I'm a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.
What I find is determined in part by my mode of transportation. For example, if I was biking or driving I never would have stopped at these apartment trash bins – as you can see, there’s nothing indicating that anything good was inside. However, because I was walking I figured I might as well take a look.
Inside was a lot of regular old stinky garbage. There was also a bag of bathroom stuff (like old shampoos, a shower rack, etc), a few bags full of clothes and accessories, and a bin filled largely with loose articles of clothing. I didn’t expect much, but I decided to take a closer look regardless.
A few commenters have suggested that I always check the pockets of the clothes I find. I most often do, even though I haven’t had much luck with it historically (unless you count finding old kleenexes as a success). However, my luck changed in a big way yesterday! Below is a video I took shortly after my first discovery…
That’s five twenty dollar bills, good for 100$! I wasn’t done yet though…
That’s another 20$! I found one more 20$ bill for a total of 140$. All the bills were in breast pockets, which must have been a habit of the person who owned the clothes (I personally rarely use those pockets). I’ll keep an eye on those bins in the short-term, perhaps more clothes will get purged before the end of the month. I also saved some of the nicer clothes, by the way. They were a little dirty but some were vintage-y and might clean up okay.
That’s not the only cash I found yesterday. This pile produced a lot of quality yard sale stuff, mostly kitchenwares and knick knacks, which I may or may not get around to showing you at some point.
Anyways, inside one of the bags was a hefty sack of (mostly) pennies.
The bag weighs 2.885kg, and after I’m done writing this I’ll see what that adds up to. It’s times like these when I miss that free coin machine at TD Bank – now my only option is to use the Coinstar thing that takes 11.9 cents per dollar counted.
I don’t think the fee is worth the convenience most of the time, but when you have a bag full of pennies it’s an okay deal. Let’s say it takes a minute to roll the standard fifty pennies – that means that in the two minutes it takes to roll a dollar you’d “earn” the extra 11.9 cents not taken by the machine. Times that by 30 (or the number of two minute segments in an hour) and you get a 3.57$ hourly wage, which isn’t even close to the current minimum. Even if you were to somehow roll pennies twice as fast you’d still be earning well below minimum wage for doing so. In short, it’s really not worth the time. Rolling other coins, however is still a profitable endeavor.
Once I get this bag counted I’ll make sure to share the profit in a comment below, so take a guess now if you’re into that kind of thing!
Outside of yesterday my luck has been mediocre of late. This small haul, which included two unused frames, a small collection of coins, a digital photo frame that ultimately didn’t work (I put the digital part in my e-waste bin), a container of fondue fuel, and a Lodge 8cf cast iron deep skillet was all that came from my Friday run. Admittedly, the skillet was a great find – it needs only a light cleaning and reseasoning and sells for 62 USD new, but these kinds of hauls aren’t enough to pay the bills. Fortunately, eBay sales have kept my head above water, but I’m looking forward to the quick injection of cash that should come upon the arrival of yard sale season.
Back in November I talked about some exceptionally dusty (or otherwise dirty) garbage in NDG. Most of the stuff was pretty junky and picking through it felt kind of gross, but I figured there was a decent chance I’d find something cool there eventually. This collection of vintage clothing was the best thing to come from my persistence. The items were carefully stored in plastic bags (as seen above) that protected them from the elements, and kept them in near pristine condition after however many years.
A lot of the clothing looks to be from a wedding. I think the yellow dress above, as well as the very similar pink dress below would have been worn by the bridesmaids. Zoom in for a closer look!
Those dresses came with some extra accessories (the other yellow ones might be around somewhere, but I couldn’t find them when taking pictures yesterday). I’m not sure what the top pieces would have been for, if you do let us know in the comments!
The dress above and the shirt below seem to match. For another bridesmaid perhaps?
This might be the only piece that wasn’t made for a wedding. It’s also the only one with a tag – it was designed by someone with the last name of Taxil.
This one’s definitely the wedding dress!
I’m not sure if this shirt goes with it, but it seems to match a little bit.
As you can probably tell I don’t know anything about clothes or weddings – please share any information or memories you might have in the comments! Also, if anyone has any experience selling this kind of thing please lend me your expertise. I’m a bit out of my element when selling clothes, so I’d probably use a middleman (like a consignment shop) if possible.
Finds have been a little hard to come by of late. Still, a few interesting bits and pieces have popped up, which you’ll see on the blog at some point in the future.
Otherwise, I’m curious about a couple things. One, how do you usually find my posts? I’m interested partly because Facebook seems to have a new algorithm for what appears on your wall – my last couple of posts have “reached” about half as many people as they usually do (though “engagement” seems to be normal enough). I wonder how many people rely totally on Facebook to tell them about my recent posts versus how many get here on their own or via email subscription.
Also, I wonder how often you’d like to see new posts on the blog. I’ve thought about writing shorter, more frequent posts, but some of you might be annoyed to receive more frequent notifications via Facebook or email. I’m sure it doesn’t make much of a difference to many of you, but I’m curious to see the results!
I’ve been going to moving and estate sales fairly regularly of late. It’s always interesting to look through old stuff, and I’m often able to snag a good deal thanks to the time I’ve spent researching prices online.
I went to one particularly fun sale a few weeks ago. A couple of people (who also happened to be quite pleasant) were clearing out their aunt’s apartment, which was packed full of old trinkets, tools, kitchenwares, clothing, lamps, and furniture. It was the kind of sale where the sellers were cleaning and organizing as they went – they didn’t necessarily know what was in every corner. For example, I got a good deal on some Federal milk glass teacups and saucers that I found in a small closet that seemed to have been previously unexplored.
