Tag Archives: bedbugs

Bits & Bugs

I did a little exploring on Thursday night. First I went to the Bois-Franc sector of Ville St Laurent for their heavy garbage day – I hadn’t visited the area in quite some time. I found some decent stuff, like this collection of lightly used shoes, a storage bin, a filing cabinet, and an unused candle, but it’s not the most exciting neighbourhood overall. The area was developed in the 90s so there isn’t much vintage stuff kicking around. Still, people there have money and I’m sure they toss out good stuff on the regular.

After that I went to St Leonard for the first time. I didn’t find anything but I’ll probably head back at some point. The buildings there are a little older (most were built between the mid 60s to mid 70s) but the population is generally less wealthy than in Bois-Franc. Check out this map to see the median income of Montreal’s different neighbourhoods.

I found some cool old stuff at this spot not long ago. I was hoping that it would produce more over time, but I noticed an ad for an estate sale at the same address soon after. From my experience most of the cool garbage is thrown out in the weeks or months before (not after) the sale, which means that I might have missed out on some sweet junk. So it goes. I ended up going to the sale with a few friends; the inside of the house looked as if it hadn’t been renovated since the 60s.

I expect that this kind of junk is regularly thrown out by estate liquidators. Perhaps they don’t know about certain niche markets, or maybe they just want to bring order to the often voluminous contents of a house. Either way, it often results in a bit of profit for me! If only I could know where the sales are going to be beforehand.

For instance, that old ring box is probably worth around 10-20$. The little green holder on the top left is probably about the same. The Aspirin bottle, which comes in its original box and is still full of pills is probably worth around 20-30$. Believe it or not there’s a market for vintage credit cards, and the American Express card that expired in 1976 is probably worth around 20-30$. The Lux toilet soap, which was probably made in the 40s or 50s, is worth around 5-10$.

The most valuable thing here is probably the Waterman pen. It’s missing the cap, but has a 14k gold nib and is in nice condition otherwise. I expect it to sell for around 40-60$. The Parker ballpoint pen and Royal Bank desk pen are also cool finds.

Paper ephemera is especially likely to be tossed by liquidators if the family has no interest in keeping it. I found several old photos here, my favourite of which is above. I also enjoyed finding that old advertisement / flyer for the Stoeckmann & Lanzer renovation company. Based on the letters in the phone number I’d guess it was made sometime between the 1930s and early 1960s.

I also saved two vintage card decks, some interesting old ID cards, an old wallet …

… a 1960s McGill student directory;

… a Knights of Pythias “diploma” from 1937;

… and a bag full of cool vintage glasses. None of them are brand name, but they’re pretty fun regardless.

I also brought home a few big bags of vintage clothes and accessories. I haven’t had time to look them over much, but I’m hoping some are worth keeping. If any of it is particularly noteworthy I’ll be sure to share it here!

Otherwise, now is a good time to share a couple of unreported tales from the summer. I went on a garbage run to one of the rich neighbourhoods with a couple of friends back in June or July. We stopped at a big pile of trash, as I have a wont to do. The house that purged it had recently sold and a big moving truck was being filled with its junk. The garbage wasn’t at all interesting but my friend wanted to take some slides off a set of drawers. I got bored waiting for this to happen so to pass the time I took a closer look at the discards. That’s when I noticed that one of the mattresses there was quite clearly infested with bedbugs.

My friend obviously lost interest in the drawer slides after this discovery. However, we also considered the movers who didn’t seem to be aware of the infestation. After thinking it over briefly we decided to talk to them, and indeed they had no idea that the house was infested. I showed them the bug on the mattress and their faces went white – one of them said he had planned on using the truck for his own move later that day.

I’m not sure how that all panned out. I used to work as a mover though, and if I were to guess I’d say that the workers probably called their boss, who would have told them to get the stuff out of the truck and back in the house ASAP. The boss might have even come to personally deal with the situation, and maybe try to charge the homeowner for the cost of PCO. I know my old boss would not have been pleased to find out that his truck was loaded full of buggy crap.

Anyways, I’m glad I was able to save multiple people from infestations and bug-related stress. I don’t see bedbugs in rich neighbourhoods very often, so this experience was a good reminder that bugs aren’t only a problem for lower income folks. I usually inspect all the furniture I take regardless of what neighbourhood I find it in, but I’m more likely to give rich people’s stuff the benefit of the doubt.

