A time to tarot

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Yesterday was even colder and windier than Monday and I didn’t stay out especially long. The only things I brought home (other than that tent from the second-hand post below) were from here.

I stopped for the plastic box. There was a power drill inside and I took it home. It didn’t work – the battery seems to be mostly dead – but I put it on Craigslist and a couple of people emailed me back. Someone’s supposed to come pick it up soon, so that’s good.

tarot cards grand belline

Inside the bags were lots of screws, nails, and other toolsy stuff. There was also this pack of tarot cards. I know nothing of tarot but the cards are really beautifully designed and in fantastic shape. The same deck of cards sold for 56$ on Ebay, but the box is a bit dinged up so it’d likely go for a bit less.

watches and pocketwatch

There were also three watches including a cool pocketwatch. They all need batteries but look fine. I’ll put them up for cheap at a future yard sale.

It’s cool and windy again today so I’ll take this opportunity to poke through my bag of jewelry. I should have a post about my favorite pieces later tonight or tomorrow.

Site news: I created a facebook page for the blog. Type “Things I find in the garbage” into your search and you’ll find it!

I also created a subreddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/garbagepics/) that anyone can use to post pictures of the trash they find. I’m not sure if this will take off (or if it’s the best medium) but the tool is there if you want it.

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13 thoughts on “A time to tarot

  1. Spencer Robbs says:

    You are som right on in your observation that second-hand stores throw out a lot of good stuff in the trash.That is why since the last two years my girlfriend and I donate extra clothes directly by putting ads in the Free section of Craigslist instead of donating them to a church or second-hand store.We discovered clothes-dumping on garbage day in our church in LaSalle,and stopped donating clothes.

  2. Lorna says:

    What an amazing looking pocket watch and wonderful tarot cards.

  3. Larissa says:

    If the Montreal Mirror was still publishing,you would get a lot of positive coverage in the print press.Mainstream newspapers apparently do not like to criticize hyperconsumerism and wastefulness too much.You do a great job of exposing our wastefulness—I only wish you could get even more publicity.

  4. If those Tarot cards had been English ones, I’d have liberated you of them. 🙂

  5. Jasmine Caras says:

    Your blog is wonderful and your dumpster diving spots must be great.But I live far from the Plateau ,in Verdun.Can you tell us about great dumpster diving spots in Verdun and anglo montreal?I have been looking for a scavenging blog based in English Montreal.I cannot find any.Maybe you will explore the trash in anglo Montreal as the weather warms and write about it.

    • martng says:

      I definitely plan on exploring Verdun at some point when it gets warmer outside. I’ll keep my eye out for good dumpster diving locations as well!

    • Garbage isn’t a spectator sport. People put it out, some people look for interesting things in the garbage.

      Don’t expect other people to check the garbage for you. Even if someone reports finding stuff, that doesn’t mean it’s a reliable place, most garbage is one person tossing things now, it doesn’t become a constant source of neat things.

      Yes, some stores may be a source of things, but common sense should point them out. Food stores are likely to toss things, if you are looking for specific things pay attention to the stores you pass, especially on garbage day. But even then, just because that computer store tossed out some good stuff one week doesn’t mean every week they’ll toss things. The only real way to go is to check on garbage day. Everyone so “shocked” by the things found in the garbage clearly haven’t been doing their part. Watch for rummage sales, and then pass by afterwards, the group may toss plenty of leftovers afterwards.

      The reality is, people often don’t see neat things. They just see “garbage” and practically look away. I pass a public garbage can and I glance down, just in case something interesting is there. Someone tosses a cordless phone, or cable amplifiers, or magazines, wire is incredibly common, or books, sometimes there’s even carefully wrapped food. People don’t see it because they don’t look, yet these are things I’ve seen right at the top.

      A couple of years ago I was walking along Decarie, a street that I hadn’t been on for some years. The sidewalks are empty, except suddenly there’s a box. I
      automatically look inside, and there is an older electronic voltmeter. No other garbage, no obvious store front that it might have come from. I was probably the only one walking along there that afternoon who would value it, but likely most people never looked. It was an absolutely random occurance.

