Fake out


My plan for last week was give myself a bit of a break by checking out only recently productive (or known) spots. This pile was in from of the same house in Hampstead that provided some jewellery a little while back. The house had a “sold” sign out front, and judging by the unusually big pile of trash out front it looked like the family had recently moved on. I’d like to note that disposing of trash like this is totally counter the regulations of the town of Hampstead, not that I care too much.

I mentioned becoming somewhat paranoid of security officers, particularly in Hampstead. There seems to be more security officers per capita there than in other neighbourhoods, and none of them have any real work to do outside of harassing the evil trash pickers that dare to enter their domain.

I almost had another encounter while looking through this stuff. I was loading some items into the car when I noticed one of their white SUVs drive by. It stopped not far away before turning around and parking – just sitting their and watching – 25 meters behind me.

Knowing I was being watched, I did my best to look as cool and confident as possible. I ignored the SUV and acted as if I was just packing the car. I had the trunk open, so I started moving my stuff around randomly in a way that looked meaningful. I closed the hatch and opened the passenger door, lowering the seat (it’s a hatchback) and doing the same thing. After about two minutes of randomly moving things around the SUV pulled away from the curb and drove down the road, leaving me to my business.

I managed to save a fair bit of decent stuff, including: a Swiss army knife (or at least a nice imitation); a working electric razor and hair thing (I’m not sure what it does, exactly); a new (with tags) Matt and Nat vegan change purse; a collection of lightbulbs; and a bunch of other stuff, such as unused tea bags and saran wrap.


There was a decent looking Dell laptop in a box near the back, but unfortunately I didn’t see a power cord. Cosmetically at least it’s in nice condition. This laptop is worth around 150$ in good working order.


The most fun find was a working fog machine with a bit of extra fog juice. These cost about 50$ new, and I’m sure it’ll get some use around here.


Figuring I’d take a break from Hampstead, I went to nearby Cote St-Luc to check out a couple of locations there. I came across this recycling bin by accident, thinking that I was on a different road than I was. I figured I’d check it out, just for the hell of it (and because the house was for sale).


I pulled this blue bag out from inside the bin.


Inside were two different laptops. This one came with the power cable, and works totally fine. It looks to be barely used (a former business computer, if my estimations are correct). It’s a HP 530 running Windows Vista – nothing too fancy but still good enough to do your basic tasks. It seems to be worth around 100$. I’ll likely try to sell it locally, on Kijiji or Craigslist.


This laptop (a Dell Vostro 1000) was also inside the bag, but the power cable did not come along with it. If it works (and it might, seeing as the other one did) it’d be worth around 80$.


After my brief journey to Cote St-Luc I went back to Hampstead to check another place I’ve been keeping an eye on.


I found this plated silver menorah inside an old box of candles. One of the candle holders is broken off, but should be easy enough to solder back on. The centerpiece is also missing a nut, but that should be easy to replace.


I also found a small collection of buttons and other things. The clasp at the bottom right is marked 18k, and is worth almost 20$ for its weight in gold (.68 grams). The pieces at the middle bottom look like amber. Both the ring (silver plate, bottom right) and the silver plate spoon cleaned up quite nicely. As for the buttons, they look somehow special or unusual. I wonder if the one near the middle is tortoiseshell.


Wednesday evening brought me to Verdun. There was more trash out front of this spot (which has provided all the cool fortune telling stuff) than usual, which makes me wonder if the apartment has to be cleared out for the end of the month. It was a pretty damn cold night, but I managed to sort through all the junk.


That word describes a lot of the stuff quite well. There were a couple bags mostly full of aged toiletries, as well as around fifty sample sized tubes of toothpaste. Still, I found some neat stuff, such as: a 1950s set of tree spotting playing cards; a tobacco pipe with a metal filter taped inside; a book on handwriting analysis; a Polaroid camera (“the Swinger”); a Devilbiss throat atomizer; an old Charlie Chaplin film reel; and a large collection of old keys (including one skeleton, a two old locks). Let us know in the comment if you know what the little glass dish below is for. It’s around 3″ tall.




