Monthly Archives: June 2016

Move-out day

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I mentioned I had a great time picking in the McGill Ghetto during move-out day. That way was back at the beginning of May, but I haven’t gotten around to mentioning it until now.

From what I hear move-out day is a phenomenon across the world. Basically, a lot of students move after their academic years end, and when people move they inevitably leave stuff behind. I wrote a fairly in-depth post about the event last year.

In past years I’ve been busy or haven’t taken the day particularly seriously. This year though I decided to go out of my way to see what I could find. I went with a couple friends and even recorded a bit of video, though we haven’t done anything with the footage yet.

There’s no shortage of things to be saved on move-out day. We (and many other scavengers!) saved lots of clothes, food, books, school supplies, and so on. I think I got particularly lucky this year though. All the stuff in today’s post came from a single spot, one of the first we stopped at. It’s hard to fathom why the previous owner threw these things away, though I’d guess that they’re privileged enough not to have to consider the financial implications of their actions.

One of the things that has surprised me most in my garbage flipping career is the amount of money I’ve made from used perfumes. I had no idea that such a market existed before a couple years ago. The Replica perfume on the left for example sold quickly on eBay for 75$. The “Juliette has a Gun” is listed for 60$, while the Vanilla one sold at a yard sale for 4$ (it was originally 20$ at Anthropologie). I’d guess that I’ve made around 2000$ selling perfumes in the last two years – that’s around 5% of my income!

I also got 30$ for that Links of London silver bracelet, which I noted in my last post.

I love finding cash in the trash. Easy money right? A lot of this change came from inside a laundry bag. I found more (including the bills) inside some used purses, and the rest was loose inside the bags. All in all it added up to around 40$.

Click on the picture to see a GIF my friend made! We found three 24s of Sleeman’s sitting on the curb, while a bunch of other cans (some of which were still cold) and most of a bottle of Vodka were saved from the bags. This is easily 100$ of booze right here. Unfortunately I’m not a big Sleeman’s fan, but they have been useful as bartering chips.

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I found another original iPad, which I flipped recently on Kijiji for 80$. I guess we’re at the point now where working 1st generation iPads are being thrown out on a regular basis – I saved another one just this February. I used the photo of the last iPad here because it turned out a bit better.

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My best find though was easily this Macbook Pro. It’s an order of magnitude better than the last one I found. For one, it’s a 2012 model instead of a 2009, and it has a 15″ screen instead of a 13″. It came with the power cable, and even the battery works well. It’s easily a 600-700$ computer, and it’s definitely better than the Asus I bought last year.

It was locked with a password when I found it. I’m not really tech savvy, but using Google I was able to find a way to bypass the password and basically delete the old account from the computer. Apparently the laptop hadn’t been used since 2014, so I’d guess that the previous owner got a better computer and didn’t care about this one. Either way, it works out well for me!

As you can see I had a great time on move-out day. I look forward to doing it again next year, though I don’t expect to get this lucky every time.

In other news, I’m moving today so wish me luck! If all goes well I should have a bit of time tomorrow to check out moving day trash. To clarify, moving day is a totally different thing and a uniquely Quebec phenomenon.

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Recent sales (May 23 – June 19)

Summer is typically a slow period for eBay sales but the past four weeks have been surprisingly productive. I’m moving at the end of the month, so I’m especially happy that I won’t have to move this stuff to my new place. Some of these items had sat unsold for a long time as well; needless to say I’m glad they finally flew the coop.

Just to clarify for any new readers: these realized prices account for shipping costs, but not Paypal / eBay fees which amount to around 10%.

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1. Lot of seven medium format negatives featuring the Kaman experimental helicopter: On eBay for 70$. These sat around for years before I finally got around to listing them. They ended up selling for more than expected, though they might have gone for even more if I had gone with a set price listing instead. Regardless, I’m just happy to have them out of the house – that’s why I went the auction route in the first place. These photos would have been taken in the late 1940s. Found November 2013 on Rue Laval in the Plateau.

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2. Links of London sterling bracelet: On eBay for 30$. I found this on McGill move-out day. The string was a bit frayed so I sold it as a project piece. Someone (the eventual buyer) actually messaged me to say that Links would repair it for free, but I didn’t really care enough to go through the hassle. It was honest of them to mention it though.

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3. Vintage Montreal Canadiens photos (from Quaker Oats promotion): On Kijiji for 60$. There were 17 in all, part of a sports scrapbook that dated back to the 1950s. Found in NDG around this time last year.

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4. Lawn bowling ball set with carrying case: On Kijiji for 50$. These finally sold after being on Kijiji for over a year. I may have overpriced them at first, and lawn bowling balls are definitely more a summer purchase. Found last May in TMR.

5. Yard sale: 230$. Another successful sale. In all likelihood it was the last one at my current place.

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6. Vintage Mattel Hot Wheels track connectors: On eBay for 30$. These aren’t too exciting, but they’re still money on the bank. Found with a vintage toy car set in Montreal West.

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7. Old Chinese postcards: On eBay for 40$. These are the first postcards to sell from the big collection I found recently in TMR. I plan on listing more, but might wait until the fall / Christmas season to do so.

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8. Through the looking glass, published in 1895 by Altemus: On eBay for 150$. This ended up being worth a lot more than I first expected! Found last fall in Verdun.

9. Anime DVDs (Steam Detectives and Broken Blade): On eBay for 70$. The money continues to roll in from that anime DVD collection I found last fall in the Plateau. Without looking at the math now, I’d guess that it has now earned me around 700-800$, with about 500$ worth left to sell. Not bad!

