Buy cheap but dirty cars, fax machines from Chicago's online surplus auction

If Chicago's government were to hold a garage sale, what sorts of junk would find its way onto the lawn? With the city's online surplus auctions, shoppers can check out all the local government's used goods, the sale of which raised over $3 million for Chicago in 2011. No, unfortunately there aren't any VHS tapes of Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit-but if there had been, the auctions would have surely been much more lucrative. The items currently up for sale range from microfilm machines to limestone slabs to used vehicles. In the past, the city has also sold street banners from the areas surrounding Wrigley and Soldier Fields, toner for copier machines, and all-terrain vehicles.

At the same time, as the auctions promote recycling for a greener government, the sale of the used goods also saves the government a significant amount of money. Last year's profits were double what the city's auctions raised in 2010, forming part of Mayor Emanuel's strive to better balance the budget. Ron Swanson would be proud.