Published on June 4, 2019

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Photo Courtesy of HomeGoods

HomeGoods may just be the closest thing we have to a nationwide, brick-and-mortar flea market. Why? The product selection is constantly changing. You can’t access items online, meaning every time you step foot in a store you don’t know what you’re going to get. And the offerings vary from shop to shop. Couple a diverse array of products with prices generally so low that they’re almost (almost!) unbelievable, and it’s no surprise that HomeGoods continues to be one of our favorite places to shop.

“Shoppers love the ‘treasure hunt’ experience they get each time they visit, since our high-quality merchandise is ever-changing,” explains Joanna Howarth, public relations manager at HomeGoods, who works closely with buyers and store managers daily and is a great litmus test for knowing what’s new in the store and how to best navigate it. “Our recommendation is to come in and explore! Be open to finding more than you originally intended. You might be looking for a pumpkin dish towel and leave with an entire fall tablescape for your dining room.”

She’s right. It’s been known to happen.

Are you a fellow HomeGoods–phile? Ahead, a comprehensive guide to making the most of your next trip to the store—from shopping tips to the best things to look out for to everything in between.

Avoid the weekends if you can

As is the case with most retailers, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days. Instead, Marcy Blum (president of event-planning company Marcy Blum Associates and HomeGoods style expert) recommends visiting weekday mornings. That way, you beat the weekend crowd and shoppers coming in on their lunch breaks or after work.

Strategize

Jenny Reimold is a Nashville-based interior designer, fellow HomeGoods style expert, and professional delivery truck stalker. Sort of.

“Find out what days the HomeGoods trucks deliver new products to the store and plan to be there a few hours afterward,” she suggests. “I know every store is different, but for example, at my favorite local HomeGoods, trucks are unloaded Wednesday and Saturday mornings. I try to arrive around 10:30 a.m., after the store associates have had time to unload, to have fresh pickings of what is being placed on the shelves.” Reimold also cops to occasionally pulling things directly off the loading carts as they are being arranged on shelves—and honestly, we admire that level of dedication to scoring the perfect deal.

Don’t wait on a purchase

“If you see something you like, scoop it up right away! It won’t be long before another savvy shopper drops that perfect pillow in her own cart,” continues Reimold. Buying something on the spot without thinking it through might feel counterintuitive—especially if it’s a larger piece of furniture—but passing on an item in a place where the products steadily rotate isn’t a great idea. As Howarth points out, HomeGoods generally doesn’t run large-scale promotions or offer coupons (everything is already 20 to 60 percent less than department store prices), so there’s no point in waiting it out and hoping for a lower price.

But do take a lap

While you shouldn’t necessarily leave anything and expect to find it there a few weeks later, Blum does recommend taking a lap of the whole place before really going in to hunt for certain pieces. “I usually do an overview tour of the entire store before I get down to specifics of what I am looking for,” she says. This may have potentially dangerous consequences for your credit card once you discover a range of Technicolor dinnerware you just have to have, but it might also jog your memory and help you remember that, yes, you did need a new skillet—and this one happens to be under $50.

“If you see something you like, scoop it up right away! It won’t be long before another savvy shopper drops it in her own cart.”—Jenny Reimold

Commit to not committing

Because the best HomeGoods shopping practice is “buy now, think later,” you’ll be pleased to know the store actually has a pretty fantastic return policy. “Buy what you love and test things out at home,” recommends Reimold. “I usually will purchase everything that inspires me as soon as I spot it and bring it all home to see what looks ideal in my space. I keep what works and sometimes find something even more inspiring on my return trip!” You have 30 days to return products with a HomeGoods receipt, so no purchase has to be a commitment unless you want it to be.

Keep a lookout for the red tags

Per Howarth, most stores have a clearance section where you can find additional savings—but there’s a way to save even more, and that’s by looking for the coveted red sticker. It indicates a severe markdown, is frequently only found on one lone item, and might just mean that there’s a blemish on the item in question.  

“I usually will purchase everything that inspires me as soon as I spot it and bring it all home to see what looks ideal in my space.”—Jenny Reimold

Download the app

If you can spare the gigabytes, it’s worth it. The HomeGoods app is basically a virtual community for the store: You can see what others at your local outlet have found when they post images online and follow your nearest HomeGoods to receive a taste of the newest products as soon as they hit shelves. Howarth is a fan of using the app as inspiration, checking out what others are finding to kick-start her own design projects.

See more insider shopping secrets for your favorite stores:
10 Ikea Shopping Hacks, According to an Employee
14 Trader Joe’s Shopping Secrets That’ll Change the Way You Shop
Experts Reveal the Most Cost-Effective Sephora Shopping Hacks

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