Here’s Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

by Todd Walker

It’s well documented by DRG that I’m a container freak. Plastic jugs, metal tins, glass bottles, clay pots – I hoard collect them all.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

A small sampling of my metal tin fetish

Wooden pallets – don’t get me started! This free wood can be used to build bird houses, fences, furniture, compost bins, and other useful stuff with a little sweat equity, imagination, and simple tools.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

A bluebird outhouse built from old barn and pallet wood

Yesterday, I received a sign from above pointing out my inability to turn down “trash”...

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

Here’s Your Sign! How could I turn down a 14′ x 40′ used billboard!?

If you’ve priced tarps this large at retail stores, you’d spend a decent wad of your hard-earned cash. One box store sells 20′ x 30′ heavy-duty tarps for over 100 bucks. My tarp sign set me back $14. They don’t look this large when you pass them on the freeway.

I won’t be using it with the printed side exposed. The backside is solid black and can be used for projects like ground cover or emergency roof repairs.

I may use this portion as a training aid for our dogs. If I could only teach “Moose” and “Abby” to read.

Here's Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

Doggy boot camp

I cut a section of the sign and plan to use it as a tarp for my base camp shelter I’m building. Modern debris for a debris shelter. It pays to have a possum mentality!

Here are a few more up-cycle ideas for fellow dumpster divers:

You don’t have to break the bank to get prepared. With consumerism gone wild, people have to have the latest stuff. If you’re anything like me, which I suspect you are, other people’s “trash” is survival treasure!

What’s your best method of using other people’s “trash”?

Keep Doing the Stuff,


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Thanks for sharing the stuff!

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Categories: DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “Here’s Your Sign: Turning Trash Into Survival Treasure

  1. TexasScout

    We use the plastic signs as ground cloths for our tents in the Boy Scout troop. They are a little heavy, but not much gets through them. Next time you see a sign company taking/changing on of those on the side of the road, just stop and ask them if you can have it. If it’s not in a “rotation”, most likely, they will give it to you.



    • Good suggestion, Tex. I it on my shelter today and It will work fine. Not too aesthetically pleasing, but it will work. As a matter of fact, a scout troop will be using it for an overnighter when I’m done.


  2. I’m a hoarder as well. It’s part of the survival mentality. What I fail to understand is how a trash billboard canvas lying along side the road cost $14.


  3. highdesertlivin

    As we are making the move to Montana in august. I am finding myself w/ a big pain in my ass , as I try to get rid of my “treasures”. I have probably 25 pallets left over , as well as every conceivable chimney piece you can think of. Never mind all that stuff I will need some day. I will have to reaquire all my goodies after the move. Oh well it will be worth it. I took one of my newly reconditioned axes to split wood with the other day, and damned if I didn’t miss my mark and strike my handle. Loathe to put any ugly protective wraps, I put a paracord wrap below the head. I wet the paracord first and went on for about 5″ , look’s sharp. Stay safe


    • These treasures do collect and are hard to take with you. Our last move was 3 years ago. My shop we left was had 3 bay garage doors. It was huge. Now my shop is about a 1/3rd of that. Took a lot of doing to make it all fit. Actually got rid of non essential stuff.


  4. My latest free score was a big barrel, that olives are imported in. It is going to be a rain barrel for my garden. I’m never afraid to stop and look at a good trash pile. It is a shame what people will throw out! Thanks for a good read. – Mike


    • Thanks, Mike. Good find on the food grade barrel.

      I built an outhouse some years ago from scrap lumber pulled from dumpsters at construction sites. It’s still standing at our cabin.


  5. I’m no damn tree hugging bird watching sob….I’M NOT!! but what I do love is to turn junk into something worthwhile. My newly tinkered prize will not save me money, load my shot shells, or feed my chickens BUT dog gone it. It does do it’s appoint task and that makes me happy. {{giddy up}}


  6. Chuck Findlay

    Want free tarps? I stopped to ask a guy that was putting up new billboards if he wanted his old ones. He said “take them” I now have 6 tarps that were in the bed of his truck that are 19 by almost 40 feet long. Watch for these guys trucks parked under billboards.


  7. Pingback: Julie's Weekly Roundup 3.15.14 - Home Ready Home

  8. Pingback: Think Outside the Tent for Shelter | Survival Sherpa

  9. Pingback: 50+ Dumpster Diva Hacks that Convert Waste to Wealth | Survival Sherpa

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