Pack a Shoebox on a Shoestring

It can be done! Here are a few hints and tips that I've figured out over the last few years that have helped us fill shoeboxes on a small budget.

  1. Shop Early - I start looking for sales in January. Seriously. When I know that I'm going to be doing shoeboxes, I keep my eyes open for deals all year long. If I have a good coupon for toothpaste and find a deal, I use the coupon and save the toothpaste for the shoeboxes.

  2. Dollar Tree - This summer I found new Fruit of the Loom t-shirts in bright colors (perfect for boys and girls) for $1 each!! I also got fun sunglasses and hats for $1 each - these are great fillers for the shoeboxes.

  3. Target Clearance and/or $1 Section - I scored on flip-flops for $1 at Target this summer. When Old Navy did their $1 Flip-flop sale, I headed up there for the shoeboxes, but the line was INSANE, so I went over to Target where they had cute flip-flops in their $1 section. BONUS: No line! Keep your eyes open for those lovely RED Target Clearance tags - especially when they do their 75% off Toy clearance in the fall.

  4. Shop Back-to-School Sales - I've been able to get great deals at the end of the "Back to School" sales at Target and office supply stores on Crayola crayons, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, notebooks, calculators, and markers. Again, shop early in the year for the Christmas shoeboxes.

  5. Use Real Shoeboxes - This only works if you've been buying shoes (which doesn't really save YOU any money) throughout the year. I haven't purchased any shoes in a long time, but this year I had three shoeboxes, so instead of buying plastic shoeboxes (which is what I've done in the past), I used the shoeboxes I had. I'll fill-in the rest with plastic.

I hope this helps you a bit as you pack your Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. And remember, keep the shoeboxes in mind for NEXT year as you hit up the after-Christmas sales and throughout the year.

Happy Packing!


  1. Thanks for this post! This is our first year filling shoe boxes and I appreciate your tips!

  2. Thanks for the tips! I haven't done the shoeboxes before, but have been thinking about doing it this year as a fun project with my kids. Your post was a good reminder for me!

  3. Great ideas. We love to do shoeboxes and keep a bag going all year for our "finds". I have used the Johnsons $1 off any baby item and bought the Bath buddies soaps (after coupon they are free) and put those in the boxes too! If you hit the Target sale right, you can shop in the $1 section for 1/2 off...its when they are changing over to the next stuff! Dollar Tree is also a great place to go and buy toothbrushes. You can usually get a pack with 3 or 4 plus cases for $1.


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