Sugaring off

Things were a bit slow last week, in part because someone decided to break into my friend’s car. They took only the registration and insurance papers that were in the glove compartment, which was a bit odd considering the car isn’t particularly valuable. Apparently criminal organizations sometimes do this to provide legitimate looking documentation for stolen vehicles that are set to leave the country via shipping containers.

Regardless of the motives, it was a minor hassle for all involved. We had to go get new papers, and it took a couple of days to get new glass installed. I missed out on a quality garbage run as a result. Oh well! Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again, as it cost around 300$ to get everything sorted out.

The weather also hasn’t been particularly picker-friendly. There’s been lots of rain (apparently a record amount for Montreal in April) which washed out a few of my preferred bike trips. Still, I made a few decent finds, and I have high hopes for this week as move-out day approaches.

The place in the Mile End where I found the jewelry and watches last week provided more neat stuff, mostly old bottles this time around. I love old bottles, but I will say that it feels kind of gross to look through bags full of medicines in the rain. Something about the wetness and the smell of weird old liquids makes me feel like I’m going to get a disease, even though the risk of anything bad happening is extremely low. Either way, I overcame that feeling and amassed a great collection of bottles, most of which date from between the 30s and the 80s.

My favourite bottles are the ones marked “poison,” like the synthetic wintergreen in the picture above. I think a lot of people feel the same way – poison bottles have good value in the market, especially the ones with the skull and crossbones logo like the bottle of iodine I found a few years back. I could probably sell that one for around 40$, but at least for now it’s part of my personal collection.

There’s another poison bottle in this bunch (this time iodine), as well as a tin of boracic acid. The bottle of Perry Davis Painkiller is hard to date, but I’d guess it’s from the 30s or 40s. Production started in the 1840s, and apparently it was mostly composed of alcohol and opiates.

Yeah, maybe it’s gross to take 40 year old Preparation H, but I just really like things in their original packaging!

The 1964 Montreal street guide is pretty neat, as is the small Lenormand tarot deck on the right. It’s probably worth around 20$.

I thought those Rawleigh’s tins were really old when I found them, but now I think they’re probably just from the 50s or 60s (pre-metrification). I’m pretty sure Rawleigh’s still makes tins like this today. The vintage safety glasses are kind of neat, as are the hairdressing scissors.

I haven’t noticed any trash at this place recently, so maybe the source has dried up. If so, too bad as I quite enjoyed its specific brand of junk.

The people who tossed the tarot cards from my last post threw out another deck last week! This one is called the New Tarot; it was self-published in the early 1970s by Jack Hurley and John Horler, both of whom were influenced greatly by Joseph Campbell. Apparently the deck was pretty revolutionary at the time – check out this blog post if you’re interested in knowing more about their history. There seems to be a healthy market for this deck, one pretty similar to mine (and in far from perfect condition) recently sold for 170$ on eBay.

The only thing I’m confused by is the number of cards that are supposed to be in the deck. I counted 79, but the deck is supposed to only have 78. Then again, the instructions say that the “fool card is zero” so perhaps it is not included in the final count. On the other hand, the listing I linked to above says it includes two “extra cards” without specifying what those cards would be. I don’t know much about tarot, so I find all that pretty confusing. If anyone can help clarify how many cards I should have let me know in the comments! I guess I could also compare every card to the ones mentioned in the instructions, but that would take a while.

I found a neat old chandelier in a bag in the lower Plateau. I’d guess that it was made in the 1910s or 1920s. “Com Fix 589” is stamped on the top but I can’t find any reference to that phrase online. Regardless, it’s a pretty nice piece! I put it on Kijiji for 100$, and we’ll see if anyone bites.

There weren’t that many noteworthy finds last week, so I’ll bulk up this post with a couple of finds from this week. I saved this chrome “eyeball” lamp from a bag in Villeray on Monday night. It was probably made in the early 70s. I think there’s a solid market for these right now, and I’ll find out for sure soon when I list it on Kijiji.

Maple syrup is one of my favourite things so I’m always pumped when I find some in the trash. It comes around semi-regularly, but not often enough that I never run out. Anyways, I found an unopened wooden box containing a bottle of syrup and jar of spread this morning. I ate some of both already, and it was great! Thanks are owed to whoever for satisfying my maple cravings for the next little while.

I also came across a bag full of old photos and slides. I haven’t had time to look at most of them yet, but one envelope contained a bunch of photos featuring former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. They were taken at a “sugaring off party” in April 1976. Current PM Justin (age 4) may be there too actually, it’s hard to tell – check out the photo at bottom left and let me know what you think. It’s a pretty neat find regardless! Here’s hoping more of those photos turn out to be interesting.

My yard sale the other day went very well. I’ll let you know exactly how well in the next sales summary post. I still have lots of stuff to sell so I’ll be doing another sale soon, maybe next weekend if the weather is nice. I’ll keep you posted!

