This spot was a consistent if not always particularly exciting producer this summer.

Over the course of around a month the recycling bin was often filled with tools. Those aren’t recyclable of course, but I’ve seen worse attempts at recycling over the years. On this day I saved a couple of saws, a 4-guage booster cable, and probably some more stuff from underneath all that. Nothing overly exciting, but most was still useful and made for a few easy lots at the auction house.

Also auction-worthy were these straight razors, which I think sold somewhere in the 30$ range (some had chipped blades). This person owned a number of sharp objects, as you’ll see.

I also found a number of pencil leads, including a little metal pencil lead holder which you can see on the bottom right. I made an auction lot of leads & pen ink, as well as a lot of pocket knives (I always have a few kicking around).

My goal was to bring as much to the auction as possible before Christmas so as to open up space in the garage. I keep wanting to reorganize it, but it’s been a challenge because I keep picking up new things! I’ve been working on some new strategies though, which I’ll discuss later.

A few bits and bobs. The brass Gillette razor blade holder went into a shaving accessory lot. Those seem to do well at the auction.

This guy didn’t look like much when I picked him up. He went into the yard sale bin, and I only got looking at it more when it was a little slow at the next sale. After inflating it I realized it was cool and worth trying to sell on eBay. It was made as a promotion for the Atlanta Flames, a hockey team I never even knew existed. They moved to Calgary in 1981. Anyways, it ended up selling for 100$ to someone very excited to have it. It’s always nice when the buyer is excited to find your wares.

There weren’t any photos here, but I did find an interesting collection of old negatives.

Several feature a well attended boxing match that I’m guessing took place in Montreal. I’m wondering if the fight was in the old Forum, which apparently used to host a lot of boxing events back in the day. The windows kind of look like the ones in the picture on the second link, but I can’t be sure. If you know anything about this, please let us know in the comments!

Here’s a couple of miscellaneous finds – a clay lamp and a Canuck pottery piggy bank.

The last pile here might have been the best of all (as it sometimes is). One bag held a collection of pennies worth around 35$. I also remember picking up some decent cleaning supplies, and miscellaneous yard saleable junk.

I didn’t notice these knives until later, again when I had a yard sale. I was setting up with my helper and he asked if I meant to sell them, and I hadn’t even seen them! My guess is that they were underneath in the bag with the pennies. Anyways, the ones on the ends went into my auction knife lot, and the second from the left seems like a nice tourist thing but nothing too special. The other two stand out, and you can see more details below. The knife second from the right seems to have a handle made from horn that features the Lebanese flag.

The middle knife is likely the fanciest. The handle looks to be a mix of horn, bone or ivory and silver, with two rough rubies and a pearl (as well as a fake pearl, which I think was glued in after the other fell out) as extra decoration. The sheath appears to be silver and my acid test agrees. I’d guess that’s it’s a little below sterling in terms of parts per thousand, maybe 875. The blade is pretty strong, and is signed and dated 1955 (?) near the base. This one’s a good size too, about 10.5″ long.

I guess “dagger” is a better term for these than “knife,” and I think they have a specific Arabic name though I haven’t been able to pin that down yet. As for value, I’ve barely researched them so I have no idea. Either way, I think they’ll end up being a nice get!

Otherwise, on January 2nd (after the only real snowstorm so far this year) I dug my car out of the snowbank, escaped to the road, and then stopped for a moment in the right lane while I put back the shovel and locked the door, as you often do after a storm. I figured it’d be safe for a minute in what was ideal driving weather on one of the lowest traffic days of the year during a pandemic, but apparently not. As I was walking back to the car, I heard a crash and knew it had something to do with Booger (I was walking around the snowbank at that moment, so I wasn’t facing towards the car – if I were 10 seconds further in time, I might have been where the car was hit).

The driver seems to have swerved into my back wheel, denting the heck out of it, bumped my fender a little, mostly avoided the rest of my driver’s side, and then hit my front wheel. That rim is also dented, but the tire stayed inflated at least, though the wheel looks a little too “forward.” The driver’s car looked a lot worse, his axle or whatever broke right off the wheel. I don’t think he was driving that fast, because I probably would have noticed if someone was speeding.

Anyways, someone called the cops to the scene, and they ended up arresting the guy for impaired driving. He did seem “out of it” to me, which at first I figured was shock but later thought it was something else given that the accident wasn’t “that” bad. Anyways, that’s good news for me at least, because it means that he’s considered 100% at fault and the damages are covered by his insurance despite the fact that I only have one-way. Right now Booger (the car’s name, because its shape and colour is reminiscent of one in the nicest way possible) is in insurance purgatory, but I’m hoping I can get it back soon enough.

I’ve been driving a rental, which should be covered by insurance as well. It’s new, and has some cool features like heated seats. It’s bigger, which can be nice, but it’s also a bit annoying because Booger is a lot more maneuverable & easy to park due to its small stature, which often comes in handy while trash picking. People often ask me if I’ve thought about buying a bigger car, and I’ve resisted in large part because I’ve had Booger for a really long time and I’m hopelessly nostalgic. But the small size does have some benefits, and rarely do I find myself desperately wishing I had a bigger car. After all, if something’s too big to fit into Booger, I probably shouldn’t lift it by myself anyways. So, all that to say we’ll see how it goes, and hopefully Booger survived the experience without much hidden damage.

