5 Things on My “Farewell to Target” Shopping List

published Sep 6, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

As a good rule of thumb, you should never be too far from a Target. I found out that this is especially true if you’re planning a move; and boy, was I ever planning a move. I was a young newlywed who would soon be shipping off to Alaska to join my husband at his military station. I had the perfect setup: Not only did we just receive some wonderfully generous Target gift cards as wedding gifts, but we were also being moved by the military—and they pack and move you for free if your household items are under a certain weight. My mildest dreams were coming true; you know, being young and in love and setting off on a grand adventure. What I failed to realize, though, was that the closest Target would be approximately seven hours from our place in Alaska. There were other stores in the area, but none made me genuinely excited to pick out storage items as the home of the trademark bullseye did. And though Target, in theory, did ship to Alaska, I couldn’t shop as freely as I did in the continental U.S.—I’d need to read the product descriptions of every item to see if it was shippable to Alaska. I also found most furniture couldn’t be shipped (it’s too heavy!). I got some good stuff prior to our move fortunately, and feel it’s my duty to share what it’s like to shop at Target before a move as though your life—erm, Target-going life that is—depended on it.

Buy those rugs

I am not sure why, but kitchen rugs and bathmats get impossibly gross. Even with consistent washing, most synthetic rugs just don’t hold up to snuff for very long. We bought a few new rugs at Target and it made us feel as though we had a totally clean, new house, too—for a while, anyways! I made sure to grab a fun design for the doormat and something sturdy but practical for indoor use as well. Though these are available to ship online, I liked being able to touch and test it out in store.

Buy those storage totes

When in doubt, buy another storage tote because—if you’ve never looked to buy some online—they rarely can be shipped if you don’t buy them in bulk (Target.com doesn’t ship any!) Totes are readily available at Target all year, but will usually go on super sale after mid-to-late August, when dorm items and back-to-college sales have ended and the employees are putting up glittery pumpkin displays and stocking aisles full of bright orange candies. When moving, totes prove to be far more useful than the run-of-the-mill cardboard boxes. They have lids to protect our precious items from rain and the elements, and will not let even the slightest bit of dust or debris accumulate either. We used our totes for everything from moving purposes, to storing Christmas items, to even using an especially sturdy tote as a kitchen table one night when we were too exhausted to set up the bar table we’d gotten (at Target).

Buy that furniture (or those home decor items)

As mentioned before, furniture is hard to ship outside of the continental U.S., so I’m glad we updated a few of our pieces and brought them with us (on the military’s dime). If you’re not so lucky to get help with moving costs, I would skip the furniture—but I would recommend picking up some home decor items you’re excited about for your new home. Though most home decor items can be shipped, it was nice to have a couple things to nest with once I got there.
However, I’d be mindful of the tone you want to set in the new place you’re moving to, and also be aware that certain themes are fun, but can be difficult to maintain (or might even annoy you) before long. Unfortunately, I am a beach bum through and through. This means I elected to buy coastal and nautical-themed items for our master bathroom—in Alaska. We loved feeling like we were on vacation in our new place for those first few summer weeks, but snowfall hit in mid-October there and did not cease until mid-May that year. Needless to say, we should have opted for a different theme (a more neutral one, perhaps) that gave us less yearning feelings to ditch the Army and live in a sea cottage somewhere. Thankfully I can order excellent statement pieces and solids alike if I ever want to mix it up a bit.

Buy those things that are really on sale!

I could not have timed my shopping venture at Target more perfectly, though it turned out to be more of a happy accident than deliberate timing—it’s hard to plan around the needs and mind of the military movers. We received word that we were going to Alaska in April, and as a stickler for making a plan and being prepared, I hit the red haven shortly thereafter. With gift cards in hand, I grabbed end-of-season winter supplies. These included shovels, gloves, boot mats for the entryway, and some little shoe attachments that kept you from slipping on the ice quite so much. As my fellow North Carolinians were stocking up on sunscreen and beach towels, I was piling our household goods boxes high with preparations for a long and grueling winter. Hitting these sales meant I bought a ton of the stuff we’d need and use frequently for about half the normal price—this was especially useful, since Alaska has an incredibly high cost of living and retail markups due to shipping and handling costs there.

Buy something for yourself!

The long and arduous moving process, though something that gave me great learning curves and helped me in the long run, can take a lot out of a person. While doing some of my pre-move shopping, I did carve a bit of money out for things that would give me joy. A book for the plane, a new and frivolous piece of décor, and an outfit that made me feel excited about the fresh start gave me life as I made my way to the tundra.