I'm off almost a week, don't do a column and what happens while I'm gone? The stores resemble a turkey carcass after my family's Thanksgiving day meal: picked over!
It warms my heart, though, that shoppers are searching for bargains they will put away until December. Yes, December 2014.
I shop only for holiday decorations in January, not only because of the big discounts, but because I just finished wrapping gifts and know what I need to replace. For instance, I needed gift tags (not stickers), so I scooped up a bunch at Tuesday Morning in Fairvew Heights at half-off prices.
It is the time of year for two themes to make their annual appearance beyond Christmas leftovers: getting organized and getting back into shape. Luckily, both include merchandise in a wide variety of price points.
Walmart stores, for example, carry Danskin clothing for women. I hestitate to call them workout clothes because we all wear this stuff even when we're not at the gym. But if you do need yoga, Pilates or other exercise clothes at very reasonable prices, I suggest Danskin's new Now line, with 360 Sports Bras ($9.94) in different colors and sizes S to 2XL. The Now Performance pants are $11.96 and run SX to XXL. Yoga socks with toes) are $7.47 a pair by Lotus.
Did you know that the average person sends seven hours a week looking for things at home? Over at Target, getting your closet act together can mean just a tiny bit of indulgence. I am a big fan of Huggable Hangers. They have rounded shoulders and felt-like covers, so nothing falls off these dudes. They're great for strappy dresses that like to slide and soft sweaters you don't want to develop bumpy shoulders. A pack of 20 shirt and 20 suit hangers is on sale for $22.
Ah, but if you shop the dollar stores like I do, you'll also find these nonslip hangers (though not the same quality) at Deals in Fairview Heights. A 12-pack is $5.
Home Depot has some excellent steel shelving and carts that have that industrial look that many cooks like in their kitchens. The Honey-Can-Do 3-Shelf Urban Chrome Storage Cart (yes, that is what it's labeled online) is on sale for $84.97, regularly $100. Ship free to your neighborhood store, though it will take about a week to get it there. These are heavy-duty pieces that can handle up to 400 pounds. What I like best about them is that the shelves are adjustable and basket-style so stuff doesn't fall out. The model number is SHF-01607.
Time to pony up and buy some LED lightbulbs -- the incandescent ones are on the way out of existence. To help with the sticker shock, Lowe's is offering 10 percent off through Monday in stores and online. Also, if you're organizing your kitchen cabinets, invest $17.99 in stadium seating for your canned goods, spices and jars. Called an Expandable Shelf Organizer, it has three-tiered plastic steps with gray nonslip tread. It lets you see what's in the back of your cabinet because those supplies sit up higher. It expands from 14 to 25 inches to fit your space. (Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond also carry this product.)
I own a very simple clothes-drying device: It looks like an umbrella skeleton with clips on the end of it and a hook to hang it. I've had it forever and it gets used to dry delicate lingerie, etc., anything lightweight that doesn't go in the dryer. It's one of those essentials that I've owned for so long I don't remember where I got it or when. But, I did see the 2014 incarnation for $9.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond in Fairview heights. Real Simple Accessories Dryer includes 12 removable clips to quickly air-dry small items. A grip hook easily hangs on a laundry line or shower curtain rod.
The east end of Belleville will get a Dollar Tree store soon. The retailer is moving into the former location of Fashion Bug on Carlyle Avenue. No date yet, just the word "soon." I'll keep you posted.