California Holds Statewide 'Garage Sale'

California is cleaning out its garage and holding a sale, selling off surplus office equipment and computers, along with cars, espresso machines and baseball cards the state has accumulated over the years.

The massive housecleaning is part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (search) move to make state government more efficient and is an idea highlighted in the 2,700-page California Performance Review (search) he ordered. Better management of the state's assets was also the subject of an executive order and legislation Schwarzenegger signed.

The state Department of General Services (search) leases warehouses that are stacked with giant crates, each one filled with surplus state goods, but most of which "were just sitting here for years, gathering dust," said Fred Aguiar, secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency.

In what he called the first thorough purging of its warehouses, Aguiar said at least one of the crates held surplus goods from a department that has been defunct for two years.

Selling the property Friday and Saturday will help clean out "the cobwebs of government," Schwarzenegger said.

The Department of General Services surplus warehouse in Sacramento, normally open to the public for sales of used office equipment, will be closed Thursday so workers can sort and price the goods.

Items such as office furniture, tools, computers, restaurant equipment, jewelry and baseball cards will be set out for sale Friday and Saturday. Also among the surplus property is a 1995 Ford Mustang with 48,000 miles seized by South Lake Tahoe police.

While most of the items are from various state agencies and offices, others have come to the state through asset forfeitures and other avenues, said Aguiar.

On Wednesday, workers sorted boxes of thousands of knives, scissors and nail clippers — and one abandoned electric cattle prod — seized at airport security checkpoints. "Hand tools, power tools — I don't know what they were thinking trying to get on a plane with this," Aguiar said.

There are three airplane engines, a popcorn machine, 3,000 light bulbs for traffic signals, a lemonade dispenser and at least one forklift among the items in the 100,000-square-foot warehouse, he said.

The airplane engines came from state departments that use planes, such as the California Highway Patrol, he said. The restaurant equipment came from a Department of Rehabilitation program.

"They have been sitting in the warehouse with the thought that they could be used one day," he said. "But the governor was clear: If it's not being used, get rid of it."

In case bargain hunters can't be in Sacramento for the sale, the state is also selling many items on eBay under the seller name californiagold2000.

Aguiar said he didn't know how much money the sale would raise. But by ridding itself of so much stuff, the state expected to save money on warehouse rents.

The state will accept cash, credit cards and personal checks, Aguiar said, adding, "These items are priced to move."