If you had asked me two years ago if I would prefer shopping at TJ Maxx, Marshall's, HomeGoods, and all similar and associated stores, I would have told you you were out of your mind. I've always avoided these stores like the plague; in my mind, they were disorganized and a little gross.
Friends, I was wrong.
I've recently converted my mom to a TJ Maxx and Marshall's fan. And just the other day, I found myself in a conversation about getting the best deals in these stores. As it turns out, I've gone enough that I've developed a system, without even realizing it. I've gotten a lot of great deals, especially on beauty and makeup items, and I decided it was time to share the secret to my success.
1. Go in the morning on a weekday.
This one is not super possible for a lot of people, which I totally realize. However, I've always had my best luck at TJ Maxx and Marshall's on Thursday mornings, as opposed to Saturdays. The store tends to be more organized and clean on Thursday mornings and my local stores stock on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
2. Check everything before you buy it.
It goes without saying: some people are absolute animals in TJ Maxx and Marshall's. The number of times I've found a great find (like a Stila lipstick or a MAC lipstick), only to open it and find it completely destroyed, used, or gouged... it's too much. But I've learned to religiously check everything I find at TJ Maxx and Marshall's just so I don't end up with something I have to end up throwing away.
3. Ask the employees if something hasn't been stocked yet.
A few months ago, I was on a quest to find one of the Kat Von D Light & Shade palettes (this is before Kat really went off the rails), as a few of my friends in a beauty group had found them. I was searching the beauty section in my local Marshall's and an employee asked if she could help. I mentioned that I'd seen Kat Von D palettes online and she replied, "Well, let me go back and check." She did! They didn't have any (and they ended up not receiving any), but she did tell me that if you see something online that others have found at TJ Maxx and/or Marshall's, don't be afraid to ask employees; sometimes they get things and don't stock them for a long time.
4. Set a limit.
A time limit, a spend limit, some kind of limit. My limit is usually $20, sometimes $50 if I'm looking for something for my house (like a shelf that I still haven't found). Having a limit helps keep me in check and keeps me from just buying everything.
5. Go frequently.
Right now, I've been searching for a rope basket to use as a laundry hamper in my bathroom, as well as a ladder shelf to add a bit of extra storage in there too. I know I've seen both at TJ Maxx before, but right now, they just aren't there. So I've been going nearly every weekend, just to check. So far, I haven't found what I'm looking for, but I know if I check often enough, I'll find it. If you're really in the market for a specific piece, going back often will make you more likely to spot it at a great price.