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Think Outside the Basket

Most retailers have significant markdowns on their remaining Easter merchandise starting Monday. Buy early for next year or use some of the items for other things.

The retailers have been pushing Easter merchandise for almost a month now. There have been a lot of sales and last minute shoppers will still be paying full price for cards and gift baskets, but the stores are well into their plan to get summer merchandise on the shelves and that means markdowns on all sorts of Easter goods (for next year!) beginning as early as Monday, April 25.

Initially, you’ll find 25 percent off sales. If you wait several days or even up to two weeks, prices may be slashed up to 90 percent off! Stores will pack up and keep things like the faux-Easter grass and perhaps even some baskets if they stack easily, but the candy has to move, and usually all sorts of spring and Easter type merchandise will be available at rock-bottom prices.

So what do you do with all this stuff? Certainly you could put some things such as baskets and shredded grass away, but there are lots of other uses for these types of things too. For example, you could use that grass all year round in gift bags, instead of buying expensive tissue paper. If you buy pastel colored paper goods, such as napkins, tablecloths, plates and cups, they could be used for birthday parties, baby and bridal showers or to pack up in a picnic basket.

Speaking of baskets, I’ve found uses for them in almost every room in our house. Small ones could be used for keys, pens or anyplace you need a catch-all to suit your own needs.

Baskets come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, which also makes them good for the kids to keep their toys picked up in with each child having their own designated color to keep things from getting confusing or mixed up. Specifically Easter baskets with handles make it easy to move things from room to room or even to tote things along in the car. Children love to bring things with them and with a basket they can be kept orderly and tidy too.

We use larger baskets for storing magazines, knitting projects, and I even have a designated basket for my coupon inserts so that they are right at hand when I see a good sale/coupon match-up. We even have a couple of baskets that aren’t purposed for anything in particular and I call them our “Lord only knows what you’ll find in there baskets.”

Stuffed animals will be on sale too. What little girl doesn’t have a stuffed animal collection that includes bunnies and ducks? For that matter, little boys enjoy stuffed animals too, especially the larger ones, which can be awfully expensive at full price. They are great for new baby gifts or for donation to shelters or long-term care facilities as well. Just make sure that the place you intend to donate to will welcome stuffed animals.

As for the candy you get for next to nothing, you could freeze it and dole it out as a special treat until the next major candy holiday — Halloween — or you could just eat it. After all, you’ve burned quite a few calories out there shopping the after Easter sales!

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