Otherwise x2, I came up with another idea to get rid of more stuff: start an Instagram account for selling, and find someone to run it on commission. I needed to find someone who’d enjoy the work, was good at dealing with people, and liked junk. The first person who came to mind was someone who used to work with a friend of mine, helped out at a local vintage shop, and came to most of my yard sales. I contacted her and she was very much into the idea. She’s done an unbelievably good job thus far, helping me unload my “quality junk” at a pace I didn’t think was possible despite her having a full-time job. And she seems to be having fun, which I think is important.

Anyways, it seems to be a strategy that works and helps me avoid the stress associated with being responsible for too many items, which is probably my least favourite part of picking. You can follow the new Instagram account @garbagefindssells, and my normal Instagram account @garbagefinds if you aren’t already. The new Insta account also features stuff that likely wouldn’t make the blog otherwise, so if you’re jonesing for more trash it’s worth keeping an eye on just for the pictures. I have the feeling 2021 will be a marquee year from a business perspective, even with the car accident to start it.

I have lots more to show you. Hopefully I can get my brain in gear again sooner rather than later.


15 thoughts on “2021”

  1. Sorry about your mishaps , but remember its been over 40 years that Quebec has a “no fault” system for insurance purposes.

    1. I was told that because it was an impaired driving thing the guy was considered 100% at fault, by the police when I did a written statement and by my broker. I think maybe it’s hard to prove fault, but apparently my case is pretty open and shut because of the various circumstances. But I’m not an insurance expert, just going on what I’ve been told.

  2. Hello!

    Interesting post as always.

    I checked out your sells IG account. That’s a lot of unicorns!

    Your friend should definitely be using hashtags (5 max) to help collectors find her content. She can run searches to see which unicorn-related hashtags are most popular.

    Great to hear she’s already getting great results without them, but this should take things to another level.

    I’d be curious to know who is on those boxing negatives.

    All the best


    1. I’ll let her know that, she’s new to Insta selling but is pretty smart & learning quick. Also has to figure out shipping. But I have a lot of local followers, so she’s had luck so far offering contactless pickup and delivery.

  3. Haha, there was a theme last night on Jeopardy! about unicorns! It was not a good theme – the contestants only answered got 1 or 2 of it right!

    Anyways, your constant use of the word ‘reorganize’ got me thinking about what my brother told me the other day (he has ADHD too), that living, and I’m sure garbage picking too, is all about entropy. We all constantly fight against getting dirty, unhealthy, unhappy, just as you constantly fight against disorganization, overwhelmedness, and burn out. Hopefully, this can help you reframe how you see ‘reorganization’ as a constant in your career as a garbage picker. I’m super glad that you got helpers (seems like two, now?) – people are always too happy to help. Much love!

    1. I think it’ll help a lot just having a plan for this stuff. It’s getting easier to compartmentalize my things, ie: this is for @garbagefindssells, this I’ll sell on eBay, this is for auction, this is for the yard sale, I have to research this, etc, which leaves a lot less room for me to stress about “what am I gonna do with all this stuff?!”. Also helps, of course that business is better than ever and I don’t have to worry about financial stuff as much.

  4. Lol! I saw the Atlanta flames play the Habs at the Montreal Forum. Omg. That was a long time ago! Love your blog!

  5. Another address that kept on giving! And quite a variety of stuff and things came forth.
    A skeleton key! And pennies! And things that’ll sell well too! 🙂
    I hope Booger is rolling the miles again soon. I know from personal experience that she’s a sweet wee set of wheels.
    And yay! for the new Instagram “sells” account. Your business groweth in leaps and bounds. Go Martin!

  6. Dec 10, 1959 Archie Moore vs Yvon Durelle at the Forum in Montreal. Was a famous fight. The negatives might be that. There is video of the full fight on you tube. You can compare. Love your page!

    1. I’ll have to look at them more closely to see. Another nice thing about divesting work to others is that now I have more time to do stuff like that.

  7. I’m so happy you scored on the hockey player when it could have gone for a “pittance” at your sale instead.

  8. Late to the party here, but THANK YOU for posting. Any time I see a new post pop up in my inbox, it makes my day. It’s such fun seeing what you have saved, and how things went at subsequent sales. If you could post some follow-ups to sales of some things, that would be hugely appreciated. For instance, it would be great to hear what that load of Fiestaware sold for at the auction house last fall. Once the auctions are closed, the links don’t have that info. Here’s hoping that 2021 turns up lots of cash and precious metals for you!!

    1. Glad you like the blog! Maybe I’ll get into mentioning notable sales again at some point, but currently I’m still focused on decluttering and redistributing my junk. The Fiestaware didn’t quite get to my 100$ reserve, but then I gave it to a friend to sell and I think she got 240$ for the lot. So, I plan on getting her to help me more going forward ;). The auction is good for some things, for others it’s a bit of a gamble.

  9. Have you tried FB marketplace? My neighbour does it and they pick up at the end of her driveway. Way less people flaking. We also have Varage sale. Good luck with Booger.

    1. I can’t stand the hassles associated with local sales. All the messages, flakes, weirdos, etc. Stresses me out ha ha. Other people I know do well by it though, and now I’m giving them stuff to sell for me

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