Thank you TJMaxx 10

TJ Maxx and Mar-shall’s save my life on a regular basis.  I know that no matter how tight my wallet is, I can find something inexpensive and beautiful there that will satisfy my urge for the beautiful and unique (and the sound shopping bags make when you’ve got more than one of them!)  Without them, I’d be forced to face how broke I really am.  Instead, thanks to them and some other stores that I’ll mention later, I’ve been able to gradually accumulate beautiful accouterments that elevate my humble abode into something better.  Mo better is mo better.

Because Massachusetts is home to the TJX companies, we have the best merchandise of all of the stores in my opinion.  When I go home to St. Louis or visit my daughter in Charlotte – I shop at their Mar-shall’s and TJ Maxx stores, but they don’t hold a candle to those in Boston.  And we are unsurpassed in having two locations (that I know of – there might be more) where both stores are in the same location, i.e. Downtown Crossing and Natick.

In the past couple of years, I’ve reduced my visits to these stores to about three or four times a year.  I know I’m not doing my part for the economy but I’m on a mission to pay down bills and, in order to do that, I have to resist temptation.  Like a dieter fantasizing about forbidden cake, I have visions of shopping visits past dancing in my head.  I remember one marathon with a friend where we hit six Marshall’s in the same day!  Mmmmm!  What a memory.  OK, let me bring myself back.

I’ve learned not to go shopping with my husband.  He heads straight to the men’s section and after ten minutes is ready to go.  In ten minutes, I’m just getting warmed up.  I circle through the entire store – most often heading to the Home section first.  then it’s Lingerie, Women’s the jewelry counter, the Men’s section and now that I have a grand – the Infant/Toddler’s section.  I also go to the small section of lotions to hunt for the very special soap and lotion that they sometimes have.  I buy every single jar and bar that I can because I could not afford them otherwise.  I would tell you the name, but I shared it with my daughter and a friend and now they are competitors in scooping them up.

I love Building 19 for the hunt and messiness. You never know what you might find, something for the home, the garden, or something to wear.  I can always count on finding greeting cards at half price, cookbooks and fiction, and Portuguese sweetbread.

Prowling Craig’s List for furniture is a recent habit.  I’ve bought a few things for my home that were incredibly affordable and quite well-made; they all came from “tony” zip codes.  I’ve also had a few things get away.  I’m determined to find a chaise lougue (I love the French spelling & pronunciation of that word) and some other furniture there, eventually…when the digits are better.  Meanwhile, prowling CL satisfies the same urges that catalog shopping has in the past.

I used to love Quincy Bargain Center (I still  have 3 burl-wood parsons tables from there), Value Village in West Roxbury (just gave a friend’s daughter furniture from there), and another store whose name I can’t remember.  Quincy Bargain Center, the Carter Factory Outlet and Decelle’s in West Roxbury allowed me to dress my kids well on a strict budget back-in-the-day.

I miss Filene’s Basement – the Boylston Street store doesn’t hold a candle to the old location downtown.  It’ll be back in two years the media promises.  I hope so.

Most of the thrift stores and resale shops that I really liked are no longer around.  There used to be a great one on Centre Street in JP – I think it was the thrift shop for Beth Israel Hospital. The Hadassah store in Brighton used to have exquisitely unique pieces from upscale homes very reasonably.

Hat’s off to the discount retailers that are truly discount and not just purveyors of cheaply made stuff.  Without you, my lair would be bare, and that would make me unfulfilled.  A great bargain every now and then, keeps this woman going.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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