5 Smart Tricks for Shopping T.J. Maxx Like a Pro

published Oct 5, 2018
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I’ve been obsessed with T.J. Maxx since I was a kid. Growing up, a really. good. day. was when we’d not only go to the one in my town, but the one 45 minutes east of us (which had better clothes and shoes)—and then the one 45 minutes west of us (which had better home goods). Yup, that’s three T.J. Maxxes (I grew up in a small town, what can I say?).

Now that I live in a New York City apartment, I can’t begin to count how many times someone has complimented something in my home and been surprised to hear that’s where it’s from. (And one great thing about NYC is that you don’t have to drive 90 minutes to hit three in a day.) At first blush the store might seem like primarily a source for clothing, but if you know where to look, you can find plenty of great home finds.

Here are a few of my favorite tips I’ve picked up through the years. (Before anyone asks, this isn’t sponsored—I’m just truly a superfan.) Have any favorites of your own? Share them in the comments!

1. For starters: throw out the list.

Any time I come to T.J. Maxx with a plan, I tend to leave disappointed. This is a place for discovery. Of course, it’s great to know what hidden treasures they tend to have, or to have an idea of what you might want at home (so you don’t end up buying a set of popsicle molds you never needed… not that I’ve ever done that). But stocking can be inconsistent—one day a bounty and other days scarce, so stay open minded.

2. Know which departments to check out first.

Here are some of my favorites: sheets (you can find department store prices for steep discounts), wrapping paper, plates, and lighting. Check out all of my favorite departments in the video above.

3. Don’t obsess over the “original” price.

This is a guesstimate on the typical retail value—not an exact amount. So don’t buy something just because you’re saving $50 (I know deals are tempting), but instead because it’s a price you’re jazzed about.

4. If you love something, ask for a hold.

Inventory tends to be limited, especially for home items, I’ve found. And there have been many times I’ve gone back for a piece of furniture or a specific rug or lamp, only to find it’s been snagged by someone else. If you can afford to buy something and you’re a great returner, you have 30 days to do so while you’re making a final decision. But if you’re like me and need a cooling off period before committing, I’ve found most stores will do a 24-hour hold.

5. Don’t give up if you can’t find a matching set.

Find one towel, or three plates, or a single chair? Don’t give up too quickly. I’ve asked sales associates to call other T.J. Maxxes for me—or you can check their website. Or, just google the item to see if you can find it at a different store. Chances are, you can find it somewhere.