25 Favorite Preparedness Items at Dollar Tree

It can be scary to see the lists of things you need to do, make, learn, and buy to get prepared.

When you first start your preparedness journey, the cost can seem out of reach. But, in this article I am going to share some of my favorite finds at Dollar Tree to help you get started on a budget.

25+ Emergency and Prepping Items

Dollar stores are great places to visit for so many things, and prepper supplies are no different.

Although, not everything is a dollar at these stores anymore, most items are just a couple of dollars at most. Make a list, stick to it, and only get what you really need to get that emergency preparedness kit started.

25+ Dollar Tree Survival and Prepper Items

1. First aid supplies

Bandages, splints, wrappings, ice packs, knee braces, pain patches, medicines, ointments, and so much more. These are all great items you can get for cheap and keep on hand to have for any emergency.

First Aid Supplies for Emergency Situations

2. Home organization containers

Dollar Tree storage containers are a great way to organize different areas of your home that you may not spend as much time in. For me, my closets and laundry room have benefited from these Dollar Tree organization bins in a big way.

It helps me keep track of what I have, rotate effectively, and keep clutter under control.

Home Organization

3. Paper Products

We do not use paper products regularly in an effort to be more sustainable. Other than toilet paper and a single roll of paper towels that last about a month, we are pretty-anti paper.

However, I do stock paper products in my pantry for emergencies such as power outages or water outages from a natural disaster. This is one area where you do have to be savvy about pricing and quantities. However, as a one-stop shop, a dollar store can get you a great supply started with very little investment.

4. Reading glasses

I need prescription glasses and wear bifocals. While my far vision needs a boost (and I have to have them to drive legally), my real need is for intermediate vision (my computer) and reading.

I make sure to have an extra pair of reading glasses tucked in my emergency kits, my day bag, my desk, my bedside, and kitchen.

This system allows me to have a pair of glasses wherever I might need them. I prefer to stock up on these because they are so cheap and they do well as an emergency supply. They also have chains and cases to use with your glasses if you need them.

Budget-Friendly Reading Glasses

5. Shower curtains

You have to be a little careful about the selection as some are not much better than paper. But if you hit upon a supply that is made with thicker material, grab them! They can be used as table covers, makeshift shelters, etc.

6. Glowsticks

Glowsticks at Dollar Tree may be more decorative than useful, but when you have kids, glowsticks serve so many purposes! You can pack them in their emergency kits or use them for lights-out activities during power outages.

They can also be comfort objects for kids when it’s dark or you’re camping.  We stockpile better glowsticks for our emergency bags. We generally stay away from thin bracelets and tiny tubes that the stores offer and go for bigger sticks and swords.

Dollar Tree Glowsticks for Emergency Kits

7. Plastic tote bags

I love these plastic totes for freezer organization. I have a chest freezer and organizing food categories by tote is a huge help. The handles help me lift things out easily, to get to the next layer, and the totes help keep things contained in the chest.

But they can also be used in the same fashion in a pantry. Instead of using plastic storage tubs, you can use the totes to store linens, and large quantities of toilet paper, and make them easily movable.

Budget-Friendly Plastic Tote Bags dollar tree

8. 80-hour emergency candles

These dollar store emergency candles are great finds and one of my favorite must-haves. I’ve never tested the full burning capacity of them, but they are good to have for a lights-out kit. The can help you make sure to light up the night in those emergency situations.

They are marketed as candles that are great for spiritual endeavors, but we know that they work great for preparedness, too! The only thing you’ll want is longer matches or lighters for when the wax is low.

Cheap 80 Hour Emergency Candles from Dollar Tree

9. Ice and hot packs for food

These reusable ice/hot food packs are great for food preservation. When I have to clean out my chest freezer, the packs work to help keep things cold (especially those things that tend to thaw out quickly like frozen fruit).

Used hot, it helps keep dishes warm if we’re traveling.

They are also terrific if your freezer/fridge has died and you are without refrigeration for a day or two. Along with ice, these cold packs can help keep your foods frozen in coolers until you can get a new unit. They’re great for power outages as well.

