That smell


I’ve recently been trying to get more organized. My storage space in particular was very chaotic and I’ve put a lot of work into getting that cleared up. I realized during a yard sale a couple weeks ago that a lot of what was in there wasn’t worth trying to sell – it was just making my best items harder to see. So, I’ve been a purging a lot of my more mediocre stuff, putting the rest in “free” boxes on the curb that others can then hunt through. Most ends up getting taken, and the things that don’t probably weren’t worth saving. I have a lot less clutter now, and most of what remains is very yard sale-able.

Otherwise, I had a couple blog posts worth of stuff in storage just sitting around waiting to get photographed. It all came from a run in Rosemont I did a few months ago, some of which I discussed in a recent post. I came across this pile later on that day. It was pretty unpleasant to look through because everything stunk badly of cigarette smoke. I found some good stuff regardless, most of which is easy enough to clean. A lot of what you see here will end up in a free box though, as not all of it is worth the time it will take me to remove that nasty smell.


I saved a few larger tchotchkes, including a weird vintage mug (marked “©MK” on the bottom), a brass duck, and a ceramic elephant with a multicoloured glaze. This person was really into elephants, and you can see below.


I mostly saved smaller items, four of which were in the shape of elephants. Two were keychains, one was a small brass figurine, and another was a brooch. The brooch (just left of the spoons) is actually quite nice. It’s marked D’Orlan on the back, which is a Canadian costume jewellery company that produced some very nice pieces. Similar brooches are selling for between 30-60$ on eBay, and mine is in very good shape aside from the fact that it’s missing the rhinestone eye. I otherwise saved a couple Las Vegas casino chips, two silver plated spoons, two pocketknives and a Duran Duran pin.


I also saved a silver ring that looks to feature an amber (or perhaps faux amber) crown …


… and a metal crucifix.


I consider this to be a classic Montreal find. Inside this grimy bullion cube container was …


… a collection of old bridge tokens. It seems like a lot of people collected these as I’ve come across them several times now, sometimes in large quantities. They were used between 1962-1990 to pay the toll at the Jacques-Cartier and Champlain bridges. They’re not worth much, but again make for good yard sale material.

18 thoughts on “That smell”

  1. Cigarette smell is the absolute worst. It seems to get in your nose and in your pores and stay there a while. Yuck!

    From what I can see of it, that amber ring is quite nice. There are various web links that explain how to identify real amber. & (But I’m sure you’ve probably figured that out already.) 🙂

    1. Thanks for the links. I don’t actually know much about amber, only having come across it a few times. I suspect the ring is real amber, but I tend to err on the side of caution with these matters.

  2. I think elephants are good luck symbols for gambling. I found a whole bunch of bingo stuff once and in with all the chips were 2 tiny elephant statues. Months later I found more bingo stuff in the trash, and again there were a bunch of elephant trinkets. Since you also found 2 casino chips, I wonder if your person also considered the elephants lucky 🙂

    1. Hmm, interesting theory. I never heard that before but it makes sense, especially when combined with those casino chips.

  3. Just curious — are you allowed to have a yard sale as often as you like? I am in Texas, & we are allowed to hold only 2 garage sales within 12 months & must get a $15 permit for each. I think it’s great you ‘rescue’ so many things & then can sell them. I still can’t get over what people toss in the trash.

    1. Some places here have regulations like that. Where I live though (a dense urban area) it pretty much depends on whether or not your neighbours complain. Some people do the yard sale every week thing and seem to have no issues.

      Personally, I like moving around a bit whenever possible (while sticking in the same general neighbourhood) so that I don’t risk annoying my own neighbours. Last weekend I did two sales in front of a friend’s place, and the weekend before I did one in front of my storage area. I last did a yard sale in front of my own house a little over a month ago, so I figure I can do one here now without getting on my neighbours nerves (though it’s possible they don’t care one way or the other).

      One spot in front of a depanneur that used to be great (different people would have sales there every week) has been ruined by some nearby residents who apparently have nothing better to worry about. They started complaining every time someone had a yard sale. I was shut down and threatened with a fine twice before I realized it was best not to go back. Unfortunately, this might happen more as the neighbourhood gentrifies.

  4. How much are you selling the brass duck and the brass elephant? I might also be interested in the amber ring. It does look like genuine amber, from my own knowledge of gemstones. If the stone is warm and fairly light, that is a good chance it’s real amber. If it feels cold and when you tap it lightly against a glass table, you can hear a difference.

  5. I’m very sorry to comment here, that old german book you posted on FEB 11 2015 do you still have it? WOuld you like to be interested in selling it if so?

    1. I still have it. I’m interested in selling it, but still have to figure out a price / research it. Send me an email and maybe we can work something out.

  6. I’d love to see the way you store and organize your findings! Especially how you keep track of your online sales.

    1. My organization skills have gotten a fair bit better in recent times, but things still get chaotic at times. Thankfully eBay and Etsy keep track of my sales for me, so that part is pretty easy.

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