      People toss things because they are moving. A neighborhood where people rent, and move often, is much more likely to offer things than where people own their own homes. People without cars are more likely to toss, because they haven’t got the means or time to take things to some “proper” place. Otherwise, people just keep their stuff, there’s no rush to get rid of it, they can hold out for a higher price, they can take things to places that accept donations,

      What’s completely missing in this discussion is garage sales. Yes, you generally to have to pay for things, but you don’t have to dig through garbage. But it mirrors things tossed in the garbage, in that people are generally getting rid of things in anticipation of a move. If they aren’t moving, then it’s trinkets and baubles, and they’ll take the stuff back inside if it doesn’t sell. Or endless books, clothing, and toys for children, that’s one thing that people get rid of without moving. Go out to a large street sale in Westmount or Montreal West and lots of houses may have sales, but a lot of it will be for children, because their kids have grown up but they are staying in the same house.

      If someone is moving, their prices will be lower than someone who is just “clearing things out”. It will also be the more interesting stuff. Like that $5 GPS unit I got at one sale, “It doesn’t do maps”. It didn’t matter that I paid five dollars for it, it would have been only an incrementally better find if I’d found it in the garbage.

      There is nothing “purer” about not spending money, the difference between buying at a garage sale or finding in the garbage is fairly small. Yet if people are “tsking” about the things found in the garbage, they should at least be checking garage sales since it’s the same stuff, easier to look over, and a step away from the garbage. It’s precisely because people are not buying enough used things that they get tossed, the rummage sales getting way more than they can sell, etc.

      Go when it’s nice, because then it’s a walk on a nice day, the garbage being an excuse for the walk. if you find nothing, you’ve had a good walk. If you find something, it’s incentive to check again, you start imagining what you might find the next time. If you don’t find much, it puts a damper on things. Right now is awful, the weather not yet warm, so you likely will go out and be disappointed. If it’s on the way to a store or some other trip, then you’re going out anyway. But if you’re making a special trip, it’s easy to pass it by right now, next week will be better. And while it might nag at you about what might be missed by staying in, it’s an absolute that there will be more garbage later.

      Finding garbage is easy. Finding something specific is pretty random. Value is only what you can make use of, which explains that time I found neat stuff on one end of a pile, while someone else was gladly pulling soda cans off the other end. He needed a big bag of cans to get even $2.00, but he could process that and the money was guaranteed, without any fuss. That 60gig iPod is only useful if I spend money for a new battery for it, that hot glue gun I found last spring within three days of noticing the foot had broken off mine saved me a very real five dollars or so. Furniture is really common, and obvious, and not very moveable. I have found mundane things right when I needed them, the most valuable finds since they saved me from spending money. But I’ve also found things that might be useful, and then they do come into use. Other finds are just “neat”I don’t need another digital camera. Mundane things are most likely to find a use, esoteric things need the right person to find them.

      Michael

  6. Nina Ambroise says:

    As a result of your blog a few more people in Montreal and elsewhere in North America dumpster-dive and check out the trash;this helps the environment for sure and helps struggling students like me to reduce their student debtload.You showed how a number of second-hand stores in the Plateau throw out good stuff.If you could write on your blog which second-hand stores in other boroughs also throw out good stuff,maybe even more good stuff would be rescued.Only some people scavenge randomly;others go somewhere to scavenge if they know beforehand the store is dumping good stuff in the bins in trash day.I look for bargains on knickknacks,stationery,furniture,art supplies,etc.If I find them in a trash bin,I rescue them.But I feel very depressed if I see a dead person’s belongings dumped on the street and may leave that pile alone.I do not also eat food found in dumpsters,except if a can has not been opened at all.I am very afraid of getting salmonella or some kind of food poisoning.Hopefully you can tell me about where to look for free knickknacks,makeup supplies,art supplies,stationary,etc in the trash in other neighborhoods.If you do not tell us the address of the secondhand store that throws out great stuff,just mention the name of the store or street name.

  7. Samira Hammam says:

    I liked your posting on the ‘give boxes’in Rosemont.Please let us know on your blog if there are ‘give boxes’ in Cote Des Neiges .I live there.

    • martng says:

      This one I go to is actually in the Mile-End, but there are other traditional charity dropoffs. I may go to CDN at some point, but you can also check out their facebook page (I think it’s “Givebox Montreal” for more info.

  8. Dale Weiss says:

    Wednesday morning or Tuesday night is a very busy time for scavengers.Westmount and Outremont have recycling pickup on Wednesday morning. Griffintown and Little Burgundy also has garbage/recycling pickup on Wednesday.Even in several westerm boroughs,Wednesday morning is trash pickup time.So plan Wednesday mornings wisely and make the most of them.

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