LEWISTON — The Bates College Clean Sweep is a hectic swarm of organized chaos, which makes complete sense once you see what college students have left behind at the end of the school year.

Patty Whitmore, one of the organizers of this year’s Clean Sweep, was exhausted but excited about the success so far. This is the first year it’s been outsourced, or not held at and run by Bates due to scheduling issues with graduation and finals. This year, John F. Murphy Homes is running the sale.

“We’ve always helped, organized the items and helped check people out,” Whitmore said.

The Clean Sweep was held at the Lewiston Armory this year, off campus for the first time. 

“Bates said it normally brings in $17,000 to $20,000, on average. And we’ve had probably 1,000 people here already. There were at least hundreds waiting when we opened, so maybe 1,000 have come through,” Whitmore said.

Doors opened at 8 a.m.

Walking inside at 8:05, a man on the street carrying a mini-fridge over one shoulder gleefully yelled, “It’s crazy in there, but I got my fridge!”

Peggy Rushton was not so lucky on the fridge front, but still walked out with a pile of goodies.

“I was 20th in line, but when I got in the fridges were all gone already,” she said. “But the deal of the day are the bed risers”

Justin Fortier and his friend Jacob Lapierre said they went to check out the action and see if they could find some hidden gems.

“This place is insane but maybe I’ll find something cool,” Fortier joked.

“I got a jacket, a hat, I basically made a whole outfit,” Lapierre added.

Whitmore was also entertained by the shoppers that came out to the event.

“They all have their bags ready and have plans of where to go and what to get. It’s amazing what the kids throw away.”

“It’s such a nice fundraiser,” she added. “A lot of work but the money raised will help with community activities we engage in. I think it was successful based on the people and what they’re leaving with,” she said.

A list of memorable items seen at the sale:

*More than one game of Life

*A shoe box full of shot glasses, 25 cents each

*All floor lamps, $8;

*Holiday decoration table;

*An unused pregnancy test;

*A pile of bras and swimsuit tops; and

*Book selections ranging from physics textbooks, “The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer” and “Harry Potter.”

One woman yelled across the room to her friend, “Did you see the inflatable unicorn head?”


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