I also saved some old photos and postcards. There were several large format photos featuring 1950s-1960s schoolrooms.


A couple of the postcards were quite old. This one is dated 1919 on the back.


When I was done in Verdun I moved on to my productive spots in Cote St-Luc. This spot is the one that gave me that nice Dunhill lighter, as well as some decent vintage perfumes.


There was less stuff on the curb this time around, but the finds were also more interesting. There were two different copies of this Montreal based Hebrew newspaper from January 7, 1958.


There was also a bit of jewellery. The most noteworthy piece was this mid-century sterling silver brooch by N E From of Denmark. It’s worth around 30$.


Otherwise, I found this cool old leather wallet. The top was decorated with a nice embroidery piece. It looks sort of dirty, but it’s just because there’s some old, broken plastic in the way.


The pockets held only three very old photographs, likely from the 1930s or 1940s. I thought it was oddly touching that these were the only things left inside.



I’ve keep keeping an eye on that enigmatic dumpster. This week nothing was put in there before Sunday (it’s replaced each Monday), when it was again filled to the brim. I dug around there a bit, but didn’t find anything super exciting.

I did bring home a carved wooden rooster, some tools, and a couple of vintage hand-painted bottles. The one on the left is cobalt blue underneath, so I might clean off the yellowed old paint and bring it back to its original colour.

I’ve been doing the same minimal trash picking schedule this week. There haven’t been many finds so far, but hopefully one of these places will pull through and give me some stuff to talk about!

Last week’s garbage sales (February 9 – February 15)


1. Vintage Paragon tea cup and saucer: On eBay for 60$. This was one of my favourite cups of that big collection (yellow is my favourite colour). Found early October in Ville St Laurent.


2. Murano glass vase: On eBay for 50$. Found mid June in Mount Royal. (It’s the one on the left).

3. Apple iPhone 4 for parts, repair: On eBay for 30$. I forget where I found this, and may not have mentioned it on the blog.


4. “Roller Speedway News,” August 1939: On eBay for 28$. Found in May in NDG.

5. “Smoking and Cancer” comic book by Canadian Cancer Society (1971): On eBay for 12$. Found mid June in Mount Royal.


6. Vintage Guerlain bee perfume bottle: On eBay for 37$. Found mid September in downtown Montreal.


7. Vintage Anchor Hocking mugs: On eBay for 50$. I love these mugs, but can’t turn down the money. Found in the Plateau in September.

Total: 267$, 11668$ since May 18 2014 and 1985$ since the new year began. A pretty decent week. However, I’ve had some issues with a couple buyers not paying for the items they bought (the Expo 67 passport and vintage taxi meter). Those accounted for 180$ of profit, which I’ve subtracted from the total. I’ll avoid mentioning “incomplete” sales going forward. The items are now relisted.

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 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 103 eBay listings
My Etsy store

19 thoughts on “Fake out”

  1. I was waiting with bated breath for your most recent post, and then voilà there it was. 🙂

    Seems you out-psyched the Hampstead security officers. Still, I’m betting you felt relieved when they moved on.

    I’d never heard of Matt and Nat until your post, so I Googled (http://mattandnat.com/) this Montreal business. The name comes from MAT(T)erial and NATure. They don’t use leather or any other animal-based materials … interesting.

    Skeleton key … did I hear SKELETON KEY?! 😀 Sweet old lock too.

    I used to have that identical Polariod, back in the day.

    Those old school pics are wonderful. I expect you’ll post them to your picture blog at some point? https://retainedmoments.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-young-girl-of-the-60s-la-jeune-fille-dans-annees-soixantes/

    So, lots of cool stuff to show for what was supposed to be a laid-back week.

  2. YOU inspire me, but at my age… I doubt that I’ll be doing much dumpster diving.
    Keep up the good work and, without a doubt, that little glass cup is for rinsing the eyes.
    It’s useful if one gets a foreign particle. OUCH !

  3. Isn’t it always just after you buy a new computer that you find a perfectly functional one on the curb.

  4. am impressed you kept your cool how you handled the security officers. Seems to me that those kind of skills are great for you to practice, as they would be useful almost anywhere/any time/any job/any situation. In short, it will always stand you in good stead to have/use/perfect even more those skills.