The day wasn’t over yet though. While dealing with the bug situation I noticed that one of the neighbours had thrown away a grocery bag filled with square objects that turned out to be records. After I put them in the car an older lady, probably in her 80s called down from her balcony and asked us if we wanted any books. I said sure, and she ended us giving us some stereo equipment as well, including a nice cassette player, a couple of speakers, and this Marantz receiver. It’s not one of the really valuable ones, but it’s still a quality machine – my roommate is currently using it in his room. She seemed happy to get rid of her old stuff, and we were happy to meet someone nice on the garbage circuit. I gave her my number in case she needed help bringing anything else down to the curb, but she never got in touch.

Here’s a couple of random finds from the spring. The WWII-era ration token was cool if not particularly valuable. The brooch was missing its pin, other than that it was quite nice.

I’ve been picking up furniture more often this year but a lot of my favourite pieces haven’t yet made the blog. I found this set of drawers in Westmount sometime in mid-summer. I’ll bet they’re around 100 years old, and the wear to the paint gives it a sort of unintentional “shabby-chic” look. I hope to get 100$ for it.

A friend and I found this wardrobe while out on a run in TMR. It weighs a tonne, probably around 100 pounds. It must be some kind of hardwood. It didn’t fit in the car so we actually paid a Craigslist mover 50$ to bring it to my garage. It might be a good idea to reshoot the photos – the piece is probably worth about 300$ but the pictures, including the ones below don’t do it justice.

I picked up this secretary desk in Westmount. It has some wear and tear but is still nice, and the fold-out section is pretty cool. It’s probably worth around 50$, and would make a nice project.

I saved this nice old dresser just a few weeks ago. It’s in pretty solid condition and has that cool “wavy” design. How much do you think I should try to sell it for?

I’d like to move some of this big stuff, so if you have any interest please send me a message!

If you’re into 70s music you might like this little filing cabinet! The thing was just covered in old band and concert stickers. It ended up going to a local archivist who appreciated that some of the bands were local. If this brings back any old memories let us know in the comments! Remember that you can click on the photos for a closer look.

Let’s finish with a potential opportunity. My garage landlord recently let me know that one of his other garages will soon be available for rent. This one would be 400$ a month instead of 200$, but it’s about three times bigger in terms of usable indoor space, and that’s not including the extra vertical space. Having the extra room would allow me to save more stuff, stay better organized, and have better yard sales, but the extra financial burden is also worth considering.

Renting the larger garage would cost me about 2400$ extra per year, assuming my friend remains willing to rent a portion of the space for 100$ a month. So, for it to be worthwhile I’d at least want the extra storage to pay for itself, since I’m not rich and still have a lot of debt to pay off, teeth to fix, and so on.

However, it might be worth the risk. Having that much room could revolutionize the way I sell garbage, and maybe even the way I collect it. Plus, I’m making more money these days so it’s not totally unaffordable. What do you think I should do? Let me know in the comments!

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Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a while to get back to you.

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Beware!

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I still managed a few good finds despite last week being one of the slowest I’ve had in a while. I took Monday morning off, but happened to be in Pointe-Saint-Charles with Sarah for a mini evening run. I didn’t come across much outside of this large pile. However, it quickly became evident that this stuff was infested by bedbugs. I’ve developed an eye for this stuff and was able to identify the problem right away. If you’re squeamish, don’t click on the thumbnail pictures below!

However, if you’re interested in doing some trash picking yourself they might be worth a look. It’s easy to avoid bugs once you get to know the warning signs. The best indicator is the presence of black dots (bug poo, picture on the left) near and inside the cracks, crevices, or seams of furniture (especially fabric and wood). They’ll often be elsewhere too, but it’s easiest to see them there. The bugs themselves can be hard to find even when you’re looking for them – only after a few minutes of trying did I actually see a bug (picture on the right). That’s why it’s important to keep your eye out for the crap, as you’ll see that long before you see a bug.

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The pile was unmarked as having bugs, so I used a permanent marker I had in the car to write a warning on the couch and some drawers. I hope that it saves other people from potentially picking up stuff here. I’m definitely saved a few people from getting bugs by doing this kind of thing in the past.

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I left behind this awesome print of a truck as a result of the bugs.

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However, there were some salvageable items yet. On the curb were two large re-usable shopping bags full of canned beans and lentils. There were 46 cans in all, which would have cost probably between 70$ and 100$ in store. They weren’t even expired! I ditched the reusable bags, inspected each can before putting them in the car, and washed them upon returning home just to be sure. However, this was purely precautionary as bedbugs don’t tend to hang out in the pantry. It’s a nice find that will keep my room-mates and I well fed for a while.

