The frustrations and anxieties post

Today I paid a visit to the police in an attempt to get back the bag of jewelry that was confiscated from me three months ago.

Unfortunately, I was told that the bag was “sent for destruction,” which might just means it went to a government auction. The woman working the desk told me that I was supposed to make a request if I wanted the items back. I had, of course, and I was told explicitly to come in today. That’s why I came in exactly three months later – they told me there was an “investigation” period before I could pick up the bag. I mentioned this and the clerk told me there must have been some sort of miscommunication.

Not much I can do really. It just sucks as even if it was just average vintage-y costume jewelry I may have been able to make a few hundred from it.

She also told me that if I had gotten the jewelry back I would not have been able to sell it for 10 years in case the rightful owner decided to claim it. That sounded pretty much insane to me, as if three months wasn’t long enough already.

I’d say that my mood is “moderately annoyed” as a result. I’ll just have to keep picking I guess!

Finds have been a bit hard to come by lately. There’s a lot of things on the curb as July 1st (the big moving day in Montreal) nears but a lot of it is the typical junk people leave behind when they move. Nothing too exciting or worthy of a post.

I think I’ve pushed myself a little too hard and craved the big finds a bit too much recently. It’s taken some of the fun out of the hunt. I have to go into it with more of a meditative mindset going forward. My specific form of trash picking requires a lot of patience and without that I’m going to have a bad time. There’s simply not enough interesting stuff on a day to day (or even week to week) basis to constantly fulfil some craving for gold, silver, and other treasures.

My fear (bordering on phobia) of getting bedbugs have also been stressful. Bedbugs are scary mostly because I have room-mates. They have the ability to turn this cool thing I’m doing into something burdensome, both for myself and for the people around me. Suddenly I’d have a hard time bragging about my finds, people might not introduce me and my blog to others with the same vigour, and so on. There’s a lot of fear in our society related to bedbugs which I think speaks mostly to the level of comfort that the citizens of the first world have come to expect. It’s definitely understandable though, as they are fairly unpleasant to have around.

Usually you can tell when things are being thrown out because of bedbugs. However, when I’m particularly focused on them I lose my sense of intuition (which is quite accurate I think) and see them in all trash. I leave things behind that I might otherwise take out of this fear. If only I had a shed or back yard or something it would all be a bit easier.

Regardless, this fear comes and goes. Sometimes it’s intense and irrational and sometimes it’s mild and helpful. Overall I must be doing something right as my track record for not getting bedbugs is pretty damn good.

My goal for the rest of the “Summer of Garbage” is to treat the hunt as a sort of meditation as opposed to a appetitive quest for gold, jewels, and other treasures. Wanting things more never did anyone any good (especially while looking for needles in haystacks). I’ll also try to have a bit more faith in my natural bedbug detection skills.


I found a few things on Monday in a little corner of Outremont (near Jeanne-Mance park) that I never thought to explore before. Someone was cleaning out a house and put some things, most of which looked to be from a kitchen, out on the side of the road. This little box is an old slide projector. It needs a bulb and the wiring on the back is a bit sketchy but I think it’s fine overall. I saw one like it selling for about 25 on Ebay.


I also found this humidity gauge. As you can see it’s pretty humid right now!


Finally, a little book of fish recipes from 1948. Surely someone will give me a little bit for this at a yard sale.

Today’s a day off. It looks like there’ll be a fair bit of rain this week, which isn’t particularly good for the picking.

11 thoughts on “The frustrations and anxieties post”

  1. well, that thing with the bag of jewellry sounds dodgy (on their part/not yours)….

    they tell you to pick it up in three months/you go there/it is “destroyed”/they can destroy it in three months but tell you that you would have to wait ten yrs??? WTF? Did she really say TEN yrs? sounds ridiculous.

    did you take a snap of it when you picked it up? if so, i would suggest you make up a lost and found poster, trot it around to said police and ask nicely if they have “found” it.

    assume you have a digital camera? might be good insurance to take a snap of any items, immediately. that way, you would have some “proof”, later if kindly police again take it to “look for owner”..(or whatever)..

    maybe I am just odd, but it sounds dodgy.

    1. Yeah … sounds dodgy to me too. Looks like you got quite the run around from the boys in blue. The weather is looking cloudy, but non-rainy tomorrow … so good luck on your wanderings.

      1. you know, it occurs to me, you keep saying this “picking” and blog are a “limited time event”, so to speak… occurs to me I will miss it when it is gone.

        i hope you consider to continue, at least in a limited form

        i have found it interesting/educating/fun/much more

        have only been following short while, but already you have me “hooked”….

        maybe you can consider to continue, make the blog a bit more commercial (adds), so it is worth your while.

        1. Well, luckily for you I don’t plan on ever truly quitting trash picking 🙂 I might not treat it like a full-time job of sorts as I do now, but I’m sure it’ll always be something I do at least once in a while! At the very least it’s always a fun diversion to take a walk or a bike ride while there’s some trash out. The main reason I state October as the end point of this project is because people don’t tend to throw out as much in the winter here in MTL and it’s not as easy to get around and look at all the stuff. Even so, I’m not in a rush to get a “real job” quite yet so I may continue past that. Either way, the posts will keep coming.

    2. Yup, 10 years. She said that I could have kept it for that time I would have been unable to sell it. It all seems dodgy to me as well but I don’t think there is much I can do.

