Like Melissa McCarthy, I love me a good 99-cent store, and there are some things I don't like buying anywhere else. It's a great source for basic supplies you want to keep on hand for little projects around the house, but don't want to pay a ton for. Here are 10 that I wouldn't dream of buying anywhere else.
Paintbrushes and Supplies
If you are doing a home project, and need a cheap, disposable paintbrush for touch ups or quick, easy jobs (or super messy jobs like stripping paint off of furniture) a dollar store option is a really good buy. They sell both regular ones with bristles, and multi-packs of the foam variety, and the same 2-inch brush you buy there will run you almost double that at hardware stores. While you're in the store, also pick up cheap paint roller sets, a paint scraper, and everything else you need for your paint job.
These little clear containers have endless uses—from screws and small bits in the garage, to hair ties or accessories in the bathroom, to small utensils in the kitchen. There are multiple different sizes and styles to choose from—some with little compartments—but all at a justifiable price. Buy a bunch, and use them for every little item you own. I have a series I use to store and organize different crafts: one for sewing supplies, one for embroidery, etc...
I love these small packs of assorted hooks and hangers. These are small enough to keep on hand, even if you live in a small apartment, but versatile enough to hang a range of artwork sizes. I've also been known to steal a nail or two and use them without the accompanying hook. Keep one of these tucked away in a drawer somewhere, along with an inexpensive level, and be ready to redecorate at the drop of a hat.
How many projects require a clear glass vase? I don't think I can count that high. I also see these all the time at thrift stores, but if you need a particular size and shape—or multiples of one particular size and shape—pick some up for cheap at the dollar store. And then turn them into something more amazing, whether you are planning your wedding centerpieces, or just want to make a terrarium one afternoon.
I'm one of those weirdos that always has a bunch of different types of string and twine in my closet (I'm also guilty of hoarding various kinds of tape). Natural-looking jute and twine are both great for a number of DIY projects and even for hanging items with clips. I love the fun baker's twine, found here in packs of three assorted colors, which is great for craft projects, or for wrapping gifts. I know I've bought this stuff elsewhere for a whole lot more.
I have little stashes of these clips everywhere around my house. My three favorite uses: 1) Keeping food fresh after bags are opened (like a chip clip); 2) Holding a bunch of receipts together and all in one place; 3) Securing plant stems to dowels to keep them upright and supported. Once you own these, you'll keep finding clever ways to use them.
There are those hardcore tools that get heavy use, and need to perform well and hold up over time, and then there are things like tape measures and utility knives. Sometimes you just need something cheap for one-time use, and sometimes you want to have multiples on hand. For those cheap and easily replaceable items, try a dollar store first.
If you find electronics a household eyesore and unruly cords are bringing you down, pick up a pack of these plastic ties. Use them to corral wires and roll up cords—basically keep everything neatly in its place. You can buy these in smaller sizes at other stores, but it makes a lot of sense to get a big 'ol pack and be done with it. I used some last year to secure some privacy fabric to my backyard fence, so you never know when they'll come in handy.
I'll be honest. I can't remember the last time I bought a balloon, but I've heard dollar stores are a great place to get them, either loose in packs, or the party-ready ones already inflated with helium. They carry both the garden variety multi-color ones, but also the fancier foil ones that come in fun shapes like stars. The next time I throw my niece or nephew a birthday party, I know where to get balloons.
My dog Grim is slightly destructive when it comes to his toys, so my living room is regularly littered with no-longer-stuffed animal carcasses and tumbleweeds of stuffing floating around. I don't want to deprive him of those minutes of joy, but I also don't want to pay more for toys that just don't hold up under the pressure. I regularly pick up a couple of these guys, and keep them until I need a distraction for my dog.
Tell us, what do you like to buy at the dollar store?