This is my 300th post!
I started “Things I find in the garbage” back in March 2012 – around two and half years ago. A good friend of mine suggested the idea to me and I quickly took to the world of blogging. I posted fairly prolifically in those early days; for example, in April of 2012 I wrote 27 posts!
The blog has definitely changed over time. I think of my early blog posts as charming and a bit naive. I wrote awkward, vague post titles like “Some stuff from yesterday and from before” and “Some of the things from yesterday,” didn’t know about white balance adjustments in photography, and didn’t do much on the editing front. However, in many ways these early posts were a more accurate description of what you see on the streets on a day-to-day basis. It wasn’t my “job” back then, my goal was just to document what I happened to see.
My posts these days without a doubt contain a lot more treasures. I’ve gotten a lot better at pickin’ since I started writing the blog, and especially since I began doing it as a full-time job in February 2013. I now find amazing stuff on a pretty regular basis, while the past was a bit more boom and bust. A side effect of this is that I glaze over the more everyday stuff that I would have mentioned – perhaps at length – earlier in my blogging days. My blog in its current form is a better description of the totally insane things that are being thrown out on a day-to-day basis, as well as the potential for profit that comes with finding them.
Other aspects of the blog have also improved greatly, or at least have become more professional. I write better titles and take better pictures. I have a facebook page and a blog-specific email address. I spend a lot more time editing, which has greatly improved my writing skills. I’m proud of what the blog has become.
Perhaps the biggest change though is the focus on selling. In my early posts garbage picking was a hobby – now it’s a profession. Noting my weekly profits has become a consistent part of the blog, as is mentioning my newest eBay listings. By doing this I hope to illustrate how selling garbage for a living works (or at least my version of it). I also hope to encourage people to do the same, even if only part time. There are definite economic, social, and environmental benefits to this line of work. Not everyone can devote themselves to the garbage picking as I do. However, more people keeping their eyes on the curb, aware of the potential benefits (and risks) of doing so, will help to reduce waste, lighten our effect on the environment, and give people another potential source of income.
As for the future? Who knows, but I don’t plan on quitting any time soon. I think I have a good thing going here, and I’m pretty sure “Things I find in the garbage” is the only frequently updated English-language blog of its kind on the net. That in itself makes it a valuable resource. I now have around 2700 followers (another big difference from the early days!) and have been featured or mentioned in newspaper articles, radio segments, the local news, and on WordPress’ “Freshly Pressed” page. Waste-related topics seem to be getting popular these days, so I won’t be surprised if the best is yet to come.
(By the way: if you’re interested in seeing old posts there’s an archive at the bottom of the page.)
Let’s get to the garbage! Last week was a bit quiet, partly due to taking Thursday and Friday off for yard sales (more on that later). St Henri, however, was once again productive on Sunday night. These bags were at the same spot where I found the 25c bills and US Navy WWII bracelet last week.
Not far away was another, larger pile that clearly belonged to the same place. I don’t remember seeing anything here last week and I find it a bit odd that things were placed in two distinct locations.
Inside the bags was a lot of neat and sometimes useful stuff, including: a set of three vintage “Made in Canada” casserole dishes (one was broken); an old teapot by Stadler of Staffordshire England; a stainless steel coffee pot; two aluminium mugs; a bunch of miscellaneous kitchen tools; two vintage razors (that should make me a bit of coin on eBay); old tins, containers, and bottles; a framed poem by Ogden Nash; an ancient insulin syringe in its original box; and a collectible Old Spice / Shulton shaving mug. My favourite piece of this bunch might be the last: a 1950s clip made as an advertisement for Tetrafume Weevil Killer.
Some of these items were stashed away in two old cigar boxes. Neither are worth much, but they’re still cool and great for storing small items.
Whoever owned these items had an interest in the peace movement. I found a pin for a disarmament rally here last week and this time around these two popped up. The one on the left is particularly cool – the symbol is quite aggressive!
I thought this little book was pretty cool. It was given out for someone’s elementary school graduation in 1936 and features pages full of messages from his classmates. Some of them are pretty funny. Of the ones I’ve read my favourite is a clever poem from Dean:
“Roses are red
Violets are blue
Pigs become hogs
And so will you.”
I saw this old canvas bag and instantly recognized a number that was printed on it. It’s the same as the one etched onto the US Navy bracelet from last week, meaning that this bag was used in the Second World War. I also found a piece that reddit helped me identify as a WWII ribbon pin.
This little red box was filled with old photos, letters, telegrams and other ephemera. Some of the letters and telegrams are from the war years. I haven’t looked at it all much yet, but there could be some interesting bits of history in here.
I also found four pages full of slides. They seem to be interesting and very well shot. I’m most excited by a number of cool shots of Expo 67 – the Expo 67 Facebook group is always hungry for new photos. I’ll definitely share some with you when I get them digitized, which will hopefully occur in the next few weeks. Until then, I offer a camera-shot preview below.
All in all a great haul! I’ll definitely be back in St Henri to check on this same place next week. I found some good stuff in the Plateau last night but that’ll have to wait until my next post.
Last week was exceptionally warm and I decided to take advantage by having an end-of-season yard sale bonanza. I teamed up with several different friends and held sales on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The most successful was Sunday on Duluth and Coloniale. I made almost 350$ and obviously got rid of a tonne of stuff!
I apologize to my readers for not mentioning any of this on my blog or Facebook page. Since being shut down by the city in two consecutive yard sales earlier in the year I haven’t felt confident in saying that I’ll be at a specific place at a specific time. Now that I seem to have found a few different good locations, however, I think I’ll feel better about that.
Last week’s garbage sales (September 22 – September 28)
-Yard sales: 124.50 + 30.75 + 119.25 + 347 = 621.50$. An amazing total that makes up for my relative lack of yard sales so far this year. I unloaded a lot of stuff, which opens up more space for the new and helps me stay organized. My two biggest sales were of 60$ and 80$, both of which came on Sunday. The former was almost entirely taken from my boxes of little baubles while the latter was a more diverse portfolio of random stuff.
-Vintage Canadian Red Ensign flags: on eBay for 305.50$. I had listed these individually but one buyer bought them both. This is more than I had originally expected to get for them and is obviously a nice sale. Found in Mount Royal in late July.
-1950s Madrid Bullfighting poster: to a reader for 25$. Found in Mount Royal a few weeks back.
-Miniature Japanese masks: on eBay for 73.50$. Another nice, quick sale. Found in Mount Royal at the same place as the masks.
-Loose change return: 4.75$.
Total: 1030.25$, 4226.75$ since May 18 (when I started counting). An amazing, record setting week. I don’t expect to crack the 1000$ mark any time soon, that’s for sure. Before this I was averaging around 700 a month. Obviously this won’t keep up, but the money I made this week will help me stay afloat for quite some time. It’s sort of funny that all my non yard-sale sales came from Mount Royal.
(Note: no links are provided to listings featuring any sort of personal information)
WWII US Navy sterling silver ID bracelet
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I also enjoy comments!
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