This week has been a lot slower than expected. There’s a lot of luck involved in trash picking, and I’m simply not getting as lucky as I was at this time a month ago. I miss those times when it seemed like another great find was just around the corner! On the plus side, this mini garbage drought has given me a lot more time to pack for my move.

Anyways, I didn’t come up totally empty-handed! Well, I did the first three days of the week.


Thursday offered a brief respite when a spot in the Plateau produced a few yard-salable toy cars.


Friday was my first passable run, however. I went first to Rosemont (between Iberville and Saint-Michel), a traditionally Quebecois working class neighbourhood. I was joined by my friend Sarah.


One spot produced a bit of nostalgia. I think anyone growing up in the 80s and 90s will remember these colorful shaped erasers. You might even have collected them, like this person apparently did. They’re not worth much, but I figure they’ll make for fun yard sale material.


We came across this spot a little later on. There were buttons strewn across on part of the pile (bottom right). I took the corner shelf, but my favourite find was inside on the bags.


It’s an old medical instrument sterilizer made by a company called Castle. It works fine, though the wiring is a bit sketchy.


There are two patent dates on the back, one from 1916 and one from 1919.


It was pretty grungy when I found it (not gross, just age-related grime) but it cleaned off pretty nice! Now I have to figure out a way to get that soap scum off the nice chrome finish… would straight up vinegar work? I don’t think it’s worth a tonne of money (I found one on eBay that sold for 50$ + shipping, and mine is missing its interior tray) but it’s definitely a cool piece. I might just use it as a funky decor at my new place.


After finishing in Rosemont we drove to Westmount, one of North America’s most affluent neighbourhoods. This pile was next to a moving truck that was being loaded with stuff, which (especially in Westmount) is a good sign that good trash is about!


On the bottom you can see something all wrapped up in plastic. It was a nice Yamaha amp, which I assume they never unpacked since their last move. Either that, or they packed it for this move and then decided not to take it. Either way, it’s a pretty nice amp (a HTR-5560 with a remote) that I might just keep for myself. I plan on getting a record player set up once I move, so I’ll need something like this to get it going!

(I’m kind of assuming that it works, since I don’t want to take it out of its wrapping just to wrap it up again, but my instincts for this are generally right).


There were more things on the other side of the driveway, including a bunch of books. Someone was into dystopian fiction – they owned Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, and 1984.


I also found some photo paper, a nice notebook, …


… a cashew container with a bunch of pennies (and a few pesos) inside,


… and a busted Samsung NP300V5A laptop. The power button lights up but the screen doesn’t turn on. It should be worth a bit of money for parts though. It’s a relatively modern machine that runs Windows 7, at least in theory.

So, the week wasn’t all bad. Next week should be interesting. I’m moving on the 1st and that’s going to take up some time. I’ve started packing early in hopes that I won’t get totally overwhelmed why the process. I want to do my normal slate of trash runs (it seems silly to miss the most famous trash day of the year!) and also keep up with the blog. However, if you don’t hear from me you’ll know that moving (as it often is) was much worse than I anticipated. Wish me luck!

29 thoughts on “Castle”

  1. I’m interested in the yard sale cars, for sure! I have no idea how much it may be to ship them though- I am in US zip code 27278- are you able to estimate if shipping would be prohibitively expensive?

    1. Altogether it would probably cost north of 25$. In cases like this though I usually prefer to just sell locally because it saves me the hassle of packing and all that. I mostly only ship out small, easily packed things and items that are a bit more valuable. However, if you’re ever interested in something feel free to send me an email.

  2. It’s been slow on my end too, I’m hoping the big moving day nets me lots of awesome stuff, but it seems like I was finding more last summer than I have so far this summer…Good luck with your move!

  3. Windex will take care of the soap scum on the sterilizer. You find so many neat things! Happy moving weekend.

  4. Talk about a nostalgia trip. Back in the day, my folks bought a couple of sterilizers very similar to that. My mum had to sterilize all sorts of things for years after my brother came home from hospital after the accident that made him a paraplegic, back in 1960. Every evening, that thing would be pumping out the steam. It was a lot of work for her. I know my folks got their sterilizers second hand (couldn’t afford new!), but I had no notion they might have been that old.

    I Googled, and rubbing alcohol or any ammonia-based product will shine the thing up without streaking, and remove smudges and fingerprints.

    1. Interesting, I never knew that. This machine is still working fine after nearly 100 years, so it was built to last! I’ll give it a go over with one of those. It’s still got a very nice shine.

  5. Somebody has put an ad on Craigslist in wanted section that he is looking for a McGill yearbook from 1952.If you find such yearbooks in the garbage or in recycling bins,please rescue them.

