Cool tools / efficiency

furniture

I’ve had some good luck recently finding useful stuff!

It all started with this collection of furniture I found on the curb in Rosemont. I’d been wanting a set of drawers, so I unloaded the car (which was full of junk) and came back for the dresser on the right. It was a challenge to get the thing in the trunk by myself but it all worked out.

I’m always paranoid about bedbugs, especially with furniture and especially when I see it in dense, working class neighbourhoods. However, I inspected the dresser and saw no signs of infestation – if anything it was unusually clean. It’s good to be wary though – I recommend checking out my guide to avoiding bedbuggy trash if you’re ever considering taking something off the curb!

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Anyways, the dresser replaced a trunk in my room. It’s a lot better for storing the small items I tend to find, and I also like that I can stash some stuff underneath.

(FYI, I do have the missing handle. It’s broken but might be easy enough to glue back together).

lightbox

However, the best part is that switching the trunk with the dresser allowed me to finally set up a light box! I wasn’t able to before because the trunk was top loading, and moving the setup every time I wanted in the trunk would have been very annoying.

(Here’s the light box I bought. The price is 300$ now for whatever reason. I paid 100$ and would recommend it at that price, but 300$ seems a bit rich).

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It’s just a small box, but it’s big enough to photograph most of the items I find. It makes listing on eBay much easier that’s for sure! I no longer have to rely on natural light or plan around the weather, and can take clear photos at any time of day. Here’s a picture I took recently using the light box.

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Here’s a photo I took outdoors, just to show the contrast. This photo is good enough for eBay – I’ve seen some truly disastrous examples of photography on there – but it’s not great and it’s certainly not a game-changer. Some turned out better than this, but I regularly had to deal with these sorts of long shadows and weird lighting and would often end up compromising on photo quality. I’m still learning how best to use the box, but its consistency is obviously a plus.

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A few days later I found an old Windows XP desktop computer, a monitor, and a laser printer in two large boxes on the curb.

I should mention that I’ve long had an irrational hatred of printers. Especially those stupid inkjet ones that are designed to be thrown in the trash after the cartridge runs out. It seemed like every time I’d try to use one I’d encounter a software issue that was unreasonably hard or impossible to figure out, there would be paper jam for no particular reason (actually the reason was that the modern inkjet printer, even when new is a cheap piece of junk), or the print quality would just be crap. I hated printers, and though I’ve seen many inkjet printers on the curb in my time I’ve never bothered to take any.

However, maybe this one is different. I plugged it in and the photocopy function seemed to work okay, though the print was very blotchy. Thanks to the minimal, no-nonsense setting layout I was easily able to find the “clean heads” function which I ran several times. Soon enough the print quality was very good. Installing the drivers also proved easy, and I found myself printing in no time!

For years I’ve been hand-writing the labels on my shipments. I didn’t mind doing that, especially considering my hatred of printers, but it was far from efficient given my profession and increasing number of sales. Lately I’ve been enjoying printing my labels. I definitely like not having to double check the address, or re-write the label when I inevitably screwed up. It’s also great that PayPal automatically adds the tracking number to eBay, saving me the effort of doing so myself.

Perhaps this Samsung SCX-4200 will be my BPF (best printer forever)! Oh, and the computer worked well too. I was tempted to keep it but decided to list it on Kijiji instead. I don’t have much space to work with, so continuing to use a laptop is probably my best bet.

All in all these finds (and one purchase) will help me run this operation a fair bit more efficiently. They should save me time, but perhaps more importantly hassle, leaving me more energy to find more, list more, or just chill out.

Otherwise, I had a … let’s go with “interesting” encounter with the police last week that ended with me getting a ticket and them forcing me to get a mechanical inspection – basically another safety – of the car I was driving despite it being in rather good condition. All this because I had the nerve to look through trash in one of Montreal’s wealthier neighbourhoods. My next post will describe the experience in detail!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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16 thoughts on “Cool tools / efficiency

  1. Very nice! I’m happy to see the improvements in your “home office” … and as you say, these changes will make the going forward that much easier, and a lot less stressful!

    I still use Windows XP. And it works just fine. Somebody will appreciate the old warhorse, I’m sure. 🙂

    It’s a real bummer that the police have targeted you once again. It seems no good turn goes unstoned (or something like that, hahaha). I hope the ticket wasn’t for an exorbitant amount. 😦

    • martng says:

      I like XP too. The funny thing is that I think that computer just about as powerful as my laptop computers which are a fair bit newer. I think that’s because it’s easier to fit all the “stuff” into the desktop. That being said, they take up a lot of space and that’s currently at a premium.

