Looking for some filing cabinets? Harvard University plans to give away 200 tons of used furniture and office equipment this year, and there’s apparently a feeding frenzy that goes on every week. Get there early, the scrap metal guys love filing cabinets. [Marketplace]


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  1. RandomHookup says:

    My settee went to Harvard, but I couldn’t get in.

  2. robocop is bleeding says:

    When the Harvard library I worked at was being renovated, my office was temporarily relocated to the building right across from where this frenzy occurs. I admit I too was one of these scavengers picking through the shelves, fridges, and other assorted debris that Harvard students no longer wanted. Scored a free fridge, some office chairs, and a desk at least. One of my coworkers left with a new microwave every day.

    But then word got out about the easy pickings and the number of scroungers increased dramatically. By the time we moved back into the renovated library, you had to know someone on the Harvard maintenance side of things if you wanted something in particular. Otherwise, you’d be SOL as all the good stuff would be gone by morning.

  3. oneandone says:

    I wish my U had a way to let the scavengers have access to the old furniture, cabinets, computers, etc. When dorms & offices were being rennovated (at least 1 big building every year), EVERYTHING was put into the dumpsters and hauled. 1000 dorm rooms of furniture landfilled in 2 days. I’m assuming the same is true for office furniture, though a lot of that gets snapped up by grad students who need chairs.

    There are some efforts to get the students to donate their clothes, food, etc at the end of the school year, but the utility and amount of items is small compared to what the U itself tosses. I know it’s difficult to manage the donation/giveaway/scavenging areas, but they should have at least tried.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @oneandone: Tufts does a pretty good job with the student leftovers. They hire student crews to pick it up and take the obviously abandoned stuff and then resell it at a yard sale on Labor Day. I’ve noticed that the amount of abandoned goodies at the dorms around move-out days has dropped radically over the last 3 or 4 years.

  4. justbychance says:

    this was on NPR 2 weeks ago. must be a slowwww news day at marketplace.

  5. whitefang2000 says:

    are they giving away diplomas too?

  6. drjayphd says:

    Your move, Yale. Don’t make me drive up to Cambridge when I’m only 20 minutes away from the good guys…

  7. SinisterMatt says:

    Quick! To Harvard!

    Pity I’m in Texas though.

    Seriously, though, this is a good idea. I wish the university I go to did this.


  8. helloashley says:

    Hm, my university has an outlet store where they sell and auction old goods (used furniture, outdated computers, etc). It’s open to the public one day a week and the rest of the time it’s only open to state agencies.

    • dbg1970 says:

      @helloashley: FWIW, Harvard does this too. The Harvard Recycling Center is open every Thursday (11a-2p). Furniture, desks, filing cabinets, etc. There’s a bunch of info on it here:

      Also this weekend and next, there’s a sale run by Habitat for Humanity at Harvard (near the Science Center building) — everything that students abandon when they move out of dorms, from computers to electronics and furniture is collected and then sold off. Info on that at this link: