Up until last month, I'd never been in a HomeGoods store. I knew about it, though. In fact, I spent years and logged hours making fun of my mom, uncle, and grandmother for their obsession with the place. Their foyers were forever littered with "HomeGoods" bags heaping with gourmet jellies, throw pillows, and rooster-themed kitchen towels. Their mantles were heaped with lovely but useless tchotchkes. I thought to myself, "That would never happen to me." But after I bought a house, the bad decisions I made at HomeGoods were as ridiculous as any jewel-encrusted key bowl my uncle ever purchased on a whim. I, too, became hooked. The first time I went I wanted to run through the aisles singing "A Whole New World." (I bet I could've even grabbed a reasonably priced oriental rug to use as a prop.)
If you've ever moved from a small apartment to a house, you know that putting together a home in an aesthetically pleasing way can be a damn task. I more than doubled the size of my living area in a single move, and I didn't have furniture or decorations to adequately fill it. Moreover, a lot of the perfectly good items and decorations I had were now too small for the new space. Now, certainly I recognize that these are superficial, unimportant "problems." If I never found an artfully arranged bowl of artificial hydrangeas to pull together my kitchen my life wasn't going to be affected in any major way. But when you can manage to do little things to make your house feel more like a home, it's a good feeling. And, not to be a shill for the company (because, I promise, I'm not: I'm just an enthusiast), the variety and price tags at HomeGoods (conveniently located a couple miles from my house) have enabled me to do that.
But that doesn't mean there haven't been some serious missteps along the way. In fact, more than a few mistakes were made in the making of my now-comfortable and cozy home, including the following:
I Didn't Proceed With Caution
Because I knew I was at risk, people. I'd seen what HomeGoods had done to my mother, uncle, and grandmother. But I always thought, "That's their aesthetic: overly busy and opulent. I couldn't become as obsessed with HomeGoods as they are. I'm kind of a minimalist anyway. I don't like clutter."
Because as soon as I walked in it was like, "OMG IT'S A LACQUER BOX WITH A GEODE ON IT! I COULD PUT SOMETHING IN THERE!" And then I was like, "WOW! LOOK AT THAT MUDROOM BENCH! I NEED IT! I don't have a mudroom, but I can totally make this work in the extremely narrow hallway by the front door. This is going to be awesome!"
Clearly this madness is genetic, you guys. I never stood a chance.
I Fell In Love With Something In The Food Section...
I mean, really, who can blame me? Those cookies/coffees/sauces/dips/crackers/candies/literally whatever-the-hell are delicious... but they are like a mysterious, beautiful, and ultimately unreliable lover: your time together is brief and they will probably never come back. Neither will you find any way to locate them again. There's no guarantee they will be there week to week, store to store, or even year to year.
But, be honest, that uncertainty and knowledge of their ephemeral nature makes them all the more wonderful.
... And I Didn't Buy It When I Had The Chance
You're an idiot, me. You're a goddamn idiot.
I Didn't Buy Something I Loved Right Away
Just as food items exist fleetingly on HomeGoods' shelves, so, too, do all HomeGoods items. Again, this is part of the charm. It's like going into a whimsical bizarre from an old Hollywood movie — you never know what you're going to find. Inventory (which, again, varies from store to store) is frequently updated, swapped out, and sold out.
So on the bright side, it means that you don't have the same vase everyone else on your block also bought at HomeGoods. On the other hand, it means that if you don't move fast you're going to be admiring that vase in that smug Cindy's house instead of yours when you're over for book club.
F*ck Cindy. She's so basic. She doesn't deserve that vase. You do. Next time just get it when you see it. You can always return it! (And, seriously, my HomeGoods purchases are returned about 63 percent of the time... but always for store credit, because, come on, I'm going to go back.)
I Didn't Take Measurements At Home First
"OMG! Look at that end table! And I actually need an end table! BUT WAIT! Will it fit next to couch and leave enough room for the floor lamp? Because that floor lamp (also from HomeGoods) is in the perfect spot right now."
