The tent we ordered online arrived with a convenient hole in the stitching... But eager to leave that day, we decided to hop into Miriam's tent until we found another camping store. This meant - three adults squeezing into a two person tent... Miriam had brought a tent so there was room for herself and her luggage. So, now with us occupying this space, no storage on the sides of the tent and a bad forecast - we had to think of a way to keep the bags dry...
At the side of the road we found a long sheet of thin plastic, we rolled it up and took it with us. Later that night we used the bikes to make a triangular frame and rolled the sheeting around. We then were able to put our gear inside this triangle - keeping everything nicely dry.
Since we have now brought another tent, we kept hold off this 'waste' and have used it once more. With our new tent there is space either side of the tent to store our luggage. It is great as it keeps everything out of sight and dry from overhead rain. But does not protected from underneath and if the soil was to become very wet overnight our gear would also be soaking up the moisture... By laying this plastic sheet underneath, we prevent this problem.
Other examples on using what seems like a finished item are;
Any sort of container (eg. from peanut butter) and reusing for storing products from the market - like nuts/dried fruits - saving another plastic bag.
Elastic bands that bind bunches of spring onions from the market are great always handy on tour or around the house.