It’s that time of year here at colleges across the country and students are packing up to move home. Of course, for one reason or another students don’t want to take everything with them and so it gets left behind. Fortunately, colleges have instituted fantastic programs, the one at my school is called “Rescue”, for collecting these items and reselling them at low prices at the start of the academic year. As students are moving out, a collection of volunteers goes from dorm to dorm gathering up abandoned items to put in storage. (The volunteers actually get “paid” in the sense that they have first pick of everything being rescued, which is a pretty fantastic perk). When school starts in the fall, all the items are taken out of storage and find new homes.

What Can You Find?
Just about everything. Most common are electronics like refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, electric kettles, tvs, printers and speakers but you can also find couches, chairs, shelves, cleaning supplies and kitchenware. Often these items are more expensive to ship back and forth than they are to replace and things like microwaves and refrigerators have often been passed through the rescue sale for years. Just about anything you could need to furnish a dorm room (or an apartment or house for that matter) can be found at a rescue sale.

Some Surprising Finds
This past week I’ve developed the habit of meandering from collection point to collection point to see what I can find. So far I discovered a fantastic 1L water bottle, and two bags of coins. Although I’ve been enticed by several nifty things, I’m trying to limit myself in this scavenging as I prepare to move across the country and snagging larger items would just mean stuff I’d have to get rid of later. I’m pretty disappointed in my fellow Gen-Yers though if they’re literally getting rid of bags of money! Especially since each bag was just shy of ten dollars and the bank is only a mile and a half away. (Though I probably shouldn’t complain because I now have an extra twenty dollars in the bank.)

Going to a Rescue Sale
If you live in a college town, Rescue sales (or their equivalent) generally happen in the fall when students are arriving on campus. My school holds two, one for freshmen and one for the entire student body, and there will usually be times up advertising when the sale starts. Both are open to the public. Be sure to arrive in advance (when in the market for a couch I showed up an hour early) so you can get a good spot in line and be ready to run in. If you love the adrenaline rush of finding a good deal, this is definitely your type of event. For more laid back scavenging, some items will be collected in accessible spots during the period when students are moving out. And of course, if you’re going to the sale be sure to bring cash. As long as you’re not too concerned with appearances (or willing to do a little bit of cleaning up) college rescue sales offer great deals for students and townspeople alike.

Photo Credit: Green Colby