Majority of dorm room items purchased this week will be thrown out in May

Sarah Ross

On the day of freshmen move in, nearly every Walmart shopper had two carts full of dorm-room essentials. However, many of the items will end up in the trash or re-sold next May after less than a year of use.

This past May, all the items left behind, donated or abandoned from the residence halls added up to about $30,000 in profits, even though many were drastically marked down. Items were sold by the CSU Surplus Store and collected through a program called “Leave it Behind.”


“We collected 45,903 pounds of items,” said Jake Drenth, surplus property manager. “Of that, 34,427 pounds were of items [that] were in a condition that was okay to sell.”

Another 10,000 pounds of items were thrown away for being dirty, damaged, or used.

Some of the waste can be attributed to products designed for dorm rooms that become irrelevant for a furnished apartment: small furniture, storage containers, mini-fridges and microwaves. Beds provided by the University are twin extra large, and force students to buy specific bedding.

An article from Buzzfeed went viral over a debate on how much should be spent on a dorm room, and several sources report that the amount students will spend on dorm room supplies is nearing the amount they spend on textbooks.

The College Board estimates that a full-time undergraduate student at a four-year public college student spends $1,200 per year purchasing textbooks. According to estimates by Business Insider and The National Retail Federation, the furniture, bedding, toiletries, shoes, clothes and electronics purchased for a dorm room can cost, on average, between $800 and $900, with some spending much more.

“Clothing and bedding accounted for 10,305 pounds (of products left behind),” Drenth said. “The remaining 24,122 pounds were a mix of everything else: school supplies and books, kitchen supplies, furniture, appliances, games, electronics, organizers and really so much more.”

Not all of the items collected by “Leave it Behind” were sold in the sale, and many are still available at the Surplus Center, located on Lake Street, west of the train tracks. The annual sale occurs every June.

“Residents do bring a lot of stuff,” said Kat Fuentez, a Newsom resident assistant. “People will bring (full) pick up trucks. A lot of residents bring in futons, and most rooms will have at least fridges and microwaves.”

Collegian Reporter Sarah Ross can be reached at