HomeGoods has a devoted following, and it’s no surprise because the store has all the thrills of scouring a flea market, except you don’t have to worry if the Febreeze smell on the rug is hiding years of stains or stress out about haggling for the best price. And ICYMI, the beloved retailer launched an online store last year so that you can browse everything from furniture to decor on days when you don’t want to leave your sofa. Whether you’re an avid shopper IRL, prefer to peruse online, or both (!), we’ve gathered expert tips to help you make the most of your HomeGoods experience.
1. Try shopping in-store on weekdays.
HomeGoods is bustling with activity—which means more people fighting over the same bizarrely adorable brass armadillo tape dispenser—so you’re better off strolling the store’s aisles on a weekday when it’s less chaotic. Jenny Reimold, interior stylist and HomeGoods style expert, recommends shopping the day after the store gets a delivery and right when it opens around 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. “I prefer to shop the day after because it gives the associates 12 to 24 hours to unload the trucks and stock the shelves,” Reimold explains. She continues: “Each store’s delivery days are different. My favorite local Nashville store unloads on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Be sure to make friends with your store manager for the scoop on delivery days and times so you can scope out the store the next day!”
Designer Beth Diana Smith prefers to shop at HomeGoods midweek between Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. “For me, often this timeframe has less traffic at my store, which creates a slightly more relaxed experience,” says the HomeGoods style expert. ”I like to be there while they are still restocking the shelves with new arrivals, so I’m the first to look and grab those eye-catching finds for my projects.”
2. Look to the back row.
The store tends to stack its shelves a few items deep, and as shoppers go through what’s in stock, they’re not always in tallest-to-shortest order. You can find hidden gems if you’re willing to reach all the way to the very back of the shelf. The bathroom accessories, kitchenwares, and art sections are key for this trick.
“Some of my best HomeGoods finds have been uncovered from the bottom shelves so make sure you’re squatting down and scouring every inch of the aisle, from top to bottom and far back on the shelves to spot the best finds,” Reimold says. “I find this tip especially useful in the pillow aisle as I search through the wide variety of pillows, from linen and cotton to faux fur and suede.”
3. Use the HomeGoods app for inspo.
Currently, you may not be able to buy items through the HomeGoods app, but you can get major inspiration and all of the deets on what’s in stores. “It’s basically a virtual community where you can filter by your zip code to see what other shoppers have found at the store through photos,” Reimold explains. “Recently, I hopped on the app and was interested to see shoppers in my area posting pictures of fun wooden Halloween signs and ceramic pumpkins, which got me excited for the upcoming fall season!”
Additionally, you’re able to upload any gift cards you may have or TJX rewards certificates to the app so that they’re all in one place.
4. Returns and holds are absolutely an option.
Because HomeGoods’ inventory moves so quickly, if you really want something, you have to be prepared to make a decision immediately. Luckily, the store has a 30-day return policy provided you have a receipt, so if you’re unsure that throw pillow will work in your living room, scoop it up anyway. If it doesn’t work, take it back.
If you’re buying something that’s too large to fit in your car, you can always buy the item and have the store hold it for up to a week, like one editor did when she bought a full-length mirror that couldn’t quite fit in her SUV.
5. If you want an item that has been sold, know that not all hope is lost.
When you first walk in, you’ll often see a few awesome pieces of furniture—that all have tags saying they’ve been purchased. (This is particularly true on weekends, as people come in to pick up those sofas and tables they put on hold earlier in the week.) Look for the product number on the price tag, and employees can check to see if there are any others in the store or at a store nearby. Every store gets in different products so there’s no guarantee, but it’s worth a shot.
6. Don’t let damage deter you.
If you see a scrape, stain, or nick on something you love, show it to the manager and ask for a discount. You have the chance to save 10% on a scuffed end table that way (and simply place the scuffed side against the wall, so nobody ever notices it).
7. Scan the perimeter for red tags.
The endcap displays closest to the walls tend to have markdowns, which you’ll notice instantly by the red stickers on their price tags. These clearance items tend to be mega deals, but they’re often also the most manhandled items. Give them a good inspection to make sure they’re not damaged. If they are—and it’s fixable, or you’re willing to live with a little nick or discoloration—refer back to tip number six and ask for a little extra off the bill. Often, if it’s damaged and on clearance, the price has already been reduced to make up for the imperfection. But again, there’s no harm in trying to snag greater discounts!
8. Go in with a plan.
Speaking of the perimeter, Smith recommends going in with a game plan. “My shopping strategy is to look around the perimeter of the store, then tackle the center aisles in order of my must-visit sections.” The designer looks at wall art first so that she can hold anything she loves at the front of the store while she shops the other sections. “I hit the decorative accessories last because this is where I spend the most time,” she explains.
9. Treat the in-store and online experience like a treasure hunt.
While you may turn to HomeGoods for a specific need, go in or browse online with an open mind. “Similar to shopping in-store, you don’t go shopping at HomeGoods.com–you go finding,” Reimold says. When shopping IRL, she starts by browsing the entire store and then does a final lap to see if she missed anything. She adds: “Some of my favorite HomeGoods purchases have come from what I call freestyle shopping, where you see an item and remember, ‘Yes, I actually need this wicker laundry basket, and it’s under $25!'”
10. Know that you’re not getting out-of-season furniture.
The last thing you want is to buy something new for your home and realize it’s horribly dated a couple of months later. That’s often the fear when you’re getting something at a major discount, but HomeGoods says this isn’t the case. Instead of only shopping for its stores four times a year, like some major retailers, HomeGoods is all about “opportunistic buying,” meaning its buyers pick up goods 40 weeks out of the year. This lets them stock up on items their competitors passed up on a couple of months earlier, according to Good Housekeeping.
11. Make HomeGoods your go-to source for cards.
Letters, what are those? In this digital age, it may be rare to mail a letter, and when you head to the store, they cost as much as a movie ticket. HomeGoods is your secret source for stationery. The place has Paper Source-quality goods for a fraction of the cost. Now that’s an incentive to say hello to someone the old-fashioned way.