You could say moving is one of my specialties: Over the past decade, I've lived in more than 25 different apartments. Because I don't move with much, I've had to get creative when it comes to stocking my kitchen on a budget.
The thrift store is almost always my first stop, although they don't always have what I need. Not to mention, there are certain items I generally can't (or don't want to) buy used.
So where do I go next? The dollar store.
As I learned from my late grandfather, these stores have pretty much everything you need — for cheap. If you're setting up a new kitchen, or just looking to replace or stock up on some things, grab one (or 12) of the following items.
I usually buy plates from thrift stores, but would definitely consider dollar-store plates if I were staying anywhere long-term. Why? You can't always find matching plates at a thrift store — and, let's be honest, the ones you do find are sometimes really ugly. A plain color from the dollar store is infinitely better than an outdated design from a thrift store.
2. Bar glasses
Whether you're drinking beer or wine, the dollar store probably has the glasses for the job. And if you're not sick of them yet, you can even find some faux Mason jars with handles.
You can certainly pick and choose your forks, butter knives, and spoons from the bin at a thrift store, but if you want a matching set, look to the dollar store. Don't buy your kitchen knives here, though; those are worth spending some money on.
Oh boy do I adore dollar-store mugs. You can etch them to make them super personalized and, because they're pretty inexpensive, you can buy a bunch of 'em.
Need some tongs? A wooden spoon? Grab them here. Avoid plastic products, though; one study found they have a high concentration of toxic chemicals. I'd also avoid can openers — only because I bought one at a dollar store once and it barely worked.
If you want organic spices or fancy sea salts, the dollar store is not your jam. But if all you need is some good ol' cumin and paprika, voila! Just check the labels to make sure they're not expired.
Make your Pinterest pantry dreams come true — on a budget. The dollar store has everything from glass canisters to plastic baskets, all prime for organizing your kitchen down to the last teaspoon.
Sponges are available by the six-pack at the dollar store. I buy a bunch at a time, so I have fewer excuses not to change them out. (A task you're supposed to do way more often than you probably do!) You can even get specialty sponges, like off-brand Magic Erasers.
9. Dish soap
Again, if you're looking for a higher-end soap like Mrs. Meyer's, you won't find it here. But name brands like Dawn, Palmolive, and Ajax are usually available — just avoid tiny sample sizes, which aren't worth the unit cost.
Maybe it's because I grew up with a fridge that wasn't magnetized, but I have a slight obsession with magnets. A few cute magnets here and there become a quick way to make your kitchen feel like home.
11. Cloth napkins
Want to feel fancy while still staying under budget? Buy some cloth napkins from the dollar store. (The environment will thank you, too.)
Rather than cleaning kitchen surfaces with paper towels (wasteful) or my dish sponge (gross), I use microfiber cleaning cloths from, you guessed it, the dollar store. When they're dirty, you can just throw them in the washing machine.
13. Kitchen cleaners
Bleach, window cleaner, and ammonia are all the same wherever you shop, so feel free to grab your cleaning supplies here. Or, even better, you can make an all-natural one with vinegar and a spray bottle purchased from the dollar store.
14. Dish towels
A dish towel's a dish towel. So grab some at the dollar store and call it a day. Do not, however, buy oven mitts; they're not the same quality as the pricier versions, and you definitely don't want to burn your hand just because you were looking to save a few bucks.
Nothing brightens up the kitchen like a bouquet of fresh flowers. And dollar stores always seem to have an abundant selection of vases to hold those flowers!
16. Foil baking pans
These puppies are perfect for carting casseroles to potluck dinners — or for freezing the extras when you're batch cooking.
17. Dry-erase boards
Want a quick place to jot notes, shopping lists, and the like? Attach a dry-erase board to your fridge — they're super convenient, and super easy to find at the dollar store!
Which kitchen supplies do you buy from the dollar store?