Site icon Things I find in the garbage



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.

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