let's go shopping

this post was requested by our friends over at rochelle silberman design.

moving into plum came with the exciting task of purchasing the decor and furniture needed to make our house feel like home. being completely confined to the house with the shutdown, it was important to me to spend the money up front to make things as comfortable as possible. besides, some of the sales going on were too good to pass up. i was never much of an online shopper, but within a few weeks i found myself clicking add to cart more often than reading those pesky "you left something behind" emails. here are a few ideas i thought i'd pass long if you find yourself looking to make a big purchase online....

read the assembly instructions

this became one of my biggest deal breakers with online shopping. before purchasing furniture online, i learned to always read up on the assembly instructions. if something says two adults required for assembly, tools not included, or difficult assembly, i want to know that ahead of time. it won't necessarily stop me from purchasing, but i'd rather know when the shipment arrives how much time and effort should be expected for getting it set up. i ordered an incredibly cozy chair which took under five minutes to pop together and i ordered a media room credenza that took me nearly four hours to assemble. i would have been really irritated to receive the credenza in a million pieces had i been expecting it to arrive assembled.

read the reviews and trust fellow shoppers

along the same lines, take the time to read customer reviews before making a big purchase. i like to start by reading the 1 star reviews to hear what the complaints were before getting too excited. usually you can filter through and weed out if the review is petty or there is some legitimacy. this is a great way to find more information on the quality of product, how difficult assembly really is, or how well the product is handled in delivery.

asking for discounts or partial refunds when appropriate

shopping in person (at places like home goods, tj maxx) if you found an item you liked that had a small stain or scratch you could typically ask the sales associate for a small discount and they almost always would happily apply anywhere from 5-15% off the item. the same goes for online shopping. if you order a piece, like a new couch, which arrives with a scratch or missing piece, don't be afraid to reach out to the company and let them know. you often can get a quick credit back as the company will honor their product and want to provide you with a quick resolution.

join the email wait list for out of stock product you love

i found a light fixture i really loved but the color i wanted was out of stock. i went ahead and clicked the option to be notified when back in stock and then patiently waited. within a few weeks i got the email alert, added the item to my cart and placed the order. within a few days the item was out of stock again, so getting those alerts was just the reminder i needed.

google shopping

we all use google images, but have you ever used google shopping? find a product you want from a high end website, then copy and paste the product description into the search engine. google will do all the work for you and find replicas and knock offs all while allowing you to filter by price range. this little trick is a total game changer.

one of these is under $200, and the other is over $400.

shopping on the next door app

as long as you know what you're looking for, next door app is a great resource. in the for sale / free field i'd search for classic brands (restoration hardware, rejuvenation, west elm, pottery barn) and peruse for "like new" and "excellent condition" pieces. you'd be shocked how many people are giving up brand new product for over half the retail price simply because it didn't look quiet right and they were out of their return window. some of my favorite pieces were bought second hand but you would never know. it also aligns with our green mission so win-win.

i'll modify and update this list as i think of some other hacks and suggestions but for now, happy online shopping!