But you were doing so well!

I had a great run last Monday in large part because of stuff I found at this pile of trash. The odd thing is that in previous weeks these guys (who were moving, the house was recently sold) had been pretty good about leaving free junk on the curb for people to take. One week there was a bottle of ant killer with “free” written on it, and another time there was a larger pile of free stuff including clothes and kitchenware. Nothing too exciting really, but the gesture was nice.

Given that information I didn’t expect to see much here, maybe some pantry remains or garage junk. But I ended up saving some decent stuff from those black garbage bags, some of which was better than anything at the free pile. Maybe they just ran out of time, or maybe one person in the household was more generous than the others.

None of the watches are very exciting but they’ll make me a few bucks at future yard sales. That watch in the middle, below the camera is interesting mainly because there’s a couple silver charms on the band, including an old silver dime. The iPod works great and is actually loaded with some pretty good tracks. The Walkman is a nice vintage one, perhaps one of the earlier models – I expect it to go for around 40-50$.

Otherwise, there’s some pretty solid costume jewelry here. Those earrings at top right look really 90s and are made of metal; I think they would do well on Etsy. Otherwise, the gold-toned costume jewelry is pretty nice. A couple pieces are signed but I can’t remember who by. The earrings on the left are signed Fernella’s Jools.

I saved a whole bunch of makeup. I thought a lot of this was new, but it seems whoever owned it just had the habit of putting the bottle back in its original box after they used it. Still, the brands are good and there’s a lot of life left in some of the bottles. I’ll sell them at a yard sale, but I’ll wait until I have a helper to put them out – I don’t really know anything about makeup, and feel awkward selling it to people. The Chanel rechargeable perfume bottle is a nice get, it’s around 35% full and worth around 30$.

The iPhone 4S seems to work just fine. That 20$ card came in that Chanel sleeve and I’m guessing it was part of some customer appreciation event. The card is still in plastic, so maybe it’s still got the 20$ on it. Otherwise, I saved a bunch of coins, a portable phone without the base, and a nice costume jewelry necklace (though I have no idea how it’s supposed to work).

What really made by day though was the finer bits of jewelry. I saved three pieces of 10k gold jewelry weighing 6.45g as well as some silver. The gold altogether weighs 6.45g and is worth about 135$ for scrap alone. However, they’re nice pieces in good condition and if anyone is interested send me an email – I’d ask a bit over the spot price for each.

Otherwise, I saved the usual miscellaneous random junk including a couple power bars, an old (ancient, perhaps) iBook laptop, some incense, a few figural candles, a sock full of baseballs…

Oddly, each ball seems to have been signed by Dusty Baker in 2011, when he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. I have no way of knowing if the balls are legit, though the signatures do look like his. Regardless, it’s not like Babe Ruth signed them, and the value is pretty limited regardless – maybe 10$ a ball without a certificate of authentication, which wouldn’t be worth getting for low-value items like these. Regardless, they’re kind of neat.

My night was further buoyed by a couple other finds not far away. Another sold house produced a bit more jewelry, including a few more gold pieces. It’s uncommon that I find gold once in a night, let alone twice. The items I know to be gold here (the pinkish earrings on the left could be rose gold, but I can’t see any hallmarks so I won’t count them) weigh 4.4g and thus are worth around 90$ for scrap. But again, if anyone has a particular interest in one of these pieces let me know (unfortunately, the earrings at top right are missing stones and thus best suited for scrap). I also saved some silver, including a pair of earrings signed Ti Sento which seems to be a well known brand.

Last but not least, I found a collection of vintage colognes in front of yet another house. I think the owners were preparing to do some renovations as I saw a little pile of wood out front last week. Anyways, most aren’t too exciting. However, the Ralph Lauren colognes are fairly old – the spray is original formula (dated 1978), while the other is either original or not far from it. I bet I could get around 60-70$ for the splash and 40-50$ for the spray. However, I could elect to keep one of them – it actually smells very good, kind of like pine. Very distinct.

Otherwise, the finds have been pretty good lately. Some guy got really mad at me for trash picking today, in fact he might have been one of my top three angry gooms (get out of my stuff!) of all time. But oh well, that’s just something that happens from time to time. It’s too bad though because he’s been throwing out interesting vintage stuff for weeks, and now it might be hard to go back if he tosses anything else. We’ll see what happens I guess.

