Frugality, Simple Living

10 Items To Avoid At Target (And 10 That Are Worth Buying)


“Generic items are just the same as name brand items, they just don’t have the same label.”

While this is often repeated, it’s not always true. Sometimes name brand products are better quality and last longer over time. One reason I love Amazon is that you can read reviews that tell you how long something actually lasts and if it’s worth buying. I read a lot of Amazon reviews before buying something, and so far I’ve only had one item that wasn’t actually worth purchasing.

However, sometimes I need things from stores like Target, where there’s hardly any reviews of the store brand items they sell. I want to save money by buying the store brands, but sometimes they cost more in the long run because the items have to be replaced. And sometimes Target sells items that only come in a store brand, or a brand that makes a special line for Target- things like clothing, bedding, jewelry, home decor, and furniture.  Target’s items in general look really good, but the quality is not consistent across every store brand item that they sell.

So, here are 10 items to avoid at Target, and 10 that are worth buying: 


  1. up & up* Scissors. They are much cheaper than the name brand ones for a reason (the blades unexpectedly warped so I can’t cut anything with them).
  2. Threshold Bath Towels. They looked like they’d been washed 100 times after the first wash. All the edges frayed; they looked like a cat had clawed them. (And I had followed the washing instructions).
  3. Target Shoe Cubby Organizer– It’s not real wood, so though it looks nice, the finish will peel after awhile.
  4. Light-colored Square Bins- Target makes and sells these in every color, but I’ve noticed it was impossible to remove stains from the ones in light colors like off-white. The brown ones have been fine.
  5. Anything From The “RE” Bedding Line- The “soft” jersey sheets I bought ended up feeling very scratchy after awhile. Also the pillow cases that came with them did this weird warping thing on the edges along the seams so that even if I ironed them, the edges would not lie flat.
  6. Threshold Upholstered Barstools- These were beautiful, but horrible! The pieces would not fit together no matter how much we tried (the holes for the screws did not line up properly), and we returned them half-assembled to the store. (These were the items that made my husband say, “NO MORE FURNITURE FROM TARGET!” Haha.)
  7. up & up Diapers- As a diaper, they actually work and they are the cheapest diaper I’ve found, so I do buy them. However, the “wetness indicator” (the yellow line on them that is supposed to turn blue when the diaper is wet and needs to be changed) does not turn blue until the diaper is sopping wet. By this point, your child is already screaming and you have no need for a wetness indicator. If a wetness indicator that works is important to you, try Pampers or Huggies.
  8. Target-brand Cotton Clothes- Their swimsuits, sportswear, and items that are some sort of acrylic or polyester blend have been great, but I’ve noticed their cotton or cotton-blend women’s clothes (sweaters, t-shirts, pajamas, etc.) tend to pill and look worn after just a few washes. (Except for their “Merona” brand solid colored spaghetti-strap tank tops- I’ve had 3 of them for years, and they haven’t pilled yet!).
  9. Target-brand Shoes- I’ve bought many of these over the years, and they never last long. Their heels don’t feel comfortable. I started buying fewer, but better quality shoes elsewhere (DSW has great sales and rewards coupons). I think it’s been better in the long run (at least they’ve been more comfortable!).
  10. Target Wallets- I bought a faux-leather one that ended up splitting along the seams. I got probably less than a year of use out of it.

Bonus item to avoid: up & up paper towels. They shred very easily so I ended up using more than if I had bought Bounty (which when rinsed are actually reusable when you’re cleaning).


  1. Threshold Bookshelves- These have actually lasted more than 5 years with minimal chipping. (Although they are a pain to assemble).
  2. up & up Tissues & Plates-  Their tissues are just as good as Kleenex. When I needed them, the paper plates were fine.
  3. Threshold Drinking Glasses & Wine Glasses- These have been great! They look and feel much more expensive than they actually are.
  4. Threshold Bed Sheets- These have held up so far, although two sets of the exact same size sheets fit our bed very differently. One set fits fine, but the other is slightly too small.
  5. Threshold Kitchen Towels- I really like their “flour sack” type ones that don’t leave cotton lint on dishes when you dry them. They are less than $4.00 each.
  6. up & up Permanent Markers- No different than Sharpies (which are pricey in comparison).
  7. Simply Balanced Fruit Leathers- These are really tasty.
  8. up & up Printer Paper- You can’t tell the difference between this and other more expensive types of paper.
  9. Target Brand Placemats & Tablecloths- These have gone through the washing machine many times and still look great. Stains come off easily in the wash when pretreated.
  10. up & up DEET-Free Bug Repellent- This is made from plant oils and does a good job at keeping mosquitoes away. It does have a strong smell though.

There’s a new Threshold line of sheets marked “Est. in 18-ninety something” with some fancy label that is pretty pricey by Target standards (almost $200 for a set of sheets). Which is interesting, since Target says their first store opened in 1962. If anyone can explain this, please do! To me it just seems like marketing to make the item look more “fancy” to justify the price.

What are your favorite store brand items? Which ones do you avoid? Please share below!

* “RE” is a lower quality Target line, “Threshold” is a supposedly better quality Target line. up & up is their household product line. Simply Balanced is their “healthier” food line.

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