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.

Yard sale!

Sunday’s weather is projected to be 15 and sunny. A little wind, but nothing too strong. Sounds like it’s finally time for a yard sale!

This sale is bound to be a bit chaotic. Basically, I have way too much stuff after a full winter of scavenging. It’s not quite as bad now after the organization session above (it’s a gif, and it should move if you click on it) but there’s still a lot to deal with. My first sale often tends to be an organization session in and of itself – I inevitably weed out a bunch of stuff that I should probably have left on the curb, or at least isn’t worth trying to sell.

Also, because my storage is more or less outside some of the things get a bit dusty thanks to the wind. I’ll have to wipe down some items with a cloth before I put them out. Fortunately I’ve enlisted a friend to help me with the setup which should make everything a little easier.

Anyways, the sale will be at 4096 Coloniale (near Duluth) starting at around noon. I’ll probably go until around 6pm, or when it gets too dark, cold, or quiet. If you have any questions post a comment or send me a Facebook message!

FYI, I have lots of stuff in the basement that won’t even make it to this sale. That means my next one will be pretty good as well, if not better. So if you can’t make this one, it’s not the end of the world.

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.

The jewel

Spring is officially here and that’s a good thing for us trash pickers. Spring cleaning is a legitimate social phenomenon, and it’s often a lot nicer to travel around especially by bike.

On the other hand, it’s been raining more often than not and trash picking in the rain kind of sucks, especially when it’s a cold rain. The wetness makes garbage look and feel more disgusting than it actually is, and the rain also causes damage to paper items (with snow you can most often just shake it off). Regardless, I’m still very happy that winter is over.

Otherwise, I’ve continued to have issues with burnout and overwork. Perhaps the easy answer is to just work less. For a while I’ve been aiming for a roughly 40 hour workweek, but I would often go over that by working on weekends, doing extra tasks that I didn’t really count as work (such as organizing my junk, yard sales) and so on. Perhaps, knowing that there will always be extra tasks that are hard to plan for, I should just aim for a 30 hour workweek and let those extra tasks bring me up to around 40 hours. I don’t mind working hard, but I don’t want to live to work either.

I won’t be cutting down on my trash picking, as I figure it’s in my best interests to be out there regularly. I think I can safely slow down on eBay listing for now however – summer is generally a slow time for sales anyways, and I’ve realized that winter is the perfect time to get piles of listing done. Also, as I mentioned in my last post there are ways I can streamline some tasks (ie: photography) to make things less stressful. I need a little shed!

It’s funny though that I’ve become a minor workaholic. It’s a good thing in a way because it means that I’m passionate about my work. However, I also value self-care and I haven’t been doing as much of it as I should. I want to do more walking, jogging, reading, and etc.

Anyways, here’s some garbage for you. This place in Villeray has produced some interested old stuff of late.

I love finding old things in their original boxes. This stuff is a bit dusty but that’ll come off easily enough. I’ll add the box of Christmas bulbs to my collection that I’ll list come November. The iron is cool and might be worth eBaying.

I also saved some old Heinz baby food lids; two aluminium Carnation milk lids; two vintage Dairy Queen plastic spoons; a few silver plate spoons, including one marked as being from a 1957 officer reunion in Longue Pointe (in Montreal’s east end); some maybe still good enamel paint; …

… and a collection of vintage plastic swizzle sticks. All originate from restaurants in Montreal’s east end. The one on the right is from a “Sambo Curb Service” – the name sounds garbage related, but apparently it was a restaurant near Sherbrooke and Dickson. Here’s a (French) article about Sambo if you’re interested.

I ended up going to Park Ex one day. I haven’t had any luck there for a long time, and I don’t really have any reason to think that good luck is coming anytime soon. However, the trash there tends to get picked up relatively late, so sometimes I “end up” there after exploring more exciting neighbourhoods.

I came across this little coin bank in front of a recently sold house. I could hear something that sounded like coins inside, though it was a bit muffled. I brought it home, and since the bank wasn’t in very good condition anyways I decided to bust it open.

Inside was a plastic bag containing close to 7$ in American coins. Better than I expected, to be honest!

On the day of the Blue Jay’s first game of the season I happened across a pretty cool collection of Jays ephemera from the late 80s and early 90s. Pretty good timing eh? Unfortunately the Jays have been mostly painful to watch thus far (I’m still optimistic). Anyways, this stuff is cool nonetheless. The season ticket holder’s calendars are my favourites, they’re very retro and seem to be pretty hard to find.

I also liked the old newspaper sections. This stuff should eventually net me some decent money on eBay, but I’ll probably wait a while before listing it.