I’m thinking of doing a sale tomorrow on Bernard / Waverly near that school if anyone wants to come. I’d probably be out from around noon til five, perhaps a bit earlier or later depending. Edit: I’m actually going to take the day off instead. Maybe next week!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

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.

22 thoughts on “But you were doing so well!”

  1. You’ve inspired me to see my Dad’s vintag perfume on Ebay! I’ll see how that goes…
    I still can’t believe that people throw away gold and coins…..

    1. I agree. I am gently stunned by the value (utility and/or money) of the objects people choose to discard. Hurrah for those who manage to re-claim some of it!

  2. Gooms be gone–or at least put a FREE sign on it or donate it. 🙂 I am so glad you saved this stuff from the landfill.

  3. Was this in Westmount,TMR or Outremont,one of the Big Three Rich neighborhoods?What a lucky man,you.What a nose you have,man.Bravo.

  4. Fyi so you don’t have to spend tons of time Google searching make up.

    The Essie and OPI nail polishes go for around $9.99 at pharmacies.

    Dior and Chanel nail polish can go up to $30 per bottle. The Chanel face make up is now discontinued and used to retail for 48 USD.

    Hope this helps!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I knew the Chanel / Dior stuff was expensive, but 30$ is a lot. Should be decent yard sale stuff then. Maybe I can get a buck or two a piece for the Opi stuff.

  5. While the makeup may be worth something, I would never buy used cosmetics of any kind. Never know if it is contaminated by bacteria. Same reason I would never lend or borrow cosmetics even to a family member. Nail polish should be OK.

    1. I think the odds are pretty low, but it is a thing to consider. That’s why eBay doesn’t allow the sale of used cosmetics. I’m not sure what I’ll do with them yet, and if I don’t feel comfortable selling them I can always just put them back on the curb. I agree that nail polishes are safe however.

  6. Gooms … I love it! I expect a chapter on those will make it into your book, when you get around to writing it. 😀

    Hope you have a successful sale. You’ve certainly found a lot of cool stuff and things lately to flesh it out.

  7. If you have a girl friend,you can give the cosmetics to her.The risk of contamination is very low actually.If you are into men,I do not know what you can do with those cosmetics.

  8. Hey Mart- The 14k jewelry also value in the small diamonds and pendant diamond if its real. You can sell lots of salvaged diamonds on ebay Small diamonds are not expensive to replace, especially, if you can sacrifice one piece of jewelry to repair others, or trade the large pendant diamond for repair on the earrings.

  9. I dislike minimalism.Minimalism is being promoted by too many experts.I was born and raised in England but immigrated to Canada 20 years ago.I shipped all my stuff here and gave some of the rest to my siblings in the old country.Read this article from The Daily Telegraph.

    Minimalism no more! How I discovered the joy of recluttering

    Lydia Slater in her recluttered home
    Lydia Slater in her recluttered home Credit: Sophia Spring

    By Lydia Slater
    1 January 2017 • 6:00am

    Clinical white walls and sparkling surfaces? So last year. In 2017 it’s all about letting go of your inner Kondo…

    I used to have a recurring dream in which I walked through a previously unnoticed door at home, only to find myself in a secret extension, painted sparkling white and devoid of furniture.

    I would wake with a sensation of wistful regret. For a brief period, you see, this dream had seemed to be a possibility, after I discovered Marie Kondo’s seminal work, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.

    Kondo’s philosophy appeared simple, yet irresistible: you should own nothing that does not spark joy. Falling on her book with the zeal of a convert, I promised myself that I would obey her instructions and completely purge my house in six months.

    At first, it was so easy. The 62 supermarket bags for life that lurked in a broken laundry basket sparked no joy (especially as I never remembered to take them with me to the shops). The holey tights that slowed me down every morning, as I tried and discarded pair after pair, followed them straight into the bin.

    A friend organised a timely ‘shwopping’ event in aid of a cancer charity and I handed over two bin bags of designer mistakes, including a pair of agonisingly painful Chanel heels and a made-to-measure jacket that no longer fitted.

    For the first time in years, I could see the back of my wardrobe. My T-shirts, now colour coordinated, were carefully folded, my sock drawer looked like a bento box, and I felt purged and pure, as if I’d been on a fast.

