Site icon Things I find in the garbage

Garbology pt.1

The place where I found those stamps has been one of my best spots of late. Many large black trash bags have appeared on the curb since then, often stuffed full of old papers, junk, and collectibles. Unfortunately, whoever is doing the tossing isn’t taking much care when putting things in the bags, and a substantial percentage of the ceramics were broken in the process. Still, I’ve been able to save a lot of good stuff, including one of the biggest collections of fun vintage junk that I’ve ever seen on the curb!

I’ll share my finds in a few different posts. This series will be one of the most thorough I’ve ever shared on the blog, thanks largely to my new photo setup which makes it easier to process large numbers of items. Basically, a lot of things will appear in these posts that wouldn’t have made the blog otherwise! I think this is a good thing, as it makes the blog a better sociology (or garbology) project. Plus, it provides more opportunity for readers to connect with, and tell stories about the items they see.

Remember: you can click on the picture and zoom in for a better look. That kitten holding the ball of yarn at top left is an old chalkware piece. The lobster salt and pepper shakers are pretty cool, but unfortunately one of its companions didn’t make it. You’ll be seeing more of those little metal plates soon enough… if you know what they were made for, let us know in the comments! My guess is that they were part of a children’s tea or kitchen set.

That lobster claw looks to be a souvenir from a vacation to P.E.I. That dog on the bottom is another old chalkware piece, and that framed bambi is pretty cute as well.

(PS: this is my favourite photo of the bunch, and the photos I’m taking now are of a similar quality. No more concrete background shots!).

You might have noticed one of these bizarre figurines in the last photo. Apparently someone in the 50s decided it was a good idea to make a series of ashtrays featuring toilets and black babies. I don’t really get why, but I can only assume that racism had something to do with it. Some old racist crap is worth good money, but these aren’t particularly valuable – I could probably sell the unbroken one on the right on eBay for 10$ if I wanted to. However, I’m just going to put them in the yard sale pile. I found a similar piece years ago, which you can see here.

I wish that vintage Jovan Musk Oil bottle on the left was full! I sold a small, albeit seemingly NIB bottle for 65$ early in 2017. I found a lot of perfume bottles here, but very little actual perfume. The boudoir lamp is nice, and there’s several fun fridge magnets here.

Here’s a nice vintage jug, a shot glass with a picture of a dog on it, and more fridge magnets.

That teapot shaped trinket holder / spice rack is pretty cute. I’m tempted to keep it myself! There’s also a package of vintage toilet paper, a roll of some other kind of paper, a container full of what looks like tiddlywinks, a lid to a corning glass pot (one of my favourite kinds of pots), and a wood cutout of a cat. I soon found out that the vintage power cord belonged to…

… the vintage waffle maker on the bottom left. It looks a little grimy here, but I brought it home and it cleaned up nicely. It’s a Reliance #850, probably made in the 50s by JK MacLodd & Co of Toronto. I found a similar one on Etsy that sold for 55$. Otherwise, we have some cookie cutters, a rag rug (that might say “1940?”), and a cool galvanized dustpan or scoop.

I saved a lot of old papers here – this is just the beginning. I’ll save the rest for another post. Here we have some old calendars, a “Kingston 1976” Olympics sticker, a package of vintage magic transfers, a couple packs of airline tickets, a message from the Quebec eye bank asking for eye donations (I didn’t know this was a thing), and lots of other miscellaneous stuff. Click the picture for a much better look.

I enjoy taking these pictures, but it’s a lot of work and I’m not sure how sustainable it is in the long-term. I think I’ve spent about 10 hours shooting and editing these photos (including the ones that will appear in the future posts) and I’m not even done yet! In short, I might not have the time or energy to take photos like this when things get busy again (I’m actually on a bit of a dry streak when it comes to finding quality trash), especially since I don’t make any direct profit from blog photos.

If you want to help the blog reach its full potential consider donating a small sum to the project! For instance, I can probably convince an underemployed friend to come take some photos or help organize for 10$/h. A contribution can also help pay for blog-related expenses (for example, I just paid over 300$ to keep the blog running ad-free for another year), and also go towards larger expenses such as a more powerful laptop or camera. If interested, please visit my donation page, or send me an email at (especially if you don’t use Paypal).

Anyways, here’s a few more recent finds…

I mentioned recently that some pens I found in Outremont may have salvaged an otherwise unfruitful trash run. Well, here they are. The Parker 51 is on the right – it’s probably worth between 50-70$. There’s a Sheaffer and another Parker (both fountain pens) in there, as well as a couple rapidograph pens. The rapidographs might be junk, but the others should at least make me money at a yard sale. I have yet to figure out what models they are.

I went back the next week and found bags and bags full of audio and video reels. I don’t have the technology or knowhow to deal with this kind of stuff, so I usually just drop it off at a local Montreal archive and let them figure it out. They’re always pumped to get any kind of archival footage, as there’s always a chance that it might contain something unique that doesn’t exist anywhere else. This bag looked to be filled mostly with old Radio Canada (French CBC) reels.

This one was full of loosies. It would have been quite the job to get this organized, but the archive apparently got it done.

If it turns out that there’s anything interesting on these I’ll let you know! As for the spot, I found more interesting stuff there last week (perhaps I’ll share it here in the future), but nothing this week. Hopefully they produce again in the future as I quite enjoy their special brand of trash.

I was out in Westmount this morning and happened upon an intriguing pile. Unfortunately, the garbage truck roared around the corner not long after I arrived and I was forced to leave with only this bag of electronic junk.

I sorted through it when I got home and found a Tomtom GPS, a satellite radio receiver, a bunch of those light timer doohickeys, some portable phones, and lots of miscellaneous wires. Nothing mind blowing, but stuff that should do well enough at a yard sale. Plus, most of this was “e-waste” that shouldn’t have been put in the trash in the first place.

Otherwise, I finally looked through a collection of wool blankets I found late last summer. They were nice enough, but not in good enough condition / not fancy enough to bother selling on eBay. They were nice enough to sell at a yard sale, but I decided to donate them to one of the local missions instead. These old blankets are very warm and very useful for people sleeping on the streets during this cold winter.

I also donated a collection of scarves, knit hats, and other potentially useful clothing items that I found in St Michel recently. I brought it all to the Old Mission Brewery in downtown Montreal, and would recommend that anyone with extra blankets, winter items, non-perishable food, & etcetera do the same!


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