Recent sales (October 10 – November 6)

I’d like to thank everyone for their comments on my last post! I don’t have time to reply to all of them, but it’s good to get positive as well as constructive feedback. I also enjoyed reading people’s trash picking related stories. There ended up being a lot more comments than I ever would have expected (I’m pretty sure we beat the record for the most on a single blog post), and that certainly helped to remind me that a lot of people care about garbage, history, and reducing waste.

I’ve taken some days off this week to allow my brain to reset. It’s already been hard to resist the allure of garbage, which means that I should be good to go soon enough.

Otherwise, I plan on continuing with the full-time picking, perhaps switching up my schedule so that I go out more often in the mornings. I think that will make me less intimidating to concerned citizens. However, if I see an opportunity for a cool job I may take it. Sometimes I miss working with other people and being part of a group. As things are now I do most of my work alone, and that can feel pretty isolating. But I sure won’t be quitting my reasonably well paid garbage work to become a dishwasher or anything like that, and I’ll definitely continue picking and posting even if I do happen to find a different line of work.

Anyways, here’s a list of recent sales. Or, as they can otherwise be referred to, things that probably would have been destroyed if not for my trash picking.

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1. Yard sale: 400$. Thankfully the weather cooperated and offered me one more nice weekend day for a yard sale. There’s now snow on the ground, so it’s likely that this sale was the last of the year, though I might end up selling some stuff at an indoor market event sometime in December.

This year I organized fewer sales, but in general made more money per sale. It’s a strategy I imagine I’ll employ again next year. Yard sales are hard work, and doing more of them doesn’t seem to actually result in more money.

My advertising skills got a lot better as the year went on, basically because I found this sandwich board in the trash. I used it for my last two sales and they were among my most successful of the year. In fact, I think the 400$ from this sale might have made it my most profitable ever. It seems obvious now that having a good sign on a busy intersection would help, to the point where I probably should have just bought one earlier in life. Oh well!

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2. Vintage hand-made church / creche: On Kijiji for 40$. I always liked this thing. If I had a bigger place I might have used it as a decoration but alas I don’t have anywhere to put a 2′ tall church. I’m guessing it was made in the 50s or 60s. It was definitely some kind of nativity scene despite the fact that Jesus wasn’t born in a church. It took a while to sell, but the guy who bought it seemed to like it a lot. Found not far from my last place in the Plateau.

3. Anime DVDs: 3 different titles for a total of 75$. I’m starting to run low on anime DVDs. Once they’re all gone maybe I’ll look back and figure out how much I earned from the collection. I’d guess that it’s close to 1000$, making it a very good find. Found last fall in the Plateau.

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4. Vintage Oldfellows sash: On eBay for 25$. This went to a buyer in Australia. Found in Westmount last summer.

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5. Trippen heels: On eBay for 175$. I consider myself pretty good at recognizing when something has value. However, when it comes to clothes and shoes I know very little, and to be honest find the whole category intimidating. I don’t feel confident about sizing (when it’s off, you’re getting a return), I’m not good at recognizing what people actually want to buy, and I don’t have a good setup for taking photos, though this is more of a problem for clothes than shoes. In the end, I just don’t understand fashion besides what looks good on me personally (and sometimes not even that).

However, I seem to have gotten lucky with these Trippen heels. I found them in January, and threw them in the car because they were leather and looked to be in good condition. They came from a rich neighbourhood, so I thought it was slightly more likely that they were designer and expensive. As it turns out Trippen is a fairly desirable designer brand, and once I actually listed them (about eight months after I found them) they sold within a week for a very nice price.

I guess shoes aren’t really so bad. At least they’re easy to take photos of. Clothes though, I can’t see myself getting into that market anytime soon.

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6. Unopened vintage 1960s can of Nestle Quik: On eBay for 100$. I found these cans way back in February, and one of you mentioned that sometimes these old tins sell for pretty good money. I did some research and found one that sold at auction for almost 700 CAD$ which really surprised me.

My can wasn’t quite as old as that one, and the “free 6oz” thing probably detracts from the value a bit given that it’s not the classic design, but it was still very cool and I decided to list my Quik tin for a ridiculous price (I think 500$ to start, and then I lowered it to 300$ at some point). I didn’t really expect it to sell for that much but I figured I might as well try. I mostly forgot about it until I got an email recently from someone offering me 100$. I figured that was a pretty good deal – it was still a lot more than I ever would have expected to make selling ancient, long expired chocolate powder.