The flexible packs can also be used for pain relief if you’re in a pinch – they’re just a little bulky. If you can find the smaller packs and lunch bags, they are GREAT for pain relief.

Ice/Hot Packs for Food from Dollar Tree

10. Spray bottles

I like to make the most of my cleaners so I like to have some in every part of our home. This saves me time from having to go back and forth. So, I buy bulk cleaners and then get cheap spray bottles to fill and place around my home.

I often see plastic, metal, and even glass options. I have a few also stored in our emergency kit as well.

11. Cleaning supplies

Microfiber dusters, brooms, buckets, clothespins, and more cleaning supplies are available at Dollar Tree. In most cases, these are worth stocking up on.

12. Microfiber towels

We use microfiber towels for so many things. From dusting and cleaning to cleaning up spills, a microfiber towel is a must-have. You can find large ones in the automotive section, mesh-backed ones in the kitchen section, and multi-packs around the store.

These are great to use instead of paper towels, and we keep a big supply for all sorts of uses.

Microfiber Towels for Prepping Dollar Tree

13. Office supplies

Organizers, pens, pencils, mailers, and more can be found at most dollar stores. While this may look like an organizational issue and not preparedness, things like pencil boxes can have a new life as a first aid kit. A bubble mailer can house seeds for the next season, and binders and dividers can be made into Family Emergency Binders.

Clipboards work great to keep wiped-off inventory pages on the wall. File pockets can be good for keeping important papers together for your go-bag. Think outside the box!

14. Damp rid

I keep a damp rid in my closet at all times to pick up any dampness. It can also be useful in emergency totes that you may store in your garage or basement.

15. Puppy pads

Disposable puppy pads at the bottom of a bag can absorb waste and liquid that might spill. If you have a bag that you are using for camping or for an emergency situation, puppy pads will help you keep things clean and absorb any wetness.

Cheap Puppy Pads from the Tree Dollar Store

16. Bungee cords

We use bungee cords to keep emergency kits in place in the car and to tie down anything that needs to stay put. We have some stored in our emergency kits as well. They can be very useful if we are in an emergency and need to create some kind of pseudo shelter.

17. Epsom salts

Epsom salts have so many uses for medical care, so I always like to keep some on hand.

18. Plastic shoe bins

Plastic bins are just not cheap anymore. The price point these days seem to be pretty close to what you might pay at Walmart. I always keep an eye out for them though. We use these a lot to organize preparedness items in our linen closet and categorize smaller things in larger totes in the garage.

19. Socks

Yes, I said socks.

I keep an extra pair of socks in our emergency box and bags for times when we need a change because our feet got wet outdoors. Whether for camping, stuck in a storm, or to be ready for a big natural disaster. Socks are usually the first thing someone needs.

I use the less expensive ones to stock in the emergency bins just in case. I just make sure to pick the best pairs I can find.

20. Over the door storage hooks

While I would love to recommend Command hooks, they are just so expensive. The Dollar Tree near me had some great cheap options that gave me a little more storage space behind my bathroom door.

Alternative storage is important when you are trying to keep a house from being buried in preparedness supplies. Consider these to be a better hook than what comes in the shower caddies or shoe organizers to hang on the back of a door.

21. Flashlights

Flashlights are a must have for every home. We have some in our garage, kitchen, and upstairs in each bedroom. The dollar store flashlights are not the best quality and may not be as bright as we would recommend, but they can be a great backup.

Definitely do not rely on dollar store batteries to keep them lit. Invest in a better brand.

22. Zip ties

A must have for closing things that don’t want to stay closed. They are great for creating projects that need to be held together and keeping electronic cords organized. They are a pretty versatile, and cheap item to have around.

23. Tablecloths

Tablecloths are great for covering things from the rain or elements. While you certainly can use trash bags, tablecloths are easier to store. They are also more effective for larger projects. They are usually very thin, so I don’t recommend using them to make any type of shelter. But, they’re good to toss over a dirty area to eat on or throw over a pile of things to keep safe from a sudden storm.

