A Better Black Friday: Your Mall-Free Guide for Skipping Out on the Madness

If the thought of waking up at 5 AM the morning after Thanksgiving to wait in line at Walmart for a discounted Xbox sounds about as fun as running away from a crazed Jack Nicholson who can't finish his novel, I'm with you. Never have I gone shopping on Black Friday, and as far as I know, they haven't taken away my Materialistic American card (it's bedazzled, if you must know). If you'd rather marry an axe murderer than shuffle through the crushing hordes of Black Friday shoppers, here's what to do instead.

1. Sleep in. Pause for the sound of Thanksgiving forks all over the world clattering to the floor. I know it's a revolutionary idea, but many of us have Friday off, and we just ate a lot, and maybe drank too much red wine, and — and — doesn't an 11 AM wakeup call sound so nice?

2. Clean out thy closet. Instead of hauling back a bunch of stuff you don't need, give away stuff that you already have! Let me be the sassy but honest girlfriend you've always wanted: Forever21 sequins do not translate well in the real world. Time to donate those sophomore year "going out" halter tops.

3. Reorganize your space. Nothing is more (temporarily) life-changing than a new room layout. Put on some relaxing music (I just discovered this amazing indie Spotify playlist called 90's SMASH HITS!), light as many candles as you can without burning down your bedroom, and drag furniture around until you reach layout nirvana. Here's a simple guide to feng shui, if you want to follow those principles.

4. Make an inspiration board. Yeah, quirky girls in movies are always making "dream collages" or whatever, cue a collective eye roll, but this is actually a decent way to shop smarter. Sprawl out on the floor with a stack of old Vogues, some construction paper, and a glue stick, and dream up a new look for yourself. After a while, you might realize that you're constantly cutting out pictures of layered silver bangles or androgynous shoes with cuffed Annie Hall trousers. Now you know what to shop for! And wouldja look at that — it's not Forever21 sequined halter tops.

5. Participate in Small Business Saturday. Jonesing to spend money on new things? Oh how I understand. Here's the ethical solution: On November 30th, people all over the country will shop for Christmas presents, personal indulgences, and luxurious home goods (and maybe baked goods, since there's nothing like a small biz croissant) — locally. Join them! It's a way to support independent artisans and keep funds circulating through your unique local economy. Oh, and you'll probably want to Instagram your finds, too: hashtag is #shopsmall.