Temp Work

I’ve been working a temp job the last couple of weeks. It’s the second part of a two part gig; in April I picked up boxes of stuff from students leaving town for the summer and now it’s time to deliver them back. I’ve done this for a few years now. I like the job – the pay is good, the bosses are nice and things are pretty chill overall, though driving regularly in down-town Montreal is a real pain in the ass. It also gives me some extra spending money that full-time trash picking hasn’t (yet) been able to provide.

I haven’t had as much time for garbage, a bit of a shame because it’s the end of the month. Still, I’ve managed to make a few more finds just by checking out “productive” spots and by being in the right place at the right time. I got lucky while biking to Ville St Laurent to pick up the rental van for my job. I spotted a recycling bin sitting in front of a house with a “for sale” sign out front and inside was a large collection of books. I picked out several that I thought I could resell including: the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, two books by both RL Stevenson and Ernest Hemingway, a 1908 Sears Catalogue reproduction, “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes, and a painting book by Winston Churchill. There was also an old scrapbook containing photos and keepsakes of someone’s high school days in the late 1950s. My favourite piece from that was an old paper coaster from the Kon Tiki Restaurant that used to run in down-town Montreal.

I’ve also kept an eye on the house in the Plateau that provided me all the nice glasses and bric-a-brac a couple weeks back. There’s been four trash days since then. One time there was a box full of old, broken down boxes a bag full of tissue paper. I almost left empty handed but spied a large envelope in among the boxes. Inside was a collection of old photos, mostly from the 1940s, as well as a cool Salvation Army “Dedication Certificate to God and the War” that was apparently given to an infant in 1951.

I was just at the same spot again and found a pair of beautiful old “Fire King” mugs amongst some junk. They’re very nice and collectible, selling on eBay for 20$ a piece or more. I’ll save those for the next post though!

I’ve spent a fair bit of time sorting through the old papers I found last Wednesday. It’s a really amazing collection that warrants at least one more post of its own. Today I’ll focus on WWII and military-related items, not including ones from my last post. There were a lot of military men in the family, one of whom was a young man who died in battle in 1944.


This RCAF photo holder, made from English Morocco leather is a particularly nice piece. It’s in very good condition and I can’t find anything else like it online. Inside are some photos of a woman, a child, and a young man wearing an RCAF cap – almost certainly the same cap I found a month and a half ago.


There were two great group photos that I’d guess were taken at some sort of graduation ceremony. There were also several portrait-style shots of a few different servicemen.


This large booklet is a program from the Queen Mother’s presentation of the Regimental Colour to the Black Watch way back in 1962. The Black Watch, founded in 1862 is one of Canada’s oldest infantry units and is based on rue Bleury in Montreal. I can’t find any other examples of this on the internet but I imagine it’s worth a bit of money.


These two napkins are among my favourite pieces because they’re truly ephemeral. These napkins were made to be used, not to be saved. Nonetheless, someone did save them and they’re really cool! I found another like the one below on eBay that sold for 14$. I’m not sure the source of the one above, though it’s probably from the Canadian or American Navy.


Below are several more items, including a signalling and junior first aid certificate, a piece of paper with RCAF letterhead, memorial service pamphlets for fallen servicemen, and a menu for some kind of military dinner.

Pretty cool stuff eh? I’m glad I was there to save it!

Last weeks sales (August 18 – August 25)

-Briefcase: to a friend for 5$.

-Vintage slide rule: on eBay for 40$. An nice old guy gave this to me along with a collection of tobacco pipes way back in April.

Total: 45$, 2553$ since May 18. A very slow week. Ebay sales have been poor, though I imagine things will start picking up once the temperature dips a bit.

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also like comments!

5 thoughts on “Temp Work”

  1. I had a yard sale last weekend and found that sales were slower than last year when I had my sale in June. I think you are correct in thinking that people are out trying to enjoy the last few days of summer.

    1. I haven’t even bothered checking garage sales for a few Saturdays this month. There haven’t been many ads, and it’s not so much fun to go all the way up that street only to find a minor sale. In the spring, people are selling in anticipation of a move, in July and August, it’s often people just clearing out some things, and often not that interesting for me. And if people like me stop checking for a few weeks, that’s even more reason to not bother having sales at this time. I do expect it to pick up a bit in September for a few weeks, before the cold sets in.

      One thing I’ve noticed, not that many are advertising on Craig’s list until the morning of the sale. I guess that means people decide Saturday morning about the weather, but it makes it harder to plan ahead. Last weekend, there was a community garage sale in St. Anne de Belville, participating homes listed on the city website. I think they can have sales other times, but this clusters them. Almost worth going all that way, but I wait til the morning to see if the weather is okay, and whether there were any closer garage sales. And by the time I’d decided, it wasn’t worth going all that distance. maybe next year I’ll just decide to go.

      The end of summer sort of slipped past me, I didn’t even check McGill garbage that many times this month, when it usually is a good cluster of interesting garbage, albeit a lesser selection than in the spring.


  2. You’re in ephemera heaven!

    I remember the Kon Tiki restaurant, and even ate there a few times back in the early 1970s. I even kept a coaster or two just like that one (long gone now, though).

    Cool to find that Black Watch item. Your dad was a cadet with the Black Watch back in the 1960s.

    That ship serviette is sweet!

    It’s really sad, all a fellow’s military mementos being discarded like that. They are all in great shape … obviously much valued by the owner.

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