By Elly Leavitt

Published on September 30, 2018

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 products 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.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

“Shoppers love the ‘treasure hunt’ experience they get each time they shop since our high-quality merchandise is ever-changing,” explains Joanna Howarth, public relations manager at HomeGoods. She works closely with buyers and store managers daily and is a fabulous litmus test for knowing what’s new at 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 come in 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 before.

Are you a fellow HomeGoods-phile? We’ve compiled 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. You might even find a few secrets team Domino swears by.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

Avoid the weekends if you can

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

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

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 product to the stores, and plan to be there a few hours after,” 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 am, after the store associates have had time to unload, to have fresh pickings of what is being placed on the shelves.” She also cops to occasionally pulling things directly off the loading carts as they are being arranged on shelves, and we admire that level of dedication to scoring the perfect deal.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

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 holiday pillow in their 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.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

But by the same token, take your time shopping.

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 on hunting 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. Take your time perusing, just don’t wait once you’ve actually found the item you’ve been searching for.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

Keep a lookout for the red tags.

Per Howarth, most stores have a clearance section where you can find additional savings. This writer has had personal success finding unique looking mugs laid out in the last resort bins. But there’s a way to save even more, and that’s via the coveted red sticker. It indicates a severe markdown, is frequently only found on one lone item (so, you might not have the best of luck finding an entire collection marked down), and occasionally means there’s a blemish on the item in question.  

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

Ask for discounts (judiciously)

Which brings us to our next point: If an item does have a blemish, chip, or other slight mutation, you might be able to get a bigger discount on it. Christine Lee, the HomeGoods aficionado behind Instagram account @homegoodsobsessed told Apartment Therapy in an interview earlier this year that “you can expect to receive a 10 percent discount on pieces that are slightly damaged—a scratch here, a ding there. For more heavily damaged items, you could get up to 20-28 percent off, but that is at a manager’s discretion.”

So, if you’ve absolutely fallen in love with a set of ceramic plates but have spotted a chip on them (that you yourself haven’t caused in an effort to get a discount; they do have security cameras, remember), try asking a staff member for a lower price. They might say no, but they might equally give you a fair percentage off. Plus, what’s a little chip on ceramics? They look more rustic that way.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

Seek help

“Become friends with your store manager,” advises Blum. “If you are trying to find something in particular, ask the store manager if anything has come in that’s not on the floor yet.” This tactic also works in your favor, because according to Blum a friendly store manager may even tip you off when new shipments arrive so you’ll be among the first to get your hands on the newest products.

Of course, if this obsession starts to get out of hand and you end up accosting said friendly store manager for a first look at every new shipment, you might want to consider seeking help of a different kind.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

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 buy everything that inspires me as soon as I see it, and bring it all home to see what looks ideal in my space, on my table, etc. I keep what works and sometimes find something even more inspiring on my return trip!”

You have 30 days to return anything with a HomeGoods receipt, so no purchase has to be a commitment unless you want it to be. Buy that gorgeous statement mirror you’d sell your firstborn for but aren’t 100 percent sure it’ll fit in your entryway; you can always measure at home and return the next day. Better that than lose out on the hallway accouterment of your dreams.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

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 store 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 the shelves. Howarth is a fan of using the app as inspiration, using what others are finding to kickstart your own design project.

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

Play the field

Haven’t found what you’re looking for at your local HomeGoods? Remember that no two stores are exactly the same, so head to the next closest one to see what you can spot. Reimold is a fan of this tactic, sharing that “Sometimes, I shop multiple stores in a day to find a complete set of dining room chairs or just simply complement what I’ve already found in one store.” Blum prefers to track down an eclectic assortment of pillows and distinctive tabletop items, which she says are sourced from around the world. “I often use [them] to add some panache to the events I produce,” she adds.

In this sense, HomeGoods really is almost like a flea market experience. With unique offerings at each store, it’s worth hitting up a couple if you have a morning to spare and a decor to-do list to get to.

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Photography by MATT HARRINGTON FOR HOMEGOODS

Want to know what’s on team Domino’s decor to-do list? Here, some of the things our editors never leave a HomeGoods store without.

Wall Decor:
“Not only is their wall decor super affordable, but the inventory there changes so frequently that there’s always something new to choose from.” – Hayley Squire, Email Marketing Manager

Outdoor Essentials:
“I’m super impressed by HomeGoods’ outdoor decor. Last time I was there, I became obsessed with this plant holder that looked like a pricey vintage score. Still wish I bought it!” – Kristin Limoges, Wellness Editor

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Photography by MATT HARRINGTON FOR HOMEGOODS

Coffee Table Books:
“HomeGoods is low-key the best place to snag amazing design books and other statement reads for the coffee table. They’re usually on super discount and in pretty solid condition, too.” – Lydia Geisel, Contributing Writer

Pots and Pans:
“I love stalking the kitchen aisle for deals on pots, pans, and any other kitchen essential I would be hard-pressed to splurge on.” – Anna Kocharian, Digital Editor

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Courtesy of HomeGoods

See more insider shopping secrets for your favorite stores:
10 Ikea Shopping Hacks, According to an Employee
16 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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