Odds & ends

Sorry for the lack of posts, it’s been a pretty blah month on the mental health front. I guess February sucks for a lot of people in general, but this year is particularly bad as a few good friends have moved away and I’m more alone than I’ve ever been. Plus, it’s a lot harder to meet new people when you’re 34 going on 35, it’s the middle of winter, you struggle with depression & anxiety, and there’s nothing going on in a never-ending pandemic. The garbage has largely sucked too, and I’m meeting an unusual amount of angry people with good garbage that apparently really needs to go to the dump and not somewhere useful for some reason (I’ll get more into that in my next post). I’ve found a few good things, but it’s hard not to wonder about “career path” in these trying times, though I’m sure things will turn around eventually. I’m very much looking forward to spring, but that’s still a ways off.

On the plus side, I finally started using Chit Chats Express for most of my eBay shipping. I heard about it years ago, but for a while their only location was out in Ville St Laurent, and driving out there would offset any savings. Now they have a drop-off location on St-Denis, which is much more convenient. I’d say that I save 5-10$ on most packages, and sometime more than that. Other times it’s more or less the same, and only once was the Chit Chat’s rate a bit higher (for shipping a big Ham radio to Washington State). It also offers tracking on low-value packages that I normally wouldn’t track, due to the extra cost (for example, a 25$ poster to the States costs 6-7$ with tracking, when Canada post would be 12-13$ with no tracking or 18-19$ with – I don’t usually have a problem shipping low-value items without tracking, but it’s still nice to have for both me and the customer).

Anyways, I would recommend them anyone who ships things on a regular basis. I’ve saved probably 150-200$ just in the couple months I’ve been using it, and they have lots of locations across Canada now it seems. Please use my referral code if you do, that way you’ll get 5$ free and I’ll make a few bucks when you start shipping (I believe it’s 10 cents per package in the first month of you using the service).

In other good news I figured out how to get the old WordPress editor back (apparently just needed a “widget”), so now I can quit whining about that. Also, I decided to bring back the Paypal “donate” widget (which stopped working for some reason) because that’s what most bloggers do. Most say “buy me a beer,” but you can also help with blog expenses. It costs about 450$ a year to pay for the WordPress stuff (extra storage space for pics, no ads), and I wouldn’t need as big of a garage if I didn’t blog. Plus the time it takes to make these photo arrangements. Of course I’ve kind of sucked at this blogging thing for a while now, but hopefully one day my brain will cooperate again.

Anyways, this apartment building produced a nice haul in early January. Not much since… but I still check on it.


With apartment building trash you’re bound to find a lot of crap, so I only stop if the garbage pile is interesting. That vintage card table set and mirror was enough to get me to stop the car, and then I discovered that the bags were full of kitchen & dining wares. This short video shows you the sound a bag full of kitchenwares makes. The sound and look of the bags helps me differentiate the good stuff from the bad, the latter of which comprises the vast majority of what we call “garbage.”

All in all I picked out about two big bags worth of stuff, as well as the card table and mirror. There was some breakage, which is common when people throw ceramics and glasswares into bags and then drag them to the curb, but plenty of quality stuff survived.

There was lots of silverplate, but some was pretty worn out and best scrapped (the plated brass and copper is worth decent money at the yard). That serving dish at the top right had its original glass insert, which is pretty uncommon (at least with trash silverplate). That odd looking thing at the bottom right is a vintage “cake comb.”

I found a few things in protective Birks drawstring bags. The nicest piece is probably that cake server on the bottom. Based on my research, it’s a solid silver piece made by Hippolyte Thomas in France sometime in the 1850s. You can see (and zoom in on) the hallmarks below. I don’t find stuff that old particularly often, so that’s fun. It’s probably worth around 150-200$.

A couple of other favs include this early mid-century Pillivuyt porcelain pot, which managed to escape its trip to the curb without any damage. I sold it via the @garbagefindssells Instagram (managed by someone else, but I post occasionally) for 40$, which I think was a good deal.

