From Inexpensive to Invaluable: Small Items That Can Suddenly Become Invaluable

by blackspanielgallery

Many small, inexpensive items can become invaluable the day they are needed, whether it is for life-saving or money saving. Learn to be prepared.

There are many small items that cost very little, but become very essential when the need occurs. The problem is we often have no idea if or when that day of need will be. The obvious solution is to keep a supply of such items, but too often they are things we might not give a second thought. So, what can we do?

The answer is to have these things available where they might be needed. It is too often the case that that day will be too late to go out and buy a needed item.

The Car Keyless Entry Battery

I had an experience with a car keyless entry and starting device’s battery going down to the point it would no longer open the door.  It gave a warning.  For about a week I would have to depress the button several times to open the door.  Eventually, it came to the point where I had to stand in a certain position before the door would unlock.  Then, one day the door would not unlock.  The battery had died. 


I realize not every battery gives warning, so this is something we need to prepare for.  In my case the battery went out at home, so the spare key was retrieved and the problem solved.  Unfortunately, the possibility exists that this could happen when one is not home, and there is no immediate access to the spare key.


The solution is to open the device and see the number on the battery, or look the number up in the manual.  Opening the device requires a small flathead screwdriver.  Keeping a spare battery and a small flathead screwdriver in your car is easy.  Just open the package, since these batteries often come two to a package.  You will need scissors to open the pack.  This works if you have an actual key, and many such devices do.  Just press the button and pull the key out to access the interior of the car.  But, without that battery will you be able to start the car?  The key gets you in to access the battery which still must be changed.


There are YouTube videos to show you how to get at the battery.  I suggest familiarizing yourself with the process before the day of need comes.


Keyless Entry Battery Changing

Gas Detectors

Some time ago, on a cold night, my heater would not come on.  An emergency repair got it started, but the repairman found two of the three chambers had cracks.  This allows carbon monoxide to leak.  My heater is in a cabinet that is closed off from the house except the attic, so the gas did not accumulate in the house.  But, in order to even get to the next morning he would not leave the heater operational without a gas detector.  Of course we had operated the heater with no knowledge of the danger for an undermined period.


Gas detectors are an inexpensive solution, and can be hidden.  But, if there is a gas problem you want to know.  And, it must be functional.  The one I have plugs into the power.  This is something you do not want to rely on a battery to keep operational.


This needs to be a quality device, not the least expensive.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are not optional, and many people have them.  In some areas fire departments hand out smoke detectors.  Catching fires early makes their job easier.  But, these usually mount high, too high for electrical outlets.  They usually operate on rectangular, nine-volt batteries.  When the batteries fail for many types of smoke detectors, there is an intermittent beep. 

Changing a battery is not difficult, provided there is a spare battery available.  But, at 2 a. m. going out for a battery is problematic.  Yet, the weak battery beeping will cause problems sleeping.  Always have spare batteries for your smoke detector readily available.

Fire extinguishers

Inexpensive fire extinguishers can stop a small fire.  But do know what kinds of fire any extinguisher is rated for before using.  And never stand up against a large, raging fire. 


Again, having a fire extinguisher the day it is needed is invaluable.  And, on that day there is no time to go out and buy one.


Power Outages


During a power outage, such as from an ice storm, it might be necessary to exist without power for some time.  Having a stockpile of canned food is fine, if the cans have pull tabs.  Otherwise you will need a can opener that does not rely on power.  Hand can openers still have a use.


Batteries for radios, portable lighting, and other essentials is a must.  Know the battery sizes your devices need and keep spare batteries available.  In fact, you might want to remove the batteries from infrequently used devices to eliminate corrosion problems, and insert them when needed.


Long lighters can start a fire in the fireplace or for an outdoor cooking grill.  If you use your lighter often for things like candles, make certain there is a spare, either stored in an separate place or of a different color.  Otherwise, both might run out of fuel one right after the other.


Cable Ties

Electrical cables and electrical light strings need to be kept from tangling.  Cable ties are small objects that fit tightly around a wire, then wrap around a bundle of wires.  They close with Velcro.   When picking up decorations these need to be on hand before starting.


Cable ties can also be used to tie small tools together, or to organize a floral bouquet.  They do not leave a glue residue, and do not require being cut away from small wires, as electrical tape would. 


Amazon Prime

Shipping for small items can be prohibitive, but using Amazon Prime might eliminate the problem.  For a fee for Amazon Prime, shipping is often free, provided the order is for a high enough value.  Combining small items with other purchases can be a great way to save.  If the order is not high enough, sometimes adding an item can bring you past the threshold for free shipping, saving more that the added item costs.  I suggest adding something you can use, like energy saving lights, and save even more.  In fact, you can help the ecology with the right added items, like packs of LED lights.


Many items cost very little, and can save you inconvenience, like a battery for your keyless device to start your cat, your life, like a gas detector, or heavy property damage, like a fire extinguisher.  Becoming invaluable can mean life saving, money saving, or providing convenience.  Above there are many things well worth having on hand for the time of need, even if you hope that day will never come.  Of course there are many other such items, so please add any to the comments you can think of that fit.


Images are allowed by the respective affiliate programs.  


This article contains links to affiliate programs from some or all of Amazon, Zazzle, Viglink, and Ebay through Viglink, and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting.


Updated: 03/18/2017, blackspanielgallery
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