What's good for the kitchen at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods? Um, to sum it up briefly, a lot!
I have a fairly intense relationship with Marshalls. I grew up shopping their Bedford, MA, store and now I am lucky enough to live near a "really good one" outside Los Angeles. This is not just my personal opinion — I am quoting a very impressed gentleman I heard remark as he walked through it.
Those of us who have had the luck of making fabulous acquisitions at bargain stores — like my friend who told me she remembered the precise shelf of a Manhattan Marshalls where she spotted a covetable piece of All-Clad — have warm and fuzzy feelings about these retail outposts. We've put up with their less-than-pristine aisles and organization, and they have repaid our patience with fabulous deals. There is no need to check prices online — the brand's famous "COMPARE AT" labels list a reliably higher retail price above their own price.
Truth: If you are skipping the kitchenware sections of Marshalls, HomeGoods, or their sister store TJ Maxx (all owned by by the TJX Companies), you are missing out. Stock is always changing, so you've just got to keep your eyes peeled.
Here, born of years of trolling the aisles, are my tips on what to look for — as well as some recent finds from my good Marshalls in Studio City, CA, right outside Los Angeles, and a HomeGoods in nearby Glendale, CA.
1. Premium Cookware
Over the years, I've seen discounted Le Creuset at outlet prices (think: just north of $100 for a nice Dutch oven), lovely All-Clad stockpots and sauté pans, and enameled steel Dansk Kobenstyle pieces. (A few years back, I bought the tiny, wooden-handled Kobenstyle butter warmer in teal for way less than the retail price of $35. It's perfect for warming milk for homemade lattes.)
Recently, my local Marshalls had a three-quart sauté pan from All-Clad's original line, complete with its stainless steel lid for $100. The suggested retail price, according to All-Clad's website, is $200!
The same week, on the shelf at a HomeGoods in Glendale, California, there was an impressively heavy 18.4-liter Italian-made stockpot by Silga for $129 (compare at $186), as well as a cute red Cuisinart enamel stockpot for $40 (compare at $56), and a Brund brand saucepan for $16. Also yards and yards of reasonably priced stainless steel pots, most with glass lids, and even a Supper Club stackable set by Calphalon that included a chef's sauté pan, stockpot, and five-quart sauté pan with two glass lids for $150.
Pro tip: Check the lower shelves. I do not know if it was it my luck or a deliberate marketing ploy, but many of these finds, including all the All-Clad, were located on lower shelves.
2. Baking Gear
On my recent visits, I've noticed lots of bakeware, including cookie sheets, cooling racks, heavy Bundt pans, and tin tart molds. Many bear the Calphalon label, like this loaf pan for $7. Smaller tools abound, too, like a table scraper for $4 or colorful, novelty cupcake liners for $2.
3. Tools and Utensils
There are also lots of measuring cups (at HomeGoods I could not resist a giant Pyrex one — good for making soup and other big-batch recipes — for just $8). There were also colorful, silicone-covered whisks ($4 for two), six wooden spoons for $4, and a Wüsthof vegetable peeler for $6 — all at Marshalls.
4. Pantry Storage Containers
Pantry pests will be a thing of the past if you empty your dry goods into glass or heavy plastic containers. Glass jars ranging from spice-sized up to a quart or more (for $2 to $4) are always on the shelves at these places. Ditto for plastic containers.
Full confession: It is very tough for me to bring myself to wade through the random sets of dishware. However, there was a 16-piece set of plain white place settings that would be the perfect starter kit for a first apartment ($18 at HomeGoods).
These stores might be your destination for novelty glassware, like an owl coffee cup or Bride and Groom wine tumblers ($7), but there are plenty of well-priced basics, too. I brought home some pint glasses (on sale for $4 at Marshalls), and I think their stemless flutes ($8 at HomeGoods) would look quite nice with some sparkling rosé inside. And you could practically outfit a bar with four-packs of stemless Riedel wine glasses at HomeGoods ($30 but "compare at $40").
7. Cake Stands
For some inexplicable reason, I've never not seen a cake stand at Marshalls. They're also plentiful at HomeGoods. Both the square and round in this photo cost $13 each and were made in Portugal.
8. Trash Cans
Nice metal trash cans, many with pedal-operated lids like the pricey Simple Human brand, were on offer recently at both Marshalls and HomeGoods. This one, with separate inner bins for regular garbage and recycling, was $125 versus the usual $180. There was also a lesser-priced zippy bullet-topped red one for $35. HomeGoods had piles of bathroom- or dorm room-sized cans, like a 7-liter option for $13.
9. Lunch Containers
Yes, bringing lunch saves you money — and you can save even more if you buy your lunch containers at one of these bargain stores. I found all manner of small plastic or glass storage boxes from $2.99 and up.
There are loads of practical things like novelty aprons for $8 and pot holders for $5, but the real deals are high-quality tablecloths for something like half of what they would cost in an upscale department or specialty store. Kate Spade tablecloths were priced at $24 or $16. (For what it's worth, a comparable Kate Spade at Bloomingdale's was $40.)
HomeGoods also had a matching Savannah Farms cotton tablecloth ($13) and napkins ($7) as well as an entire shelf packed with placemats for every occasion. There were Ellen Degeneres brand whimsical embroidered animals (four for $13), bold woven purple mats (four for $13), and round, woven everyday wipeable mats in practical navy or beige (six for $10).
What do you look for at your favorite bargain store?