A lot of good stuff gets tossed leading up to estate clearouts. I often notice advertisements for sales at houses that produced quality trash in the weeks, or sometimes months beforehand. These folks were pretty good at redistributing the stuff they didn’t want – towards the end of the sale they had set aside a big pile of stuff to bring to a charity shop – but a few bags still made their way to the dumpster. To me that’s totally understandable, as dealing with an estate is often a really big and sometimes painful job. Since garbage is my business, I went back the next garbage day to see if there was anything good inside those bags.
I expected to find more to be honest, but I still saved a bit of decent stuff. I brought home some cassette tapes, which I gave to my archiving friend in case there was anything cool on them. One was marked “Olympic” and could be a radio recording from the 1976 Olympics, who knows. I also saved some nice vintage light switch covers, some rivets & nails, an old geometry instrument tin, a few wooden hangers, a big vintage container of floor wax…
… some drawer pulls & other metal doohickeys, a heavy duty label maker, a collection of instruction manuals for ColecoVision games, and a couple of old health insurance documents from Denmark. Those are pretty neat, and date back to the late 1940s.
I’ll keep my eye on the curb in case more stuff gets tossed in the coming weeks. From what I remember the apartment had to be emptied by the end of February.
A recently sold house has produced some interesting finds of late. I opened one bag and saw some junk drawer type stuff, so I threw it in the car and did the sorting when I got home. I’m sure some of your eyes gravitated towards those bills, which I found folded up in old plastic wallet sleeves. Whether the tosser didn’t see them or didn’t care, I have no idea. The bill on the left is a 5$ note from 1954, which is worth approximately 5$. The American dollar bill is worth around 1.25$, while the Italian Lira is now worthless outside of its value as a collectible (probably 50c-1$). The Netherland’s Halve Gulden note was made between 1949-1959 and is probably worth around a dollar.
Fans of brutalist jewelry might have first noticed the necklace, which was made by Montreal-based designer Robert Larin in the late 60s or early 70s. A couple of the links are broken, but it’s still a striking piece in part because of its size – it seems to be one of the collar necklaces described in this article (a good resource for info on Canadian brutalist designers). I’m not sure what it’ll go for, but I’ll see if anyone bites at 40$ on eBay.
Otherwise we have a vintage Jewish National Fund coin bank (probably worth 20-30$), an Ionic Mason coin, 11 bus tickets from 1986, a vintage battery, and a metal doohickey that might be a vintage credit card (bottom right).
I found some decent costume jewelry here, as well as some good crafting items. That bag at the top left is filled with vintage “Made in Czechoslovakia” clasps, for instance. There was no gold or silver unfortunately, but this stuff should make me a bit of money nonetheless. There’s an old TTC token at the bottom right which you probably can’t see due to the glare.
Otherwise, I found a vintage soap dish, a YM-YWCA book of some kind, a map of Israel c.1967, and two old ticket stubs, one of which is from an October 1 1978 Neil Young concert at Maple Leaf Gardens.
I found some more stuff here last week, but that’ll have to wait for another post. Here’s hoping this spot provides quality junk for the foreseeable future!
A spot in NDG has been producing some fun vintage stuff the past couple of weeks. Here we have some vintage Nestle Quik (which I’d guess is from the 80s or 90s), a brass turtle magnifying glass (which I might keep myself), a collection of unused Snoopy greeting cards, some fibreglass repair gunk from the 60s or 70s (I’m not sure if anyone will want it, but I thought the box was cool), and a Parker ballpoint pen.
That hammer at the bottom might be the most unusual piece. On it is written “Mission St Xavier, Caughnawaga.” It’s probably not that old, maybe from the 60s or 70s, but I’ve never seen anything like it before. If you have any insights please share them in the comments!
Here we have an old electric knife box, a copy of Windows 3.0, a patch from Camp Minogami, and a cheese grater. That old French vocabulary book is cool too – it has a lot of cute pictures inside, which should make it appealing at a future yard sale.
I’m guessing the watercolour markers in these tins aren’t much good anymore, but the tins themselves are kind of neat. Those intercoms should sell at a yard sale for a few bucks, and that metal gymnast is pretty fun. Those wooden necklaces look to have been made at Camp Minogami.
This house has provided a lot of fun kitchenwares, most of which you’ll have to wait until the next post to see! The most valuable piece here is that silver plated thing on the left. Most silver plated stuff isn’t worth a heck of a lot, but that’s an old cocktail shaker made by Birks under their “Primrose Plate” moniker. I found one on eBay that sold for around 60$ plus shipping, but I think that it could be worth a bit more than that.
Otherwise, these finds salvaged my Tuesday night run. I went out with a friend and we found very little, but at one stop we noticed a bag that had a nice jingle to it. Most of the contents were gross, but at the bottom was a small collection of junk drawer type items, of which the above were the cream of the crop. The pens are either incomplete or broken, but might still have modest value to a collector (the one on top features the logo of the Montreal Bar Association).
On the bottom, from left to right, is an old sterling silver class ring from 1962, a silver pendant, an Egyptian cartouche pendant that looks to be 12k gold, and a single cufflink designed by Georg Jensen. I found a similar cufflink that sold for 35$ on eBay, and I think the little Egyptian pendant could fetch around 70-80$. So, all in all that trash run was a modest success, despite the fact that my good finds could have easily been measured in grams.
That’s all for now, but there’s lots more finds to come!