HomeGoods is a magical, mystical place. New deliveries arrive every week (maybe even more often!), are quickly placed on shelves and are just as quickly stripped away and carried home by some lucky new owner. The discount home store is both a blessing and a curse—you don’t have to go with anything specific in mind (really, you can’t), but you can’t leave without something in your basket. So before your next trip to this treasure trove of deeply discounted home wares, arm yourself with these helpful shopping tips:
1. Don’t hunt for one specific item.
Really, have an idea of several broad needs you have—a better way to organize the silverware in your kitchen or a footstool of some type for the living room. (Be it a pouf, ottoman, or cube.) HomeGoods simply is not the kind of store you can walk in expecting a plentiful stock of a specific item. Your mindset should be about the solutions you may find, not the specific items you probably won’t.
2. Know your colors–and your numbers.
It’s helpful if you know what your overall inspiration is, and therefore, what will and won’t fit in it. (Unless you’re looking for that totally serendipitous find to be your next statement piece.) Have measurements of the room, the furniture you already have, and a measuring tape on hand as well.
3. Let them help you figure our your style.
4. Shop on weekdays.
As nice as it would be to go and casually peruse on a Saturday afternoon, you’ll likely be fighting crowds over product that’s, well, maybe passed over for a reason. Head in during the workweek for a much calmer experience with so many more options. (No elbow pads required.)
5. Try several different locations.
If you’re lucky enough to have several locations in your city’s metro area, try them all. You’d be surprised what you find at one that you may not at another.
6. Buy, try, return.
If you want to mull something over, do so with it in your possession. HomeGoods is not a come-back-in-a-week type of store. That precious lucite and brass bar cart is simply not going to be there tomorrow. If it’s the right size, shape, and color, and yet you get it home only to find it just isn’t working, then just return it. At least you won’t have to wonder ‘what if,’ as if you were trapped in a tragic rom-com about furniture.
7. Make friends.
Don’t hesitate to ask the folks who work in your specific location 1) when new shipments come in, and 2) when are the busiest and least busy times. They can give you the local scoop on the best times to shop.
8. Use the app.
Want a little sneak preview of what’s going on the shelves in your local store before heading over? Use the store’s app to see what’s cropping up at your local shop.
This story originally appeared on Southern Living.