    “I realised that my denuded fridge looked bland while the room looked shabbier than before”

    Instead of falling on an assortment of ornaments, books, photographs, dried flowers, hairbands, dead batteries and novelty rubbers, my eye skated over clean, polished surfaces.

    I proselytised to my family; ‘koning’ became part of our domestic vocabulary. I shelled out on see-through shoe boxes and under-bed receptacles.

    Alarmed by my zeal, my husband banned me from his study. I itched to get my hands on the tottering piles of books, the heaps of papers on his desk, next to the broken light-up bar sign, the collection of toy vintage aeroplanes, the stuffed bird and every home-made birthday card he had ever received.

    My daughters were equally resistant: mindful of Kondo’s insistence that throwing away other people’s stuff is not good etiquette, I spent a fruitless weekend trying to persuade them to prune their menagerie of teddies.

    ‘I realised to my surprise that my denuded fridge looked bland, while the room appeared shabbier than before,’ says Lydia. Pictured Lydia’s kitchen restocked with ornaments and belongings

    Lydia’s kitchen restocked with ornaments and belongings Credit: Sophia Spring

    In the end, I decided to tackle the fridge; not the inside (which is frankly always a little too bare) but the exterior.

    I’d spent a fortune on a silver fridge, but you could barely see it beneath the novelty magnets (bought on every family trip), amusing newspaper headlines I’d cut out, photographs, shopping lists and school forms – the miscellaneous stuff Kondo lumps together as ‘komono’.

    I swept everything into the recycling bin and waited for that familiar little thrill at the sight of another clear surface. My response startled me. I realised to my surprise that my denuded fridge looked bland, while the room appeared shabbier than before.

    The eye, as Diana Vreeland famously declared, has to travel. Deprived of anything interesting to travel to, my eye was fixing on irritating details. How had I previously never noticed the mould stain behind the kitchen tap, the sagging slope of the kitchen ceiling?

    Lydia said of her bedroom (pictured in its recluterred state): ‘My T-shirts, now colour coordinated, were carefully folded, my sock drawer looked like a bento box’

    ‘My T-shirts, now colour coordinated, were carefully folded, my sock drawer looked like a bento box’ Credit: Sophia Spring

    That creative clutter on the fridge had been camouflage for mess elsewhere: the crumbs on the counter, the tangle of phone chargers. I was reminded, suddenly, of a visit to the house of a renowned minimalist architect.

    Photographed for a glossy magazine, it had looked inspirationally Zen, but when I was actually invited in, I was startled by how untidy a few scattered toys had made it.

    The effect in my sitting room was even worse. I had cleared the mantelpiece of its jumble of photographs, candles, flowers and bowls.

    The room just looked a little smaller, a little darker, and, now that the heaps of cushions had been removed from the sofa, the dog’s muddy paw prints were horribly visible all over the upholstery.

    The phone rang. I had a brief resurgence of enthusiasm when I realised how easy it was to find, no longer buried under heaps of newspapers.

    It was the friend who’d organised the shwopping event: as I’d donated such a lot, she’d picked me out a particularly nice pair of shoes as a thank you.

    “With a sigh of relief I allowed myself to revel in my beloved bits of tat”

    Without pausing to reflect, I leapt in the car and drove over. Admiring the green stilettos she handed me, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, my old made-to-measure jacket hanging, unloved and unwanted, on the rail. It reminded me painfully of my carefree youth, when I had had the time and money to be chic and slender. How could I bin it so casually?

    Furtively, I slipped it off the hanger and over my arm. Putting it back in my wardrobe gave me even more joy than I had felt discarding it in the first place. To have any hope of leading a decluttered existence, I realised I would have to get rid of my magpie instincts before trying to bin anything else.

    Lydia she was banned from her husband’s study during her minimalist phase

    Lydia says she was banned from her husband’s study during her minimalist phase Credit: Sophia Spring

    The trouble is, I have always been a collector. As a child, I loved jumble sales and buying doll’s house furniture; as a teenager, I accumulated bags of vintage clothes. Latterly, my long-suffering family were forced to accommodate my brief but intense passion for antique copper pans.

    Another year, I became obsessed with antique linen sheets. Then there’s a wall of vintage fashion drawings that needs constant replenishing, and who can resist art-deco coffee pots, let alone those mugs that look like Penguin Classics?

