I’ve been shopping Black Friday at Joann for years now. What can I say? The sales are too good to pass up.
But getting through the crowds and all that jazz can be annoying, stressful, and otherwise something that makes you want to crawl back into bed.
I actually love this sale. It’s become a tradition for me and my kids to go early, get their fabric picks and end with breakfast. We try and stay out of the hyper commercialization of the season, but this is our one exception.
Over the years, I’ve perfected a system of getting in and getting out before it gets too hairy, and I’m sharing it with you today. By the end, I want you to feel like you can go into Black Friday at Joann ready and not feeling like you’re going to be stressed out by the process. Plus, I’ve made a helpful freebie for my newsletter subscribers that will make this process a breeze. More on that below….
How to survive Black Friday at Joann without the stress
The name of the game here is preparation. I love that military saying,
Proper preparation prevents poor performance
and it’s applicable here. There’s a lot of people that shop on Joann on Black Friday. I’ve made the mistake a couple of times of not knowing what I needed and going later in the day. What happened was me seeing hour long wait times at the cut table and seeing notions that I was hoping for sold out.
I know for me, it takes me a lot to get to JoAnn in the first place. It’s a bit inconveniently located for me, so when I go, I need to find what I need. So there is nothing more frustrating than going and not being able to get what’s on my list. So here’s my tips for avoiding that frustration, and I think they’ll help you too!
1. Study the coupons
The coupon mailers JoAnn sends out are going to tell you everything you need to know about what’s on sale. Look over them a few times to identify the things that you might be interested in.
If you’re not sure about a specific item, you can preview them on Joann’s website. This can be really helpful for fabric that you see on sale but aren’t familiar with.
It’s also important to note that not everything is on sale on Black Friday. Some things are on sale on Wednesday, some Saturday and Sunday. Figure out what’s the most important things on your list combined with the best deals to figure out what day you need to be there. As far as I could tell in talking to some of my sewing buddies, these are the deals. I did find an alternate version (printed as a newspaper insert?) online, but coming through it, it has the same deals just in different order.
2. Know exactly what you need
Now that you now what day you’re shooting for, begin to write down exactly what you’re getting.
List out the sale stuff you’re interested in and any other supplies you will need for the projects you’re working on. Think about fabric, notions, patterns, and sewing accessories or tools.
A good sale is a good time to stock up on basic supplies you might need for your sewing room. That’s one of my recommendations for sewing efficiently! And if you’re looking to add some sewing tools to your collection, these are my favorite helpful sewing tools.
Especially to get you Black Friday-ready, I’ve created a Black Friday planning guide for you to help you organize your trip. You can download it in the Resource Library which you’ll get access to when you sign up for my newsletter. And you can sign up right below.
Get your free Black Friday mini planner when you sign up for the newsletter
I actually made this resource available as both a printable and as a digital file that you can edit. The day of, I really like to travel light, so being able to organize everything on a phone is really handy. Here’s how to use the resource!
If you can, this will save you hours of wandering around aimlessly. I usually plan a time with my kids when we can go to the store and preshop.
They pick out a #1 fabric and a #2 fabric. That way if their first choice is not available, the odds are good that we can fall back on the second.
Use your phone here to your advantage. You can take pictures of any fabric, patterns, notions and accessories that tickle your fancy so you don’t feel like you have to hold it all in your brain.
If you’re using the digital version of the Black Friday planning guide, you can add those pictures right into the plan.
You can also pre-shop online, though be aware that what’s available online might not be in stores.
4. Get there early, preferably with caffeine
It’s cold on the day after Thanksgiving at o’dark thirty! That being said, if you can be there on Black Friday right when they open, you won’t have to deal with as many people in the store.
The more people in the store, the more aggravation you’ll inevitably have to deal with.
Plan to get there early, bundle up, and bring some coffee!
5. Bring a friend
I have discovered that the people who come to Black Friday at Joann early are really fun people. There is great conversation to be had while you wait for the doors to open. Ask people about what they’re working on, and what they’re shopping for. You will have a good time if you go in with a spirit of being friendly, I promise!
And if you bring along a friend, you’ll double your fun. Your friend is essential for the next tip too!
6. Skip the cart?
So you’ve already pre-shopped, and you know just what you’re looking for.
You might think I’m nuts here, but maybe consider not getting a cart once you’re in the store.
The thing is, that a cart can carry a whole lot of stuff, but it’s also going to slow your speed in getting through the store before it gets too crowded.
If you can, hand carry any fabrics you might be getting. You can enlist that friend or friends you brought!
Of course if you’re stocking up on a lot of fabric, this won’t be possible, in which case, #7 is for you!
7. Use the side aisles
Both of my local Joann stores put up traffic flow road blocks in the center aisle. Everyone seems to congregate in that center aisle which can be really frustrating and time consuming, especially if you get stuck going the wrong way.
Instead, use the side aisles to move through the store as much as you can. It’ll be faster, and you’ll enjoy the freedom of movement whether you’re with a cart or not.
8. At all costs get your fabric cut first!!!
There’s two places that are going to take up 90% of your time during Black Friday at JoAnn: the checkout line and the cut table.
While you can’t do a whole lot about the length of the checkout line, you can deal with the cut table by getting there as fast as you can.
I always make it a personal goal to be the first person to the cut table. As someone who has sat through hour long waits behind cranky people who have 20+ pieces of fleece, I will tell you, it’s so much better if you can beat the rush!
Once your fabric is cut, you can leisurely go through the store and get the other things on your list without having to worry about getting stuck for a long haul.
9. Be friendly
People don’t lose your religion over a bolt of flannel. Black Friday is a long day for the employees, and it’s not going to help your heart or anyone else if you get all Ms. Fabric Grabbyhands.
Don’t be a jerk. It’s always a good policy!
10. End with a treat
You made it through your list! Take your friend and go for breakfast or coffee!
My kids and I love to stop at our favorite taco stand for breakfast burritos on our way home. If it’s nice enough outside, we’ll stop at a park as the sun starts coming up. It’s a tradition we really all do look forward to.
So hopefully you’re feeling ready to tackle the Black Friday at JoAnn situation. Let me know what you find–I’d love to hear about it and how your experience was!
More Holiday Planning goodness!:
- How to start a handmade Christmas tradition with DIY family pajamas
- Why you should batch cut your gift sewing
- How to make handmade gifts for the Holidays without going crazy
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.