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I went to Cote St-Luc on Tuesday morning, stopping at this pile near the railroad tracks. It was pretty damn cold, and leaving the car without my gloves quickly proved to be a mistake. Most of what was inside was junk, old beauty supplies and handbags (but none really worth taking).

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The only item that stuck out was this old re-fillable lighter. It was sealed in a plastic zip-lock bag.

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I figured it would be worth a bit when I saw it was marked with the name “Dunhill.” Dunhill is a pretty prestigious brand, and their products often sell for big cash at auction. A lighter like this one sold for 100$ on eBay, and I think I can get more for this one as it’s in very nice condition. I just need to find a new flint for it.

Edit: Apparently, this model of lighter (the Rollagas) was one of the first butane gas lighters, and was used by James Bond on many occasions in the movies.

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I stopped at one promising spot in Hampstead but was interrupted by the local security guard, who threatened to write me a ticket. He wasn’t too pumped about me looking through trash. Instead of fighting I just left, giving him a few choice words as I left – I was feeling sort of grumpy even before the encounter! I doubt I’ll go back to there for a while.

It was a shame I had to leave as the spot had promise. I was only able to look through a small amount of what was offered. I did bring home this slightly used vintage Guerlain “Shalimar” dusting powder. Believe it or not, a sealed one just like this recently sold on eBay for close to 300$ (Canadian)! Mine’s not worth nearly that much, but I expect it will still sell on eBay for a decent price.

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After leaving Hampstead, I went to NDG where there are no power tripping security guys.

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One spot provided a box full of glasses. This is a set of Coca-cola themed glasses from McDonald’s that were probably made in the 1980s. They have some collector’s value.

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My favourite though was this vintage Esso glass. My grandma has one just like it, so to me it has a bit of nostalgia value.

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The week was pretty slow after that. I stopped at the local bookstore on Tuesday night to pick up shipping supplies for my eBay sales. They always have nice boxes, bubble wrap, and wrapping paper here. I just discovered this recently, and it’s made shipping a lot easier.

Thursday’s run through Verdun wasn’t nearly as productive as in weeks prior. I came up nearly empty, outside of this cool old tin amongst a bunch of renovation stuff. It was painted a worn-out white, and I decide to spend some time cleaning it up.

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It turned out pretty well! I basically used baking soda and many pots of boiling water to slowly strip off the paint. There’s a bit more paint left to remove, but it should come off easily. It would be worth a bit more with its original label, but it should still net me a few bucks.

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Finally, my room-mate and I spied this couch while walking to the store and decided to take it home. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s pretty comfortable and a great deal at the price. The ex-owner left a note on it saying “no bedbugs, free / gratuit,” which was nice.

In other news

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I brought my collection of broken cell phones to the store for recycling. On a day-to-day basis I see literally tons of stuff that could be recycled or re-used, but have to leave much of it behind. I make a point to save cell phones though, as they’re small (and thus manageable given my limited storage space) and contain a lot of highly toxic metals that shouldn’t end up in landfill. One of those metals is Coltan, a hard-to-find mineral whose mining is linked to war and habitat loss. I encourage everyone to do their best to recycle their old electronics. You can usually somewhere to bring it using Google.

I also got my watch opening tools in the mail this week. Because of this I was finally able to test a few watches, and list a nice like-new Lacoste 2500G that’s been sitting around for a while.

Last week’s garbage sales (January 19 – January 25)

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1. 1948 Winnipeg phone book: On Ebay for 100$. I wondered if I was fishing with this price, but decided to give it a shot given that it was one of my favourite finds of 2014. Someone apparently likes it as much as I do! Found early November in Snowdon.

Total: 100$, 11127$ since May 18, 2014 and 1444$ since January 1st. Not a great total, but last week was good enough to carry me for a while.

New listings

1. 1921 State of Washington Nursing Certificate (professionally framed thanks to my friend Roben!)
2. Vintage St Joseph’s Oratory charm bracelet
3. Lacoste 2500g Watch
4. Lot of 8 1960s Topps Hockey Cards (Canadiens)
5. Lot of 5 1960s El Producto hockey discs
6. Moon and star sterling silver ring (Etsy)
7. Sterling silver ring (I struggled at describing this one. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!)
8. Vintage strawberry brooch / pin, made in Austria

If you have a question, see anything that you’re interesting in buying, or to just want to say hello feel free to email me at thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I also enjoy reading your comments! Keep in mind that I frequently get behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if I take a few days or weeks to get back to you.

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