Two years in the garbage business!


Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the creation of this blog! Click here if you want to see the (very) humble beginnings. Since those early days I’ve become a better writer and photographer. I’ve also become a master trash-picker. I don’t have any plans to quit any-time soon and definitely look forward to doing this all through the summer, I think it’ll be a good one.

I was a vendor at a sustainability fair at Concordia yesterday as well, selling my wares and talking to people about salvaging. It’s nice to see my things sparking people’s curiosity. I particularly like it when an object finds a good home. I made over 250$ in total. Considering these profits and a temp job I’ll be working at the end of April I should be financial secure for a while.



I also ended up finding some really good trash by chance. I had planned on taking the morning off – the event started at 11 and it was best if I got in around 10 to set up. That didn’t leave a ton of time for trash hunting. I decided that it was best to rest more and go to the event at the top of my game.

However, life got in the way. I woke up at 3:30AM, five hours before my 8:30 alarm. I knew that I wasn’t going to get back to sleep because I was stressing about the sale. I had to find a way to kill some time, and hunting through trash seemed like as good as choice as any. I made my way towards the Tuesday morning pick-up in Hampstead and NDG.

Hampstead produced nothing. NDG was bare as well until I approached this collection of things near Monkland. Not long after I arrived I heard the garbage truck coming up the road. By then, knowing there were good things to be taken, I stashed most of it in and next to the car until the truck passed, leaving the carpet behind to be sacrificed. In this part of NDG they clear the trash one side of the street at a time, meaning that I was conveniently able to leave what I didn’t want on the other side of the street.


I took both suitcases. They need a good cleaning but I think they’ll be fine.


Inside the small suitcases were a few treasures:


The mirror and brush are both marked International Sterling. These are true antiques worth easily around 50$ a piece. Both need cleaning but that won’t take long at all.



This comb is also marked International Sterling. The teeth are made of faux tortoiseshell. It’s worth another 30-40$.



With the mark “Parisien Ivory Loonen France” printed on the handles, I originally assumed these two pieces were made of ivory. However, they are both made of celluloid, a vintage plastic from back in the day that mimicked it well. Even though it’s an unethical material (for mass cosmetic consumption anyway), I was a little disappointed mostly because I have yet to see a true ivory piece. Regardless, these are somewhat collectible. The set would probably sell for 40-50$.



There was more silverware inside this Reitman’s bag.


I can’t find marks on a couple of these pieces but they are surely old silverplate. They’re all heavily tarnished but in great condition.


This one’s marked Rideau Plate. There are a few things etched on the bottom but I can’t make them out. I couldn’t find any similar bowls on Ebay, but a similarly ornate tray created a bidding war and eventually sold for 180$.


This little covered tray is was made by WMA Rogers. I’m not sure what its specific function is.


I couldn’t find a mark on this one, though the design looks a bit similar to the Rideau Plate bowl. I also don’t know what this is for, my guess would be sugar as there’s a hole to put a spoon in on the side.


The salt shakers are marked BP for Benedict Proctor. They’re silver plated lead which to be honest I’m not sure I’d want to put food in, though it’s unlikely that the plate inside the shakers would ever be damaged. There’s a pair on Ebay going for 29$.


Some odds and ends from the bottom of the bag. I’m not sure where (or if) the handle fits into things but it also appears to be silver plate. I’m guessing the piece in the back is missing something, though for all I know maybe it’s supposed to be like that.


In addition to the silver I also found a few tools.


I really like the old Pradel pocket knife. I think I’ll keep it, these things are handy!


Last but not least is this old Norman Rockwell print. I had heard of him but I was never familiar with his work. I like this image a lot, it’s simultaneously realistic, idealistic and somehow relaxing. I don’t think it’s worth much, though being nicely framed I could get 20$ – if I want to sell it, that is. All these items were about one minute away from being destroyed, making the experience extra satisfying.

Today’s trip to TMR was surprisingly unproductive. I found a few neat things at one place, but I think I’ll save those for another post.

I haven’t decided what I’ll do tomorrow. I’m thinking of going to Westmount for the first time in about six years, though the end of the month at Rosemont can also be a good run. I’ll keep you posted regardless.

If you are interested in buying any of the items you see on my blog I would love to hear from you! Email me at and I’ll get back to you within a few days.

18 thoughts on “Two years in the garbage business!”

  1. my gosh…. you’ve done well over time,
    and this last hall, is pretty darn good.

    that mirror/brush
    I think, is “French Ivory”, quite collectible, I think, and so worth some dollars

  2. Hi,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I’m always intrigued to see what you discover. As a seasoned side of the road salvager myself I get your mindset but as I am located on the other side of the world (Sydney, Australia) the things you find are vastly different to mine.
    Great finds in this post’s haul. I’m always amazed at what people throw away. Sometimes it makes me sad that we live in such disposable times. So many wonderful things just going to unecessary landfill. Keep up the great work.