Also nice was this old decanter with a silver top. Below are the hallmarks, which show that it was made in Birmingham, England in 1911, probably by John Grinsell & Sons. Haven’t figured out a price yet but I’m thinking it’s worth around 100$.

Anyways that’s all for now. Hopefully I can get another post up soon. It’s not for a lack of stuff, just a lack of brain power.

24 thoughts on “Odds & ends”

  1. All my sympathy. What a combo of events. This pandemic hasn’t done anyone any good and the aftermath of it might be worse. I hang out for your blogs. They are fascinating. And those clear neatly laid out photos are well worth the trouble. I wish we had Chit Chats here. I trawl the sidewalk ‘rubbish’ here in my part of Sydney but it’s mostly furniture. One has to wait for a formal Council clean up where tons of stuff comes out and people have been known to fight over it. Hang in there. Things will get better.

  2. Sorry you’re feeling low – February is the worst, and with people hunkering down inside social life often fizzles down to not much. Maybe you can find solace in the fact that a worldwide community connects with you via your amazing work and blog. I am always really happy to see new pics either on instagram or on here. Hope things pick up soon and quite curious to hear why people rather have these lovely things properly trashed – most of your haul above I would have taken to the Charity Shop (or more likely would have bought FROM a charity shop had someone taken it there). Greetings from Oxford, UK.

    1. hi everyone.. thought I was the only one with the February blahs.. -its been the longest coldest must boring winter in my long life.. cannot wait for the pandemic garbage to be kicked to the curb and the snow , ice and cold but take care everyone.. hopefully it will soon ALL get lost.. HOPEFULLY . always always love to see what was found, -some great stuff at times. hugs to all from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  3. Hi Martin, sorry to hear that some food friends have moved away. Feb is a notoriously low month, I am feeling very down myself. But for some reason yesterday and last evening found were so beautiful outside with the piled up snow everywhere ….for some reason I fou d beauty there. You’re being productive, which is always good. I love what you found…especially that white soupière and the yellow vase…. I’ll look foward to your next sale, that silver you found if sterling is worth a lot….take care Martin…

  4. If your white coffee pot in the top right corner of the first photo is not marked, it looks like it is Melitta. They have a good sell through on Etsy.

    I’ve used Chit Chats for 7 years or more. I can’t say enough good stuff about them. If you are printing your USPS labels on their platform, I’d suggest setting up an account with Pirate Ship to buy USPS labels there. You’ll save more money and can still drop off the package at Chit Chats. Because you are in Canada, you have to DM Pirate Ship to set up the account, telling them you will be using Chit Chats.

  5. I was so happy when the notification of your new post came in.
    Stay strong, my man. There are a lot of negatives in your life right now … but rest assured, things will get better. One thing about life is you never know what’s around the next bend in the road.
    I’m glad to hear about the shipping change, as well as the widget tune-ups to your blog. Two improvements that will eliminate two (possible?) stress points.
    Nice finds! Love the little video too! 🙂

  6. I think you’re doing great!!!! It will be spring soon! Best wishes. Think of all the people you make happy selling them the things you save from destruction!

  7. I share your feeling of blah and am very happy/grateful to read this blog post. THANK YOU for persevering despite angry people wanting their trash to be destroyed rather than returned into human circulation. We are very odd, we human beings… I love reading your blog posts and learning from you (“the sound and look of the bags helps me differentiate the good stuff from the bad”). And I am ALWAYS amazed at the things which people throw out (and then survive their journey in a trash bag to the curb such as the blue glass goblets in one of your photos until you are able to reclaim them)! I know friends who are “thrower-outers” rather than “saver-reusers” — but most of them would at least take the time to donate special stuff to a thrift store. I guess the answer to why/how folks continue to throw out such beautiful — and often-times valuable — things is time. They are rushing to clear out a disabled or deceased relative’s apartment, perhaps? Deep breath in. Deep breath out. May your spirits and your curbside discoveries and your cash flow and your number of local friends rise as winter melts into spring!!!

  8. I always enjoy your posts. I love to treasure hunt. I live in a condo and find great things in the recycle room. I sell on ebay.