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10. Merkur safety razor: On eBay for 25$. Found in the Mile End.

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11. Vintage Las Vegas casino chips: On eBay for 17$. I come across vintage casino chips semi-regularly, so in the future I may hold out on listing them until I have a bigger lot. I found these ones in Rosemont last summer.

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12. Royal Albert tea cup and saucer: On eBay for 23$. The last of the tea cups (at least the ones I had listed on eBay) from the great collection I found in Ville St Laurent in October of 2014. It’s the pixelicious looking one in the middle of the second row. All in all I made around 1500$ from the teacups, and maybe another 1500$ from other stuff I found that night. That makes it my most profitable run ever.

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13. Two post-war Polish language books by Arthur Conan Doyle: On eBay for 20$. These were pretty neat, as they were printed cheaply after the end of WWII. Found last June in TMR. The same spot produced an early Polish edition of Animal Farm that I ended up selling for 150$.

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14. Lot of 1976 Olympics publications: On eBay for 60$. I have a few more like the ones on the left and right that I’ll list once I settle into my new place. Found last September in NDG.

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15. Vintage taxi meter: On eBay for 105$. I wondered if this would ever sell! It sat on eBay for nearly two years. I don’t use the “best offer” option often, but I turned it on a while back in hopes that this thing would finally move. I recently got an offer for 100 US$ (with free shipping) and jumped on it. The taxi meter ended up going to a buyer in BC. It was pretty heavy, so I’m glad it’s not taking the trip to my new place. Found in TMR just after the 2014 moving day.

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16. Staedtler Masterbow drafting set: On eBay for 20$. Found in the Mile End.

17. 14k gold pendant: On Etsy for 46$. One piece from a great haul of jewelry I found in the Plateau a few years ago.

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18. Macbook laptops, for parts / repair: On eBay for 85$. More stuff I’d glad I won’t have to move! One Macbook I found a couple years ago and used for a while. It developed some software issues though and became expendable when I found a better computer. I found the other recently in a recycling bin, and I decided that together they’d make a good lot. Once listed they sold very quickly. I found both in Mount Royal, in front of two different houses nearly two years apart.

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18. Henri Bourassa pinback button – 1908 Quebec Election: On eBay for 350$. This pin is one of my favourite finds of the year. It tells an interesting story, which I addressed briefly here, and is likely very rare if not one of a kind – I could find nothing else like it on Google. The payday ain’t bad either! Found around two months ago in Ahunstic.

Total: 1481$, 12970$ since the new year. I’m on pace to earn around 26k$ this year, which would surpass my goal of 24k by a healthy margin.

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Geneva pt.2

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I haven’t been picking too much lately. It seems like a funny time to take a break, given that summer has finally arrived, but I’m still dealing with some burnout and am preparing to move again for the end of the month. I plan on overhauling the way I organize my life once I get to my new place, so I look forward to the change. As things are now much of my work (ie: stuff) ends up in my room, and as a result I’m always surrounded by it. That makes relaxation difficult, as often I’ll end up thinking about what to do with my finds even in my “off” time.

In the future I want a little more separation from my work and home environment. The solution could be as simple as setting up storage shelves and hiding everything behind a curtain. Out of sight out of mind, as they say. I think that could work well, because I have some boxes of random stuff from my past in the shed and I never ever think about those.

Anyways, I figured I’d share some more of the neat old stuff I saved along with those postcards in TMR. The spot hasn’t produced anything in the past few weeks, but I’ll keep an eye on the situation in case they toss anything more.

I thought this old liquor bottle was pretty cool. I’m not a glass expert, but I’d guess it was made sometime in the early 20th century. Benedictine – the name of the brand – was pressed into the metal (maybe lead?) that you see around the neck of the bottle. Someone decided at some point to turn it into a lamp, which I think was a good idea.

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I love old things in their original packaging. This “Blitzhacker” is basically the 1950s version of the Slap Chop.

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Also from the kitchen, this 1950s Sunbeam Coffee Master percolator was a nice find. Unfortunately it’s missing the inside filter bits, but it still works great and is in excellent cosmetic condition.

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I found a cool copper box (maybe a small humidor?) emblazoned with the Chilean coat of arms …

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… as well as an old brass advertising ashtray.

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This vintage Kodak photo trimming board is very quaint. I’d guess it was made in the 1930s.

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This is an old heater that doesn’t work anymore. The main appeal to me is that the top is made from Bakelite, a vintage plastic that was very popular between the 20s and 40s. It looks cool, and I figure someone handy could repurpose the dial somehow. The colour of the plastic is forest green, which unfortunately didn’t come out well in the picture.

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Just some old walkie-talkies. They could be fun to play around with, so I plan on keeping them myself for now. They don’t look to have ever been used.

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I saved several games, but the most interesting were an old cribbage board and a 1920s Mahjong set.

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I appreciate Montreal-related finds, so I enjoyed saving these vintage signs from the city’s parks and public works departments. I’d guess they’re from the late 60s or early 70s. Before 1964, Montreal was always referred to as la Cité de Montréal, and these signs are marked as being from la Ville de Montréal

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Otherwise, I have an odd doohickey maybe you can help me identify. The piece has two wooden arms, which are attached to a piece of wood that looks a lot like a piece of interior moulding. The arms rotate around, at least until they hit the other arm. I wondered if it was meant to make music, as hitting the arms together makes a reasonably pleasant sound, but that’s just my best guess.

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It’s just under a foot long, if that helps. If you have any ideas let us know in the comments!

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