All Maxxed Out

I'm a maxxinista and I'm not afraid to admit it. Growing up in Framingham, MA, home of the TJX headquarters, it's in my blood. I am told that my first maxxinista moment was at the tender age of three. While perusing the aisles at Marshalls with my mom, I spotted a grey fur coat in the kids section. "Mom!" I exclaimed. "I've wanted a fur coat all my life." Needless to say, my mom caved and bought it for me, and the rest is history. It's considered a family heirloom and is in safe keeping, waiting for Ms. Avery Etta's first maxxinista moment when she feels like she just can't live without a fur.

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(Disclaimer: Sorry, animal lovers! I am obviously one myself, and in retrospect, had I known any better circa 1986, I would have surely requested faux!)

Poor Avery has been sick the past few days, so we have been held hostage inside le petit apt. As I have meandered through our space with her time and time again, I've taken note that some of the best buys in our apartment are from T.J.Maxx, Marshalls and Homegoods. It just goes to show that something doesn't have to be expensive to look expensive - or at least look fab.

Don't get me wrong - I am a believer in quality and splurging on the right items. But having the right mix of accessories and playful objects is the key to making your home feel personal and homey versus stuffy, and it doesn't have to break the bank. I trust my gut and buy things that I am drawn to and make me happy. It all ends up working together. And if it's under $20 a piece, that doesn't hurt either!

Here are some of my favorite TJX finds, coupled with some decorating and organizational tips: 

Gold and Turquoise Decorative Bowl with Faux Moss Balls, from Marshall's.  

Decorating Tip: Use as a centerpiece if you don't have the time, patience, or natural light to take care of a real plant. I'm not a huge fan of faux plants but these fun moss balls are an exception. A nod to the natural will warm up your space.

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Marquetry Frames, Polka Dot Boxes, Marble Obelisk, Glass Bubble and Framed Artwork all from Marshall's.    

Decorating Tip: When arranging bookshelves, group similar objects together to make more of an impact, providing a pulled together look. Stack books horizontally and vertically for visual interest. Decorative boxes do double duty by providing attractive storage. Again, buy what you like and are drawn to. It will make you happy to look at on your shelves day in and day out!

These simple yet elegant crystal lamps with metallic linen shades were a housewarming gift from my parents and are from Homegoods. Coral on lucite base from TJMaxx, also a gift from my parents (you can see where I get this from!) Gold seashell from Marshalls.    

Decorating Tip: Use a credenza as a sofa table to create additional storage and surface area in a small space. Ours acts as an entry console, a hall closet, and surface area for books, drinks, etc. since since we lack room for side tables. Talk about a multitasker! Also, here is another nod to the natural with the ocean references. They make me long for summer by the sea (or at least a vacation!) and add an element of the outdoors into our small city space.

Upholstered Cube from Homegoods. We have a no shoes policy in our apartment, so we use this in our "entry" to sit down and take off our shoes. This was an amazing find at under $40. It's the perfect small size (about 17" cubed) and matches our color scheme. It also acts as a coat and bag rest more often than not during our daily chaos!

Decorating Tip: Another multitasker, the small ottoman is lightweight so you can also pull it up to the table or bring into a living room for additional seating. Also, you can never have enough animal print in my mind! It acts as a neutral and provides a warm and fun element, showing that you don't take your space too seriously.

Pair of Gold and Silver Mercury Glass Votive Holders from Marshall's. Just because they're pretty...

Faux Leather Braided Storage Bin from Marshall's.

Decorating Tip: In a small space, everything needs a place. But often, not everything has a place. For the random odds and ends that you need to keep out of the way but want easily accessible, keep a pretty storage bin at hand.

Shopping Tip: When you find a treasure at TJMaxx, Marshalls or Homegoods, act quickly! If you don't buy it, you'll never see it again, and you'll always be thinking "what if". Heck, at least put it in your cart. I once hesitated on some capiz shell (similar here) balls in the clearance aisle of T.J.Maxx on the Upper West Side. I came back to get them and had a showdown with another savvy shopper. She won. The lesson: Don't hesitate! If it doesn't work, no big deal. They accept returns on almost everything. 

Magnetic Pads and Pen from Marshall's.

Organizational Tip: Confession... I'm a bit of a stationery addict. Marshalls, Homegoods and T.J.Maxx just fuel my fire. I'm always stocking up on these notepads in cute designs. They're great to use to dream, inspire and create. Even better, since they're magnetic, we keep one on the fridge to keep track of groceries and other household items needed for our next run to the store. Not only does it keep us organized but uncluttered with papers on our (very limited) surface space!

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Artwork from Marshalls and Homegoods. Notebooks from Marshall's. Bone magnifying glass from TJMaxx. Mason jars from Marshalls (prettier pencils, paper clips and accessories on their way!). 

Decorating Tip: Keep your work space clean and minimal, with inspiring images or art. Being surrounded by your favorite colors (plus a little green!) and some pretty stationery and desk supplies will keep your mind uncluttered and motivate you to follow your dreams.

White ceramic owl lamp with pale pink shade from Homegoods (on clearance!). Love canvas bin also from Homegoods.

So, now you know my secret. I'm a maxxinista who's homegoods happy and never pays full price for fabulous. For some more inspirational images from fellow maxxinistas, click below:


Photocreds: Ellen DiBiase, Yours Truly