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Items we cannot take

Why do we have a list of items we cannot take?

The White Elephant Sale has been a success for more than 60 years because of the generosity of our donors, the organizational efforts of the Oakland Museum Women’s Board and the tireless work of over 900 volunteers. 

But we face a few big challenges in hosting such a large sale:

  • We literally receive tons of donated items that are not in sellable condition
  • We redistribute donations to over 100 charities but still spent more than $10,000 to send unusable items to landfill this past year

Please take a close look at everything you are planning to donate and consider whether you or anyone you know would be willing to buy it. If not, we probably cannot use it.

We can never take any items that are:

  • Broken, damaged, stained or needing repair
  • Perishable or personal care items (e.g. food, wine, pharmacy, lotions, soaps, or other personal care items)
  • Bearing a corporate logo (e.g. office supplies, mugs, clothing), but we do take items with college and professional sports team logos
  • Personalized with names/initials (e.g. linens, towels, mugs, clothing), except silver or silver plate
  • Dangerous (e.g. ammunition, explosives, chemicals, flammable fluids)
  • Taxidermy, preserved animals, or animal parts (e.g., ivory, teeth or deer heads). Federal and California regulations prohibit selling the teeth or tusks of any animal, including antiques or other products made using ivory.

Van drivers have the right to refuse to take any donations for reasons for quality, size, or number of donations. Van drivers retain the right to refuse to pick up the donations if they have a concern about safety matters. Van drivers expect all contacts with donors will be safe and in keeping with government recommendations. All persons they come in contact with must be wearing a mask, even if the contact is outdoors. Van drivers will not tolerate harassment.

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Click on the link below for a listing of items we cannot accept for the 2022 White Elephant Sale.

Please read this list before preparing your donation.

Thank you for supporting the Oakland Museum of California!