I still managed a few good finds despite last week being one of the slowest I’ve had in a while. I took Monday morning off, but happened to be in Pointe-Saint-Charles with Sarah for a mini evening run. I didn’t come across much outside of this large pile. However, it quickly became evident that this stuff was infested by bedbugs. I’ve developed an eye for this stuff and was able to identify the problem right away. If you’re squeamish, don’t click on the thumbnail pictures below!

However, if you’re interested in doing some trash picking yourself they might be worth a look. It’s easy to avoid bugs once you get to know the warning signs. The best indicator is the presence of black dots (bug poo, picture on the left) near and inside the cracks, crevices, or seams of furniture (especially fabric and wood). They’ll often be elsewhere too, but it’s easiest to see them there. The bugs themselves can be hard to find even when you’re looking for them – only after a few minutes of trying did I actually see a bug (picture on the right). That’s why it’s important to keep your eye out for the crap, as you’ll see that long before you see a bug.


The pile was unmarked as having bugs, so I used a permanent marker I had in the car to write a warning on the couch and some drawers. I hope that it saves other people from potentially picking up stuff here. I’m definitely saved a few people from getting bugs by doing this kind of thing in the past.


I left behind this awesome print of a truck as a result of the bugs.


However, there were some salvageable items yet. On the curb were two large re-usable shopping bags full of canned beans and lentils. There were 46 cans in all, which would have cost probably between 70$ and 100$ in store. They weren’t even expired! I ditched the reusable bags, inspected each can before putting them in the car, and washed them upon returning home just to be sure. However, this was purely precautionary as bedbugs don’t tend to hang out in the pantry. It’s a nice find that will keep my room-mates and I well fed for a while.


I went to Cote St-Luc on Tuesday morning, stopping at this pile near the railroad tracks. It was pretty damn cold, and leaving the car without my gloves quickly proved to be a mistake. Most of what was inside was junk, old beauty supplies and handbags (but none really worth taking).


The only item that stuck out was this old re-fillable lighter. It was sealed in a plastic zip-lock bag.


I figured it would be worth a bit when I saw it was marked with the name “Dunhill.” Dunhill is a pretty prestigious brand, and their products often sell for big cash at auction. A lighter like this one sold for 100$ on eBay, and I think I can get more for this one as it’s in very nice condition. I just need to find a new flint for it.

Edit: Apparently, this model of lighter (the Rollagas) was one of the first butane gas lighters, and was used by James Bond on many occasions in the movies.


I stopped at one promising spot in Hampstead but was interrupted by the local security guard, who threatened to write me a ticket. He wasn’t too pumped about me looking through trash. Instead of fighting I just left, giving him a few choice words as I left – I was feeling sort of grumpy even before the encounter! I doubt I’ll go back to there for a while.

It was a shame I had to leave as the spot had promise. I was only able to look through a small amount of what was offered. I did bring home this slightly used vintage Guerlain “Shalimar” dusting powder. Believe it or not, a sealed one just like this recently sold on eBay for close to 300$ (Canadian)! Mine’s not worth nearly that much, but I expect it will still sell on eBay for a decent price.


After leaving Hampstead, I went to NDG where there are no power tripping security guys.


One spot provided a box full of glasses. This is a set of Coca-cola themed glasses from McDonald’s that were probably made in the 1980s. They have some collector’s value.


My favourite though was this vintage Esso glass. My grandma has one just like it, so to me it has a bit of nostalgia value.


The week was pretty slow after that. I stopped at the local bookstore on Tuesday night to pick up shipping supplies for my eBay sales. They always have nice boxes, bubble wrap, and wrapping paper here. I just discovered this recently, and it’s made shipping a lot easier.

Thursday’s run through Verdun wasn’t nearly as productive as in weeks prior. I came up nearly empty, outside of this cool old tin amongst a bunch of renovation stuff. It was painted a worn-out white, and I decide to spend some time cleaning it up.


It turned out pretty well! I basically used baking soda and many pots of boiling water to slowly strip off the paint. There’s a bit more paint left to remove, but it should come off easily. It would be worth a bit more with its original label, but it should still net me a few bucks.



Finally, my room-mate and I spied this couch while walking to the store and decided to take it home. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s pretty comfortable and a great deal at the price. The ex-owner left a note on it saying “no bedbugs, free / gratuit,” which was nice.

