Spring cleaning bits & bobs

Spring has definitely sprung. That means the cat is happy, and extra garbage (quality and not) is making its way to the curb. Today I’ll share some recent finds, some of which are related to spring cleaning, and some of which are due to people moving (which also tends to happen more when it’s warm out).

This pile in St Michel was mostly trash, other than the contents of the plastic case that I pulled out from underneath that floating box.

Inside was a diverse array of metal bits & bobs. There were toy cars, random bits of copper and brass, a few kitchen utensils, and a couple old long brass door latches that I think will do well on eBay.

Perhaps most notable though was this collection of skeleton keys, some of which are quite large (the biggest being about 5″ in length). The designs on the end are pretty unusual as well, helping to make this the nicest collection of skeleton keys I’ve found in one place. My mom loves skeleton keys, so she’ll likely end up with at least a few of them…

For a few weeks one chap was tossing all kinds of barely used tools in preparation for a move. I just sold the carpet knee-kicker for 70$, and I have the carpet iron and air powered caulk gun listed on eBay as well.

Buddy also tossed a seemingly never used GraLab darkroom timer, which I sold on eBay for 85$.

That spot’s last productive garbage day featured office-related stuff and a few junk drawer doohickies, the most valuable of which was this 10k white gold MedicAlert bracelet. At 6 grams, it should net me about 170$ at current scrap prices.

An Instagram follower alerted me to a huge pile of trash in Rosemont, which I’d guess was the result of someone clearing out a storage area. Most of it wasn’t my bag, but I did pick up a couple nice (I think Chinese?) horse sculptures, a couple old toy cars, a cute vintage cat figurine, and a few other doodads.

If ever you have a hot garbage related tip, feel free to message me. Facebook & Instagram messages are probably the best way to do so, though sometimes I miss those notifications as well.

One of my best spring cleaning finds came from a pile on Victoria Avenue. (I also grew up on a Victoria Avenue, but elsewhere in Quebec). I found a lot of quality junk there, including kitchen stuff, silver plated Bombay Company accessories, and a small fur coat. Most valuable was a collection of jewelry, which I’d guess belonged to someone my age or younger. I picked all the different pieces out of the black trash bag and placed them in an old Tupperware tub for sorting.

The highlights were: a monogrammed 10k gold ring, a bulky Mexican silver bracelet, a pearl bracelet with a gold clasp, and three different pieces signed “Tiffany” (the key, the chain attached to it, and the necklace on the bottom).

I’m sure the key is a fake Tiffany piece, because it claims to be sterling silver but is not (based on an acid test). The chain is likely real, however, and I’m fairly confident the necklace on the bottom is as well. It’s funny to own both real and fake Tiffany products, but I’m sure it’s not that uncommon given how often Tiffany is faked. Anyways, assuming the “Return to Tiffany” necklace is real, it’s worth around 300-400$.

The silver bracelet second from the bottom would have been nice as well, but the woven silver thread has broken a bit in a few places, so to wear it you’d have to commit to being poked regularly. It’s still worth about 10$ for scrap.

Otherwise, I forget where I picked up this scooter. I thought it looked well made, so I brought it back to the garage where it sat for a few weeks. Then, a friend came by and mentioned how her roommate just bought a similar one on Amazon for 180$. Hearing that motivated me to get it listed on Kijiji, where it sold pretty quickly for 50$. Can’t complain about that!

Some folks in Westmount tossed this nice old rocking chair a couple weeks back. My first thought was to sell it, but once I sat down I found it to be surprisingly comfortable. We’ll see what happens, but for now it seems like a good fit at the house.

Otherwise, eBay sales have been strong of late. My biggest sales of late have been an older ophthalmology machine that sold for 600$ (we just have to figure out how to get it to Cambodia) and a set of Order of the Holy Sepulchre Medals for another 600$ (a find from last summer that never made the blog). I don’t plan on sharing my sales regularly anymore, but you can always see what I’ve sold recently on eBay by visiting my eBay listings pages and sorting by “sold” only. The only thing is that they don’t show you the “Best Offer” sold price (though I rarely use that feature, and you can find the accepted price by using watchcount.com) and an item still shows up as sold even if the transaction is cancelled (which is why I “sold” three Expos posters instead of two). However, usually once the price goes “green” the item is out the door.

I think the auction house is set to open again in a week or so, which will help me clear out my garage and make some cash. I’m still not sure when yard sales will happen again, or what they’ll look like once they do.

I saw a bit of good news as it relates to Covid-19 and trash picking. Apparently most transmission is person to person, and the virus in most circumstances won’t survive very long on random surfaces. It’s still a good idea to keep the hand sanitizer close by when looking through trash, but this is still good news nonetheless, especially since social distancing is baked in to garbage picking already.

Anyways I’m pretty far behind when it comes to sharing my quality finds here. I’ve been too easily distracted by the news, so I got a friend to put parental controls on my phone so that I can’t check the most addictive websites so frequently. Hopefully this leads me to be more productive / feel more at peace going forward.


