Catseye’s comment about dollar store sunscreen nicely coincided with this post that I’ve been meaning to do about the wonders of Dollar Tree. (We don’t live all that close to any 99 cent stores, but I really should check one out one of these days.)
Here are the things that I absolutely love from dollar stores (and my Dollar Tree in general):
1. Sponges: There isn’t, to my knowledge, a ton of quality variance in cellulose sponges. So I was more than happy to pick up a 15 or 20 pack of sponges for $1. Two years later, I still have at least 10 left. I’d have even more, but there was a decent-sized spill in our oven — chicken or turkey juices, as I recall — that congealed into a disgusting mess. Two or three cellulose soldiers gave their lives in glorious battle against the forces of grease and some other icky substances.
2. Buckets: A bucket is a bucket is a bucket. So a $1 bucket is pretty much the way to go. ‘Nuff said.
3. Brooms & dustpans: If you have only small spaces to sweep, you don’t need a spectacular broom. Just something basic that will get the dust and hair clumps up.
4. Italian ice: 4-cup packs for $1? Yes please! Cherry and lemon, one cup for 25 cents. I’m a happy gal. Now, Italian ice is supposed to be slightly firmer than gelato, but these are frozen solid. I don’t mind, though, because it means I have to peel off thin layers with a spoon, which makes them last longer.
5. Ginger snaps: Every bit as good as the $4 bags in Safeway. But 1/4 the price. And slightly farther away so I don’t get a new bag each time I run out. It’s safer that way.
6. Spices: You can also get $1 spices at most drugstores, but it’s always nice to have options.
7. Pepperoni slices: When Tim goes through cheese-and-crackers phases, he loves getting pepperoni slices. Those are pretty pricey at grocery stores. But the same brand is available at Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1.
8. Vases & glass containers: We have very little cabinet space in our bathroom and only a tiny counter around the sink. So I use a small vase from the Dollar Tree to hold my toothpaste and toothbrush. Another vase holds my comb and two hairbrushes. (I can also hang headbands off the side of it.) If we didn’t already have a small Tupperware container for Q-tips, I’d get a small square container for that.
10. Hangers: It’s getting harder and harder to find 10-cent plastic hangers. But a 10-pack of hangers is still usually found at a dollar store. Worst case scenario, the slightly thicker ones are sold at 8-for-$1.
Things not to buy at the dollar store
While I do love me some dollar-store goodness, there are certain things I would not buy — or have learned not to buy again — from this place.
1. Cheese graters: We went through two before I conceded. The plastic lining would crack, and the grater plate would start to slip out. The one we got from Target is sturdier and only cost $7. Lesson learned.
2. Dishes: Just go to the thrift store and get them for 10-25 cents each. Who cares if they don’t match? Or treat yourself to a set of dishes from Big Lots, Target or Walmart — especially in late summer/early fall when all the college dorm room deals are going on.
3. Food containers: They just don’t look very sturdy, and I don’t think it’s worth buying them there. Especially since you can get a 15-20 pack of containers around Black Friday for $9-12.
I’m sure there are other things for both lists, but that’s a general overview. What do you buy at your local dollar store? And what wouldn’t you ever buy there?