In other news


I brought my collection of broken cell phones to the store for recycling. On a day-to-day basis I see literally tons of stuff that could be recycled or re-used, but have to leave much of it behind. I make a point to save cell phones though, as they’re small (and thus manageable given my limited storage space) and contain a lot of highly toxic metals that shouldn’t end up in landfill. One of those metals is Coltan, a hard-to-find mineral whose mining is linked to war and habitat loss. I encourage everyone to do their best to recycle their old electronics. You can usually somewhere to bring it using Google.

I also got my watch opening tools in the mail this week. Because of this I was finally able to test a few watches, and list a nice like-new Lacoste 2500G that’s been sitting around for a while.

Last week’s garbage sales (January 19 – January 25)


1. 1948 Winnipeg phone book: On Ebay for 100$. I wondered if I was fishing with this price, but decided to give it a shot given that it was one of my favourite finds of 2014. Someone apparently likes it as much as I do! Found early November in Snowdon.

Total: 100$, 11127$ since May 18, 2014 and 1444$ since January 1st. Not a great total, but last week was good enough to carry me for a while.

New listings

1. 1921 State of Washington Nursing Certificate (professionally framed thanks to my friend Roben!)
2. Vintage St Joseph’s Oratory charm bracelet
3. Lacoste 2500g Watch
4. Lot of 8 1960s Topps Hockey Cards (Canadiens)
5. Lot of 5 1960s El Producto hockey discs
6. Moon and star sterling silver ring (Etsy)
7. Sterling silver ring (I struggled at describing this one. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!)
8. Vintage strawberry brooch / pin, made in Austria

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! Keep in mind that I frequently get behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if I take a few days or weeks to get back to you.

Like “Things I find in the garbage” on Facebook!
My 123 eBay listings
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Au lutin qui bouffe


I made a lot of nice sales last week, and also received some very good feedback. The eBay part of the business has been quite good of late, providing me a decent income even in the winter months when having yard sales is pretty much impossible. I’m starting to think that I can actually make a decent, if still humble living off trash, as opposed to the sustenance lifestyle I’m living now.

Online selling (through eBay and Etsy, in my case) is the key to making this happen, and the more listings I have the more money I’ll make. I have close to 150 listings right now (after peaking at close to 180 before the holiday season), and I hope to double that before the next Christmas rush. I think it’s totally doable, but I’ll have to find some cool stuff and also get creative to make it happen. For one, I still haven’t figured out how to take earring and necklace shots that I’m happy with. I probably have 30-40 seriously nice pieces (/ potential listings) just sitting around that could be up for sale.

Last week brought some interesting finds, and a few that will make very nice eBay listings. I started Monday night with a casual drive through Cote-des-Neiges and NDG. I found this cool hand-made doohickey, but not much else. I’m not sure what it was made for, but my guess is that it’s related to shining shoes, given the shoe-shaped piece of wood stuck to the top. There’s also a compartment at the bottom where one could store shoe shine materials. I’d guess based on the materials used that it was made sometime between the 1940s and early 1960s. It’s about two feet tall.


I’ve been trying to get in the habit of going out in the mornings. It’s much easier to see things, especially deeper in bags where the best stuff often lies. It’s nice not having to always hold a flashlight. It’s also a little less lonely, as I find going out alone at night pretty isolating at times, considering that I do much of my work at the computer already.

I went to Mount Royal on Wednesday morning, the first time I’ve done a morning run in the area since that security guard told me to buzz off late summer. My plan is to just keep a better eye out for the white SUVs that they always use.

I didn’t find much besides these two bags of clothes. They sat in front of the same recently sold house that provided the porthole mirror the week prior. I’m usually pretty careful with clothes, but I trusted the source so I brought them home.


Clothes aren’t really my main interest, so I won’t go out my way to show you the best of what was inside. To sum it up quickly there was a bunch of nice, if not super valuable or exciting items, and a couple of friends came away with some new additions to their wardrobe. I came away with a t-shirt and some leather boots that appear to have a lot of life in them.


However, it was Thursday that once again made my week. I travelled all around that day! I started in Verdun but also toured around parts of Westmount, Outremont, and the Golden Square Mile, finding a bit at each stop. My friend Sarah came along for the ride, and helped me sort through things on a couple of occasions.


I found this somewhat bizarre painting in upper Westmount. I kind of like it, for whatever reason. It’s quite large, measuring around a metre both ways.


