Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.

Picked Up A Few OCC Shoebox Items at CVS Black Friday Sales ~ Freebies & More

I was able to take advantage of some free CVS shopping this week for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  They had two ads and several items fit perfect in the "what to pack in a shoebox" category.  Here's what I got and how I paid.  You can still get in on the CVS Ad for 11/27 as the deals go thru 11/29, Saturday.

Paid $8.02, Saved $24.60, received $13.34 in Extra Bucks (rolled some on these deals).

Total Savings for the week (see details below):  $24.60 or 67% with

WANTED Poster: Beanie Babies for OCC Shoeboxes & A Bountiful Donation

I shared the Beanie Babies collection image I made earlier.  But I changed it into a WANTED Poster and wanted to share it again in case any one could use it.  I emailed the image to my friend and she shared it in her small business but didn't get any donations for several weeks and then....well, see the image below!  My Operation Christmas Child stockpile is full of animals now.

Avon Pile O Beans animals for Operation Christmas Child

These are actually Avon Full O'Beans animals. They were delivered brand new in the

A Surprise Source for Empty Shoeboxes to Pack for Operation Christmas Child!

Empty shoe boxes from youth soccer team for Operation Christmas Child

Last year when we were putting on a spur of the moment Operation Christmas Child packing party for the kids at church we found we were short on shoeboxes.  We asked a friend with a small business to put out a plea on her Facebook page for empty shoe boxes.  We received several dozen.  One of her customers remembered this and when they had empty shoe boxes from their youth soccer team they sponsor they called her to ask if we wanted them.

Of course we did!  Twenty-two youth sized, sturdy boxes -- just perfect for 2 to 4 year old boy shoeboxes, I don't even plan to wrap them as they are a nice bright blue.

So if you need more empty shoeboxes for your OCC shoebox packing, check out your local youth sports teams and ask them to save them for you.  For more information on boxes to pack in check out this post:  What Types of Shoeboxes to Use for Operation Christmas Child Packing.

Packing Teddy Bears ~ I Couldn't Resist for my Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

Could you resist these sweet bears?  I had won a Kohl's Gift Card from a blog giveaway and while shopping online for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, I saw these Kohl's Cares Bears on sale for just $2.50. I knew they were a little big and messaged a friend who I knew had seen some of these and asked if she thought they were too big for a shoe box.  Yes, she did.  But they were so cute!

And really they would be free and well, I just couldn't resist.  Surely since the original price is only $5 they couldn't be THAT big.  So I added just one to my order...my first order that is.  I just had to test him out.

Kohls Cares Bear for OCC shoe box
I added the blue bow.  I hope to decorate each a different way for each box.

He is so soft and cuddly and squishy! That's it!  He is squishy!  We all know that is a good thing when packing shoeboxes.  I squeezed him into half of a Reebok

Organizing Storage--New Shelves: Preparing for 2015 OCC Collection Part 3

Christmas came early to my house!  And not only in the Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts we packed.
I outgrew my laundry room shoe box stockpile storage. 
I shared a few months back about my Shoe Box Stockpile Organization in my laundry room.  How I sort everything into Banker Boxes throughout the year as I shop and craft.  This year I outgrew that space and went looking around my basement for additional room.

There is a long, wide hallway beside the furnace room.  It is along the back wall and is mostly hidden from the living area -- well, sort of hidden. Nothing a couple of curtains wouldn't fix.  I thought it would be perfect for shoe box stockpiling with at least twice the storage I currently had.

With that large of a space I needed an economical way to "shelve" my boxes.  I didn't just want to stack the banker boxes from floor to ceiling as I don't have the strength to be moving them to add

Divide & Conquer: Preparing for 2015 Operation Christmas Child Collection Part 2

For years we have shopped and picked up whatever bargains or fun things we could find and then divided the goods by age group when we packed our Operation Christmas Child.  We knew shoeboxes for 10 to 14 year old boys were the least received so we tried to lean heavily in their direction when purchasing items.  There were also several items that we always put in each box, but beyond that we would fill the shoeboxes with whatever we had.  This year I wanted to do it a little different. I wanted to "divide and conquer."

I discussed it with family members and they agreed.  We would each choose one age group and gender and be in charge of making a list of items we wanted to include. This way it wasn't so much "my" project, but "our" project.  It would be a simple way to divide the decisions of what is important for each group.  Each packer will make the final decision for their group and it won't matter that we

NOT Setting Goals: Preparing for 2015 OCC Collection Part 1

As I begin to prepare for the 2015 Operation Christmas Child collection week (a year away) you would think the first thing I would do is set a goal.  But I am purposely NOT setting a goal.  Well, not a goal with an exact number of boxes to pack anyways.  My goal for 2015:  to pack as many shoeboxes as possible without tallying them.

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

The main reason I am choosing to not set a goal for the number of boxes I will pack is because I want to look at the individual box, not the whole.  I want to think about the ONE child who will receive the ONE box I am packing.  I am a "numbers" gal, so I tend to forget about the humanity behind the

A Happy Birthday Dress ~ For Dress A Girl Around the World

Oh what fun Birthday celebrations are!  Dress A Girl Around the World turned FIVE this year and part of the celebration is making birthday dresses!  I stumbled upon Dress A Girl a couple of years ago while searching for pillow case dress instructions for my shoeboxes.  I jumped in with both feet and got heavily involved just like I have with Operation Christmas Child.

