Site icon Things I find in the garbage

Cool tools / efficiency


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!

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).

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).

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.

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.

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

Email: 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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