University Surplus Sales
When a university needs to dispose of property such as used or surplus furniture, computers, and even vehicles, they will often sell it at heavily discounted prices known as a “property disposition sale” or “surplus sale.” While some universities limit such sales to employees or students, many will open up their surplus sales to the general public. Such sales are a little known avenue to procure dramatically discounted prices on a wide variety of items.
Whether you're a bargain shopper who lives near a university or a student who needs to inexpensively furnish her first college apartment, you must check out your local university's surplus sale. Forget buying used items at second-hand stores or on Craigslist, university surplus sales are the best kept discount shopping secret around!
Can you believe that at the University of Michigan’s Surplus Sale in Ann Arbor, MI, there is enough property included in the sale to fill up a 15,000 square foot warehouse! Also, usually at least a portion of the money made at these surplus sales is reimbursed to either the university department that disposed of the property or the university's general fund. As such, not only are you getting a great deal but you’re also helping out an educational institution. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Here are examples of some great deals I've seen at university surplus sales:
- At Northern Kentucky University's Procurement Services Department Surplus Sale in Highland Heights, KY, you can buy a Dell Latitude D610-630 laptop for $100.00, a Dell Optiplex 230-280 Tower or Mini for $50.00, Apple Products (Macs and laptops) for $100.00, an executive desk chair for $10.00, or a large, wooden conference table for $50.00.
- At Stanford University's Surplus Sale in Stanford, CA, you can get Dell C640, D600, D610, D510, and Dell Inspiron 8500 & 8600 laptops for $50.00 to $185.00.
- At the University of Washington's Surplus Sale in Seattle, WA, some of the best deals include a computer desk for $5.00 and a bed frame (including the mattress) for $5.00.
To find out whether a university near you has a surplus sale, you can try calling your local university's IT department, inquire with a university operator on the phone, or go to the university's main website and search for "property disposition" or "surplus sale" on the site. Also, you can find some surplus sales located at public universities throughout the country in this online list of government surplus sales.
For your quick reference, here is a non-inclusive list of various cities across the country that are home to a university with a surplus sale open to the general public:
- Atlanta, GA: Emory University Surplus Property Sale
- Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana at Bloomington Surplus Property Sale
- Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Surplus Property Sale
- Dallas, TX: University of Texas Southwestern Surplus Warehouse
- Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Surplus Warehouse
- Miami, FL: University of Miami Surplus Property Sale
- Moscow, ID: University of Idaho Surplus Store
- Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Surplus Property Sale
- Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Surplus Warehouse
- Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Surplus & Salvage
Government Surplus Sales
Not only do numerous universities across the country have surplus sales but also state and local governments have surplus property sales and public auctions. Property at such government sales is typically surplus, seized, and forfeited property and often consists of larger ticket items such as vehicles, real estate, and farm equipment. While property at university surplus sales is predominantly sold through direct sale, property at government surplus sales is usually sold at online auctions or through either sealed bids or live bidding at public auctions. Occasionally you will find a government surplus sale that sells property through direct sales online or in a surplus store or warehouse sale reminiscent of many university surplus sales. For a list of government surplus sales and auctions across the country, check out the online list provided at USA.gov.
Happy bargain hunting! Let us know in the comments section if you score any great deals at your local university or government surplus sale.