  6. put the erasers on ebay-i got about 30.00 pounds for mine from the 80s. xxxxx

  7. I found lots of ties,vintage postcards,beer bottles,comic books and figurines in the recycling bins and trash bins of the building on the street behind me in NDG today.A lot of people are moving today and tomorrow,and someone threw out tons of stuff in the recycling bins with lids on top last night or tomorrow morning.The tie and figurines I can use myself;I made $10 from recycling beer bottles and cans from the recycling and trash bins of that building alone.I could make much more money by looking around in other buildings’trash in NDG.Problem is it is time-consuming.Please do NDG and its buildings this weekend and in the next week.

  8. I used to live in NDG.And you would find tons of good stuff the week before moving day and after.Go check out Terrebonne,Somerled ,Fielding ,Upper LaChine and Chester Streets from one end to the other.Also check Park Row West,Park Row East,Coronation,Trenholme,Patricia,West Broadway,Westmore,Patricia,Mariette,Mayfair,Montclair streets south of Sherbrooke.Tons of treasures if you have the patience to search carefully.

    1. I went around there last night but didn’t see much else, to the point where I wondered if they changed the garbage day. I saw lots of recycling bins, but not much garbage. I just checked and it was indeed a trash night, so maybe the weather caused people to put out less. I may head there again on Thursday.

  9. Martin,you should often mention the name of the street where you find treasures.Don’t be paranoid—many streets like Sherbrooke,Victoria,Jean Talon,etc are so long that even if you mention the street competition will not take advantage of it.Also,Montreal is so big that you can barely cover 5% of the streets on any given week.Why not mention street names?Just do not give the exact address.

    1. I do this sometimes (rue St Jacques being a notable example) but if the street isn’t sufficiently long (the vast majority aren’t) it makes it very easy for someone else to beat me to any future finds. Finding the spots is the hardest thing about trash picking, and I know for a fact that I’ve lost a few good finds from giving too much information already. I am happy to give the neighbourhood, and more specific info will have to wait until I can write a book (when I’ll be much more specific).

  10. The Hardy Boys! I read those books as a kid, and I can’t find them at the library. I’d love to have my son read those; how can I get them from you, and how much do you want? 🙂

    1. Hardy Boy books may still be bought new. I haven’t checked recently, but I’ve seen them more recently than my childhood.

      They also show up at used book sales, price varying with the sale. Not always, but they can be found.

      I contrast that with Tom Swift jr books. I had a fair collection as a kid, then foolishly got rid of them when I was 12. There was a period when I would find them at book sales, but that is now 20 or more years in the past. Apparently they never sold in the quantities of the Hardy Boys, so they mostly dried up. Though oddly, I found one today, one of the last in the series, and thus one I’ve never actually seen.


    2. I left two of the three in a free box on the curb. I kept “The Mystery of the Chinese Junk” because it seemed pertinent, ha ha. I have that packed away at my storage, I will be too busy to do anything with it until I’m done with this move though. Send me an email if you’re interested, I wouldn’t ask much

  11. I love reading your blog and also the comments from your readers,some of them in particular.A year or so ago,a woman named Zhenya used to post comments on your blog regularly.I no longer see her comments—apparently she no longer comments.Do you like reading reader comments?Do you base your decisions on where to go based on what followers of your blog say?

    1. I like comments because it shows that people care about what I do. If I received no comments, I’d likely stop blogging. I sometimes go places that followers suggest. Once in a while, if my current slate of neighbourhoods is “dry” I will go somewhere different, often one suggested by a reader. My recent trip to Ville-Emard / Cote St Paul was inspired by this. However, more often than not I determine my own schedule based on my favourite trash days / neighbourhoods, and what areas have been productive recently. Unfortunately, many garbage days overlap and it is impossible to see everything at once.

  12. A lot of people moved today.But the rain discouraged many people from scavenging the streets and alleyways today on Sunday.I hope that the merchandise people threw out in back alleys today did not get ruined by rain.

    1. Unfortunately a lot will get ruined by the rain. It’s supposed to rain again on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a lot more will get wasted as a result. Last year it was nice and sunny (and hot!) around this time.

      A couple of friends I know are also moving on the 1st. They (like many people) are totally unprepared and will have to put a lot out on the curb. They were going to try to do a yard sale on Sunday, but it also rained then. They’re going to try to give away as much as possible (they have a room full of free stuff, and put an ad on Craigslist free to encourage people to come take a look), but a lot of stuff will likely still end up on the curb and get ruined or at least damaged by the rain.

      Perhaps we’ll get lucky and the weather reports will prove to be wrong. It’s happened before!

  13. At the corner of Atwater street and Breslay behind the apartment complex in lower Westmount,a lot of things get thrown out just before and after July 1 in recycling bins and trash bins.Also check the trash this time outside other apartment buildings on Sherbrooke in Westmount.

  14. Good luck for your move,Martin.Please do not contribute to our throwaway culture by throwing ouit more of your stuff while moving.And plan so that you do have to move every year.

    1. I won’t be doing any tossing. Well, I did throw out a worn out pair of pants, but I think that’s okay. I hope not to move again next year, but you never know how things are going to work out.

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