What to know what to buy (and what not to buy) from Dollar Tree? Get tips on household, craft, and organization items that are great finds at the dollar store!
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My love of Dollar Tree runs deep. It is our family’s go-to store for inexpensive household items. There is just so much to choose from! They have pretty much anything you might need to run a household, and it’s typically less expensive than buying it at a grocery store or a big box store. However, it’s not all great – there are most definitely a few things I would avoid.
Let’s start off with my loves – there are many of them, but I narrowed it down to 20 for this post!
1. Foil Pans – I use these when I am making a dish for another family or for a potluck. I love never having to worry about losing one of my nice glass pans! These hold up just as well as the name-brand ones for a fraction of the price.
2. Spray Bottles – I like to make my own cleaners around the house sometimes, so these are great. I’ve never had an issue with quality and they come in lots of colors to make for easy color-coding. These are wonderful to use for plant watering bottles too.
3. Organizing Tools – I could sing my love of Dollar Tree organization bins from the rooftops. You’re absolutely not going to beat the selection or price. My favorites are the pencil bins (come three to a pack and fit perfectly in drawers)…I showed how I use these in my kitchen organization post (and I have an office organization post coming up that shows how I use them there too).
I also love the bigger bins (great for cabinet organization) and the plastic shoe boxes. They can be used for so much more than shoes! I love using these to organize jewelry, doll clothes, legos…really just about anything. They fit great on closet shelves and are stackable, which helps so much.
4. Movie Candy – You’ll find the same name-brand candies in the same size boxes you get for 3-4 times the price at the movie theater. Dollar Tree is a great place to stop before you head to the movies. Not that I would ever do that. 😉
5. Totally Awesome Cleaner – I’ve talked about this cleaner in my cleaning posts before – it’s my go-to everyday cleaner for most of my Journey to Clean tasks. I don’t even know how many bottles I’ve been through at this point. They were actually out of stock on the day I stopped by, but I always keep 3-4 bottles on hand at home. I mean, it’s a dollar – why not stock up?
You’ll heavily dilute it to use it in most places in your house – so a bottle lasts a very long time. I use this absolutely everywhere – cleaning countertops, walls, floors (goes great in a carpet cleaner), cabinets, and baseboards. The Totally Awesome line also has a lot of laundry and bathroom cleaners – I’ve never used them, but I’ve heard good things!
6. Frozen Vegetable Spring Rolls – This is another thing we love but happened to be out of stock the day I stopped by. Luckily, I had a few packs in the freezer at home. I’m not usually huge on food from Dollar Tree, but these are an exception – everybody in our family loves them and they are a perfect side dish for any kind of Asian food (or even just as a snack).
7. Bread – This is another food exception for us. Typically this is going to be day-old bread from grocery stores…you can usually get loaves of bread that are normally 2-3 times the price! We’ve found lots of different name-brand loaves of bread here over the years. Just be ready to use it (or freeze it) quickly.
8. Surefresh Containers – If you follow my Instant Pot posts, you already know how much I love these little guys. When freezing meals for the Instant Pot, I always use these…they make sure your frozen dish fits perfectly in the Instant Pot insert without thawing! Just pop out of the plastic container into the Instant Pot and you’re ready to cook. I originally bought 20 (about a year ago) for my original freezer meal boot camp and most have held up really well, even through many freezer meal prep sessions.
9. Party Supplies – Dollar Tree has always been my go-to for cheap party supplies. If it’s something that doesn’t necessarily need to be high-quality (like table cloths or cutlery), they have a great selection of solid-color supplies that fit most any party! Even if you have a themed party, it’s nice to mix these in (like I did with Emmie’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Firetruck parties).
10. Greeting Cards – Fun fact about me: a huge pet peeve of mine is spending $3-4 on a greeting card. You can totally express your emotions to someone without spending that much. Don’t get me started on this topic… 😉 So, if I have a birthday or celebration coming up, I try to stock up on a few cards while I’m there. They are usually 2 for a dollar!
11. Night Lights – We’ve used several night lights from Dollar Tree that have always held up very well. Most of them are still working off of the same original bulb. They also have a great selection of character ones for kids.
12. Holiday/Seasonal Items – Now let’s get this out there: you’re probably not going to find any high-quality heirloom holiday decorations here. But if you just need fun, cheap little decorations for the smaller holidays, this is where to get them. We usually always get summer toys that we know we’ll have to throw away at the end of the season (like water toys) here. It’s also a great place for little stocking stuffer or Easter basket fillers.
13. Wrapping Paper – You’re not going to get huge rolls of paper, but if you need a specific kind of paper, this is a great source. They usually have a pretty good selection of both character/themed paper and solid & geometric prints. I use this paper all the time for my printable picture backdrops!
14. Picture Frames – For the price, Dollar Tree picture frames are a great buy! I’d recommend these if you’re doing a larger gallery wall. This is actually what I used to frame my product covers in our office! You won’t be able to tell the difference in these and ones that cost five times the price.
15. Hair Rubber Bands – Moms of girls, I’m here to tell you: you need these in your life. I’ve used these in Emmie’s hair for years. A lot of times, little girls have very fine hair…if you need to put it in a half-up or small ponytail hairstyle, and a traditional ponytail holder is too big, these are amazing. They come 500 (!) to a pack – I think we’ve bought two or three packs over the years, and we use these almost every day! Just wrap a few around your hair brush and they’re always there and ready to use.
16. Mylar Balloons – Such a great buy…you’re going to pay $3-4 for these at a grocery store (and sometimes even have to pay to get them inflated). Remember when we announced that Jackson was a boy? Yep, Dollar Tree balloons.
17. As Seen On TV Products – If you’ve wondered what an As Seen On TV product is like but are absolutely unwilling to pay $20-30 for it, check The Dollar Tree…they might just have it. I’ve found many silly items here over the years. No, it’s probably not going to work like they say it does…but at least you know now, right? 😉
18. Teacher/Homeschool Tools – I used Dollar Tree products all the time as a teacher. They have an amazing selection of bulletin board decor, teaching tools, school supplies, and manipulatives. You teachers out there know how expensive these things can be at a supply store!
19. Poster Board – Their poster board is usually 69 cents and they have a great selection!
20. Small Toys – This is also something I bought all the time as a teacher. Their party favors come 4-8 to a pack and are great for stuffing a teacher’s treasure chest. Do your child’s teacher a favor and buy some of these for their classroom! (Maybe not the whistles/flutes though. 😉 )
Now, of course everything there isn’t great. When everything’s a dollar, you’re going to find a few duds. Here are a few items I’d recommend avoiding or buying somewhere else.
1. Play Dough/Modeling Clay – Don’t make this mistake – unless it’s brand-name Play Doh, their dough and modeling clay is terrible quality. It dries out quickly and the modeling clay will stick (and stay stuck) in absolutely every crevice of a lego table. Ask me how I know.
2. Crayons – Again, unless you’re lucky enough to find Crayola crayons, skip these. The quality is really bad. Any teacher will tell you that they break easily and don’t color well at all.
3. Batteries – We’ve never had great luck with their batteries. They burn out so easily…we can always tell when we use the Dollar Tree kind. Stick to the name brand on this one.
4. Toilet Paper/Paper Towels – You can usually buy rolls at big box stores for about half the price of the ones at Dollar Tree…and they’re usually better quality.
5. Candles & Wax Melts – I’ve tried to buy candles and wax melts from Dollar Tree several times, and they almost never have a scent when burned. They might be cheap, but what’s the point if you don’t get anything out of it? I stick to the Walmart Better Homes and Gardens wax melts instead…my absolute favorite!
6. Canned Goods – You’re typically going to find similar (if not exact) products at the grocery store for less price than Dollar Tree. Every once in awhile you’ll find a deal (like name-brand soups), but check expiration dates!
7. Hangers – The plastic ones you find at the Dollar Tree are almost always 20 for around $2 at Walmart. And you can find the velvet ones for about 40 cents each on Amazon (where they’re 50 cents each here) – you’ll just need to buy larger quantities! This might not sound like a huge savings if you just need one or two, but when you’re buying hundreds, that adds up.
8. Bandages – They lose their stickiness very easily. Skip these.
9. Refrigerated Foods – Eek…now, I don’t know anything about the freshness at most stores, but I stay away from refrigerated foods at Dollar Tree. I’ve seen expired products in there before and I don’t know…something about it just grosses me out. That’s totally personal opinion talking, but with food, you usually get what you pay for!
10. Electronics – I can’t think of a single time I’ve bought an electronic item from Dollar Tree that it didn’t break soon after purchasing. Again, you get what you pay for. If a cord or charger is usually $5 and you’re buying it for $1, there might be a reason! If you need it for a day or two, go for it, but don’t expect long-term quality.
Alright friends – what do you think? Give me some of your loves (or hates) from The Dollar Tree in the comments!
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