They can also be good for lining a surface before storing items on it. I don’t store cardboard boxes on the floor of our garage, but I will use a plastic tablecloth or shower curtain to put a barrier down first. Or we’ve used them to store oil on shelves and line the shelf with the plastic tablecloth first, to stop staining.

24. Vacuum storage bags

I use these large vacuum bags to store extra towels and linens. They are also great for out-of-season clothes. The zippered storage keeps those clothes clean making it perfect for seasonal storage. They can also be used as an emergency go bag of clothes if an emergency happens.

Large Vacuum Storage Bags for Preparedness Dollar Tree

25. Dental care products

We use some electric toothbrushes in our home, but I do snag some regular toothbrushes in case the power goes out. Not only are they good for backup tooth cleaning but they are also good for for donating during times of emergency in your community.

We buy the tooth picks for flossing because they’re easier to clean our teeth with, but we do stock up on floss, as well. Toothpaste is also a good get at the Dollar Store. Just be sure to check the expiration date on them. Toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste are all important parts of your dental emergency kit.

26. Hand sanitizer and wipes

We are not the kind of family that uses hand sanitizer every day. I happen to think germs are important for a strong body. But we do use it when someone in our household has come down with a stomach virus or the flu.

I always have sanitizer and wipes on hand in my home and car. There is also a stash in my family emergency kit. You should check the expiration on the sanitizer annually as it may lose its effectiveness as it ages or if it is stored in the sun.

Dollar Tree Hand Sanitizer/Wipes for Your Emergency Kit

27. Generic medications for an emergency kit

I admit it, I purchase generic medications from Dollar Tree. I recommend you look at the source of medication (country it comes from) and the expiration date. I will keep these in my emergency kit, but check annually if I need to rotate them out due to an upcoming expiration.

Dollar Tree Generic Medications for Your Emergency Kit

28. Nuts and seeds

While I do not generally purchase food from dollar stores, I will purchase nuts and seeds for protein snacks for the kids, and toss them into smoothies. for food storage but we usually rotate through it to keep it fresh.

What I Will Not Buy From Dollar Tree Store

If I were on a tighter budget I might buy some of these if I really needed to. But these items are the ones that would be a last resort to get at a dollar store.

  1. Batteries
  2. Lighters
  3. Food: For the most part, I don’t buy off-brand packaged foods. We have purchased some name-brand meats there — the tuna in a pouch, and some nuts. But we tend to stay away. I haven’t researched their frozen foods section, but I know frozen fruit is a great deal when you get it on sale. I just haven’t looked. Just make sure you know where it is sourced from.
  4. Shelf Liner: While I want to love a roll for a dollar, the rolls generally only have enough product to line 1-2 small drawers.
  5. Kid toys: Unless they are for joke purposes, most of it is junk and not worth having.
  6. Toiletries: I prefer to shop for deals at my grocery store if I don’t make it myself.
  7. Dust masks: For general-purpose housework, maybe. For keeping in my emergency kits, no. Go ahead and invest in these.
  8. Foil, zip-top bags, trash bags, etc. — I tend to get better deals on better quality items at the grocery store.
  9. Tools and duct tape
  10. Electronics: While I will stock up on earbuds for travel (because we ALWAYS break or lose them), there’s pretty much nothing else there that I would buy.
  11. Cleaners: For the most part, no.

All dollar stores carry revolving stock, so check back often to yours to see if you can find items that are useful to you!

What are your favorite preparedness items you get at the dollar store?

25+ Emergency and Prepping Items to Buy from the Dollar Tree
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Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.

She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.

Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).

Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.

Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.

Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.

She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.

5 thoughts on “25 Favorite Preparedness Items at Dollar Tree”

  1. I like the People’s Choice Energy pills. I use them to get more out of my day. It is an herbal blend with things like green tea and Ginsing.

    They would be helpful in a Crisis Situations since there will be SO much that needs to be done.

  2. There bread,english muffins stay fresher than the stores,pepper poppers, pizza sauce,wheat thins,jarred mushrooms canned chicken cheaper than grocery stores.. Craft supplies lots more we buy. They have inproved over the years


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