I’m pretty careful when it comes to apartment building trash, as it’s more likely to be infested with bugs than your typical single family home. I figured this pile was at least worth a look, however. Some of the furniture was quite nice, though I never considered taking any. I don’t have any space for it either way.


One of the bins was full of kitchenwares, and this cast iron dutch oven was the most exceptional piece. It’s a vintage Le Creuset and is probably worth around 50$, but I figure I’ll keep it for my own culinary use.


The inside is a bit grimy but I’ve fixed up worse. Assuming all goes well I’ll post a picture of the cleaned up interior in the next week or two.


I took some baking pans that I didn’t need and left them on the curb near my home. Most were gone within an hour.


It seemed like these people in Outremont were ditching the unwanted gifts of yesteryear. There was a bunch of nice stuff, much of which came in its original packaging. There were workers doing some kind of construction project on the property, but they didn’t appear to care about us picking through the trash.


This urn was one of the nicest items thrown out. It’s around 10″ tall, made out of some kind of rock and weighs about 15 pounds. I imagine it has some value as the production quality is quite high.

There were many other collectible items, including: a couple Lilliput Lane collectible houses from the early 90s, a snowbabies Christmas ornament, a duck candle, a wedding figurine by Enesco Corporation (also from the early 90s), and a nice Japanese vase.


Sarah and I were excited when we saw these Pandora bracelets. They’re fairly collectible – a silver bracelet itself sells for around 60$. These would be worth between 100-200$ each if they were genuine. However, it turns out they are imitations – they didn’t pass the silver acid test. It’s a bit disappointing, but I’m glad I was able to detect the fakes. I don’t want this kind of stuff ending up in my eBay store.


My favourite finds of the week once again came from Verdun. I’ve been going to this one spot for a few weeks now, and it’s provided a lot of neat old stuff.


It’s become clear that whoever lived here was a dentist. Inside this Colgate box were some free toothbrushes (one of which appears to be from the 70s), some foam dental protectors of some kind, some metal tools I assume are related to making teeth molds, a air handpiece (whatever that does), and some actual molds of teeth.


I wonder what’s in this box?


True to its word, the box contained some dental instruments. I’m not sure what the thing on the right is, but it looks kind of scary.


These boxes were full of vintage fake teeth.


Some were ceramic, while others were plastic. I bet someone will love finding these at a yard sale, if only to use them to make cool art.


I didn’t just find slightly disturbing teeth-related stuff though. This leather insurance policy holder is pretty cool. Based on its design I imagine it’s from the 1920s or 1930s.


There was also a small collection of old negatives, most of which appear to be from the 50s. Some of them are cool older shots of Verdun, which could be of interest from a local history perspective.


This file folder held some of my favorite finds.


There were a bunch of old theatre programs, including several from the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. All seem to be from the early 1950s.



However, I most enjoyed the collection of old restaurant menus. Again, most seem to be from the early 50s. I find old menus very nostalgia-inducing, especially the ones written in type. Here’s one from a Howard Johnson’s and the Cascade Lodge in Saco, Maine.


These two are from Valle’s steakhouse, a once popular but now defunct restaurant chain in the eastern United States. These might have a bit of collector’s value, given the former landmark status of the chain.


When Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth visited Canada in 1951, she stopped in Montreal and had dinner at the prestigious Windsor Hotel. This menu is from that event. It’s too bad there’s a fairly noticeable food stain on the cover!


My favorite of the bunch though was this one page menu from a former Montreal institution, Au Lutin Qui Bouffe. The popular French restaurant operated for around 75 years before burning down in September of 1972. It sat at 753 St Gregoire St, on the corner of St Hubert. A car dealership is now in its place.

I didn’t really know what “Au Lutin Qui Bouffe” meant, so I did some research. A lutin is a type of hobgoblin in French folklore that often takes the form of pets and other animals. They can be good or minorly evil, but just in an annoying way (such as filling your shoes with pebbles). They’re a bit like elves. “Bouffe” means to eat, so the name basically means the Lutin (or elf, if that’s easier) who eats. That’s a very literal translation, so if a stronger French speaker can describe it better let us know in the comments!