      It wasn’t for a large amount, but it’s still a dumb ticket. Details soon!

  2. Anthony Tremanza says:

    Excellent ,excellent post.I am a student and loved your post.Please,please set up a gofundme page to raise money to pay off your fine.You should maybe contest the fine.In any case,sympathetic readers with money can help you.You can also do crowdfunding.But do not pay the money from your own pocket.I hope you will have rich benefactors.

    • martng says:

      That would be nice. Last time I got a ticket I did receive a number of contributions which paid for nearly the entire ticket. Maybe the same thing will happen again.

      I doubt I’ll go with gofundme. It would probably work but I’d have to put a lot of effort into organizing a campaign.

      I will likely challenge the ticket. I’ll give more details soon, but for now I’ll just say that unlike last time it has nothing to do with garbage picking. It’s also fairly small, only 63$. The more annoying thing is actually the mechanical inspection, which I can’t challenge. I spent a good part of last week running around from appointment to appointment, and it will cost me hundreds of dollars when all is said and done.

  3. Mika P. says:

    This fine is so unfair.Why can’t you just fight it?

  4. Cyndy says:

    Just wanted to compliment your new dresser. Mid-century furniture is really hot here, somebody would be crazy to throw out pieces like that. I especially like the pulls. In fact, I bet the pulls alone would sell on ebay. Hope someone took the other dresser and gave it a good home.

  5. Alana says:

    Yeah, printers are designed to stop working after a certain number of copies. Literally, it’s planned obsolesence. If you are savvy enough you can figure out how to override the microchip to get them working indefinitely.

    http://www.reportsfromearth.com/155/designed-to-fail-planned-obsolescence-in-printers-tricks-to-fix-them/

    I too loathe printers, I make my husband print anything I need, lol.

  6. Anon says:

    you have done very well…a real shame you don’t have a old clunker half ton, so you could have taken all the furniture, or at least the set of tall drawers to match the dresser..

    I am wondering,
    are they teak and maple fronts, they look very good quality

  7. janeP says:

    OOOH drooling over those dressers. Even junky mid-century modern stuff on craigslist is listed for several hundred usually and it’s way out of my budget, so I can’t really afford to furnish my house the way I’d really like to. Can’t believe those people just tossed them!

  8. Danyele says:

    Wow, those dressers are beautiful!! The legs remind me of my set (American by Martinsville) check in the side of the drawers, might be marked. Shame you couldn’t have taken both of them, the other would have sold quick. I would have nabbed a pull off of the other one to replace that missing one…lol…those pulls are pretty unique. You may like that laser printer…they are a totally different animal. I’ve been using a laser for over 17 years now, you couldn’t pay me to buy another inkjet printer. Great finds as usual!

  9. willedare says:

    I love your sense of humor: “BPF (best printer forever)! “

  10. joe says:

    If it’s still there,the 50’s-60’s 4-drawer swedish job,either teak or imitation teak,is the best & most sought out of the lot,(all the rage nowadays) you might wanna check out ARTE in old mtl,also,as a cd chest,it’s the best ! (spines up 😉

  11. Andy Polansky says:

    I like your blog and find you very ingenious and clever.I do work in painting and as a handyman.I want to work in construction but the unions won’t let me join them.Quebec is so overregulated and the government imposes certification requirements for so many jobs and professions.There are more and more professional bodies and the government wants to control everything,like accrediting and registering everyone.There is also a lot of racism here,as a Polish-Anglophone mix,I find more and more people find themselves underemployed or unemployed here.Many people work in the black market in the underground economy here or go on welfare.The government imposes requirements on who can give massages.Yet massage salons featuring unlicensed girls are wildly popular and brings the city millions in property taxes.Hence the city tolerates it.To hell with the regulators and the bureaucracy,I salute everyone who is smart and works to fill a void in our society.I support people who work in the underground economy because there are too many ,many rules.I love the ambience and nightlife here,but hate the massive number of regulations.

  12. Wes says:

    I would like you to get a million hits on your blog before 2016 is out.You already reached the 5,000 subscriber mark earlier than expected.Keep going.

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