets each of the 1-gallon and 5-gallon sizes on your prepper checklist.


After 4 or 5 days of SHTF, you’re going to start having to do real work; and it’s not going to stop. Blisters will become an issue if you haven’t developed calluses.

Preppers include Vaseline on their prepper checklist because it will serve as a protective barrier, moisturizer, and lubricant. In SHTF situations access to medical supplies or specialized ointments may be limited. Petroleum jelly is invaluable for skin care, wound care, and preventing chafing.

Its long shelf life and compactness make it an ideal addition to a prepper’s first aid kit.

shoelaces for your shtf prepper list


They never break at just the right moment. Shoes and shoelaces will possibly become one of your most valued assets in SHTF.

Shoelaces are on our household prepper checklist because they have several practical applications. They can be used for securing gear, building shelter, and fashioning makeshift repairs for clothing or equipment.

In survival situations, shoelaces can serve as a substitute for cordage or rope to lash items together or create makeshift traps. Because they’re compact and lightweight they’re easy to carry, store, and transport in emergency kits or bug-out bags.

Sewing Kit

Preppers stockpile sewing kits to extend the lifespan of their clothing and equipment and ensure they remain functional and durable. Sewing kits allow you to create or modify gear so you can adapt to changing circumstances.

You’ll want to have 2 or 3 large household sewing kits and a smaller kit in your bug-out bag.

Preppers Checklist Final Words

How you start prepping depends upon your unique situation. Work to first get to a place where you can go 3 days during an emergency. Then work your way up to a week. To figure this out for your situation pay conscious attention to your water and food usage. Think about what items you have around the house to help you cope with an SHTF situation. No Prepper has every resource when they start, and for many, it takes years to accumulate everything you need.