Recent sales (June 20 – July 17)

All things considered this was a decent sales period. For a while it was looking like there was going to be a postal strike, so I put my stores on vacation to make sure there weren’t going to be any issues with delivery. Fortunately the parties involved seem to have worked things out, at least for now. I actually sold a few things while on vacation mode too, and because the lockout hadn’t actually begun I was able to ship them out normally.

Otherwise, I was also busy with the move, meaning I didn’t have much time to list new items. I’m starting to get back into the rhythm of things again though.


1. Antique Chinese silver ring: On eBay for 65$. Found this January in TMR.


2. Lot of 13 5.25″ floppies, some of which held old Apple software: On eBay for 40$. I was kind of surprised, but not really when I looked these up and found out they were worth selling. There’s a healthy market for vintage computer stuff. I can’t remember where I found them though.


3. “Message of Israel” 1950s radio transcripts: On eBay for 45$. I had a box full of these, and I’m glad they sold before I moved. Found in Westmount last summer.


4. Garmin Nuvi GPS: On eBay for 50$. Just the device was included – I had none of the chargers or accessories. Found in February in TMR.


5. Original iPad: On Kijiji for 80$. This is the second working iPad I’ve found in my trash picking career. Both have turned up in the last six months. Found on McGill move-out day.


6. Charles de Gaulle tobacco pipe: On eBay for 70$. Found November 2015 in TMR.


7. Lot of old broken cellphones, mostly Blackberries: On eBay for 25$. These phones were just barely worth selling on eBay. Anything older is best recycled at this point, though the really old stuff (especially the old brick phones) can have some serious collectors value.


8. Vintage Ray-Bans, 12k gold filled: On eBay for 130$. These took a while to sell but that was mostly my own doing. I wanted to feel out of the market, so I started with a very high price and eventually worked my way down until they finally sold. The market for anything Ray-Ban related, especially the vintage stuff is pretty good! Found last summer in Hampstead.


9. Martin Wells eyeglass frames: On eBay for 25$. These would have sold for more, but there was a small crack on one of the arms.


10. Vintage 1960s Silva compass (“Sun Watch”): On eBay for 30$. I listed this compass last week and it sold within a day. Found not far from my old place in the Plateau.


11. Programme Officiel de Parti Quebecois, 1980: On eBay for 20$. I found this on Thursday, listed it on Friday and sold it on Saturday. It included an introduction by René Lévesque, the founder of the Parti Quebecois and Premier of Quebec from 1976-1985. Found in Outremont.


12. Yard sale: 330$. It was my first one in over a month, and the first at my new place. It went pretty well all in all, though I’ll have to find some folding tables for future sales. Some better signage would also help.

13. Magazine lot: to a friend for 100$. These included some of the vintage Vogues I found a while back, as well as some old Playboys I found in the Plateau. She intends to use them for collages.

Total: 1010$, 13980$ since the new year. I’m on pace to make around 25k in 2016.

Just to clarify for any new readers, the stated prices factor in the cost of shipping but not eBay / PayPal fees, which come to around 10% of the total transaction.

13 thoughts on “Recent sales (June 20 – July 17)”

  1. Great article from New York Times of yesterday
    The Class Politics of Decluttering

    Ayumi Takahashi


    July 18, 2016

    Missoula, Mont. — SUDDENLY, decluttering is everywhere. It may have started with Marie Kondo and her mega-best seller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” but it has exploded into a mass movement, anchored in websites, seminars and — ironically — a small library’s worth of books about how to get rid of stuff.

    To its advocates, decluttering, or “minimalism,” is about more than just maximizing space: “By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution,” say Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, hosts of “The Minimalists” podcast.

    But minimalism is a virtue only when it’s a choice, and it’s telling that its fan base is clustered in the well-off middle class. For people who are not so well off, the idea of opting to have even less is not really an option.

    I understand why people with a lot of stuff feel burdened by it, and the contrasting appeal of having less of it. I cleaned houses to put myself through college as a single mother. I spent my days in expensive homes, full of large televisions and stereo systems, fully furnished rooms that collected dust. I was alone and isolated most days, and at night, I concentrated on the three or four online classes I took through a local community college. My daughter and I had about $50 in spending money a month.

    Over the course of a year, and after seeing how the other half lived, I started to recognize that by having less, by trying to find joy in what little things life brings — like a 25-cent puzzle we found at a garage sale — we were living a somewhat happier life. Or, I assumed we were, after noticing while cleaning bathrooms that my clients tended to be on several medications for depression, pain and sleeplessness.

    In some ways, I was practicing what minimalism preaches. But it didn’t make me happy. And I imagine for millions of other working-class Americans who struggle to get by, minimalism’s principles don’t sit well either. Buddhist belief says happiness is the freedom from want, and yet, what if your life is streamlined out of necessity, and not choice?

