Find: Cute Jute Totes $4.99 (beach worthy)

You couldn't even ship these for $4.99, and they look like they came straight out of a cutesy catalog

How precious are these totes, made of lightweight jute and cotton? The interior has a thin plastic coating that is pliable but strong.

The totes have enough body to stand upright but are light as a feather. The care instructions say that a wipe with a damp cloth is all that is needed for cleaning, and I’ve found them to be perfect for taking towels and sunscreen to the beach and then easily shaking off the sand from the bottom. They have a small inside pocket that is just right for a cell phone, lip balm and debit card. The larger style (such as the seahorse in photo at left) has a velcro tab closure.

Unbelievably, they are only $4.99 at TJ Maxx. They come in a variety of prints, from the coastal themes of sea shells to this Napoleonic bee (doesn’t this scream for a baguette, bottle of Orangina and fresh flowers?). Look for the versions with bright stripes or the hot pink one with the silhouette of an orange koi fish. These have inspired me to make a few themed gift bags, such as a hostess gift for friends who invited us to their beach house and as a thanks for the girlfriend who is coordinating the girls’ trip this year.

One thing I have learned from experience about jute is that it is best for holding things with rounded edges. Objects with heavy corners, such as hardback books, tend to wear through the material and are better saved for heavy canvas totes. However, when you need something lightweight, sand resistant and easily packable, jute is hard to beat.