Save even more time—and money—with these smart strategies.

HomeGoods Exterior
Courtesy of HomeGoods

It's finally spring, and we're about to head into a big holiday weekend. So you may be thinking about taking a swing around your favorite store to browse for a couple of new pieces for entertaining and celebrating with your family and friends. I know I am and for me, HomeGoods is my happy place and always first on my list of places to browse. I recently hit the retail jackpot and got the chance to go shop a local store with Joanna Howarth, the public relations manager for HomeGoods and Homesense. And boy, did she give me a tip or two on how to get the most out of my minutes (or, let's be real, hours) there.

Courtesy of Homesense

You may be scratching your head right now, thinking what's Homesense? Well, if you haven't heard, there are now 22 Homesense stores in the United States, with the first one opening in Massachusetts in 2017 and more added to the lineup all the time. If you're lucky enough to live by one that's open right now, consider it a complement to HomeGoods. You should absolutely be going to both because they're usually near one another, and they have totally different things. Sure, there is some overlap. But Homesense is all about furnishings and decor, whereas HomeGoods has a little something for every room in the house. For example, if you want to refresh your bedroom, best bet would be to shop HomeGoods for your linens and Homesense for a headboard. You'll also find pets, children, wellness, and foodie finds at HomeGoods, whereas Homesense has more lighting (the department is HUGE, and there are tons of chandeliers and specialty fixtures), full furniture sets, and even things like paint, organizing items, and wallpaper in "The General Store" department. Homesense also has a "Celebrate" section, which I could spend hours in. It's basically a section of just cards, gifts, candles, and stationery.

Courtesy of Homesense

Regardless of which one you find yourself in, Howarth gave me a few smart tips, so you can get even more value out of your visits. Happy shopping!

Shop often. "The assortment at both HomeGoods and Homesense is always changing, which means something new and different might inspire you every time you visit," says Howarth. The average store receives several deliveries per week.

Courtesy of HomeGoods

Befriend your store manager. "They'll be able to give you the inside scoop on when new shipments arrive, so you can grab your favorite brands as soon as they hit the floor," says Howarth. What a genius idea! Nobody knows the layout of a store or the offerings better than the employees, so feel free to ask questions.

Familiarize yourself with the floor plans at your local stores. Get to know which departments are where so you can make a beeline for a particular product if you're strapped for time. HomeGoods tends to be all about the "find" and that process of discovering what's hiding on the shelves. But if you are trying to be super time efficient and shop for say, pastel throw pillows for Easter in under five minutes, Homesense may be a better bet, since their pillow section is colorized. A lot of the decorative accessories there are also shoppable by shade.  

Courtesy of Homesense

Don't worry about coupons. "Unlike traditional retailers, HomeGoods and Homesense generally don't do promotions, coupons, or other gimmicks," says Howarth. "We offer brand name and home fashion items that are 20 to 60 percent less than department and specialty store regular prices on comparable merchandise every single day." So you're always getting a bargain. But if you live for that thrill, make sure you find your stores' clearance aisle. Check the end caps of aisles for even more reduced items.