Restaurant Au lutin qui bouffe

(Source of photo: flickr of guil3433)

Part of the restaurant’s popularity was due to its mascot, a piglet! (or a cochonette in French – a mature pig is a cochon). The staff would bring it over to your table and you could feed it with a milk bottle. A professional photographer was often around to capture the fun. In case you’re wondering, the piglets were apparently saved from the fire.

au lutin qui bouffe

(Source of photo:

I imagine these old menus are hard to find. The only one Google could find was this one from 1968 (which sold on eBay for 12.50$). I think I could sell this one for a fair bit more, though before I do I’ll be sure to scan it and post it online for posterity. It’s a great piece of ephemera. Here’s a better look at the other menus, for those who are interested.

In other news

My sister Thea started a blog that I think you might enjoy. She inherited some hoarder tendencies from our dad, and has way too much stuff as a result. She decided that she needs to unload some crap, and now aims to unload one item a day for all of 2015. Her blog “The Minimalism Project: a 365 day purge!” details the process.

It’s often hilarious, but perhaps my favorite thing about it is that she puts lots of effort into redistributing (like giving buckets of buttons to a friend) and repurposing (turning boxes of wool into an afghan) her old stuff as best as possible. Some thing are impossible to save, like a pair of worn out boots, but she’s not just dumping stuff in the trash bin (as many people do, as evidenced by my blog!). It’s a fun blog that I hope will raise awareness about how best to recycle that old stuff we don’t need, and when to draw the line when it’s not worth the effort.

Check it out!

Last week’s garbage sales (January 12 – January 18)

1. Sterling silver vanity set: On eBay for 180$. I’ve had this for a while and am glad to see it go. Found late March in NDG.

2. Lot of 259 vintage binding posts: On eBay for 250$. I still don’t really know what these do, but apparently they’re worth decent money. They sold to some guy out in BC. Found
early October in Ville St Laurent.

3. Vintage Omega watch box: On eBay for 90$. This was a nice little box that was probably made in the late 1940s. If I was rich I might have kept it myself. It was being used to hold pennies before I came across it. Found early November in Snowdon.

4. Vintage taxi meter: On eBay for 140$. I accepted a “best offer” in this case, as I figured it was a fair deal. It’s a really cool piece. The buyer still has to pay me, but it’s not yet to the point of being an issue. Found early July in Mount Royal.


5. Vintage 935 silver guilloche pendant: On eBay for 200$. This was up for maybe a day before selling. I’d like to thank the reader who informed me of the specific style, as it might have helped me make a bunch of extra money. It’s quite a beautiful piece. Found earlier this month in the Plateau.


6. Vintage 14k Gold Ring (by Birks): On Etsy for 90$. I think I found this in the Plateau two summers ago, but I’m not quite sure.

Total: 950$, 11027$ since May 18, 2014 and 1344$ since January 1st. A great week! I nearly broke four figures, and I cracked the five figure mark from when I started to keep track (May 18). I look forward to see how much I made over a whole year! I’m also glad to be able to start counting from January 1, a more normal time frame.

New listings

Guilloche pendant (SOLD!)

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! Keep in mind that I frequently get behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if I take a few days or weeks to get back to you.

Like “Things I find in the garbage” on Facebook!
My 117 eBay listings
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I worried last week that I wouldn’t find much to show you. The roads were still terrible, and a cold front came through town making picking (and tossing) fairly unpleasant. Monday and Tuesday went by without producing any noteworthy finds. My run Wednesday at midnight provided the first good finds of the week.


One house for sale produced this cool nautical porthole mirror. It’s about 11″ in diameter and seems to sell for around 40$ (plus a bunch in shipping) on eBay. I might keep it myself though as it’s a great decoration.


I stopped at another place because there seemed to be an unusual amount of trash on the curb. Inside the bags were the remains of Christmas, wrapping paper and boxes for high-priced consumer goods. There was also one shopping bag that was filled with jewelry and make-up.


Most of the jewelry was nice costume stuff, but there were also a few pieces of sterling silver. It always amazes me how often people casually toss silver, given how for much of human history it’s been a precious metal. I figure I found silver nearly every week last year. The gold heart pendant might be gold, a nice find it if is.


This spot in Verdun was the one that salvaged my week. It’s the same place that gave me the old songbooks last week.


Many of my finds were put into the recycling bin in bags like this. This specific bag contained a few more knick-knacks, while others mostly contained old papers.