      1. Well Australia has only been colonised for a couple of hundred years & is very isolated from the rest of the world. I would rarely ever find antiques on the side of the road nor the many cultural curios you find. Mostly I pick up furntiture though this week I found 2 beautiful vintage sewing machines. Also you find lots of small items, here its larger things like furniture.People will donate small things & clothes to op shops but they would have to pay to take these bigger damaged things to landfill.
        We’re not really allowed to dump rubbish on the roadside as its not picked up by the garbage collection. Tons of people do though and most of it is picked over by people like us.

  3. I thought you were about to tell us that after the fair you found neat things
    left by participants.

    That knife almost looks like a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. There are two “official” producers of the knife, but the logo looks like Victorinox.

    That said, its’ clearly not, we wouldn’t see hardware holding it together on a Victorinox.
    It makes me wonder if it was an iron-curtain knockoff. Something about it says “we are trying to be as good quality as the real thing” but almost as if they were unable to emulate it fully.

    It looks old, but I can’t tell whether it is, or has seen a lot of use.


    1. “Pradel” and “Made in France” are marked on one of the blades, do you know anything about that? It’s definitely kind of old, though how old I’m not sure.

  4. The silver looks as though it may have been through a fire as well. I have some family pieces that started out looking like these. I think the “sugar bowl” may actually be a jam/preserves pot.

  5. Great finds!! You seem to find some amazing things. Living in Arizona, I seem to only find furniture out by the trash.

    The rectangle dish looks like a butter dish to me, but I may be wrong.

    1. Maybe I’ll do a “before and after” post. I think they’ll look amazing, some of these pieces are really nice and ornate. I just have to figure out how best to do it, I have to make sure not to damage the plate.

      1. I don’t know all the recipes, but i prefer the ones using natural or at least, non-toxic products. For mine, I put some aluminium foil on the bottom of a large dish, add some water with baking soda and put the pieces in that bath. Repeat the process with a clean solution since it is very tarnished. Somebody told me not to let the silver stay in the bath for too long not to damage it.
        There are many other recipes like using toothpaste, or adding salt, vinegar, etc.
        Good luck!

  6. Happy anniversary!

    Was there much left after the sale that you had to pack up and take home? I see a book called “Beyond Tuscany” on top of the pile on the floor; was it sold? If not, and if it’s written by Matthew Spender, I’d be interested in adding it to my pile of books to be read. 🙂

    Great finds! Those dresser sets are in great shape, which improves their value considerably. It’s unusual to see a comb in such good shape, without any broken teeth. Is that the first celluloid you’ve found?

    I too would like to see all those sliver plate bits all shined up. I just love looking at before and afters.

  7. I am happy your sale at Concordia was a success,but I regret the fact that you did not end up going to Ville de Mont Royal last Wednesday morning for your weekly garbage run there.I hope you will go to TMR next Wednesday morning.

  8. Never give up your blog.Your blog is very good and you are doing great work for the environment.Even if at one point you may work at a regular job four or five days a week,you can still forage the trash in some neighborrhodds once or twice per week and continue writing this blog.This blog should never be retired.

  9. I moved to Montreal to study at university from another province.I do not speak French well so it is hard for me to find well-paying jobs.I scavenge quite a bit to make extra money from copper ,cans and bottles,etc and to reuse good thrown outside supermarkets.I find our society is too regulated and scavenging is a great way to make some money and aid the environment.I discovered Kijiji is popular in Montreal so I put ads on Kijiji offering massages.Kijiji immediately removed my ad saying I am not a licensed massotherapist.I do not claim to be a massotherapist and I know I cannot give a tax receipt,but anybody should be able to give a massage for money.I am not cheating anybody by saying I am licensed.Some adults have received good massages from unlicensed masseurs like me and are willing to come back to me;others prefer licensed massotherapists.It is the customer’s choice.Why is Kijiji’s policy so strict?I know friends who love erotic massages;on kijiji you are not even allowed to advertise erotic massages.Kijiji is overregulating—it regulates massage services too much and disallows erotic ads by adults for adults.I can use Craigslist,but Craigslist ads are less effective in Montreal than Kijiji because Kijiji has a larger following.Overregulation is taking the food out of my mouth—I want to pay my way through school by scavenging and giving massages.For men,it is hard to even find work in a massage salon if you are not licensed.Any young woman,even unlicensed,can find work as a masseuse.

  10. Congrats, man! Good to see yo’re still going strong, saving so much awesome stuff from landfills and making money while you’re at it. Keep it up!

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