1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

21 thoughts on “Spring cleaning bits & bobs”

  1. That rocking chair is stunning and the photo is fantastic! So is the photo of the keys. Lately I’ve been enjoying some of the great photography on the blog as much as seeing the items. A good decision to keep the chair; it’s a knockout. It’s really nice that some good sales were made, especially in these difficult times for sellers. Please advise how the Cambodia shipment works out. World wide web indeed!

  2. Funny, I was just thinking about your blog today, and how nice it would be to see a new post, and … voila!! I **love** that rocking chair, so if you ever decide it no longer works for you, please let me know!! Other than that, looks like you have another great haul of tools and jewelry. I’m still interested in the Euro and British coins when you have enough to bother with. Hope you have some good luck soon at the auction house once it opens!

  3. Wow … that’s some collection of keys you chanced upon under all that trash! I’m glad a few are earmarked for yours truly. 🙂 Just curious … do any of the keys fit the lock plates I see in the picture?
    Those Chinese horses look pretty kitchy … but the little kitty figurine is pretty darned cute. (And so is Girl Kitty in the first pic, by the way.)
    That chair is a real beauty. Looks to be oak, maybe? I’m glad you decided to keep it for your own use, at least for a while.
    Your selling options had been cut back with the coronavirus lock-down, but it’s nice to know you’re still raking in a bit of dough selling your QVJ via ebay.
    Stay healthy now!

    1. They are a little kitschy looking, but I felt like I remembered seeing those horses at estate sales / online for reasonably high prices, so I looked them up. Apparently they are reproductions of Tan Dynasty era statues, like this one that sold for 150,000 USD.


      Apparently the style of glaze is known as Sancai, which was popular during the Tan era (and again, more recently)

      Here’s one in some kind of museum reproduction store. I saw others on eBay selling for around 40$. Given how they’d be expensive to ship, I think I’ll take my chances with the auction house

      Anyways, thanks for asking, as I learned a fair bit by looking them up!

      I think the chair is too light to be oak. The seat and back are veneered, but the rest seems to be a solid wood.

  4. I came across this word on the Australian TV show, and created an entry in URBAN DICTIONARY for it:

    Pronounced “skow-jing”. The activity of of recovering/salvaging and reusing junk placed roadside verge or curb sides, awaiting pick-up by local councils and/or recycling groups. Local term used in Australia, and a portmanteau of scavenging and scrounging.

    Craig Reucassel went scouging with Max in Melbourne streets, finding all sorts of unwanted treasure.
    #Meme #Slang #Australia

  5. It’s just intuition, but you might try listing the medicalert bracelet for about double the scrap price on ebay and put obo. You never know what rich people will pay for stuff like that. Just a thought, though I know you research well. I haven’t looked for comparables, so this is just an off the cuff comment. – Cheers

    1. I think they’re hard to sell like that because they’re usually inscribed on the back with a medication, condition, name, etc. And the design is pretty common so it has no value from a decorative perspective. I probably could sell it for a bit above scrap, but I doubt it’d be worth the effort. The nice thing about scrapping something is that it requires very little work on my end.

      1. I usually go through the same thought process. I know listing (and waiting) takes time, so I definitely see the advantage of just selling it for scrap and moving on to the next item. Not sure how hard it would be for an engraver to remove and replace the info. Just thought it was worth mentioning because I’ve been surprised in the past when I listed unique gold items on ebay that ended up selling well above scrap price. Just looked and didn’t see any white gold ones on ebay. No worries either way.
        Glad that you’re still going strong. I can’t imagine finding half the stuff you do on a regular basis. Do you know of people in the u.s. who do what you do and find a similar selection of items?

        1. What kind of gold items? I’ve had success selling some pieces above scrap value, but I’ve had other pieces that have sat and sat until I got sick of looking at them and sold them as scrap (usually when my asking price was approaching scrap anyways). Especially when gold prices are fairly high, it can be hard to find a taker for “outdated” jewelry at a price that’s above scrap.

          Out of curiosity I did look up 10k gold MedicAlert bracelets on eBay. Most of the ones I saw were new. I saw one used, which sold with a “best offer” for about it’s value in scrap

          I also saw this one which also sold for about scrap

          Of course eBay fees are a little lower than what I give to my jeweler, but only 5% or so. I’ll take the easy cash any day (unless I find a 1 kilo gold bar or something).

          It’s good to do the research though, because you never know. The main reason I was able to make garbage picking my profession is because I researched the things I found and learned what kinds of things have value (I started out with little knowledge in this regard). I think I have pretty good instincts at this point, but I am still surprised on occasion (for example, I only relatively recently learned that some gold jewelry findings can be sold at a nice markup).

          I don’t know anyone else who operates quite like I do, full-time and all and focused on household waste. There are definitely lots of regular pickers though, some of whom have Youtube channels.

          1. Thanks for the detailed reply. I guess my quick check of bracelets on ebay wasn’t thorough enough because I didn’t come across any that were 10k gold. I also thought the vintage might be a selling point. Like I said, it was just a thought. I know you’re a pro at this point and that your decision to sell it for scrap was probably correct.

