Welcome back.  The focus this month for Link to Hope boxes is toiletries.  Toothbrush & toothpaste, and soap & flannel are on the essential list.  If you’ve seen the £10.00 shoebox challenge, you’ll have seen that the best buys that I’ve found are Morrisons for a pack of 4 toothbrushes for 50p for a family box, or Tesco for a pack of 2 toothbrushes for 25p for the elderly boxes (or 2 packs for the family box)  Sainsburys have a pack of 2 white toothbrushes for 35p. 

I always put in more than one toothbrush, especially in the family boxes as the box is for a whole family not just one child as some other schemes concentrate on.  I don’t know how many people my shoebox will be shared amongst – but it’s likely to be several so at least if I put 4 toothbrushes in a family box, fewer family members will need to share – and if there are only 2 – parent and one child, they have a couple of spares for later in the year. 😊  If you can only get more expensive toothbrushes then just put in what you can afford, one toothbrush is better than none.

Toothpaste best buys – since I did my £10.00 challenge, I’ve now found that Morrisons have a 75ml tube of toothpaste for 30p!!!!  If you are doing a family box you could consider putting in 2 tubes!  And as it doesn’t come in a box it takes up less room. 😊  Tesco still have their own brand 100ml tube for 50p, and Sainsbury seem to have their own brand intermittently in store 75ml for 55p – but doesn’t currently show on line.  Lidl have their own brand for 69p. Asda don’t seem to have any bargain toothbrushes or toothpaste.  (Or at least not compared with Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury or Lidl.) 

Toothpaste best buys

Flannels can sometimes be purchased for under 30p each but I’ve found them to be quite thin and scratchy.  Wilko have white flannels for 35p and pink for 40p which seem a reasonable quality, and John Lewis do 2 flannels for 75p and they are good quality, but currently only come in grey or white and you would have to order online.  There is a delivery charge unless you are spending over £50 for home delivery or over £30 for collection from a Waitrose store.  Perhaps wait until the stores re-open and see if your local store has any in stock.  I ordered some in February as the Bristol branch of John Lewis never seemed to have any in the store – but I ordered a few so I have enough for this years boxes and some for next year. 

John Lewis face cloths 2 for 75p

The cheapest soap that I’ve found is 15p from Tesco.  It’s individually wrapped and smells nice without being too strong.  The good news is that it isn’t tested on animals and doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from animals.  Most major supermarkets sell multi packs of 4 soaps for £1.00 – £1.25.  I usually try and wrap the soap in the flannel to reduce the transfer of the scent onto any sweets – and try to put them at opposite ends of the shoebox. (I also try to put any scented tea lights away from any sweets and chocolates.)

Tesco soap 15p

They also suggest shampoo, safety razors and small scissors.  The shampoo can’t exceed 300ml and I find that most of the bargain family shampoos are 400 or 500ml.  You can often buy some for £1.00 but it is generally made by companies that test on animals outside the EU so I won’t buy them. I have bought larger bottles of cruelty free shampoo and decanted them into travel size bottles and put labels on them.  Tesco do several scents for 80p for 500ml, and Sainsburys have 3 different scents 75p for 500ml. 

Tesco and Sainsbury have packs of 5 razors for 30p. Bargain Buys have a manicure set for 69p which includes a small pair of scissors as well as nail clippers and a nail file.

cheapest safety razors

I also try and include some emery boards.  You can get packs for £1.00 – but some of them only include 5 emery boards – I buy packs with at least 20 in and then put two or three emery boards in each box.  Sainsburys have a 250ml shower gel for 40p.  Not everyone receiving a Link to Hope shoebox has access to a shower, although Link to Hope have constructed some shower blocks in a couple of areas, but preference would be to put shampoo rather than shower gel in a box.   

Happy shoe box filling.

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