There was a lot of cool old stuff here. My favorite of these vintage cookbooks is the one on the far right – a copy of “New Cake Secrets” published in 1936. Written in pen on the front cover is “ce livre est tres bon, je l’aime beaucoup” (this book is very good, I like it a lot).


On the inside cover is written: “ce livre est a conserver … maman et moi l’aimons beaucoup” (this book is to be saved, mom and I like it a lot).


As well, this charming old photo was tucked away inside its pages. It’s a nice Montreal street scene, probably made around the time of the book. The kids seem very happy.


This beautiful small trinket box was filled with old mementos of child rearing. At top is a collection of cuts of hair, and underneath are a collection of baby teeth (which likely fell out of the kleenex they were wrapped in). The larger circular object looks to be some kind of ancient biscuit.


One of these old metal pill tins contained a surprise that I only discovered later on when sorting through my finds. I love when that happens!


Inside one was a collection of old Montreal bus and tram tickets, all of which seem to be from the late 40s or early 50s. Montreal’s trams are long gone (since 1959), though there is some talk of bringing them back. These have a bit of value as collector’s items.


I also saved a bunch of neat fortune-telling related stuff, including a few different card decks. This one, the “Gypsie Lore” set is likely the coolest.


It was made in the 1920s or 1930s. Most of the cards are dotted with black marks that look and feel a bit like old wax. They sell for around 40$ in nice condition, but these aren’t quite as nice as others on eBay. I also have to count them to see if there’s a complete set. Either way, the worst case scenario is that they’ll make great yard sale material.

Otherwise, I saved a nice 1940s “Gypsy Witch” card deck (which is in nice complete condition), a Persian Prophecies deck that I gave to a friend, a few fortune-telling related books, and a set of cards that someone wrote all their predictions on.


There was also this old mystic dream book, which appears all the more mystic due to the aged paper and the fact that it’s missing both its covers.


It’s pretty entertaining to look through, partly because of how dated it is. Case in point, the “Negro” passage in a section that details the meaning of specific dreamt situations (“It is a sign of quarrels with your friends if you dream of any foreign person”). Another two pictures were tucked away inside the pages of this book.


I like this old heart-shaped St Joseph’s Oratory souvenir. It’s marked as being made in Occupied Japan, meaning it was likely made sometime between 1945 and 1952. The dome as seen on this heart tray was only completed in 1939, so this was made fairly early in the history of the oratory as we now know it.


I brought home a small collection of records, many of which were of the quite old breakable variety. Of the really old records the only artist I recognized was Bing Crosby (doing “When the world was young” and “Domino“).

I also recovered a giant brick of a dictionary (Webster’s) and two French encyclopedias, all of which are from the 1950s. Inside the pages of the dictionary was hidden an ad for that exact dictionary, while a newspaper cutout of JFK published after his death was tucked away inside one of the encyclopedias.

(Just as a reminder, you can access a full-size view of any photo by clicking on it. If it’s a larger photo you will instantly access a page from which you can zoom in, but if it’s a smaller or gallery-style photo you will have to go to the bottom right to find the “View Full-Size” button).

I found a few cool things otherwise, including: a collection of vintage tourist pamphlets and maps; a RFK quote printed in nice calligraphy; a bunch of cool old steno pads and notebooks; a pamphlet containing a list of Quebec dental surgeons in 1958; a vintage label maker; a few Catholic pins and medallions; a “painting” and “frame” made entirely from bark in Pointe-Fortune Quebec; a book by Maurice Chevalier …


… and a nice retro cigar box. This spot provided some great finds, and I hope to find more of the same this week!

In other news


My friend Sarah designed me a garbagefinds stamp for Christmas. It’s pretty cool! I’m going to use it to make my own business cards from random found paper. They’re good to give out at yard sales and with some online sales. She also designed me a new Facebook logo and Etsy banner, both of which will help me look more professional and hopefully sell a few more things. You can see them by clicking the links at the bottom of the page.

Last week’s garbage sales (January 5 – January 11)

1. 10k gold scarab: On Etsy for 45$. Found mid-May in Ahuntsic.


2. Nativity set: To a reader for 5$. Found late November in Westmount.

Total: 50$, 9527$ since May 18, 2014. Not a great week, but that’s expected once in a while.

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! Keep in mind that I frequently get behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if I take a few days or weeks to get back to you.

Like “Things I find in the garbage” on Facebook!
My 121 eBay listings
My Etsy store