Pillow case style dress in celebration of Dress A Girl Around the World's fifth birthday.

I have donated well over 100 dresses and have gotten to see several on little girls around the world.  This last year I have cut out sewing for Dress A Girl directly and have sewn exclusively for my shoeboxes--still dressing girls around the world, just thru a different delivery system.  When I saw the birthday celebration I knew I had

Delicious Fabric for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Dresses!

Can fabric be delicious?  Well, if it could this fabric would be on the desert bar.  It is just lovely in pattern, color and texture.  I just couldn't keep it to myself, I had to let you all see it!  I can't wait to cut into it to make some dresses and skirts for Operation Christmas Child shoebox girls.  But first I want to thank my generous benefactor:  Robin of Red Thread Stitches.

A while back my friend, Kristy, from Hopeful Threads told me about her friend's Etsy shop sale and that she was sponsoring a giveaway of a $25 shopping spree to her shop.  After looking at her lovely

2015 Packing Experiment: Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes Packed & Shipped with $0 Out of Budget

Packing OCC Shoe Boxes for Free Experiment 2015

Now that my 2014 shoe boxes are packed, I have an unusual packing experiment planned for the 2015 Operation Christmas Child collection.  I am going to see how many boxes I can pack and ship without spending any money from my personal budget.

I think it is safe to say most everyone who packs a shoe box wishes they could pack another.  Those who pack many wish they could pack many more.  So I have decided to seek out ways to pack more and share my journey here at Simply Shoe Boxes so others may be able to take advantage of some of these and also have the opportunity to pack more boxes.

Below is a list of many of the ways I hope to acquire items to fill my shoeboxes.  As I go thru the year I will elaborate more on each one and hopefully post reports on how my stock is adding up.  And I

Surprise Additions to Planned Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

When I began packing, I had some fun additions to some of the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes I already shared here.  I thought you might like to see the additions, too.  Do you remember my "Bunny in the Garden" box?

Garden apron and gloves for a 10 to 14 year old girl's Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

When I went to finish packing my boxes I had two fun additions.  First my daughter finally found some garden tools for my garden apron boxes.  Best thing about it?  It cost just 10 cents!  And

Super Saturday Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Shopping

The Saturday before our family Operation Christmas Child packing party my husband and daughter went shopping for the last things we needed to fill out our shoeboxes.  They came home with a bit more.  Those dollar stores and Dollar General clearance sales can get you every time!

The only things on their list were toothbrushes!  And look what they found!  These were $1 for 10!  We took one out and tried to pull out the bristles and they held tight.  The handles are thinner than normal, but are nice plastic and flexible.  I was so excited.  I hope they get these in again as we bought all they had and it was just enough for this year's shoe boxes.  EDITING to add:  Sarah did a review of these toothbrushes since many readers were finding them in various stores.  You can see it here:  New Sight Toothbrush Review.

While at the local dollar store my husband found a large round rack with $1 shirts hanging on it.  He

The Last of the 2014 Dresses for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Here are my final Operation Christmas Child dresses for 2014.  They are all packed up and delivered to our church to start their journey to the little girls who will hopefully enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoyed sewing them.  And hopefully some will find their way to girls who need them for protection as I explain in this post:  Why I Sew Dresses to Include in my Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

Hearts and Flowers in Pink and Purple.  This is a seersucker type fabric.

A Fun Find! $11 Sewing Kits for $1 Each ~ Perfect for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Guess what's on my Christmas wish list? Sewing kits!  My daughter stumbled upon these great Singer sewing kits while at a local dollar store picking up the last of the toothbrushes we needed for 2014.  She bought a few for my 10 to 14 year old boxes this year and said they had dozens left.  I quickly added it to my Christmas wish list!  I love getting presents I can use in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Sewing kits for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Some had these stickers on them showing the original price as $10.99.

They contain larger scissors and these little scissors in the mending kit inside.  My daughter wants to add extra needles -- she says needles are easy to loose and their thread will be useless without them.  I

The Life Saver Snowman Box ~ How an Operation Christmas Child Theme Shoebox Came Together

I think everyone who has been reading Simply Shoe Boxes for any length of time knows I love to do theme boxes for my Operation Christmas Child kids.  They just seem to come together without much effort sometimes.  Such is the case with the Life Saver Snowman Box!

I shared how I came across a ghost beanie baby in a lot I had purchased for my shoe boxes.  I transformed the little guy into a snowman by removing his tongue, his "tail" and the "peak" on his

Hot Wheels & Matchbox Car Totes for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Gifts

My daughter had a half yard piece of black and white checked fabric she had used in the center of a table for our annual AWANA grand prix (like the Boy Scout’s Pinewood Derby).  When they canceled any future races it was her job to find new homes for all of the supplies--and my Operation Christmas Child shoebox stock benefited.

Hot Wheels car drawstring bag

She also had a dozen or so new, in package Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars.  They allowed the smaller children, who couldn't make a car, race these.  Checkered flag and race cars – a perfect match.   I love it when one man’s trash becomes a

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.