            I’ve sold quirky gold items over the years for way above scrap price. Little elephants that are usually brass, a gold-plated toothbrush, a money clip – stuff like that.

            I usually spend too much time researching, That’s probably my favorite part of the listing process – at least when I’m interested in the item anyway…

            Of course, everything has been different for me recently because I source mostly at estate sales. Because the u.s. is run by criminals, I’m sure things will be opening back up sooner than later (well, many things already are), but I live with a high-risk person, so even if the estate sales come back, that won’t be an option for me anytime soon.

            I rarely see anything in bags on the street in the rich areas of my town. I probably could not get comfortable doing what you do, but I was curious if it could be done in the u.s. I know about dumpster divers, etc…, but I just have a hard time imagining a place in the u.s. that would yield anything resembling what you pick up on a regular basis. The amount and quality of stuff they’re throwing onto the street almost seems miraculous at this point.

            Anyway, I’m glad it continues to be a great business for you and I’m always happy to see your posts. Thanks again for the reply.

            – Cheers

            1. A gold plated toothbrush sounds fun, lol. I was mostly thinking of solid gold stuff, since plated items don’t have any value from a scrap or melt perspective, just decorative.

              I’ve never picked in the States but I’d be surprised if they weren’t tossing the same kind of stuff that we are up here. Culturally we’re fairly similar. It’s just a question of finding the good bags, which I’ve become very good at recognizing based on various factors (quantity, shape, color of bag, look of house, etc).

              The easiest way to find good trash would be to focus on houses with “for sale” or “sold” signs out from, because those people are more likely to clear out and toss items than the average. I think I would be a little more scared picking in the States though, because a lot of people have guns and, depending on the State they can justify shooting you if you look “threatening” or are anywhere near their property (and it doesn’t have to be true, they just have to be stupid, and unfortunately there are a lot of stupid people with guns).

              1. Guns wouldn’t really cross my mind in that circumstance, but dealing with entitled rich people can be a pain in the ass. I regularly walk through some wealthy areas and I just haven’t come across extra bags on the street – even when there is a for sale sign or someone is moving. People will occasionally put stuff on the street they are giving away, but I don’t see much of that in the wealthier areas. Maybe it’s because we have Goodwills and other places to donate – also garage sales, auctions, and estate sales. Who knows, it’s a big country and could be different in other cities. Again, it’s hard to imagine anywhere in the u.s. that would be analogous to the seemingly endless treasure trove you have available there. I could definitely be wrong, but there seems to be a lack of data at this point.

                1. It can definitely depend on the area. For example, even in some parts of Montreal there are stricter regulations than in other parts (there are different borough administrations).

                  For example, in the Ville St Laurent borough you get a garbage bin, which is picked up weekly. But you’re not allowed to put anything “extra” on the curb unless it’s a heavy garbage day, which is the first garbage day of each new month.

                  The borough of Outremont has a pretty normal pickup on Thursdays. However, they also have a special heavy garbage pickup on the first Tuesday of each new month, where you can put out bigger items / renovation waste.

                  So, if you combined these rules, you could have a neighborhood where you’re only allowed your bin per week, and then there’s a heavy garbage day on an entirely different day once a month, which might be hard to figure out if you’re not aware of the policy.

                  I’d maybe check the municipal website, and see if there’s any regulations like that in your area. If you gave me the name of the borough / town I’d look it up just out of curiosity. It could also be a home owners association thing, those don’t seem to be as common up here and sound like a pain in the ass.

                  We also have Goodwills & equivalents, garage sales, estate sales, auction houses, etc, so it’s not that Canadians don’t have options. I don’t track the other garbage picking bloggers / vloggers too much (I have too much of my own), but I know Mom the Ebayer finds some pretty good stuff (not sure which city, but a big city in the States) and I’ve seen some great finds from Americans on Reddit (/r/dumpsterdiving)

  6. It’s great that you did so well with the items in this post. I’d be curious how you eventually get that ophthalmology machine to Cambodia! Well done all around. Love that rocking chair in particular, and your beautiful cat in the first picture 🙂

  7. That made me chuckle that you had a friend put parental controls on your phone. I plan to ask my kids to do that for me. Great idea.

    1. It works, that’s for sure. I think it’s good to do on your phone especially, because oftentimes it goes everywhere you go, so it makes it easy to be constantly distracted. It’s basically an addiction for a lot of people.

  8. I saw your rocker post on Instagram and thought “that conforms beautifully to one’s back”! I would definitely keep it for its therapeutic value (and it’s beautiful).

  9. Congrats for you chair ! Really, a fine one in oak. Wow !
    May be my 1st comment her but I come regularly have a look here. I admire what you do ! And I feel you are nicely rewarded.
    I love antiques, it’s much fun seeing what you find.
    I got a milk crate of 78 rpm records once like that. I wa sso happy and had so much fun looking (and listening) and what came my way `:-)
    Thanks and please, be careful with yr health. 🙂
    Patrick, in Longueuil

  10. Well, sorry for the spelling mistakes ! I usually read again before posting lol.

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