Leah Schwarting

As the end of the school year approaches, some of us are scratching our heads about what we’re going to do with our extra stuff.

Some people store it, and others leave it behind for maintenance to collect, regardless of whether it’s broken or not.

During her sophomore year Natosha Bates, senior communications and advertising, public relations and organizational communications major, noticed all of the expensive, working items that were being left behind.

“Instead of taking their fridges home with them, or their plasma screen TVs, they just leave them outside and go home and let maintenance come and pick it up,” Bates said. “I don’t know what they did with it. I saw it freshman year and I thought, ‘That’s a shame,’ because it’s thousands of dollars that people are just trashing.”

Bates said that she discussed it with a friend during her sophomore year.

“I told him about it. We were just sitting down, talking over it,” Bates said. “And he goes, ‘Hey, Tosha, you know, I bet we could make a lot of money off of this.’ And that’s how we got into it.”

After the fateful conversation, Bates and her friend got to work, establishing a pattern that they would repeat the next year. Bates said that they always made sure that no one was coming back for the items by checking on them, first at the official checkout time at 5 p.m. on the last day of school.

“You just look around. It’s a visual,” Bates said. “You walk through the building, walk around, see if anyone’s left anything before maintenance comes and trashes it. And then everything, hopefully, turns out okay. Usually there’s a bunch of stuff that people left. And then you wait an hour, and you walk back through again.”

Once the checks were done, Bates would call out to see if anyone was around. If not, she checked to make sure that the electronics were in working order. If they were, she and her friend loaded the items onto a truck.

Bates said that each fridge fetched around $20 to $40.

“In the course of about forty minutes, me and him hauled out at least five full fridges,” Bates said.

At other times there were mishaps moving the items.

“We’re just hauling stuff around, and I feel something dripping down my leg,” Bates said. “I look down, and the fridge is leaking like this nasty fluid. I mean, not from the inside, but the back where all the pipes are. It’s the grossest thing I have ever seen or felt in my life.”

However, Bates said that she found several other things that people threw away that she didn’t end up selling. More specifically, projects thrown away by art majors, which she describes as “beautiful.”

“And they just toss it in the dumpster,” Bates said. “And you would pull out all these posters, and all these pictures, and it’s just beautiful.”

Bates ended up keeping the artwork for herself. Despite her success, Bates said she had no plans to continue to resell items that students had thrown away.

“Once I’m graduating, I’m so done,” Bates said.