Dollar Store-y Of My Life

Cleaning the kitchen is always more of an archaeological study than a Lysol scented soap bubble fest in my house.  I’m no Suzy Homemaker – haven’t been in years. Once you’ve absentmindedly burned the dinner for the hundredth time, you learn to get in there, do what you gotta do, and get out again quick.

But if I ever want to get this house on the market, rooms must be cleaned. Cupboards long unopened must be, however gingerly, encouraged to display their contents. The purging must begin.

The pairing of like with like is an eye opener. Who knew I had purchased so many necessary and unnecessary items – sometimes two or three times?  I blame the dollar store.

dollar store kitchen 2Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the dollar stores keep our homes chugging along smoothly. I have dollar store items in the pantry, the cupboards, under the sink, and under my feet, in the form of floor tiles. As I sort and purge, I begin to realize that I have somehow amassed thousands of dollars, in  kitchen ‘stuff’  alone, from the dollar store. These are the things you don’t think about, just pick up as you go; the serving spoons, tongs, measuring spoons and cups;  the knock-off cleansers and scouring pads;  the novelty drinking glasses and salt and pepper shakers; the plastic bags, containers and baggies that hold those leftovers you can’t remember enjoying the first time around.   There are odd food items in my fridge and pantry that I picked up on a whim, just because the manufacturer changed the packaging and decided to purge stock by dumping it for ten cents on the dollar. Teas, coffees, spices, mustards … the list goes on and on.

It’s not just the kitchen either – every room in my house has dollar store items, picked up almost as an afterthought. The bathroom, the bedrooms, the laundry room –  and then there’s the office … oh my! The office is a temple of dollar delights!

Who could celebrate an occasion without the help of dollar store cards, gift wrap, bags, streamers, glitter or helium balloons?  And outside, the backyard and garden teem with necessities bought for just a dollar or two – everything from tools to paper plates and napkins, candles and pool toys and pots for plants.

dollar store lineupWe just don’t notice how completely the dollar store items have crept into our lives. If, heaven forbid, my house burned down tomorrow, I couldn’t even begin to guesstimate how many items I’d not even think to claim on the insurance as property- they’re just too ubiquitous. These junky bits and pieces are the grease that we never notice is keeping our homes running smoothly.

The dollar stores have slipped into that place that the long gone Five and Dime stores used to fill. As our first world fortunes rose, and the K-Marts and WalMarts and all the other schlocky marts, consolidated, these humble essentials fell off the corporate radar, for the most part, or were replaced with ‘better’ (more expensive) alternates.

Meanwhile, those in the know have been driving up the price of dollar store stocks, while bigger named and supposedly safer stock options keep dribbling downward.

dollar store kitchenSo I blame the dollar stores for my excesses, but I also bless them. There will always be a need for stores where thrifty people can stretch their dollars and meet their budgets. Today’s economics demand that we show dollar stores a little respect.

I do believe it’s time for a dollar store run … need some burner bibs. Care to join me?

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