      That’s one of the main reasons I more often than not take a picture of where I find the items. That way I can say, well look at all these bags on the curb, that’s where I got the stuff (in case something goes wrong).

      I don’t have a picture of the jewelry unfortunately. I’ll make a bit more of an effort to catalogue these things in the future.

  2. hmmm…I bet those good buddies are laughing up their sleeves, serve and protect indeed,
    serving and protecting their own blackened hearts and wallets

    I am agog at the many pieces of jewelry you’ve found

    Yeah, I worry about bedbugs too, I would not feel very clever if I ever inadvertently brought them home, I have the idea if people leave stuff outside the bins it is a gift or offering of goodness, also I let things simmer outside in the heat or freeze in the cold just in case,
    hot wash and hot dry for clothes, bedding, down comforters

    1. Generally good advice. Things in black bags left in the sun generally get to a good temperature to kill them (if only I had a back yard to leave some bags in!). The cold actually isn’t super effective, though leaving things out for a while in the winter should work too (assuming there’s some super cold days mixed in there)

      1. that bed bugs is a tough one from what I hear on the radio. apparently there have been a lot of Public Libraries which have had to do extensive spraying due to bedbugs (go figure?)…So, I wonder, how often they just pitch the books…?

        re washing/laundry of applicable items… I was once told by someone (who should know), that it is very good to wash items, but it is not the washing / laundry soap part which will kill the bedbugs/other bugs/eggs/larvae…. It is the heat of the dryer..or RATHER… it is the heat of the dryer combined with wet, to create a very hot steam heat. They seemed pretty adamant that the hot steam heat type thing was the most necessary aspect.

        also heard on the radio (gosh, not sure what show I was listening to), they said that freezing, even in a deep freeze would not necessarily do these in.

        wonder if soaking item in Rubbing Alcohol (tends to penetrate things/might penetrate the shell/eggs/larvae), or Peroxide.. would do bugs etc in?

  3. There has to be a garbling on the jewelry. 10 years can’t be right. But it also seems like they are trying to apply something to you that is a requirement elsewhere. Pawnshops have to follow some rules, I don’t know exactly what but it probably entails checking with the police and keeping the items for a certain time before they can be sold. But not ten years. And even if there are rules for individuals selling used, it would just be way out of public view. The police don’t stop at every garage sale to make sure every time belongs to the seller, and if they bought it used, go back and check to make sure it wasn’t stolen or whatever at the previous garage sale. That there might be some rules about this would be fine, that they don’t actually point you to it is the problem.

    I thought bedbugs needed a certain environment to survive. That certainly includes people, but softer things like mattresses and clothing. I can’t believe hard things would be a welcome place, so it makes no sense to bring home that mattress, but I don’t see much reason to fuss over a lot of things. Not for bedbugs at least, apparently one can find all kinds of other creatures in things that one should be worried about. That said, I found a nice North Face jacket at McGill last year, and I just washed it a few times, didn’t overly fuss. One issue with bedbugs is that they live on the bed, and sofas, things that are not easy to clean, while clothing is very easy to pop into a washing machine.

    If I find an ipod, I’ll fantasize about finding another one, but likely won’t. I actually make a list in the spring of things I’d like to find, oddly it usually includes some things I found the previous year and hope to find again. It’s a “wish list”, and except for mundane things, I never really fill it. But something else comes along and that becomes the thing to dream of finding more of.

    Anything will be thrown out, but that doesn’t mean it will happen regularly, or that you will find it. Finding jewelry and money multiple times seems better than average, though you are actually digging into the bags. Has your quota been filled on that? Or is it just a matter of keeping at it?

    I’ve never seen an electric guitar in the garbage, nor real money, nor a two-way radio.
    I did see a guitar amplifier once. So are you luckier than me in that regard? But I’ve found other things I thought I’d never find.

    One of the problem is that many of the things tossed have been declared “not valuable”. All those toaster ovens, wifi routers, cable and satellite boxes, inkjet printers (even laser printers now, last year I saw three in one week), anything commonly seen, they should have a resale value, but probably don’t. Too common as new items, they are also readily available used, if someone doesn’t just haul one home from the garbage. Which is one difference between looking for neat things for yourself, and looking for things that can be resold.

    July 1st moving garbage is a different thing from the rest of the year. It’s high density and while sometimes it seems like just dumping, it likely is sorted to some extent first. So no, it’s not the time to find jewelry or money, things stuffed in somewhere and forgotten. It’s more about a last minute decision “we’ll never use that, leave it”. There will be plenty of interesting things, though perhaps not things that will bring in money. I’ve found digital cameras, I find that neat. If I was selling them, I probably couldn’t sell them, everyone wants a better camera. That last one I found had a 1gig SD card in it, something useful in itself. I found two 320gig hard drives last spring (sometime during the period of McGill moving out and July 1st), my mind boggles that someone would toss those. I’ve found movies, on VHS and DVD, things I wanted to watch. I will be out there because it would nag at me if I don’t, what am I missing. I’ll find some things, I’ll ignore a lot, I’ll wonder what I missed had I gone that way instead of this way. If I needed a new laser printer or LCD monitor, I’d be looking for those, and likely find them. And July 1st, like McGill Moveout, is the time when the garbage is easy, the big mounds often not in bags, making it easy to look over. It’s like the image of California in “The Grapes of Wrath”, such a lush time that you just have to walk down a block and find something interesting. LIttle effort required.


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