Let’s face it: Frugal is the new black.
Apparently they even made this saying into a t-shirt!
Or at least that’s what my intelligent mother keeps reminding me. And although I think she’s trying to teach me a valuable life lesson with this mantra (to not spend all of my money on clothes the minute I get it in my hot little hands), the woman’s got a point.
Besides being full of motherly life lessons and wisdom, my mom also has a GREAT eye for decorating a home to suit your personality. Our house is an eclectic mix of both traditional, modern, and even downright weird pieces (pineapple lamps?) — and somehow, they all come together in a beautiful mish-mash of our family’s unique charm.
That’s why, as I have been pursuing the best inspiration and ways to shop for decorating houses and rooms, she has continually brought up the wonders that are: Marshalls and TJ Maxx.
You’ve inevitably seen at least one of these stores in every large strip shopping center ever built… But now it’s time to make a trip there.
Both of these stores are essentially low-price department stores. These are the stores where many other stores send off brand name and designer inventory they couldn’t sell (either overstock or slightly irregular goodies). In turn, Marshalls and TJ Maxx sell the products for an extremely discounted price. It’s really a win-win-win situation: The department stores move inventory, Marshalls/TJ Maxx get inventory, and you get the best deal possible. To put it into perspective — If you’re a heavy and knowledge-savvy shopper, then this idea is the equivalent of heading to a Nordstrom Rack, Off-Saks 5th, or a DSW.
Like every type of bargain shopping, it’s more about the “treasure hunt” than mass buying just for the sake of it. However, my mom did admit when she was just starting out and had no disposable income to speak of, these were 2 of her fav places to shop just so she could randomly fill up her empty home. For a lot of us young-uns out there (myself included), this is an extremely viable option to do just that.
So without further ado, my mom has some valuable bargain-shopping words of wisdom for all of us decoristas out there. When it comes to shopping at TJ Maxx and Marshalls, here are her tips she has learned after years of practice:
1. Call ahead to find out when they get new inventory.
I know, for example, that the Marshalls near me in Austin receives deliveries on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Pick one day of the week right after one of the drops that works for you.
Friendly and helpful service -- just give them a call!
2. Location can make a big difference.
What’s that saying? “Location, location, location!” Like many consignment, vintage, and re-sale shops, the location of the store can change the type of merchandise found inside. If you are looking to spend a little bit more money or grab some upscale items, check out a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s in a more affluent area (ex: near the Galleria/River Oaks in Houston). A lot of times because the owners of the stores know the type of clientele that will shop there, they will tailor the goods accordingly.
Map out a plan of attack!
3. Items to look out for: Sheets.
Looking for sheets with a thread count of 300+? Look no further than Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Keep in mind that the higher the thread count, the softer the sheet. So really you do want 300, 400, even 500 thread count sheets if you’re a cuddle bunny like me. But instead of spending 3 figures on them ($200 sheets from Pottery Barn? No thanks!), how about $60? Even better, how about $40? That’s what you’ll find when you treasure hunt at discount stores.
Check out these ones I just found at TJ Maxx for my bed — only $35, thank you very much.
I love how FUNKY the pattern will look next to my traditional floral duvet cover.
4. Items to look out for: Towels.
You can find GREAT deals on designer towels and brand names from department stores. And they’re just towels, no one’s going to know if they’re $75 or $15 so long as they get you dry.
I'm so jealous of these leopard print towels my sister got from Marshalls! They go SO well with the dark brown ones under it, which make it a sophisticated (and not obnoxious) look.
5. Items to look out for: Lamps.
As Brick Tamland (Steve Carrell’s character) of Anchorman says, “I Love Lamp.”
Honestly, this is my mom’s motto in life (or it should be), and I’m finally starting to agree with her. The design of and light from lamps can really make or break a room. Really nice and interesting lamps can sell for 100’s of $$. But again, when you treasure hunt at places like Marshalls and TJ Maxx, you can secure great finds like the ones below for $30-$50!
This great leaf/branch lamp sits in my sister's room -- again, jealous!
I love this red textured lamp. It really becomes the focal point of this entry-way table. (But the little white bird is cute too)
I told you there were pineapple lamps in our house...
This one is mine, all mine baby...
6. Keep an open mind.
I say this last but certainly not least. Check out these awesome odds and ends my mom has stumbled upon over the last decade or so in a Marshalls or TJ Maxx.
This colorful cube/chair/thing is the very epitome of FUNKY.
These fun pillows are great finds. And they look so FAB on the white couch AH!
This gold standing mirror acts as a useful centerpiece in my sister's room.
These striped pillows are another discount store purchase.
This might be the most amazing of all - 10 years ago my mom found this REAL (not knockoff) Vietri Italian plates. She had to fill in some of the collection with real ones, but most are Marshalls' finds. They retailed for $78 per dinner plate, but my mom got them for $20 a plate.
Just because you shop at these stores doesn’t automatically mean you can’t afford $300 Pottery Barn sheets. But that’s just plain STOOPID when you can get the same darn things for $60 at Marshalls. It doesn’t make you “cheap” to shop at discount stores like these — it makes you smarter than the Average Jane (or Joe). And look at these famous (and rich) peeps who have been spotted shopping at Marshalls and TJ Maxx!
Jennifer Aniston in Marshall's. Must be cold in there for how bundled up she is...
Kim Kardashian chats on the phone as she peruses TJ Maxx.
Even vampires shop! Robert Pattinson spotted coming out of a TJ Maxx in California. No doubt buying some nice home goods for his gf Kristen Stewart.
Okay, just kidding. I photoshopped all these pics. But I’m SURE they’ve checked them out before — Like I’ve been trying to explain, NO ONE (not even R Patz) can resist a bargain.
So now it’s your turn!
Find your nearest TJ Maxx or Marshalls location, call ahead to see when their newest goodies are delivered, then shop until you drop!