The 5 Things You Should Always Buy at the Dollar Store After You Move

published Apr 1, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Moving equals physical exertion plus lots of money. If you’ve ever moved to a new place, there’s a good chance you tried to find ways to cut costs when stocking up on those new home essentials.

Enter the dollar store. While these types of stores are famous for selling bric-a-brac for a buck, there are actually some hidden treasures on those shelves. Here, real estate pros explain what you should be tossing in your shopping cart on your first post-move trip to your local dollar store. 


If you’re not already outfitted with a toolbox, the dollar store might be the perfect place to start building a kit of must-haves, according to AJ Olson Whitfield, a realtor with Villa Real Estate. She suggests making sure you at least have a screwdriver and a wrench on hand to fix loose door handles, knobs, and more. “Because I promise you, it doesn’t matter how new your home is, something will need to be fixed,” she says.

Storage Bins

From kitchen gadgets to toiletries in the hallway linen closet, you’re going to need a lot of storage bins to stay organized in your new home. But all those bins don’t have to break the bank, according to Anastasia Hartmann, associate with  RE/MAX Professionals in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, as long as you’re getting them for a dollar. “Color selections vary by store and season,” she says, adding that if you’re unhappy with the color choices when you go shopping, you can always use the money you saved by buying cheaper bins to splurge on the spray paint color of your choice.  

Picture nails 

You’re going to be in a hurry to make your new space feel more like home, which means you might rush into hanging some of your favorite photos before you’ve really settled on your furniture layout. Amanda George, a realtor and senior sales associate with Century 21 Shawmut Properties, suggests picking up some smaller picture nails to get started, “so you wont make huge holes in the walls hanging pictures,” she says.

Scented candles

Your new digs may not have the “new home” smell you were hoping for, which is why Eric Mirman, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty, says you’re going to want to stock up on inexpensive scented candles while you adjust to the new aromas. “Any home that isn’t a new construction will usually have an older scent that is not always pleasurable,” he says. “Use candles (lavender, jasmine, vanilla, or any other scent you like) to make your space more inviting.” If you’re not a fan of candles, Mirman says potpourri can do the job as well. 

Holiday and seasonal decor

Your new space may be screaming for some new holiday decor, especially if your move falls directly before or during a holiday when all of your existing decorations are still packed up. You can save money (and the time it takes to dig through all those boxes) by picking up a few new pieces at the dollar store according to Rachel Stults, a lifestyle expert with “To fill your home with autumn vibes, grab a bag of those adorably tiny foam pumpkins for just a dollar,” she says. “Or spend the same on a can of shiny silver balls to pile into a bowl at Christmas.” You can hit the aisles for bundles of candy canes, Santas galore, and yards of garland without busting your budget.