That spot also provided me a bunch of unopened SAP (some kind of programming) textbooks. I scanned them using a phone app I downloaded and found that they’re listed for around retail price on Amazon. That seems like a good thing as truly worthless textbooks are often priced at around a dollar. However, these ones are still relatively old (mostly published in 2010-2012) and their ranking on Amazon is pretty high (and that’s not a good thing). There’s a chance these are totally worthless regardless of the asking price, but I listed quickly just in case they weren’t. If they do end up selling they could make me hundreds of dollars.

I found even more of these textbooks the next garbage day. It was raining, so some of them got a little wet despite being wrapped in plastic. I listed them as well and we’ll see how it goes.

I happened upon some intriguing bags on the way home from the post office. Inside was a bunch of junk, and also a collection of slides that I later put into an old strawberry basket.

Most were tourist slides from the mid 60s to early 70s. I like finding photos from that era because they’re more likely to include some shots of Expo 67. Sure enough, I did find a small box of Expo 67 slides. The market for Expo stuff is good right now because 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the event. I’ll try to get these scanned at some point, and once I do I’ll share them here.

Sometimes I find cool stuff just because I know the neighbourhood so well. These tarot cards are a good example of that. I noticed a house a few weeks ago that had a bunch of recycling bags on the balcony. They looked like they were full of documents, nothing too exciting but enough to make me wonder if they were doing spring cleaning or otherwise clearing house. I forgot to go back that week and the week after, but while walking by the house last week I spotted some bags on the curb and figured I’d take a look. I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not previously seen those bags on the balcony weeks ago.

Anyways, I counted the cards at home and noticed that two were missing. I went back to the spot and found one more card, but the other was nowhere to be seen. Regardless, it’s a pretty good find. The Secret Dakini Oracle is probably the trippiest tarot deck I’ve ever seen; it was published in 1977 and I’m willing to bet that the artist was on acid. It may have some value even with the missing card – similar complete decks sell for between 100-130$ on eBay.

Here’s some other neat stuff from that spot including a Rorschach test, a collection of large laminated photos (perhaps another type of Rorschach test), and another tarot deck (Le Tarot Relationnel by Jacques Salomé, a French social psychologist).

I went back to that Thursday evening collection in Rosemont. I came across this spot just as the garbage truck was coming up the street. I thought I was out of time, but then the truck stopped collecting and drove off, leaving one worker to bring the trash to the road. It was a lucky break, as I didn’t really have time to look through all the bags otherwise.

This little Apple keyboard made the trip worthwhile. This is the second such keyboard I’ve sold and I’m convinced that they go for a lot more if you mention the term “space saver” in the title. Most similar keyboards sell for between 20-50$ on eBay but I’ve have gotten a fair bit more for mine. This one sold for 75$ not long after being listed.

I also found copies of Adobe CS1 and CS2 here. The software is pretty old now, but people still buy it.

The place that provided the vintage Motorola Startac from my last post produced a Motorola MicroTac, the predecessor of the Startac this time around. It’s in near perfect condition. Unfortunately I don’t think the MicroTac’s predecessor, the DynaTac is coming any time soon. Some of those can be worth a lot of money.

I enjoyed finding this New facts about Marijuana booklet from the early 1970s. It’s safe to say that the authors weren’t big fans of the “stuff.”

Some of my coolest finds came from the Mile End. I stopped at an intriguing spot and the first bag I kicked had a nice ring to it. I opened it up and found a collection of jewelry and miscellaneous junk. I spent a while sorting the good stuff into a blue bucket I had in the car.

FYI, the medicine bottles were either filled with pennies or buttons.

I didn’t have time to take photos of the average stuff but here’s the cream of the crop. I saved four silver rings (most were junky, but still good for scrap), a single 10k gold earring (worth around 50$ in scrap), a ring (bottom left) that’s probably gold as well, a cool St Christopher pendant, a vintage Simmons pocket knife with a gold covered case, and a couple watches.

This watch might be the neatest item of the bunch. It’s a ladies transitional (ie: can be used as either a pocket or wrist) watch that was probably made sometime in the 1910s or 1920s. It’s gold-filled (ie: better than gold plate, but not solid gold) and is marked “Empress” & “A.W.C.Co” on the inside. The case was apparently made in Canada. It actually keeps good time, an impressive feat considering its age. I’m not sure of the exact value, but I bet I could get around 100$ for it.

Otherwise, I saved a cute mahogany (sewing?) table. It needs a bit of TLC, but should still make me maybe 20$ at a yard sale.

I found a kettle, but since there’s no whistle we decided not to use it. We know that someone will eventually forget it on the stove and burn the house down.

I also saw this old clawfoot tub on the curb. It was cut in half but still had some obvious upcycling potential. I went back later and it was gone, so I’m guessing someone else took it!

That’s all for now! I’m going to get to work on that video for Indiegogo soon. Thinking about it stresses me out to be honest, but I have to remember that it doesn’t have to be anything super special. I’m not trying to win an Oscar here.

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.