Come late January, you can find your “Set of Drifters” en route to the Bay Area. Though the weather this time of year leaves a lot to be desired, the quick visit is one of our favorite traditions, and perhaps, it can be one of yours as well. Our main reason for making the trip is pilgrimage to Oakland’s “White Elephant Sale,” a gigantic rummage utopia held annually inside a warehouse near the wharf. All proceeds from the sale support the art/ natural history Oakland Museum of California, and with profits from 2013 exceeding $1.8 million, it appears OMCA’s concept is working!
From vintage furniture, artwork, electronics, books, records and stationary to glassware, clothing, jewelry, toys and sporting goods, the White Elephant’s got it. And what makes this ultimate thrift experience especially enjoyable is that each and every item is well-organized into 17 different departments, and priced well below what you might expect.
Volunteers from OMCA’s Women’s Board spend all year preparing for the sale, first collecting donations, then testing every single electronic device or pairing each vintage greeting card with its original vintage envelope. Now in its 55th year, the White Elephant attracts thousands of bargain-hunters from all over, many of them carrying iPhone bar scanners to search for that next great deal. Our advice? Maneuver your way into the January preview. Otherwise, you might find yourself with only scary old dolls to choose from. (They're in abundance here!)