Philipps and her ex, Marc Silverstein, joined up with Cure Thrift to clear out their storage unit and sell a bunch of their clothes, housewares and more
When the time came to truly start clearing out the earthly possessions in Busy Philipps and Marc Silverstein's Connecticut storage unit following their separation, they figured they might as well sell it and do something good with the money.
The two of them — who separated in 2021 after 14 years of marriage — put in the work, though, in setting up a true garage sale (minus the garage) in New York City, rather than having someone else do it all for them.
"This morning I could barely walk, I'm not kidding," Philipps, 44, tells PEOPLE on Saturday morning just before opening the doors to the public for their two-day sale. She had been at Cure Thrift in New York's Union Square neighborhood until after midnight the night before and nearly every day the week prior helping set up the space.
"Marc and I have been here this whole week, completely involved, doing the whole experience," she adds while walking around the store.
It was set up in Cure Thrift's extra storefront that owner Liz Wolff says they like to use for special popups like this one. Wolff — who donates her store proceeds to diabetes research — and Philipps got connected for the sale by happenstance — they met while Philipps was on a shoot where Wolff's house was the location.
"At that shoot, we were just chatting more and more and more, and I was saying, 'Marc and I have had all this stuff in storage now almost four years — it's too long,'" she says. "Marc and I have been talking about it. What do we do? We've got to stop. We got to get through this moment in time and so it just felt like the perfect moment."
They pulled together clothes — both theirs and their kids (they share children Birdie, 15, and Cricket, 10) — shoes, jewelry, decor, housewares and everything else that was sitting around in their storage unit after they moved to New York from Los Angeles and subsequently decided to split up a few years later.
The first thing Philipps had in her hand at the beginning of the interview was a heart-shaped necklace she says she purchased while filming Dawson's Creek, which aired from 1998 to 2003.
"It's very of the moment, I know," she says of the style.
Also included in her garage sale were pottery pieces that she made herself, pieces that she jokes were her "early work." She's also still raffling off a pig pot on Cure Thrift's website, and tickets are $10 each. Proceeds from these ticket sales will go toward National Network of Abortion Funds -
"We're donating the money, which is necessary in this moment in time, unfortunately, but here we are," Philipps says.
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Philipps also called her friends for support in her divorce sale — but she says best friend Michelle Williams is the only one who came through with things for her to sell. So very appropriately, she set up a section in Cure Thrift just for her, complete with a cardboard cutout of Williams.
"This is the Michelle corner, obviously," Philipps says with a flourish, pointing out the rack of clothes and the cutout. "She sent this cardboard cutout to me when I was living in Los Angeles because she was like, 'I want to always be with you.' Then I moved here, so now we're close so I don't need to keep her in my home."
Instead, Philipps put her cardboard cutout in storage with the rest of her things and pulled her out for this sale. Though she says she did have her at Busy Tonight for a while, where she'd "scare people all the time."
Shoppers who stopped by were even treated to some of Phillips' and Silverstein's truly personal items from their time together. Philipps sold off her wedding veil, and Silverstein, 52, offloaded some of the party favors from his 50th birthday.
"We have a couple leftover cups from my birthday. It's a great size and real sturdy," he says with a laugh. "No beach towels, though. They were a hot commodity and we didn't over-order."
Philipps candidly admitted on Instagram ahead of her weekend sale that it was the "weirdest thing" she's done and "might cry while it’s happening" but she seemed a little more settled as the sale kicked off. As a self-proclaimed collector of things, she says she wanted to be on site at the store to see who would be going home with her belongings — so she could know the happy homes everything would have.
She also tells PEOPLE that with this long-time-coming purge of Silverstein's and her things, it felt "cool" to see this event come together in a way that felt celebratory. She also wanted to be able to demonstrate a "different way to separate," she wrote on Instagram of her current status with Silverstein.
"Nothing happens overnight and so we are where we are now and it's great and this was what we wanted," she says. "This was always our goal to be in this place together and I'm just grateful that we are."