    I had to downsize severely several years ago when my daughter and I moved into a 400-square-foot studio. I had no usable wall space, and although my boss gave me temporary storage space in her garage over the summer, I had to sort through and get rid of carloads of clothes, my childhood toys, school papers, books, movies and artwork. I couldn’t afford to store all of these items, which had value to me only as a record of my history — including mementos from my parents.

    My stuff wasn’t just stuff, but a reminder that I had a foundation of support of people who had loved me growing up: a painting I’d done as a child that my mom had carefully framed and hung in our house, a set of antique Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls my ferret once chewed an eye out of when I was 15, artwork my mom had collected over the decade we lived in Alaska. Things I grew up with that brought me back to a time of living a carefree life.

    I’ve grown to appreciate living in a small space over the last decade, even after having another child. I now keep a 667-square-foot apartment clean, and can’t imagine the responsibility of doing the same to two or three times the space. But it would be nice for my girls to have their own rooms, and a yard to run around in. It would be nice to have a real couch that isn’t a futon I’ve held on to for several years. I hunt for deals, and hurry to Walmart whenever there’s a sale.

    And that’s the other class element lurking behind minimalism’s facade. In a new documentary about the movement, “bad” consumption is portrayed by masses of people swarming into big box stores on Black Friday, rushing over one another for the best deals. They are, we’re led to understand, slaves to material goods, whereas the people who stay away from mass consumption are independent thinkers, free to enjoy the higher planes of life.

    But those people flocking to Walmart and other stores don’t necessarily see things that way. To go out and purchase furniture, or an entertainment set, or a television bigger than an average computer monitor — let alone decide that I can afford to get rid of such things — are all beyond my means. That those major sales bring the unattainable items to a level of affordability is what drives all of those people to line up and storm through doors on Black Friday.

    Those aren’t wealthy people who have a house full of expensive items they don’t need. Those are people teetering on or even below the poverty level, desperate for comfort in their homes. To point to them as a reason to start an anti-consumerism movement is just another form of social shaming. Those aren’t the people who would benefit from a minimalist life. They can’t afford to do with less.

    Stephanie Land is a writing fellow at the Center for Community Change. This article was supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

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    1. The stress of worrying about whether you’re going to have a roof over your head,or food,heating,light,or a high speed internet & phone connection next month (the absolute bare bones 30$ a month kind) can be crazy-making,if not near-crippling,i agree,but poverty of intellect & concrete skills is the worst,we should All have the penny-pinching self-taught genius our grandparents had,cooking,finding & fixing stuff,sewing,carpentry,basic electrics,basic plumbing,basic cook&heat with fire skills,what we need to learn is to as much as possible Disconnect from supply side economics,learn to do it ourselves,use the local libraries,this strikes me as such a stunningly Common problem I’m considering starting a youtube series just to address it ! I have lived below the poverty line most of my life,often (though not always) happily so,to purchase Anything from walmart,target,mcdonald’s,or others is to feed a machine that Literally destroys small,steady,family businesses,abuses it’s employees,steals from the taxpayer & state services,Drives Down the Average Wage,it’s the equivalent of buying from a plantation owner! We’re feeding the Problem ammo ! Best example? Dollar store,the poorer we get,the Bigger they get! The richer they get! Look up coal Company Script,we’re all rapidly sliding back to this situation,where you work for them,& can only buy or rent from them! & so few seem to notice.

    2. Good article. I agree that this minimalist lifestyle proposed by people like Kondo is appealing mainly to middle and upper class people. Poor folk don’t really have that privilege of being able to get rid or throw out whatever doesn’t bring them joy.

  2. Janitors are not always bright,and make very stupid mistakes.Read this article.
    Throw out Trash Can Art
    Janitors Accidentally Throw out Trash Can Art

    John Farrier • 31 minutes ago • 0

    (Photo: Will Kutz)

    This is “Trash Can,” a sculpture by Will Kurtz that was priced at $8,000. It consists of an overflowing trash can and a sculpture of a raccoon. The piece was on display at Art Southampton in New York City. Two weeks ago, it was among several sculptures arranged in an exhibit. Alas, before the show opened, cleaners, mistaking it for a trash can, emptied out all of the trash.

    None other than actress Brooke Shields, who was curating the show, saved the day. Page Six reports that she noticed the problem before the opening:

    But when Shields and artist Kurtz showed up for the VIP preview Thursday at Nova’s Ark Project, the artwork trash can had been emptied. The actress and the artist were forced to go rummaging in the real trash to recover his valuable work.

    Nick Korniloff, founder and owner of Art Southampton, told Page Six, “We had works from Warhol to Banksy on display this weekend. We have a very aggressive cleanup crew because we like to keep the event pristine. They are trained to recognize and not take out any art, but unfortunately they looked at a trash can, and threw the contents away. The raccoon was left standing there next to an empty can.

