Target Clearance Cheat Sheet: Get the Most by Spending the Least

There's more to the Target clearance section than just the Dollar Bin. Here are some pro tips for shopping clearance at Target.

Robin Mosley Former CNET writer
Robin Mosley (she/her) formerly wrote commerce deals for CNET about beauty, fashion and other essential gear. Before that, she freelanced for Healthline, Simply Recipes and Nerd Street. She is a Chicago native living on the East Coast who is a fan of all things beauty, food, gaming and tech. When she isn't writing, she's at a restaurant, shopping online or making YouTube gaming videos.
Robin Mosley
4 min read
Target shopping on a phone
James Martin/CNET

Regular Target shoppers know that if you don't enter the store with a list then you'll leave with at least five food items you won't eat, a new shirt, maybe some furniture, definitely a Starbucks coffee and most likely nothing you originally intended to get. While this is the Target we know and love, you can always get discounts on its amazing selection. Yep, we're here to talk about clearance.

Shopping for clearance in a physical store versus online does have a few distinctions. When you browse in-store, you can find hidden things that might only be available at your store and not others, in addition to having the chance to physically see and touch the products. 

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While online shopping doesn't give you the benefits you'd find in-store, there are still many reasons to shop Target clearance online. Convenience is a huge factor. With select products available for pickup, delivery or shipping, you don't have to do much to get what you need.

We'll explain everything you need to know about Target clearance and why it's worthwhile.

While you're here, check out our shopping tips on Best Buy Totaltech benefits, Best Buy outlet and how to have a better Target shopping experience for all your shopping needs this year.

The basics of Target clearance

Target clearance

Target clearance offers deals across toys, apparel, home essentials and more.


Naturally, buying only what you need and a portion of what you want at Target is the first step to saving money. Otherwise, are you really saving? But in order to know how to shop, you must first understand how Target clearance works. Knowing when the big sales start is important, but you need also to be familiar with how to navigate a clearance sale.

Every season, Target will discount its merchandise just like every other retailer. There will be a sale in the spring, and there will be others around college move-in time as well as traditional holiday sales.

When you're shopping on clearance, some of these items may be on sale depending on the time Target decides to drop prices, but it's not always so cut and dry, because items that are 30% off one week may drop further in price the next. You never know.

That said, how Target discounts items in-store usually follows this model:

  • 30% off
  • 50% off
  • 70% off

And while it's not always the case, if you happen to see something for 90% off, it's likely going to be a seasonal item such as Valentine's Day candy, older Christmas decorations or something already pretty affordable to begin with.

Discounts online can range from 10% to up to 50% or more. Just remember to filter for your desired discount to save.

What can you get on sale?

Almost anything you can think of is available on sale from Target, but if it doesn't fit the seasonal requirement, it will undoubtedly be overstock clearance or on sale for the arrival of fresh inventory that forces old products out.

Do you want kids' apparel and electronics? Buy it on Mondays. Wednesdays are your best bet if you need the newest health and beauty products. And you can get much more almost any day of the week. If you want to know more about that, read our tips on how to improve your Target shopping trip.

If you don't want to miss a deal, you can download the Target app, which will give you access to the online store's deals and promotions as well as the weekly ad. You can also shop online to see trending items that other people are buying, if you're the type of shopper who values getting suggestions based on popularity. Checking out trending items is simple. You only have to do a few steps:

  • Choose your category for shopping
  • Scroll down to the very bottom of the page 

From there you will see other clothing that's doing well on the website. When you do this, just know it will likely be of similar style or possibly an adjacent item. Also, looking at trending items is different from the "more to consider" and "similar items" sections. If you want to see those, you'll need to select an individual item in a category and scroll to the bottom.

How important guest ratings and reviews are for clearance

ratings and reviews

Want to know if a product is worth it? Always check the ratings.


Checking the ratings on a clearance item is crucial, because you don't want to lose out on information that will help you decide if the item is worth your time and money. You could do this in-store by checking on your phone, but it's particularly helpful when shopping online, when you can't see or touch the product.

Our suggestion here is to:

  • First check the one-star reviews
  • Check out the midrange reviews
  • Finish your analysis of the item with the top reviews

While your results may vary, following this pattern is beneficial because you can tell if the item is worthwhile if there are enough people saying similar things. These reviews are even more useful for things like apparel, because the comments can inform you whether something will fit, is fragile or is downright stellar.

Why Target clearance is worth your time

Shopping at Target clearance will help you make the most of your dollar every time. You're ultimately getting either new or like-new products that can do you some good without having to spend a lot of money.

If you're debating whether you should shop at a Target clearance sale, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is Target somewhere you shop at regularly?
  • Do you like the kinds of products available?
  • Are you OK with buying final sale products?
  • Do you like the rush of getting something before someone else that you get with limited stock?

No matter your answers, clearance products will almost always be worth your time, will make you a more savvy Target shopper and benefit someone in the long run. 

Check out our additional shopping tips on Amazon's subscribe and save and how to get the most out of your Costco membership.