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How to Shop TJ Maxx

For some shoppers, off-price stores like TJ Maxx are a mecca of bargains, with hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. For others, the store’s seemingly endless racks and eclectic mix of goods is too daunting to even tackle.

I’d hate for you to miss out on great bargains (specifically, name-brand and designer goods at discount prices) so here are some tips to help you shop the store without losing your mind.

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7 ways to shop TJ Maxx

1. Don’t worry about irregular items.

More than 95% of TJ Maxx’s merchandise is first quality, meaning less than 5% is “irregular.”

And even those irregular items aren’t what you think. They’re usually not defective items. Rather, they have irregularities unnoticeable to you. For example, the brand may have order black leather pumps, but the manufacturer pumped out patent leather pumps. Those patents would likely end up in TJ Maxx.

2. Go in with an open mind.

Since TJ Maxx purchasers practice opportunistic buying (meaning they get the best deals from vendors whenever they come up) you can’t count on the store having just what you need — say, a Little Black Dress — at any given time.

I often recommend knowing exactly what you want before you shop, but that strategy backfires in TJ Maxx. Instead, have a broader list of items you can use to fortify your wardrobe. Think about pieces that will extend the outfit potential of items already in your closet. Look in those sections for the bargains that suit you.

Also be ready for some good surprises. You won’t see designer names in ads, but off-price stores often carry those labels you love. I’ve founbd recent visit turned up items by Theory, Ralph Lauren, and Vera Wang.

3. Shop all year.

If you already shopping TJ Maxx earlier in the season and didn’t find what you were looking for, don’t assume they won’t have it now. TJ Maxx buys year-round rather than seasonally, and are still buying for stores for Christmas, for example, into early December (meaning they may have more up-to-date goods than the department stores).

4. Look for markdowns on Wednesdays.

TJ Maxx generally performs markdowns on Wednesdays (though this can vary from store to store). Trucks arrive 3-5 days a week, meaning the selection changes regularly.

5. Be self sufficient.

While we’re sure the employees of TJ Maxx are courteous and friendly, don’t expect a lot of assistance on the floor — the store is primarily a self-navigating experience. That’s not to say no one will help you — just don’t expect a personal shopper at your elbow.

6. Walk the Runway

The Runway TJ Maxx

To rev up its high-end designer business, T.J. Maxx added a high-design Runway store to many of its locations. Those looking for labels will really appreciate the convenience of having them all in once place.

At TJ Maxx Runway, it pays to be a savvy shopper because prices are not always marked down as much as you’d expect. I’ve seen Miu Miu items several seasons old for more than $300. Other garments I’ve seen include:

  • Catherine Malandrino crochet dress for $149.99 (originally $375)
  • Theory hot pink asymmetrical cocktail dress for $129.99 (originally $415)
  • Premium denim from Joe’s to JBrand for $59.99 to $79.99.
Bags

The best deals are found on clearance. An example is a navy Moschino jersey dress for $79.99, which could instigate a hanger battle with another shopper. Just don’t get too fixated on the designer department because I’ve seen boutique-y labels like Velvet on the main floor, too.

7. Accessorize

The handbags, arranged by color, offer a candy-store like experience. There are multiples of many styles including:

  • Jessica Simpson bags for $49.99 (originally $98)
  • Tommy Hilfiger logo totes for $29.99

Tucked into those, you might come across rare find – I saw a Marc Jacobs satin bag for $119.99 (originally $395), which wasn’t practical, but it was pretty.

While the shoe selection is generally better at Marshalls, there are usually size runs in mainstream brands such as Nine West (boots marked down to $79.99 from $120).

Also look for expanded fine jewelry offerings, including 14-karat gold, sterling silver and semi-precious stones.

Ready to go shopping? Use the TJ Maxx store locator to find a location near you. Also, do a quick review of the TJ Maxx return policy here.

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Saher

Friday 4th of April 2014

Good for the house wife or old ladies for socialization. A lot of time waste for outdated color and styles with expensive prices. I often found outdated style and color in way too much expensive than what i can buy from belk or macy's during in clearance while things are still in style. If u look for clearance in regular retail store . the items are instyle and also why to much cheap than u get from ross tj max.

Sandra

Wednesday 30th of October 2013

I bought two long sleeve dkny shirts for my daughters at tj maxx I was very up set cuz they lost there ivory color by the second wash and one of them were became unsowed

Debby

Saturday 24th of March 2012

Beware NOT the real handbag. I purchased a Michael Kors handbag and then took it to Michael Kors and it was NOT the same. At first look it appears to be real but when u look for detail not even close. Not same liner and pockets different. No metal studs on bottom of purse and definitely will not stand up by its self. I returned the handbag and now will never believe they carry the rest designer anything. I paid 129.00 and the real MK was was 218.00 not much savings for buying a fake MK. TJ max and Ross just watch what u are buying ( maybe not such a deal)

Marian the Librarian

Monday 19th of September 2011

I'm a lover of TJ Maxx also. One thing Kathryn didn't say in the part about the LBD is: if you really like something, even if there is a shadow of a doubt in your mind, BUY IT. It will probably not be there if you leave it and come back. You can return it if you have buyer's remorse, but the reverse is not true.

Related to that idea is my philosophy when I shop at TJM: if you find something you love, don't worry about it not being current season. If you love it today, you will probably still love it when it is time to wear it :) And you will know that you got a great deal.

Angie

Wednesday 14th of September 2011

I LOVE Marshalls and TJ Maxx! I bought a Cynthia Rowley Bag at Marshalls for 70 bucks and normally it could run at Marshalls for over $100... Retail price is usually $300 or more! I enjoy the hunt :)

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