The Best Times to Shop at Stores Like HomeGoods and T.J.Maxx

updated May 1, 2019
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If you’re someone who likes to find a deal, stores like HomeGoods and T.J.Maxx are probably your favorites. With shelves full of deeply discounted name-brand merch — sometimes stacked so deep that you literally have to dig for the good stuff) — when you find something you love you’ve earned it.

But if you’ve ever faced the hordes that congregate there on rainy Saturday afternoons, you know that shopping at these places requires more than nerves of steel: You need a strategy.

I reached out to friends and family, a rep for the stores, and did some in-person research (some would call it “shopping”) at various times during the week to check my local stores for foot traffic, status of the stock on the shelves, and the general mood of the staff.

A lot of sites will try to tell you that there’s a single best day to shop at each specific store, but there’s actually more to it than that. Here’s my insight based on this consolidated data.

1. Avoid the weekends.

Since so many people work during the week, weekends tend to be the highest-traffic times at the store. And in my experience, the afternoons are worse than the mornings. By then the early risers are looking for something to do, and the late risers are just getting started. You get the people swinging by on their way to dinner parties and baby showers and the shelves get pretty picked through.

If you are only able to stop by on the weekends, try to get there first thing in the morning on Saturday, or late at night on Friday. My store is open until 9:30 p.m., and there’s something amazing about heading out to browse after the kids go to bed.

2. Know your area.

Depending on where your store is located, the traffic patterns can be pretty different. My local HomeGoods is in a strip mall pretty far from any business, in a mostly residential part of town. So while it doesn’t get a lunch rush like one near a commercial area might, it does get an influx of parents with kids starting around 2:30 in the afternoon until dinnertime. But I used to have a T.J.Maxx across from my office, and that one was slammed first thing (oops, spilled coffee on my shirt!) and again during the lunch hour.

3. Don’t bother going during special sale holidays.

“HomeGoods merchandise is offered year-round at such amazing prices,” says Joanna Howarth, public relations manager at HomeGoods. Which is PR speak for, We don’t have traditional sales, so you should just enjoy these low prices any time you feel like shopping.

4. Try stopping any time Tuesday through Friday.

The best time to shop at stores like HomeGoods and TJMaxx is generally late morning, Tuesday through Friday. Mondays aren’t great because it takes time to replenish the shelves after the weekend. (And we already covered why the weekends are bad.) Since the stores receive deliveries of new merchandise all the time, you’re likely to find new stuff, whatever day you show up.

“Our staff ensures new products arrive to the shelves as soon as they receive them, so there is always something new to discover,” says Howarth. I personally find the general vibe to be friendlier and more relaxed earlier in the week than later in the week, so my preference would be for a Tuesday or Wednesday morning shopping trip, if my schedule allows.

5. And go right after major holidays.

While merchandise doesn’t go on traditional sales, it does get discounted the longer it’s sitting there. So if you’re thinking about, say, holiday table linens, be ready to plan a year in advance for the best deals. “We do not have extra storage to house merchandise — our lean, no-frills way of working helps us pass spectacular savings onto our customers,” says Howarth. So the time to buy 4th of July stuff is on the 5th of July.

Do you have any tips or pointers to add?