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Monday, January 16, 2012

Dollar Store Treasures

I must confess that I rarely visited a “dollar store” until I left my job. I wasn’t a snob. I just wasn’t aware of all the things that were available. Now, I don’t know how I lived without it!

I buy ALL of my cleaning supplies at the dollar store. Let’s face it… all cleaners are made from some version of ammonia, soap and water with a scent. Why pay $4.99 a bottle for a cleaning product when you can get it for a buck? I also get shampoo and liquid hand soap there as well as many other household items like batteries or aluminum foil. It is so satisfying to walk out with BAGS of items for $20.

One of my favorite dollar store buys is candy. I stock up on “movie theater” size boxes to take to the movies when we go. They carry all your favorites like Junior Mints, Starbursts, Raisinets and Twizzlers. I like to give these large boxes of candy along with a gift card or cash for children’s gifts. It is always a hit at any age! Wrap a ten-dollar bill (or whatever denomination you choose) around a box or two of candy with a pretty ribbon. For younger kids, a$10 bill wrapped around a tootsie roll bank is a favorite…so cute! Much more original and thoughtful than a card with money! And who doesn't like candy?

The stores in my area even carry popcorn boxes and bowls that are cute. You can fill one with movie candy, microwave popcorn and a movie store gift card or a DVD for a gift “bundle.” I have even given my mailman a candy “stack” for Christmas and he loved it - and I spent $5! But I digress with my candy fascination…

An easy dollar store decorating idea is to buy "fillers" for glass containers there. At the holidays, you can purchase specialty items that can be jazzed up. For example, I have a large open glass container that always sits in the middle of my dining room table. I like to buy 10-inch candles in glass cylinder containers from the dollar store and use them in the center of my larger glass container with different fillers. The wax stays in the glass candle container and doesn’t melt all over your filler. I like to change up the filler with the season. For Valentine’s Day, try old-fashioned ”message candy hearts.” Other fillers you can find include moss for spring, jelly beans for Easter and small pine cones look pretty for fall and winter. The possibilities are endless!

The dollar store glass candles are also versatile on their own. I used them on my mantle this year at Christmas with greenery from my yard. I have placed them down the length of my sidewalk for a night-time party. They look pretty tied with raffia and running the length of a table. Pretty, simple and inexpensive. $10 worth of candles can transform your home for a party.

As you can tell, I am obsessed with figuring out creative ways to use dollar store treasures. Some of my other favorite finds include: cookie sheets of all sizes, aluminum casserole "dishes" with lids to freeze casseroles (or to use for when taking a dish to a sick friend), brown paper lunch bags, plastic cups that can be personalized with a paint pen for a party, unbreakable Christmas ornaments, gift bags and tissue paper.

Share your favorite finds with me! Happy hunting!

P.S. Great new website find for glass apothecary jars and other goodies:

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