Rummage ramps up for eighth year

BY PAUL OSGERBY | JULY 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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Students hectically pack their U-Hauls in a game of Tetris, and inevitably face the decision of whether to get rid of a hand-me-down couch, dresser, or mattress.

But with Iowa City’s annual Rummage in the Ramp, some renters could alleviate moving stress.

The event is designed to help ease the adjustment of throwing away unnecessary furniture, or find some new treasures, while helping mitigate trash for the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center.

“It’s 10 days of a giant garage sale,” said Jennifer Jordan, the Iowa City recycling coordinator.

From July 25 to Aug. 3, people in Iowa City can stop by the Chauncey Swan parking ramp and pick through the selections. The event runs from noon to 8 p.m. during the week and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays.

People can donate their no-longer-needed items at the ramp, where volunteers inspect and price salable rummage to incoming students, families in need, or others interested in finding secondhand treasures.

The program’s goal is to avoid heaps of trash from renters moving winding up in the landfill and recycling otherwise usable, and potentially desirable, items.

“I think it’s ecologically marvelous,” said Margaret Nelson, an Iowa City resident at the sale. “The benefits are a win-win situation.”

Last year, Jordan said, the city accumulated approximately 28 tons items. She said that between two and four tons of material was recycled; only one ton went to the landfill.

Each donated item was tallied and its weight estimated, which measured how much was recycled or sent to the landfill.

Since the inception of the event, nearly 170 tons of materials have been diverted from the landfill, with 162 tons having been sold at the rummage sale.

The annual event is trying out a new program in which every 50th customer will receive a discount coupon for items on sale.

At the end of the event on Aug. 3, there will be free ice cream and a live band performing in the parking ramp, Jordan said.

“These items are priced to sell,” said John Croshek, a volunteer at the event involved with the Iowa Shares organization.

Proceeds generated from the sales are distributed to nonprofit organizations that are involved in the rummage, including the Johnson County Crisis Center and Iowa Shares.

The event earned approximately $20,000 last year, and income has risen each year, according to the city of Iowa City’s website.

“This is a great opportunity to make sure junk that people want to get rid is getting to other people,” Croshek said. “It’s a mobile Goodwill."

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