Site icon Things I find in the garbage



In an attempt to bring greater organization to my life I’ve decided to try writing blog posts exclusively on Mondays. I find time management and scheduling to be the most challenging aspect of being self-employed. By creating a more consistent schedule I hope to avoid burnout and lessen my work-a-holic tendencies. I also think it can make me a more efficient worker in general. I haven’t been writing posts much more than once a week these days regardless, but I think having the set day will be very helpful.

I’d love to do the blog more often. However, at this point each post takes about a day (or more!) to write, when taking into account all the necessary photography, photo editing, research, and words. That’s a lot of time, and it’s hard to justify doing that more than once a week given all the other work I have to do as well.

Either way, I think the blog makes sense as a once a week thing. Posts will likely be a little bigger, and feature the best stuff of the week. It also works well with my habit of mentioning my weekly sales and listings.

I went out to Mount Royal on Tuesday night and checked back at the spot that produced the 1976 Olympics posters the week before. This week provided a collection of Rollei color filters (which should make me a bit of cash), a tobacco pipe, a watch (which I have yet to test), and a working LED flashlight. There was also an ice tea container filled with “sable de fonderies” (foundry sand) which is near black. I wonder why this was kept. I think it would make a cool art material.

Thursday brought me through Westmount and the Golden Square Mile. This pile sat next to a church on Sherbrooke.

Sitting atop the pile was an old table top soccer game. It’s not worth that much, but it could be fun to play over the winter!

The bags contained mostly old busted china and glassware, perhaps some ill-fated donations. One piece stuck out, though – a cute little green dish that had a depression glass look to it. I suspected it to be uranium glass. This was confirmed when it glowed green upon exposure to my UV blacklight (which I found in Ville St Laurent last month). The dish isn’t worth much, given a notable chip around the top, but it’s still cool to find something like this.

I came across this stuff next to a massive house in the Golden Square Mile. From inside the bags I salvaged a nice sterling silver ring, a couple of necklaces (one of which was from Guess, originally priced 36$), a working strand of Christmas lights, one of those salt rock lights (though missing the actual lamp), and about two bucks, mostly in penny form.

I also found four cellphones. Two are total junk, though totally recyclable. I might be able to get a bit of money from the Blackberry 9780 with a broken screen, and the seemingly perfectly functional Samsung Galaxy 5.

The best finds of the day came from this spot in Westmount. Some very rich people were moving and didn’t seem to mind my friend and I looking through their discards.

We saved a lot of stuff from the landfill, at least fifty pounds worth I figure. I often wonder how much stuff I’ve diverted from the dump – I bet a few tons at least!

There was a whole bunch of food, much of which was unopened. This is just what I took home – my friend took a bit herself.

There was also a great number of very useful items. Seeing these TI-83+ calculators brought me on a trip down memory lane. I remember when my sister needed one of these for high school math. I also remember learning how much I hated math while using one in Grade 11. Regardless, buying one, which I remember being around 150$ or so, was actually an expense that my family stressed a bit over (“Money was pretty tight at the time”, mom says). Fast forward around ten years later and I’m finding them in the garbage. They’re still worth money too – around 50$ on eBay – and remain extremely useful. If anyone in Montreal needs one I can offer a bit of a local discount, just send me an email if interested.

That wasn’t all, though. I also saved: a great headlamp (which seems to retail for about 50$); a bunch of working batteries; a collection of tape; unopened sunscreen and bug repellent; iCloth wipes for cleaning electronics; a working walkman and portable radio; a nice tri-fold wallet; a Chanel eyeglasses case; a working Mykronoz watch; an unopened disposable electronic cigarette; a bundle of wires, cables, and universal adapters; a cool flexible vase; a few decent pairs of mitts; an unopened “Sounds of Horror” CD (a perfectly timed find for this Halloween weekend); and a small collection of change. Some of these items are particularly useful for my business, such as the batteries, headlamp, tape, wipes, and adapters.

Friday brought me on a run to Cote St Paul and Ville Emard. I like the route, partly due to the area’s rich working class history but also because the garbage and recycling pickups seem to be scheduled on the day. More bang for the buck! There seems to be an active garbage picking community there – I saw at least three different people on the hunt, mostly for copper wires or cans.

At one point I found a ceramic Mary waiting for me in a flower pot. Around her neck were three different rosaries. She’s in pretty good condition, especially considering how fragile the material is. It’s a large piece, around a foot and a half tall.

This pile was mostly junk, outside of a couple of cool vintage mugs made for the Electrolux vaccuum company. I think I might be able to get some money for the one with no chips, the other I added to the house collection.

Another house provided some great glass cookware, a cool old phone, a “Made in Japan” vase (with some wrapping protecting the top rim), some more tinned food, and a very nicely embroidered wall hanging featuring the serenity prayer, which I’ve always thought to be a nice statement.

In other news, I’ve spent a fair bit of time listing on eBay since my last post. All the teacups from last month are now live, and two sets have already sold. I’m going to get busy again with eBay listing this week.

Garbage sales from the last two weeks (October 20 – November 2)

-Lampe Berger and glass doorknob: to a reader for 15$. The Lampe Berger came from TMR, the glass doorknob from Park Ex.
-Heart-shaped trinket box: to a reader for 5$. Found a few weeks back in Park Ex.
-Pewter birds, metal cups / shot glasses: to a reader for 15$. Found in TMR.
-Karlsbader tea set: on Kijiji for 50$. This was a part of the massive collection of china I found last month in Ville St Laurent.
-Set of three Paragon tea cups, green: on eBay for 180$. A nice sale! Let’s hope they don’t break in transit, though I did pack them very well. Another part of that china collection.
-(A second) set of three Paragon tea cups, turquoise: on eBay for 170$. Yet another part of that collection.
-Vintage Australian flag: on eBay for 60$. The last of a small collection I found in TMR in late July.
-Bulova “Sea King” automatic watch movement: sold on eBay for 85$. This was a nice sale. I’ve had this for a long time, thinking it wasn’t worth that much. I decided to look it up again, and this time (perhaps due to my improving research skills) discovered it was a vintage Sea King model, which is apparently somewhat desirable. I listed it and it sold very quickly. Found way back last November while biking around on a cold, snowy morning in Rosemont.

Total: 580$, 5386.75$ since May 18th (when I started keeping better track). A pretty decent couple of weeks! Online sales definitely seem to be increasing, partly due to the Christmas season but also the cold keeping people inside and on their computers.

New listings

Bulova Sea King movement (SOLD!)
Set of three Paragon tea cups, green (SOLD!)
Another set of three Paragon tea cups, turquoise (SOLD!)
Aynsley teacup, saucer – blue, floral
Aynsley teacups, saucer – fruit
Aynsley teacup, saucer – fruit, royal blue
Aynsley teacup, saucer – red, floral
Paragon teacup, saucer – pale yellow, roses
Set of two Aynsley teacups, saucers – fruit, blue
Aynsley teacup and saucer – fruit, light blue
George Inn pewter dish
-Expo 67 season pass
-(Another) Expo 67 season pass
Vintage Short and Mason thermometer

Note: I offer local buyers a discount on my eBay prices, assuming they can come and pick it up. My eBay prices include free shipping, and local buyers don’t have to pay the amount I add for shipping. I also give a bit of a discount to account for my not having to pay eBay / Paypal fees, and the reduced time it takes me to pack and ship the item. Just send me an email if you’re interested in something I have currently listed and we can work out a deal. My listings can be seen here.

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 I also enjoy reading your comments!

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