Site icon Things I find in the garbage



I found some decent stuff last week. It was probably my best stretch since I moved in July. I wouldn’t say it was mind-blowing or anything, but I won’t complain about an average week at this point.

I salvaged some nice stuff from a recently sold house near Westmount. I took home some canned food, much of which wasn’t expired. I’m most excited about the three cans of maple syrup – I love the stuff and these cans sell for around 7$ a piece.

I haven’t had to buy soap for a long time because people keep throwing it out. I found this one shrink wrapped in its original box. It cost 5.99 and probably came from Winners. I’m now three bars of garbage soap away from actually having to buy any. I’m currently using a fancy avocado-shaped soap I found in Westmount.

I saved a bunch of other good stuff from that place, including: a bunch of acrylic paints, some of which I sold at my most recent yard sale; a silver plated medallion from the 1972 Olympics; some screws and other toolsy stuff, which I gave to my roommate who’s studying woodworking; a silver necklace; a bottle of Donna Karan perfume that I sold at my yard sale for 20$; and a single Fire King mug that sells for around 30$ on eBay.

I suspect these folks have already moved (and thus the sourced depleted), but I’ll check again this week just in case.

I keep going back to a spot in Villeray that’s produced some excellent kitschy junk and hockey cards in weeks past. Every week there’s bags and bags of stuff, 99% of which is ruined or just total junk. Occasionally though I do find something worth taking. These religious things aren’t anything more than yard sale stuff, but I thought they were interesting nonetheless. Particularly the vintage Saint Joseph’s Oratory holy water font.

I went on a pretty fruitful bike trip through the eastern Plateau. One person threw out a bunch of change along with two working 2nd Generation iPod Nanos. I sold one (the grey) to a friend for 25$. The other is a little more beat up (the “hold” button on top is all busted up), and I’ll probably put it in a yard sale for 10$.

Someone else threw out a nice bottle of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria “Cherry Blossom.” It seems that I can find nice perfumes no matter where I pick, I guess because they’re often given as gifts. This bottle I was able to flip quickly for 40$.

Outremont produced a couple HP / Google Chromebooks. They look nice but both have busted AC inputs, indicating shoddy design on the part of the manufacturer. Still, they should end up selling for around 40-50$ each.

My best find though was probably this lamp. When driving (as opposed to biking) I often only have a split second to figure out whether or not I should stop. This pile looked pretty unspectacular otherwise, but I did get a glimpse of something potentially neat. It took my brain maybe five seconds to figure out that I should take a closer look, at which point I reversed about 50 meters in order to satisfy my curiosity.

At the end of the five seconds I concluded that what I saw might have been a lamp, and a nice one at that. Ie: not the Ikea ones that are always broken when I see them. Indeed, it looks to be a mid-century piece by Robert Sonneman – you can see some similar lamps on this 1stdibs pages. I again owe Reddit’s MCM subreddit thanks for helping me identify it!

The lamp is in mostly great condition. The only issue is the cast iron base (other sellers have called it steel or slate, but I think they’re wrong) which has a bit of surface rust. I know how to remove the rust, but I’m not sure how to “re-season” it so that the whole slab returns to its former dark tone. Currently there are a few splotches of silvery iron, which I think happens when you clean off the rust. If you have any tips let me know!

Some of the prices listed on that page are pretty ridiculous – I see a range of 1000 to 4000$. I think the upper range of that is pretty much unattainable, and even the lowest price unlikely. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this lamp ended up making me 500$ or more, especially if I can clean up that base.

Otherwise, here are some miscellaneous finds from weeks past. I came across a huge roll of bubble wrap in a recycling bin. It’s not too exciting, but it’s very useful when selling on eBay!

I’ve found a whole bunch of these trunks recently, and I’m finally at the point where I don’t want any more. They’re useful, but I only need so many. This one will be at my next yard sale.

Let’s finish with some last bits and pieces from a spot in Ahuntsic which has unfortunately dried up. It may go down as my favourite source of the year – it provided me lots of interesting old junk, some of which was silver and gold, and has so far netted me several hundred dollars. There’s a bit of scrap silver here again, including a bracelet made of silver 25 cent Dutch coins minted between 1939-1941. The watch is nice looking but actually is quite corroded on the back and on the face.

Let’s hope the good finds continue this week!

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