    1. It’s true, it’s likely something that I can work on more. To appear confident, it helps to actually be confident.

      This kind of thing makes me wonder if I should dress up nice when going trash picking. It’s funny to say, but if I look well put together (as opposed to wearing whatever clothes I find as I usually do) I might “fit in” better and avoid some confrontations that way.

      1. well, regards the “dressing up”…
        to my mind, you should not go out looking scruffy, as this might well make some folks nervous…

        I would guess, dress in regular clothes, but have them look “decent” (washed, not too wrinkled, if patched, neatly so).

        and, keep your hair “neat”, or trimmed. ditto for face hair.

        as to dressing up, I myself wouldn’t suggest a suit (although those can be had for fifteen dollars at half off day at value village), as if I saw someone wearing a suit going through a bin, I might think them “eccentric” and therefor “nerve wracking”.

        how scruffy do you look when you go out?

        the times you are hassled, are you more scruffy or ?

        1. I wouldn’t go overboard, but looking decent and well-maintained would be good, at least for richer neighbourhoods. I doubt working-class neighbourhoods care too much – they seem to expect that someone (probably scruffier) might look through trash.

          I didn’t cut my hair for a while, justifying it because it’s been so friggin cold. I just got a haircut though, so that’s good. Mostly it’s just that I’ll wear any random clothing when going out on runs (including a ladies jacket I found a while back), so I definitely don’t fit in when going to certain neighbourhoods.

          1. well, for sure do not go overboard.
            and, re the haircut, that is fine, I am sure, however, I don’t think I meant it had to be cut, just
            I am thinking sort of neat. sort of. you definitely do not want to look “posh”, as I do believe that would just make folks feel/act resentful and resentful folks get nasty. A lot of folks understand and accept many different lifestyles, many different jobs, many different appearances, but I have noticed, it seems inevitable, that (many) folks have a sort of mentality of “you can do a little bit, but if you start to do too well, it is their personal mission to “bring you down””…

            a LOT of years ago, I heard on the news about a man in Edmonton, who went up and down the Alleys (almost all the garbage pick ups were in alleys then), and rescued much from the trash. Some of it needed small repairs (he was handy), and he would re sell at flea markets/garage sales, etc. Now we are talking he took stuff folks threw out (litterlly) from the bins.

            So, I and some friends heard about him on the news, and we were astounded and impressed at how hard he had /did work/how successful he had been. He supported himself, totally off of this, and paid cash for a truck to enable more collections, etc.. In fact I and some friends were so “struck” by it all, it made us much more aware, and for example, when we had something to “throw out”, whether it was a few bottles, or something no longer working, we made a point to carefully put it neatly beside the bin, in case someone did want it.

            so that was us, impressed and admiring.

            However, some folks down at city hall, Edmonton, took it all badly and tried to pass a law preventing anyone from taking stuff from the garbage bins. Now, I think they had calls, from some general folks, and so on, but still. Nasty attitude.

            I read once, that the crab fishermen just take their crabs out of the traps and throw them in a big tub. There is NO need to put a lid on the tub to keep crab from getting out. Know why???? Because the crab lower down in the tub grab hold of the ones trying to get out and pull them back, litterly. It’s like they cannot tolerate any of their mates getting out to freedom, so they pull them back. There are folks like that in the world, too.

            1. Yeah, some of the anti-trash picking laws that have been proposed (and sometimes passed) in North America are ridiculous. I think Montreal is probably one of the most trash picking friendly cities in NA, and even then I occasionally have issues.

              I’m glad that didn’t pass in Edmonton… I hope this blog serves to provide an image of the “good” trash picker, as opposed to the image of the dirty, low-class, or morally bankrupt individual that prevails in our society. I hope to raise awareness about the lifestyle on many different levels.

              You’re probably right about the dress… neat but not over the top.

  5. I love the window into the human world — and all the things we have created with our opposable thumbs over the past many decades….

  6. Michele you are correct – the little glass dish is an eye wash cup… My mother has one exactly the same.

Comments are closed.