How To Prepare For Black Friday & Make Room In Your Closet — PHOTOS

Next Friday marks the biggest buying day of the year, and each annual shop-a-thon seems bigger than the year before. With more online steals and in-store deals, getting prepared for Black Friday shopping is a must if you're going to wake up early (or stay up late) and brave the lines. The week before is the perfect time to get started.

There's one key to making the most of Black Friday: If you're going to do it, do it right. Plan ahead, know your stuff, and have fun (coincidentally, these are also the same guidelines for, like, spelling bees.) Walking in blindly to Black Friday madness usually doesn't end well, so having a clear picture of what you want, what you need, and where to buy it will save you some serious stress.

Even though we normally think of the beginning of the year as the perfect time to sort through our wardrobes, spring cleaning isn't the only opportunity to reassess our clothes and beauty collections. In the long run, curating your closet can actually be a big time saver, especially during the holiday season.

Here are seven steps to get you ready for Black Friday. Ready, set, go:

1. Clean Out Your Closet

Whether you're one of those people who loves cleaning out your closet or has nightmares about it, it's just got to be done sometimes. Sort through your wardrobe and think about what you really enjoy wearing — a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether or not you'd buy it again if you saw it in a store. If the answer's no, ditch it.

Another suggestion: Do it when the mood strikes you most. Personally, when I'm feeling productive, I get way better results. When you feel yourself starting to second-guess your castaways and feel attached, take a break and reassess later.

2. Donate Your Castoffs

Even though giving is a year-round opportunity, the holiday season is an especially good time to donate to your local Goodwill or a clothing drive. Instead of storing the clothes you nix and letting them sit in your basement, put your old clothes to good use. You never know — even though you're not into them anymore, they could make someone else pretty happy.

3. Sort Through Your Beauty Drawer

This is something we should probably all do more often (myself included.) Makeup does, in fact, expire, and that lip gloss you've had lying around for a few years has definitely seen better days. Check out these makeup expiration guidelines, and do a purge of your beauty drawer so you can snag the products you really need on Black Friday.

4. Get Inspired

Now that you've pared down your wardrobe and beauty products, it's time to get inspired before you make your official Black Friday wish list. Check out YouTube makeup tutorials for techniques you've been dying to try (plumped-up lips or contouring, anyone?), and hit up Pinterest and Instagram for styling ideas.

5. Do Your Black Friday Deal Research

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Once you've got some ideas, it's time to check out the best fashion and beauty deals Black Friday has to offer. Stores like H&M, Urban Outfitters, Target, and many more fashion spots will have sales going on. And don't forget about beauty, either. Knowing what's ahead can help you put together a plan of attack and focus on the things you really want.

6. Make A List

It's time for the master list, guys. After cleaning out your closet, what gaps do you want to fill in your wardrobe? What new makeup looks are you eager to test out? What pieces on offer at your favorite stores catch your eye? And even if you don't get a hold of everything you're looking for on November 27, a list serves as a good starting point for things you'd like to pick up in the future or add to your holiday wish list. Thanks, Santa!

7. Mentally Prepare

This sounds a little intense, but then again, so is Black Friday. If you're like me, making decisions and large crowds can be pretty overwhelming, and there will be plenty of both of those next week. So, practice that "yoga breathe," stay focused, and enjoy the process. And maybe book a post-Black Friday spa treatment.

Images: Fotolia; Emma Kate/Flickr; Mike Mozart, Maegan Tintari/Flickr; Stokpic.com/Pexels; William Iven, Eli DeFaria/Unsplash