Buying Public Surplus


Local governments sell their excess property. Sometimes there are new items that were over-purchased. Most of the time, they are items that are no longer needed because their condition warranted an upgrade or because because there simply was no longer a need for it. Locally, surplus comes from the Loudoun County Government offices, Parks and Recreation, Public Schools, Prison, and Libraries. Unclaimed items confiscated by the Sheriff’s Office are also for auction.


Typical office furniture and supplies, bicycles, electronics, toys, computers, school supplies, art supplies, musical instruments, sports equipment, shop and power tools, cars and trucks from the motor pool, medical equipment, musical instruments, housewares, and clothing. The list goes on. Actually, even if you never bid on an auction item, perusing the listings is at least an interesting way to pass some time.

I recently pick up some new items for a fairy garden for only two dollars.


You will need to check out the monthly surplus auctions on the online public auction site, Public Surplus.

When you get to the site, you can browse by specific agencies, but I suggest using the search feature to quickly narrow down all the live auctions near to you. If you decide that watching the site is your kind of thing, go ahead and register with them. You can sign up to receive “Auctions of Interest” e-mails. You will also be able to save items in a watch list as you ponder over your purchase. If you win, you make arrangements to pick your item up soon after the auction ends.

Until July, 2015, there was also a once-a-month brick and mortar store where you could shop for surplus items, including books. Apparently, the auction site has been so successful that they have completely switched over to only online auction sales.


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