December 29, 2016

Packing shoeboxes from Dollar Tree

If you read this blog, you know that I like to shop year-round for shoeboxes; picking up things as I find deals on them/they catch my eye. For an example of more of our normal boxes here's the ones we packed last year for: Girl 2-4 yearsBoy 2-4 yearsGirl 10-14 years, & Boy 10-14 years.    

But, not everyone is interested or able to do it that way, so I wanted to see what one could do if one just went to a dollar store, I picked Dollar Tree as they seem to be located pretty much everywhere in the USA.  I came up with a plan to fill 3 OCC shoeboxes for $29 from Dollar Tree.  I decided to test that plan and did some shopping at Dollar Tree.  Here's what I got to fill 3 boxes, one for each age group of girls:

1-3 pack of combs   (1 per box)                                                                 $1

1-3 pack of toothbrushes with cases    (1 per box)                                      $1
1-3 pack of mild soap   (1 per box)                                                             $1
1-3 pack of washcloths    (1 per box)                                                          $1
1-12 pack of pencils  (4 per box)                                                                $1
1-4 pack of pens       (2 per older girl box)                                                  $1
1-36 count box of crayons (split into 3 sets of 12 by color)                          $1
2-2 packs of "2-in-1 pencil Sharpers & Erasers"  (1 per box)                        $2
2-pads plain paper                                                                                      $2
1- coloring book                                                                                          $1
3-lined notebooks/composition books                                                          $3
3-dolls                                                                                                       $3
3-games/toys  (wood puzzle, marbles, puzzle)                                            $3
1-3 pack of balls   (1 per box)                                                                     $1
1-3 pack snack containers (1 per box as soap dishes)                                 $1
3-special items (tote bag, water bottle, board book)                                    $3
3-multi-packs of items (stencils, kaleidoscopes, hair bows)                          $3
TOTAL:                                                                                                   $29

 Here's how the boxes turned out:

What went in the box for the 2-4 year old girl:

And how I packed it in:

I put the small items in the bottom, and the coloring book along the back, you can see their share of the crayons fit in the soap dish with the soap.  I didn't give them any pens for fear they would draw on something with them.
Then in went the doll

I put the composition book in at an angle, it could bend, but I thought it'd arrive in better condiditon, then I laid the puzzle and board book on it, the washcloth fit around the toothbrush & case.

The coloring book bent over the top.

What went in the box for the 5-9 year old girl:
And how I packed it in:
Paper flat on button, comb & washcloth in the hole behind, soap & marbles to the side.

Then in went the doll, ball, and water bottle with some items inside.

What went in the box for the 10-14 year old girl:

And how I packed it in:

You can see a trend of flat items on the sides and bottom!  Also, I left the straps above, to next around the other items,
I put the stencils and crayons in the pocket in the notebook.

The sharpener fit well by the puzzle, stencils next, another sharpener, then the soap case with soap, as you can see, no wasted space between them!

It was nice and full!'ll notice I packed the crayons in plastic containers, that's because some can ooze grease at extreme temperatures (see crayon heat test post), so I thought this would help protect other items in the boxes.  That's also why I got Playskool in hopes of better quality than just the off brand, and I was pretty happy with it, not great, but not bad-you can see the coloring tests results here

The boxes didn't end up quite as full as I'd hoped, especially the 2-4 one, it makes a lot of difference the size/type of toys & bonus items one picks how full it is.  As I mentioned in my original post, if you had something new to "re-gift" a scarf that's not your color, a promotional baseball hat, etc, that would help fill it up, or you could spend another dollar or two on more items.  This is just to give an idea/starting point.

Next year you might want to consider watching for items all year, here's what I was able to do one year for three boxes for the same groups, for $7:

Happy Packing!

Disclaimer:  unlike our yearly boxes I share, these are sample boxes to see for myself and show what could be done in a blog post, these exact boxes were not sent intact.

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