  9. I’m finding this winter hard, too. Even though I’m an introvert and still working, the social isolation is still taking its toll, along with the uncertainty of the future and, honestly, a bit of fear. It all adds up to too much stress.

    I’m glad you are still finding stuff but wish people weren’t so crazy about stopping you from intercepting their garbage. Once garbage is on the curb, is it technically still their property? I don’t know the law on that and anyway the law probably wouldn’t matter to those who are protecting their … whatever they feel they’re protecting.

    I love those blue wineglasses, the two tiny china bowls, and the pickle(?) tongs in the second photo – all things I would be so tempted to acquire 🙂

  10. I am always thrilled to see a post from you. I hope you find some sunshine soon. Sorry about the crabby people. They should be ashamed of themselves for not only contributing perfectly good items to the landfill, but also being curmudgeonly toward you trying to save it. Hang in there, Martin! You have many fans around the world.

  11. Hi Martin, it’s so nice to see your fabulous finds, as always. The pandemic has taken its toll on all of us, for sure. And the weather sure doesn’t help … but the days are getting longer and Spring is around the corner, so please hang in there and keep posting! If you have any Euro bills or coins for sale within the next two weeks, and if we can meet somewhere near Sherbrooke and Victoria (or Decarie), I will happily buy them from you. Please let me know.

  12. Really. I can relate to a lot of what you’re saying. I imagine you have people to talk to, but let me know if that’s not the case and we can chat. All the best man.

  13. It’s always such a pleasure to read your posts and I’m happy to kick in a small contribution in recognition of the joy they bring. Hang in there!

  14. Hang in there my man! Wish I could be February’s hype-man but it really is sucktastic some days. Maybe get on the phone and call those friends who moved.

    We appreciate what you write – I get tons of newsletters that I ruthlessly shred with my DEL key due to lack of time to read. But I always make time for yours. I pray that this week is better.

  15. Good morning! Thank you for your post, I always enjoy reading what you find. Yes, this winter I am finding long and hard mentally. I cannot wait for the snow to leave and start garbage hunting again, it’s my mental therapy

  16. Glad to see you posting. Yeah, the winter blahs hit me every year around the end of Jan and hang around until the snow melts usually. Finally started an instagram account last year for my curb finds and haven’t been posting much myself lately. 55 yr old introvert…the struggle is real. Hope the cloud lifts soon for you Martin.

  17. I always am happy to see your blog posts and I follow you on IG too. I’m sorry you’ve lost some good friends, that feeling alone does not just disappear. It is hard to make new friends when you’re an adult. I wish all of us who love to see your posts don’t live in your area; we would be personal friends with you. February sucks! Hang on for some sunny days..

  18. HI – TY for the new post. It always brings me a thank you heavens moment. I have been a reseller for years like you. Inevitably all business changes. I have gone through many different ways of getting merchandise and changed the types of items I resell. Now that you have available cash, buying some of your inventory is a good option that gives you greater control of sales. The store I frequent (goodwill bins) has had amazing things. I have found WWI ammo belts, a signed Dr. Seuss book and tons of Kosta Boda. I have also have made me some business type friendships. Not only do I enjoy seeing these other seller or shoppers and learn from them, but I sometimes do trades or business with them. Change is good for your mind, it causes you to focus on new things.

  19. I look forward to your emails, your posts, and of course my go-to throughout COVID, garbagefindssells. I’ve had a note in my book to drop you a note after reading your last email. In my opinion, you’ve got a magical talent – your stories are captivating, your ethics are solid. Your community across the internet clearly cares about you. February. The worst. But March brings Spring cleaning 🙂 And moving 🙂 And less Covid, thank God! Whatever you decide to explore in the future, I hope we can support you along the way. xx

  20. Lousy time of the year for those of us who get the blues , unwanted advice time buy yourself a B12 spray and a bottle of fish oil capsules its takes about a month to see the benefit . Northern hemisphere problems when youve been covered up for months

  21. This street and the big building look familiar to me.I am curious to know which street this is.By the way,I admire your work and urge you to keep going.We all have downs.

Comments are closed.