Now that this can is gone, maybe it’s time to list the other one. Especially with Christmas coming. I actually like collecting old food tins, especially stuff that was never opened, but I’m too broke to justify not making three figures when I know it’s possible. Found on Beaconsfield road in NDG.

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7. iPod Classic 80gb: On eBay for 100$. This was the most valuable of the many iPods I found in the Plateau this year.

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8. Sterling silver bottle decoration: On eBay for 23$. I found this almost three years ago. It took a while to sell, but that’s partly because I had it overpriced for some time. It says l’chaim, which is a Hebrew toast that translates to “to life.”

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9. Inoxcrom sterling silver pen set: On eBay for 120$. Found this February.

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10. Collection of miniature perfumes: On eBay for 35$. I’ll probably list another lot of miniatures soon. I could earn more selling them individually, but doing that takes a lot more time and effort.

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11. Logitech Harmony 650 universal remote: On eBay for 35$. This thing sold really quickly. Found a few weeks ago in Outremont.

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12. Vintage Pelikan fountain pen box: On eBay for 19$. Found last year in Hampstead.

13. Lot of Jewish pins: On eBay for 13$. I had these listed for a lonngggg time. I’m just glad they’re gone.

14. Vintage mother of pearl compact: To a reader on Etsy for 26$.

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15. Finder’s fee: 100$. I guess this counts as income!

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15. Perfumes: To a reader for 400$. This included all the Guerlains, most of the Chanels and some others. I still have lots to list! This junked perfume was easily one of my best finds of the year.

Total: 1660$, 19484$ since the new year. I’ll need a good Christmas season if I want to reach my goal of 24k.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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The Future

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It’s been pretty slim pickings the past few weeks. It’s hard not to get discouraged, especially given the experience I had with the police recently. At first I was mostly annoyed by it. However, being punished for trash picking also reminds me that scavengers are pariahs to a sizable portion of society.

Feeling like an outcast kind of sucks, and it’s gotten to my head a bit. I’ve become more concerned about the opinions of other people, and more afraid that people might see me picking and tell me to buzz off or call the police. Not to mention that after being treated like a criminal, I have to wonder if the police actually suspect I am a criminal.

If I had found anything good in the past few weeks I probably wouldn’t be thinking as much about it. But I’ve barely found anything at all, which leads to thoughts about whether this is a reliable line of work, especially after accounting for the fact that I’ll have issues with police and neighbourhood security types as long as I do it. It makes me wonder if I should find a “real job.” It’d be nice if going back to school was an option, but that’s a no go because as a dumb kid I decided to spend my student loan money on two more or less useless degrees, and only realized I had no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life after it was almost over.

However, it’s also true that trash picking might be more important now than it has ever been. I don’t want to get too political here, but Donald Trump was just elected President, and the guy doesn’t seem to believe at all in climate change. In fact he has said that it’s all a Chinese conspiracy. I’ve personally saved (literally!) tonnes of great stuff from going to landfill, and I know for a fact that this blog has encouraged people to try their hand at scavenging. The more people trash pick, the more we can mitigate the effects of a Donald Trump presidency and our wasteful, throwaway society.

So, unless some great opportunity presents itself it’s probably best that I keep on keeping on and learn not to be affected by the haters hate. I’m still confident that there’s enough garbage out there to keep me going financially. However, I’m also going to put some thought into re-branding, or maybe changing the way I pick. I’ll let you know if I make any changes.

In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if you could tell me in the comments why you think trash picking is cool! I presume you do, since you read this blog. But it might help me remember that not everyone thinks that scavengers are low-life deviants. I’d also enjoy reading some of your trash picking stories, including best finds, best & worst encounters with other people, and so on.

Today I’ll share with you some of my finds from the past few weeks, and some stuff from earlier than I never got around to mentioning. At the top of the page was my best find from last week – a non-functioning Xbox 360 with lots of accessories. The 360 doesn’t power on, and none of the basic stuff I did to try to fix it worked. Still, I’m sure someone can fix it, or maybe just use it for parts. I put the whole lot on Kijiji for 50$, which is a good deal considering how much comes with it.

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This alarm clock was part of the great week I had about a month ago. It was found under some cassettes in a garbage can while taking a walk in the Mile End. The clock is an old Westclox “Big Ben” that was made in Peterborough Ontario sometime in the 20s or 30s. It works great and is quite attractive, though the ticking is way too loud for me to personally enjoy. I have it listed on eBay for 85$ + shipping.