While HomeGoods helpfully provides tape measures, that doesn't help you if you don't know how big something can or cannot be. Measure ahead of time, people! Because if your partner is like mine, there's a better than average change they will not respond to your texts in a timely fashion.
I Spent 15 Minutes Choosing Napkins
Only because I didn't realize there were additional napkins on the other side of the display. I had no idea how much I was actually working with. I'll never make that mistake again...
I Actually Bought White Napkins
Ladies and gentleman, mine is a household inclined toward Italian cuisine. In other words: So. Much. Tomato. Sauce. I don't regret opting for a more eco-friendly choice than routinely buying paper napkins (or, you know, using paper towels as napkins because I once again forgot to buy napkins), but the color? Yeah, I could have, perhaps, picked something that didn't straight-up highlight every spill my kids inevitably cause.
I Looked At The Holiday Section
When it comes to any holiday, I like to go all out with decorations. I love holidays. But the toughest, for me personally, is the Halloween décor, which speaks to my soul. Not fall, mind you (though I'll never turn my nose up at a decorative gourd because, for goodness sake, I'm human). I'm talking about Halloween. Skeletons, bats, spiders, ravens, creepy trees, and, to a lesser extent, witches, vampires, and ghosts. While I have Halloween decorations that only come out for September 22 to November 5, Halloween-time in retail spaces is when I pick up accent pieces that stay out all year. Most recently, this skull
Hey. Guess where I got it...
I Didn't Spend Enough Time On Pinterest Beforehand
Because HomeGoods is as wonderful as it is completely overwhelming. Especially if you're someone who is just starting out in decorating your home. Because, like, what exactly am I going for? Do I want country chic? Contemporary? Antique? Geometric minimalism? Some combination of all those things? This is where Pinterest boards come in handy, because you can start to streamline your ideas and have a better concept of how everything will mesh together to serve your overarching vision of what you want.
I Don't Own A Pickup Truck
My sedan is all I need... until it's time to go to HomeGoods because how am I supposed to fit that chaise in my trunk? How I ask you?!
I Don't Own A Pet
You guys, they have a pet section. And there's so much cute stuff that a dog or cat would like. I mean, like, probably. Right? Well, anyway, that water dish would actually look super-cute on my kitchen floor I'll bet.
I Went Nuts On Storage Solutions
"A place for everything and everything in its place," as my grandmother says. My grandmother who is also obsessed with HomeGoods and, like me, buys way more storage solutions than she has storage problems. But look at this little paper-holder thingy for a desk! I could put all my papers in there! And these folder-holder thingies? I could get a whole bunch of those and put, like, folders in them. I think I have, like, a folder of stuff right now, but I could totally get more over time and then I'll already have the folders. Ooh! And what about this big, pretty bulletin board? I could put that in my office and put all our family organizing stuff on it. Yeah! I'll just move it from the fridge... where it works just fine... and move it to... the... erm...
Whatever. I'm buying them all.
I Touched That One Blanket
Because it was so soft, but it doesn't match anything in my house and I don't actually need a blanket. But I want it and I can't stop thinking about it.
You know what this means.? That b*tch Cindy is going to get it.
I'm Not Independently Wealthy
Because even though pretty much everything at HomeGoods is very reasonably priced (at least compared items in other stores specializing in interior decor... you know the one I'm thinking of right now, I'll bet), you can still wind up dropping quite a bit of money if you're not careful. You're like, "Oh wow! This awesome decorative bowl is only $15.00! And this candle holder is only $10.00! And this lamp is $30.00! Wow! Check out this teapot! It's only $7.99! Holy crap: this enormous mirror is only $40.00! I saw one just like it at the other store for $215.00!"
Congratulations: you just spent $102.99 in under a minute... before tax. And all of those things are great, but all of those things can add up fast. Be careful.
I Had Just Enough In My Bank Account To Spend Too Much
Because while I generally don't walk out with everything I want, I still walk out with more than I really should have.
It's OK. I'm probably going to return it... and then come back with at least two more items than I came in with.
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