White Elephant Sale and Oakland Museum

(My 2008 WES wish list & shiny vintage treasures.)

It's finally White Elephant season here in the Bay Area. According to the sale itself, "The White Elephant Sale is the biggest, the best, and certainly the most enjoyable rummage sale in Northern California". I couldn't agree more. If you live in the area and consider yourself a junker/ treasure hunter/ collector/ ephemera enthusiast then I recommend this event. It's fantastic! And if you live outside of the Bay Area then I hope you'll still enjoy the many layers of thought at work including the nonprofit fundraising efforts (annual event for the Oakland Museum of California), the environmental ethics (epic recycling and reusing), or the community building (epic volunteer organizing and epic attendance). At the very least, you can marvel at the junker's paradise and help to create a similar event for a local organization of your choice.

The White Elephant Sale is an annual favorite. Produced by the Oakland Museum Women's Board, this 96,000 square-foot warehouse sale is well organized into 17 departments (ranging from bric-a-brac to gardening, furniture, electronics, sewing, jewelry, and kitchenware to name a few) so that even the faint-at-heart junker can navigate through the sale with delight. Treasures abound! The actual sale takes place from 10-4 on Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2, but you can gain preview access by taking a bag of goods to donate between 10am and 2pm any day this week including Saturday.

Just yesterday morning, I donated a carload of my own goods (yes, an entire carload of spring cleaning cast-offs) and basked in the glow of recycled treasures until 2pm. Lovely! I wasn't browsing alone as nearly a dozen of my dear Oakland friends have organized an annual post-sale gathering complete with cookout and detailed show-n-tell. (A reason for a bunch of Oakland artists, environmentalists, and scientists to gather over good food, really.) It's too good to miss and too good not to bring your junker treasure-hunting pals. So, bring water, wear comfy shoes, and expect to lose all the people you entered with as you're swayed from kitchen chairs to bicycles, old vinyl records, vintage black & white photos, Pyrex dishes, vintage tools, scads of fabric, and baskets full of ephemera. Need I say: A treasure-hunter's delight?!?


  1. ohhhh...my heart skipped a beat reading about the "White Elephant Sale" Sounds like a really good event. Maybe next year when I come to visit my sister-in-law in Emeryville we can venture into rummage mania.
    I am happy to find you have a blog about my favorite pastime... junking.

  2. i can't believe i missed it. i was daydreaming about all the junk and margaritas to follow. next time!

  3. Marcie2/20/2008

    Oh, I wish I could go, I wish I could go.

  4. ah yes... the white elephant. the mother of all big treasure troves.

    i think i might be staying away this time. i have enough stuff :)

  5. holy moly, how can i not have known about this??! swoony swoon. i am so there :) thanks for the tip!

  6. Woo!Hoo! Looks like I caught this post just in time - yay!

    Thank you very much for the notice...


  7. calicorey2/29/2008

    This is a real treasure hunt for the new, old and unusual. You never know what you will find or "discover". Always at a good price!

    One thing that has not been talked about is the type of people who go. They are from all walks of life; conservative businessmen, college students, retired people, alternative lifestyles, and others. It is a great place just to people watch. It is free to get in so the price is right.

    You may spend a few dollars. Your feet may hurt. But the effort and the time is well worth it.

    That great deal is just waiting for you. GO get it!


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.