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One of the cassettes was this Feldenkrais lesson from 1980. It’s kind of funny because one of my best friends, and sometimes lender of car is a Feldenkrais practitioner. It’s not valuable or anything, but my friend certainly appreciated it!

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I returned to the spot that earned me a “finders fee” and found a bunch of ripped up trash bags. Someone else had gotten there before me and did a crappy job at not making a mess. I presume they found some good stuff as well. Regardless, I dug around to see if there was anything they missed and found a small sterling silver dish, a Mexican silver bangle, a few miscellaneous pins, and an alpaca hair comb. The dish is the best find of the bunch – it weighs about 60 grams, making it worth about 30$ in scrap.

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If you have any ideas as to what this is let me know! It’s about six inches long, looks like a bouquet, comes in a nice box, and is totally unmarked. The base tests positive for silver, and the black bits at the end smell like some kind of incense. I posted it on the “what is this thing” subreddit and the best guess was that is was an atypical aspergillum (or the thing use to sprinkle holy water). I’m not particularly confident in that though, so let me know if you have any better guesses.

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Let’s finish off with this collection of eight seemingly brand new pairs of jeans I found in a bag near Square St-Louis. Some even had their original tags. They’re all different sizes, so I suspect that maybe their previous owner managed a clothing store. Most were made by a relatively new local brand (I won’t say which one, because it might hurt their business if someone Googles their name and finds out that someone threw out a bunch of their jeans) and a few others were Levi’s. These should sell for 5-10$ each at future yard sale.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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Perfumes / video gear / yard sale!

I’ve decided to do a yard sale tomorrow. The weather isn’t ideal (8 degrees and mostly sunny) but it’ll do. I probably won’t have any more opportunities this year unless there’s an unusually warm spell in the coming weeks. The Weather Network is saying that it will be 4 degrees with flurries next Saturday which tells me that the end of yard sale season is quickly approaching. Anyways, it would be nice to unload some stuff and get the storage space organized (it’s a bit of a disaster right now) before the snow comes. You can find me at 4100 Coloniale near Duluth, and I should be there between 11am – 5pm.

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I’ve found lots of stuff recently, so there should be plenty to see even if you came to my last sale! Perhaps this haul of vintage video gear interests you. I have no idea / no ability / no interest in actually testing the stuff, so I’ll give good deals to anyone willing to take a risk of them not working. I have a couple of VHS camcorders, a Super 8 recorder, and some other doohickeys including a projection screens.

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My best haul of late was definitely this collection of perfume, which I found about a month ago now. It came from the same place as that other collection of perfume. They were all in trash bags and it took me a good while to sort them out from the junk (there were also lots of cosmetic products that don’t age well, like creams). It was well worth the effort though – I think this collection will eventually net me over a grand!

These won’t be at the yard sale, save for the bottles that are mostly empty, but I could bring a few if someone makes a special request. Some of these scents are quite valuable, but I can offer a discount to those who can come pick them up. Just send me an email if you want a price list. Just know that some have already sold, and some are listed on eBay.

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I used my light box to take these photos. You can see that the colour is a bit off in a couple of them, and the edges of the box are visible. The subject was a bit large for the box. Regardless, it was a lot easier taking the photos this way than it would have been to stack them all outside.

These are some of the more valuable scents. The Guerlains are already gone, as is the Balenciaga Rumba. The twisty bottle with the red perfume is by Guess and appears to be quite desirable for whatever reason. So is the Snob by Le Galion. The bottle second from the left at the bottom is Bal à Versailles by Jean Desprez.

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There were many bottles of Balenciaga’s Quadrille and Le Dix.

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From this batch I’ve already sold the Chanel and the Ted Lapidus.

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I went back the next week and found very little of interest. However, I did come across the cap to the Guess by Marciano, the only cap I was missing from the whole lot. So that was something!

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It’s a great collection. I’m guessing someone inherited it and didn’t care about perfumes in the least. Who else would throw all these away? Certainly not someone who appreciates scents!

Pickings have been pretty slim the past couple of weeks. The crappy weather is probably partially to blame, but so are the police. I didn’t bother going out on my usual Tuesday night run because of that encounter. I’m not sure what I’ll do yet about all that, but I may have to revamp my schedule and start going out in the mornings sometimes. Either way, I my luck improves soon.

Anyways, come to my sale if you can! I’d like to unload as much as possible before winter comes.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to Garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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