    Last Christmas, I asked my in-laws to give me a teapot with legs, to match the sugar basin and milk jug I’d treated myself to; the year before, I requested an antique nutcracker in the shape of a dog.

    Lydia’s husband’s stuffed boar head

    Lydia’s husband’s stuffed boar head Credit: Sophia Spring

    Would I really feel happier if I divested myself of all this komono, and was surrounded instead by bare shelves and blank walls? I feared not.

    And anyway, that wouldn’t deal with the issue of my husband’s ever-growing antique butterfly collection, his fondness for odd taxidermy (last birthday, he requested a stuffed boar’s head), his 300 records (though we don’t have a record player), and the political cartoons with which he has festooned the downstairs loo?

    So I gave in and, with a sigh of relief, allowed myself to revel in these beloved bits of tat. Minimalism, I realised, wasn’t morally superior to the alternative, it was just another aesthetic choice.

    Nevertheless, I had learnt one really valuable lesson: I was under no obligation to hang on to things I didn’t like, just because I had spent money on them.

    “So often, when they declutter, people throw away the things that make their house their own”

    With a lifted heart, I binned all the plastic storage boxes along with the library of decluttering books. They no longer sparked joy. With this new, relaxed approach in mind, I went looking for my own design philosopher. I found her in the shape of the interior decorator and writer Rita Konig.

    Visiting her west London apartment for an interior-design workshop, I found pictures hung to the ceiling, walls painted in rich colours, and lamps, books and quirky ornaments on every surface.

    In short, it was the home of my dreams: the cosiest and most appealing place one could imagine.

    Naturally, she too disapproves of the minimalist aesthetic.

    ‘People are afraid of their own stuff,’ says Lydia, who has enjoyed ditching the minimalist look

    ‘People are afraid of their own stuff,’ says Lydia, who has enjoyed ditching the minimalist look Credit: Sophia Spring

    ‘People are afraid of their own stuff,’ she tells me. ‘My feeling is that you have to give in to your own taste and style, because you were born with it. So often, when they declutter, people throw away the things that make their house their own. I think it’s rather a shame, this Ikea life.’

    Far from merely being clutter, one’s furniture and ornaments delineate and define space, she says. ‘If you add a console table to your hall, for instance, you turn it from a corridor into a room.’ Inspired, I returned home with permission to fill it with more stuff.

    I offered a home to a friend’s discarded sofa, which meant that for the first time, we could all sit in comfort, rather than battling for bottom space with the dog. I dug out a folding café table from its hiding place behind the piano and resurrected several lamps that had been retired to storage.

    The sitting-room just seemed to expand in response, and to invite us all to sit down and enjoy it.

    ‘I had cleared the mantelpiece of its jumble of photographs, candles, flowers and bowls,’ Lydia says. Pictured, the mantelpiece back to its former glory

    ‘I had cleared the mantelpiece of its jumble of photographs, candles, flowers and bowls,’ Lydia says. Pictured, the mantelpiece back to its former glory Credit: Sophia Spring

    Who can fail to have noticed that the decluttering tide is turning? In these interesting times it seems obvious that one requires a security blanket – and other soft furnishings – to ward off the chill winds of economic and political uncertainty.

    Last year’s minimalism has been replaced by this season’s ‘hygge’, requiring investment in furry throws, plenty of candles and cashmere socks, while sales of printed books (to restock those empty shelves) are on the rise for the first time in years.

    That’s not to say that one should not declutter at all; but the goal is not, as I once believed, to end up with as little as possible. ‘Part of the joy of decluttering,’ says Konig wisely, ‘is to reclutter. It’s about giving the good stuff more space. I want to empty my bookcase so I can fill it with new things that I love – I’m looking for some brass pears.’

    Perhaps that’s the meaning of my recurring dream: the joy it would spark to fill up those big, blank rooms with shiny copper pans, colourful china and butterflies…

    Lydia Slater is deputy editor of Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country

    1. Fair enough, but as it relates to garbage I consider minimalism less of an issue than rampant consumerism. Lots of people, especially when they have money buy things they don’t need and then don’t respect the item enough to redistribute it properly when they move, do spring cleaning, and so on.

  10. I kept looking for the power bars until I realized I was looking at power strips, lol.

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