CEO-O: Chief Expert of Online Ordering

I’ve just crawled out from under roughly 198 moving boxes, and must be a glutton for punishment because the boxes keep coming and it feels like me and the post lady are besties. I am, however, #1 on the hitlist of the UPS guy (and my wonderful husband). I feverishly tear open the latest delivery, marvel at the wrong color, damage from transit, awesomeness and find a home for it. Meanwhile leaving the box and all its packaging for my husband to sort through and recycle. I am so that kid on Christmas morning that rips through the presents and leaves the wrapping for mom and dad to clean up. Sorry, Jon!

Sourcing, ordering and arranging items to create your dream space can feel like a full time job. I have spent more hours than I care to admit pouring over countless design boards for inspiration, browsing a ridiculous number of online shops to score the perfect look, and more importantly the best deal. That’s not even the end of it. When it finally arrives at your doorstep, the real work begins to make sure you arrange everything in a way that makes sense, is aesthetically pleasing, and feels like you. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

Don’t click “buy” on impulse. See something you like on your favorite designer’s feed? I promise you can find it for less. There have been so many times I’ve been tempted to splurge because I have fallen head over heels for a piece that a stylist curated in their latest square. This is the most recent example. I remember scrolling while Jon was driving us to Home Depot for the 1,467th time that week and came across this dresser that I had to have. It was a gravitational pull so great that I almost sacrificed food for the next year so I could own it. Lo and behold we stopped in to Home Goods that weekend and, hello, pretty, we scored this beauty for a fraction of the price. Is that the look for less or what?

Measure. This one I’ve learned the hard way. Alright, let’s be honest, I made the measuring mistake again just yesterday. I see a picture online and in my mind it’s the perfect size and I just know it will fit perfectly where it’s going. No. Would you believe I ordered doughnut ornaments for our Christmas tree last year that were literally less than an inch tall? Same goes for furniture, mirrors, and rugs. For some time after ornament-gate I had to send Jon links to approve for all purchases where size was a factor. Let’s be honest, size always matters. I’ve finally smartened up and started measuring. I read the dimensions listed online, then use painters tape to map out exactly how it would look in the space. There is always a measuring tape in our car and I even have a paper tape in my purse.

Return Policy. Shopping online can be daunting, especially for major purchases with pretty big price tags and hefty shipping costs to boot. I have my own policy that I will not pay for shipping. I refuse. There are so many options these days that I’ve largely been able to avoid it. However, just because you received the item sans shipping, doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay if you unwrap that sucker and it’s not at all as pictured. Even if it’s the fault of the store, a lot of times they’ll charge you astronomical shipping and handling fees to send it back. Know the penalty ahead of time.

Freight Date. This house is a completely different style than our last one. We’ve gone from modern in the city to mid-century in the woods. I never thought I would embrace dark wood molding, but let me tell you, I’m in love. It’s all about balance. We’ll get to that later on this week, but the point is, we had to start from scratch. We needed beds, dressers, tables. Everything. Many times, you’ll receive deliveries via UPS or FedEx, but with larger items, they come via freight. So if you order from your favorite store and are used to seeing the items in a week or less, it is likely not the case with furniture. They may give you a delivery estimate of 1-2 weeks but often, that is when it will leave their warehouse. Most stores then sub out the delivery to freight carriers, going with the cheapest bid, not necessarily the fastest. I bought our dining table over a month ago. It left the warehouse just a few days after placing the order and yet, it’s in no man’s land and I have no ETA. Sigh. Just a heads up if you’re planning a big family dinner, you may be dining picnic style.

What lessons have you learned from ordering online? Commiserate with the Pack below!

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