Post-SHTF skills: Tips for rebuilding, repairing and re-purposing after the collapse
By Zoey Sky // Jul 23, 2019

Modern life is easy and convenient, but preppers know that this could all change in an instant. Would you survive in a post-SHTF world without modern gadgets and appliances? Life is uncertain, so why wait until it's too late to learn crucial survival skills like woodworking and repairing appliances? (h/t to


In the event of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, you could lose access to things you take for granted like your washing machine or power tools. Before this happens, make plans to repair, rebuild, or re-purpose various items in your home so you don't struggle in a post-SHTF world.

Even if you survive a disaster relatively unscathed, you may need to restart your life by bugging out, especially if your home is destroyed after SHTF. If you're lucky, you may only need to make minor repairs to your home.

However, things won't be as easy, especially if stores close down. If this is the case, you may need to repair or re-purpose items around your property.

If you have a backup plan for your backup plans, you may have a survival stockpile that would cover most of your needs. But even then, you eventually need to repair something that is bound to break down.

To address these issues, you must learn how to repair your car and even your backup power systems. If you can't get in touch with repairmen, knowing how to do basic maintenance can prevent bigger problems in a post-SHTF world.

Make a list of important electrical, heating, mechanical, plumbing, and other systems in your property and the spare parts and tools that you need to repair them. Critical systems could get worn out or stop working, but if you're prepared, you'd have the spare parts you need to get them working again.

Don't get complacent if you already have a stockpile. After all, in a long-term SHTF event, you won't always get the exact parts that you need. Being familiar with your electrical system ensures that you can figure out a workaround and re-purpose similar items to what you originally need to do repairs. (Related: The smart prepper knows how to build simple machines in the event of a collapse.)

Tools you need in a post-SHTF world

To make repairs post-SHTF, you must have the following spare parts and manual tools on hand:

  • Awls
  • Boards (various sizes)
  • Chains
  • Chisels
  • Electrical wire
  • Files
  • Hammers
  • Hand drills and bits
  • Handsaws
  • Nails
  • Nuts and bolts
  • Pipe wrenches
  • Pliers
  • Posthole digger
  • Pulleys
  • Rope
  • Screwdrivers
  • Screws
  • Shop vise
  • Shovels
  • Sockets and ratchets
  • Tarps
  • Tin snips
  • Winching system
  • Wire strippers and wire cutters

Re-purposing items in a post-SHTF world

If you have the chance to bug in, you'd have access to stockpile with the various tools and supplies that you might need to repair and maintain your systems. But what if you have to bug out without most of your gear?

Since you can't just run to the store to buy everything you need, re-purposing items could be the answer to most of your problems. Learn how to scavenge for and recognize multipurpose items.

  1. Aluminum cans – Use aluminum cans to make a rocket stove or link empty cans in a chain to make a simple alert alarm around your campsite. Alternatively, aluminum cans can be flattened and sharpened to make blades for self-defense.
  2. Cardboard – Something simple like cardboard has many uses when SHTF. It can be used as insulation, fire-starters, or even playthings for children.
  3. Glass jars and other containers with tight-fitting lids – Use glass jars to store dry goods or container gardening in an urban location.
  4. Plastic two-liter bottles – Use plastic bottles to store water, dry foods (e.g. corn, pasta, rice, etc.) or various supplies like fuels.
  5. Tarps or plastic sheeting – Tarps can be used as makeshift bags or coverings for food or fresh game. You can also turn plastic sheeting into a rain poncho.

Learn as many prepping and survival skills as you can and know how to repair and re-purpose items to help you survive in a post-SHTF world.

Sources include:

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