Purge Party (Not What it Sounds Like.)

Looking for a fun fall activity to do with your friends or family? Well, I’ve got the idea for you! No, I’m not going to describe ideas for a cute, hipster photo shoot among the falling leaves. Nor will I describe the perfect fall crafting project for holiday gifts. Although both of those posts may happen in the near future.

I’m talking about a purge party. No, not that one scene from Bridesmaids that makes everyone’s stomach turn. I’m talking about getting together with a friend or two and helping each other eliminate unnecessary items from your respective homes. It’s amazing and so effective. It’s the exact opposite of when you go to the mall with a friend who tells you, “You need those jeans. They make your butt look incredible. Don’t look at the price tag.” (I’m looking at you, Jessica). Instead, you help each other decide what you don’t need in your life. Those items can range from a basket you acquired as a bridesmaid gift to clothing you purchased with your allowance in high school.

One of the many bags ready to go through with Mara.
One of the many bags ready to go through with Mara.

My friend Mara has been interested in paring down her stuff. She and I both live alone and have hoarding tendencies. We agreed a while ago that we would get together and help each other Just Say No to items in our homes that we were on the fence about. We figured it would be easier to let go of an item if another person told us we didn’t need it anymore.

Before the Purge…

We each went through our apartments in some fashion to select areas or items we no longer wanted or needed to go through. I went around my apartment on a few nights and just started aggressively throwing things into a pile that eventually filled two boxes and two large recycling bags. I would say I ended up with 150 items easily. Mara went through her place and found target areas that needed some attention.

 

Remember when we bought the same (exact) pair of shorts a long time ago and then decided to donate them around the same time too?
Remember when we bought the same (exact) pair of shorts a long time ago and then decided to donate them around the same time too?

The Night of the Purge…

I went over to Mara’s house for a fun night of reducing. I brought over one bag with the promise that we’d go through the rest of my stuff another time. I wanted to ease Mara into the purging, so we started with my stuff. I have been purging for more than a year now, so I figured it might be easier for me (Spoiler: Mara is a natural minimalist, so it was just as easy for her). Our first discovery was that we have some similar taste.

An amazing find: the hair piece Mara wore for high school prom. Classic.
An amazing find: the hair piece Mara wore for high school prom. Classic.

 

Going through my bag was extremely fast and extremely efficient. Mara confirmed all my thoughts of items I didn’t need, supported me when I wanted to keep a few items, and even gave new life to a top that looked really cute on her. I ended up keeping a few items to see if I will ever wear them again and a couple items to sell instead of donate. The rest stayed in the bag, ready to find a new home at a thrift store later in the week.

 

The next step was to go through some of Mara’s stuff. I sat on the floor of her bedroom while we went through piles of stuff. She was the real MVP of this purge party. She ended up with a huge pile of donations and I ended up with the most comfy pair of sweatpants ever. Really, I don’t think I’ve gone one day in the last week and a half without wearing them.

We ended up with piles and piles of clothing and accessories to donate. We stuffed my car full of them and then headed back to my place to go through the rest of my stuff. By the end of the night, my car was full and our bellies were empty. My wonderful boyfriend brought over some fries (that I had been craving for a full day) and we celebrated our accomplishment.

After the Purge… 

Why do I need four small, black purses? Note: I'm wearing the sweatpants I stole from Mara in this picture and have literally not taken them off since.
Why do I need four small, black purses?
Note: I’m wearing the sweatpants I stole from Mara in this picture and have literally not taken them off since.

We both had a lot to be proud of. We got rid of a significant amount of stuff to donate to the community we both love so much. It was so great to have a friend with me to justify my “keep” pile and support my “donate” pile.

Want to host your own Purge Party? 

You don’t have to dive right into it. Here’s a simple how-to for starting this process:

  1. Get some friends together who all want to reduce the clutter.
  2. Separately, select 100 – 200 items you are thinking about getting rid of.
  3. Bring those items over to one person’s house and create a few piles: donate, sell, keep. The “keep” pile should definitely be the smallest. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a large “sell” pile!
  4. Go through one person’s stuff at a time, or at least one bag at a time. Try on the clothes, talk about each item, make sure you pay close attention to each other’s reactions. If your friend puts on a dress and lights up, that might be a “keep” item. If they shrug and seem to lose confidence, you might need to convince that friend to toss the item in the “donate” pile.
  5. Ask each other simple questions during this process: Does this item add value to your life? Does this item have sentimental value? What are the odds you’ll use this item in the next year?
  6. Donate to your favorite organizations and repeat as often as necessary.
  7. Wine can be added to any of the preceding steps to increase one’s ability to purge.

 

Good luck out there, ladies and gents. Share stories about your efforts to reduce in the comments section below!

Mara with her pile of donations!
Mara with her pile of donations!
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