Something that may surprise many of you, is my strong dislike for dollar stores. I know! A blog dedicated to frugal living, and I don’t like the dollar store.
When things only cost a dollar, they often are poorly made and very disposable.. I always advocate for buying the highest quality you can afford for your budget. When you are able to invest in quality, you get a product that lasts longer. A plastic drinking cup at the dollar store may break after six months, but the $4 glass from Target could last years. And of course, the $.99 glass from Goodwill or a garage sale may not only last years, but also is preventing a “new” item from being produced and purchased. Also, when everything only costs $1, you may devalue the item and be more quick to toss it, thus generating additional waste.
In no way am I discounting the need these stores can fill for people on a tight budget. But bottom line, I think much of the dollar store stuff won’t last long in most houses. There is a time, place, and budget for dollar store items, but overall I don’t shop there often.
There is however something I absolutely adore from the dollar store (our town has a Dollar Tree), and I am here to convince you to ignore everything I said in the last three paragraphs, and enter your local dollar store and stock the heck up on these things. Behold, the modest rubber coated metal clip.
It is a sight to behold, yes? No? Well, you may think see just a boring little clip, but I am here to tell you the many amazing uses these little gems have in-store for you! They come six to a pack, and we have probably 10-15 packs worth floating around our house.
- These clips are fabulous for hanging laundry on the clothesline! When Troy worked in television and film as a grip, laundry was always an adventure. His cargo shorts were like a pandoras box, and you never knew what you would find in those multiple pockets. A guaranteed item was always at least three clothespins. Grips are in-charge of helping to set up lights and gels (diffusers over lights) and a thousand other little technical aspects that you would never know are happening behind the scenes. A countless number of those things involve hanging something temporarily for “a shot”, and most grip departments used clothespins – or “C-47s” – in heavy rotation. Why were they called C-47s? We never knew, but we had a wonderful collection of them leftover from many television and film projects. They lasted longer than any clothespins you could purchase commercially, but by the by, they have all crapped out over the last 10 years.The dollar store clips on the other hand seem to never break (again, contradicting exactly how I started this post), and are a staple during outdoor drying season in our house.
- These suckers are great for holding food bags closed. Chip bags, crackers, or cereal can all benefit from a nice tight grip courtesy of a clip.
- We are blessed to have an amazing water view. The house we live in was built in the 70’s, and the builder seemed to design the house for the view and didn’t use a single standard sized window. It makes for amazing natural light and viewing the Puget Sound, but it is a nightmare for purchasing curtains. All too often, you need to buy three panels, because two just doesn’t quite cover the window. Bennett’s room has light-blocking curtains, and while two standard curtain panels technically covers the window, there is a small gap that lets in too much sunlight. Three dollar store clips, and problem solved!
- My desire for a tidy car is well-known, and the few times I have needed to drive Troy’s truck has been an exercise in looking the other way. Which of course never happens, and I always end up cleaning it out, which is probably why Troy likes when I drive his truck! One day when I borrowed it, I needed a pen and couldn’t find one in the trash compactor he calls his console/armrest. Clips on the vent slats made for easy work of fixing that, and I am pleased to say that even two years later, he still uses these.
- If you are like me, you enjoy things organized by categories. Corkboard space is at a premium in our house, so I can collate papers that belong together – such as school announcements – and hang them via a clip on a tack.
- I try my best to walk with Bennett every day. Even when the weather is crappy, and I’d much rather stay inside. We have a super warm LL Bean stroller sleeping bag thingy (my sis found it at a consignment shop in 2009) that keeps him cozy, and a stroller rain cover. Even bundled up though, we still want to keep him extra toasty, and Troy came up with the idea of using the clips around the top of the sleeping bag to “lock in the heat”.
- I use them to hang notes on our front door. We have wild peacocks in our neighborhood, so leaving Christmas goodies and other food on the welcome mat is a dangerous game. Thanks to the clip, our UPS guy will get his holiday thank you, minus pecks from peacocks. Say “pecks from the peacocks” three times fast.
- The clips work awesome for holding back wayward vines and plants in the garden. I’ve used them to attach rambunctious raspberry canes back to the wires when they are jutting out in to the walkway.
- They are great for keeping timely paperwork front and center on your wall calendar. Let’s say a field trip permission slip needs to be signed and sent back in a week. If you are like me, you have so much paper in your life that it is hard to find just one little important page. I clip the papers I really need to keep track of right on the front of our calendar. Since I use the calendar almost daily, having it in my face helps keep me on task.
- A tangle of wayward cords behind your TV or computer desk can be wrangled with just a few clips. Bonus tip, attach one of those little white tags from the bulk section of your grocery store so you can label which cord belongs to what piece of equipment.
So, while my general mindset about dollar store products is pretty “meh”, I highly recommend my beloved Dollar Tree clips. They’ll last for years, tidy up your house, and keep your food fresh as a daisy!