LEWISTON — Bates College’s “Clean Sweep” garage sale is moving off campus in June, possibly to a farm.

The college for 15 years ran the popular sale of goods left behind by students. Nonprofit organizations helped organize and run the sale, and Bates gave the cash from the sales to the nonprofits.

But this year, saying it doesn’t have the space or staff to manage the sale, Bates has awarded a contract to run the sale to John F. Murphy Homes, which may hold it at the Whiting Farm in Auburn.

“We put the farm as an option. We also have feelers out there looking for a facility,” said Patty Rose, who runs a day treatment program for Murphy Homes.

The Clean Sweep sales date had not been confirmed, but it could be on or close to June 18, Rose said. “We’ve just been awarded the contract. We haven’t ironed out all the details.” More information will be forthcoming, she said.

Murphy Homes at this time does not plan to involve other organizations, Rose said.

The sale in the past has brought in as much as $22,000 by selling clothing, furniture, computers, televisions and lamps, among other things, that otherwise would have been landfilled.

Bates wanted to get out of running the sale, spokesman Kent Fischer said Tuesday, because it happened between graduation and class reunions, big events that use Underhill Arena, where the sale was held in the past. Last year, it rained on commencement day, prompting the ceremony to be held in the arena.

Clean Sweep involved a tremendous amount of staff time to run and organize, Fischer said. The volume of goods left by 2,000 students, many of whom live out of state, is huge. A student returning to California is not going to lug home a refrigerator, Fischer said.

Bates looked at what other colleges, including the University of New England and Bowdoin College, do with goods left by students, and discovered they have a nonprofit, such as Goodwill, take the used goods.

Hoping that area nonprofits would work together and keep proceeds in the community, Bates put out a request for proposals on April 1 inviting nonprofits to promote, organize and run the sale.

“We received lots of inquiries” but only one bid, from John F. Murphy Homes, Fischer said. JFM owns and runs Whiting Farm.

Fischer said Bates encouraged Murphy Homes to involve other nonprofits, but it is not mandated to share the work and profits.

Paula Thibodeau of the SHAREcenter, a recycling resource center for teachers, nonprofits, day cares and home-schoolers, said she was disappointed that Clean Sweep won’t be run by Bates.

“It was a great moneymaker for us, and we’re all about recycling,” Thibodeau said.

The volume of items left by students “was mind-blowing,” Thibodeau said. “Some students leave everything: beds, lights, computers, televisions and clothing. We had a pile of clothing as big as a garage.”

Getting ready for the sale is a huge amount of work, Thibodeau said. “Whoever takes it on, I’m afraid, may be overwhelmed.”

Rose said no worries. “We have the manpower.”

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