Fire Dept, Dress Best for Less ask residents to think before donating

Dumping had also becoming a problem at DBFL's Marking Room.

They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, but honestly that isn’t always the case. Sometimes trash is just trash.

Dress Best for Less (DBFL) has been earning money for Piedmont schools for more than 30 years by reselling clothing and other items. We could not do this without the generous donations from all of you in our community. However, we have noticed that in addition to some wonderful, resalable items, we are also getting a lot of items that we cannot resell.  

These items are often left piled up outside our Marking Room location at 799 Magnolia Avenue, creating the appearance of a town dump. Those huge piles of items create a fire and safety hazard for our community as well as our wonderful volunteers who have to sort through all donations by hand.

DBFL has started partnering with the Piedmont Fire Department to address the dumping issues at the Marking Room location. Leaving items outside creates a fire hazard that can jeopardize not only DBFL, but also the surrounding neighborhood, which includes the community pool, schools, tennis courts and the Center for the Arts.  

In the coming months, we will reconfigure the space outside of our Marking Room location to make it safer for our donors and for our community. The donation bin will be moved to the corner of the parking lot. Additionally, we will remove the big sorting table where people often leave donations. The goal is to keep ignitable items away from the carriage house building – keeping DBFL and the surrounding neighborhood safe.     

“Fighting a fire or rescuing the occupants of the Marking Room would be a significant challenge” according to Fire Chief Bret Black. He further explained, “The amount of ignitable material both inside and outside the business would quickly exceed our abilities and is not permitted under the fire code.” Piedmont Fire Department has been collaborating with DBFL for the past year to increase the safety features of the building. These features include installation of a new, monitored fire alarm system and extra fire extinguishers. 

“Even with these extra measures, it’s a simple question of math. The amount of ignitable material will exceed any fire department’s ability to be effective. Our goal is to ensure the safety of the occupants, the employees and our firefighters. It is my hope we can find a way to significantly reduce the amount of dumping at The Marking Room. The Fire Department wants to see the conditions improve in a manner that allows us to permit the Marking Room to continue its operations and support the Piedmont Schools,” describes Chief Black. But, we need everyone’s help to make this initiative successful.  

Here are some tips about donating to DBFL. Donations are accepted only at our Marking Room location at 799 Magnolia Avenue.

Please DO:

  • Donate only items we can sell – high quality, clean and good condition items. Ask yourself, “Would I pay $5 for this?” If the answer is no, please don’t donate it to DBFL.  
  • Put your gently used clothing and accessories in a tied up bag and drop into the white metal donation bin. This keeps those items safe and dry. If the bin is full, please come back during business hours. Do not leave items outside the bin.
  • Donate breakable items or items that don’t fit in the donation bin during business hours (Tuesday & Wednesday from 9am – 4pm and Saturday from 10am – 12noon).

Please DON’T:

  • Leave items outside on the table or ground. Piling items outside creates a fire hazard and attracts thieves who pick through the items, creating a bigger mess.
  • Donate items that we cannot resell. This includes: 
  • Large Furniture & Household Items: Sofas, desks, large rugs and filing cabinets.  
  • Electronics: TVs, stereos, computers and printers
  • Auto & Chemical: Tires, car batteries, solvents and paints
  • Reference book or textbooks
  • Baby Items: Car seats, cribs and swings
  • Food:  Please donate any food items to a local food bank
  • Stained, ripped or dirty clothing

Remember, if you wouldn’t pay $5 (or more) for something, please don’t donate it to DBFL. Salvation Army offers free pick up service ( Piedmont residents can also call Richmond Sanitary Service at (800) 320-8077 to schedule a free bulky items and eWaste pick up.  

Questions?  Visit the DBFL website ( or call the Marking Room at (510) 653-0221 during business hours.

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