If you shop regularly at TJMaxx and Marshalls, I have to tell you something.
YOU ARE MY PEOPLE.
I’ve talked to enough people (mostly women) and shoppers to know that you either love these stores or you hate them. And I totally get it.
Let’s say you’re shopping for clothes. You’re forced to look by size and not by style. You can’t find something you like on the rack, pick out your size, and buy it. I mean, sometimes you can but that’s not typically the case. And if you’re shopping for housewares, maybe you find a wine glass that you’ve just fallen in love with. And you can only find three. THREE! Who has three wine glasses? (Well, I do after a particularly fun evening where one gets broken).
But those that do love it know why they love and I bet it’s for many of the reasons I love it. Maybe some of the tips below will give you the confidence or, dare I say it, desire to check out TJ Maxx or Marshalls again.
1. Don’t go in with any expectations.
Don’t go into the store looking for a red cardigan. Go in expecting to find a nice sweater or top. That’s about as specific as you can get. But keep your mind open. You’ll find brands and styles you might not be familiar with but may fall in love with after trying it on. Half of the joy is the discovery!
2. Be prepared to buy at a moment’s notice.
If you do happen to find something you like, put it in your cart. Don’t have a cart? What’s wrong with you? You can’t go into these stores without a cart! But seriously, put it in your cart, even if you’re unsure. There’s a good chance there’s another woman looking over your shoulder waiting to see if you’re going to put an item down so she can snatch it up.
Also, if you see something you like, buy it. You can always return it if you change your mind but if you wait to think it over, it WILL be gone.
When I was shopping this weekend, I found two buffet lamps in the clearance section of the housewares. These lamps weren’t on clearance so either someone ditched them at the last minute or “hid them” in a section where they thought no one would buy them. WRONG! I bought one of them because it was perfect for a bookcase I have at home. I think someone is going to be disappointed.
3. Enjoy the browsing.
This is the part that drives many people crazy. But when I need retail therapy, the browsing it what I need. I like to feel inspired by so many unique and pretty things. Sometimes I’m in a purse mood. Other times, I sift through the beauty care aisle. Some days, it’s all about socks. And it’s always worth a wheel through the housewares section and the clearance rack in every single department (except Mens because who cares about that?).
4. Control your spending.
Browsing is fun. I fill my basket with clothes but I try on every single item to make sure it’s perfect and I feel good in it. I refuse it buy it just because it’s a great price and good deal. But it’s easy to pick up this and that and balloon your bill to over $100.
Here’s what I do: I look at all my intended purchases and ask myself a few key questions:
- Do I need this or really, really want this?
- Is it a good value?
- Will it replace something I already have?
- Will it add to my life and/or household to make it more easy/beautiful/organized?
- Can I see it in a future yard sale or donation pile?
Since I’ve started these questions, I’ve really thought long and hard about what I buy. I envision in my closet or in my home to make sure it’s something that will really add value to my life.
5. Enjoy the hunt.
This is why women like me enjoy TJMaxx and Marshalls. I know this because my mom is one of those women and my sister is not. My sister likes what she likes and buys what she wants. But my mom and I go back to our hunter-gatherer roots. We get a shopper’s high when we find something amazing and even better when it’s at an amazing price.
For example, I was looking for some comfortable, stylish, professional looking shoes to wear on the car show circuit, which will keep me busy over the next few weeks). I had all kinds of great recommendations from friends for shoes that cost well over $100. Not that I’m averse to paying for good shoes that will stand the test of time but it’s that thrill of the hunt.
I walked in the shoe department at Marshalls and was drawn to the clearance section right away. Much to my delight, I found a pair of black Rockport shoes that looked somewhat stylish with a very sensible heel. And they fit. It met all my requirements and then… I looked at the pricetag.
$15. (I wish numbers had an uppercase because I’m really saying FIFTEEN DOLLARS!!!!)
So I bought them, along with that lamp, and a few awesome shirts.
You may also like Ross (which is fantastic for dresses) and HomeGoods (which is a bargain housewares mecca) but shopping at TJMaxx and Marshalls is its own phenomenon. As I looked around at all of the other women trying to politely scoot around each other as we dug through the clearance rack in housewares, I realized that we are the same. Where other people see junk and clutter and chaos, we see possibility.
Let’s hear it if you’re one of my people!