    -via Weird News | Photo: watchwithkristin

    1. Janitors are often highly self-taught renaissance men,though not all,i’m a contemporary art freak,& even i might have made the mistake,to boot they’re trained to be lightning strike cleaners,the artist should have shot a thin layer of spray on varnish over the top layer of the trash,would have solved the problem.

    2. I can see how someone might throw that out, haha. That’s not a diss to his art, but it definitely looks like trash.

  3. I paid fifty dollars for a box of 5.25 inch floppy discs in 1984, I still have the bill somewhere.

    I was lucky. After getting my first floppy drive that month, which didn’t come with a blank floppy, I was able to find a two-pack of floppy discs, so I didn’t have to spend fifty immediately.

    Either there weren’t generic floppies, or I wasn’t yet ready to trust them. It was better later when they were cheaper, but then the floppy drives got cheaper too.


  4. My grandfather was a penny-pincher kind of hoarder.When he died at the age of 95 two years,he left me $25,000 of his money for my university tuition fees.All the furniture and hundreds of books as well as knick-knacks were passed on to his children,grand children and nephews/nieces.He even left $10,000 to the local community library in Vermont.I am so thankful.What is wrong with being sort of a ‘hoarder”?I hate Marie Kondo’s message.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with holding onto things. There’s a certain point where it becomes a problem though, as seen on that TV show. Apparently it’s an OCD thing. I have no problem with people holding onto things, in fact it’s those people who end up preserving great historical items. If people threw out all papers that no longer had any use, we’d have a lot less cool stuff to look back on.

  5. Great letters to the editor from today”s New York Times.Please read.

    Clutter Is in the Eye of the Beholder

    Ayumi Takahashi

    July 25, 2016

    To the Editor:

    Re “The Class Politics of Decluttering,” by Stephanie Land (Op-Ed, July 18):

    For 26 years I have lived in a wealthy town where the typical living room is larger than my tiny garage apartment. I have written poetry, plays and novels and raised two sons. Although I am now probably approaching bankruptcy for the second time, my life is full and rich.

    My apartment is filled from walls to floors with artwork, play posters, CDs, vinyl records, file cabinets, plants, photographs, poems and of course books. Some enter this “magic house” and think that it’s cluttered. Others enter and never want to leave.

    When I tutored their children, I was in the homes and mansions of many of my town neighbors, and I saw possessions and “stuff” that far outnumbered mine. Yet because of the many large rooms, their homes were not cluttered. What Ms. Land says is as much a matter of financial condition and social class as it is anything else.


    Spring Lake, N.J.

    To the Editor:

    In the face of all the moralizing about “minimalism,” how refreshing to encounter Stephanie Land’s recognition that “minimalism is a virtue only when it’s a choice, and it’s telling that its fan base is clustered in the well-off middle class.”

    Moreover, not all of us middle-class “people with a lot of stuff feel burdened by it.” I don’t. I feel that having a lot of stuff increases my options and enriches my life.

    Middle-class people who forgo material luxuries to give their surplus funds to the poor are entitled to feel superior to me. Those who save or invest their surplus funds, or use them for travel rather than for possessions, are not.


    Providence, R.I.

    To the Editor:

    This fine article complements Matthew Desmond’s wrenching book “Evicted.” Both illustrate the tone-deafness of the privileged, the shaming of the poor and the callous disregard for meaningful possessions in one’s life that can be thrown like garbage on a sidewalk when evicted.

    I have such a client, who in the twist of bad luck that can trail the lives of the poor, was thankfully left with her motorized wheelchair, as all else in her immaculate studio was threatened to be discarded by the authorities. I have seen her pride in this decorated studio on her cellphone.

    We confuse a genuine concern for materialism and consumption with the wish to have a decent spot to live and cherish. Downsizing so as to avoid burdening one’s children at the end of one’s life is a privilege that is unknown to families teetering on the brink of poverty as they struggle to provide basic shelter, let alone preserve any positive mementos.


    New York

    The writer is a social worker.

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  6. Hi Martin,I love your blog but you seem to be on hiatus.There are hardly any posts in what is supposed to be the busiest season for scavengers,summer! I just want to say that on Madison street in NDG between Maisonneuve and Sherbrooke there are three or four apartment buildings with losts of units.People seem to throw out a lot of reusable furniture,lamps,paintings,bric-bracs etcs in this stretch of Madison.I wish more of it was rescued.

    1. I haven’t been especially lucky, which means less posts! I do plan on cutting down a bit on posting though, maybe aiming for 4-6 posts a month instead of 6-8. I haven’t been to that part of town in a while but I’ll keep my eyes open next time I go. I find apartment trash is generally pretty picked through though.

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