Garbage meat gamble

This spot in upper Outremont was good to me for about six weeks. I met one of the tossers the first day. She seemed okay with my presence, and even gave me some rollerskates. But on the last day she asked me to leave her trash alone, and threatened to bring it back inside her property if I didn’t. Fortunately the best had already made it to the curb, but the change of heart was discouraging nonetheless.

One day I found a suitcase filled with video games mostly for the Wii. Easy money!

Another day I found a freezer bag full of meat. I don’t usually take frozen food, but this time I took the chance. The meat was still ice cold and rock solid when I found it, and it was pretty clear that these were high quality (often organic) cuts. There was some fish in there as well which was apparently sport-caught in Haida Gwaii BC.

I’m a bit squeamish when it comes to meat, especially garbage meat, but I figured that my friends might be able to view it more rationally. It did spend a few months in the freezer (again), but eventually we tried it and no one got sick – in fact it was pretty delicious. So, that ended up being a nice treat, and it’s good that the animals didn’t die for nothing. But I’m curious as to what you would have done in the same situation, see the poll below!

 

On another occasion I filled a Halloween bucket full of miscellaneous crap.

There’s lots of items on the junk / quality junk spectrum here. Some of it sold at my yard sales, while some ended up in free boxes on the curb.

The Gucci watch box was nice, but my best find here was the Le Chateau gift card which held about 37.46$. I’m not sure what I’d buy there, however.

Again, my best finds here are probably the two Renaud Bray gift cards. One was worth 25$, the other about 58$. Not bad! Renaud Bray is a largely French book store, but they do sell some useful stuff like candy and printer paper. That beaded Birks clutch is vintage and cool, and those unopened cassettes ended up in an auction lot with other unopened cassettes. The soap is now part of my collection of soaps – my hope is that I never have to buy any again, even after gifting some to my mom.

Here’s the jewels and perfumes. Also, more fancy soap for my collection. To be honest I was hoping for more gold, but I guess I shouldn’t be greedy. That straight razor pendant is 10k gold, and a few other pieces are silver. More valuable is that CB “I hate perfume,” which smells like Russian tea and sells for 110 USD. Given that the bottle is pretty full, it should sell for a good price (if I don’t keep it myself, that is).

These folks also threw out a lot of eyeglasses, most of which were made by designers. A few are by Alain Mikli, and others were made by Prada, Paul Smith, and Ray-Ban. Frames generally take a while to sell, but they can go for pretty good prices.

Last but not least is a soapstone carving that survived the tossing in reasonably good condition. If I remember correctly it sold for 44$ at auction. It seems like I’ve found more soapstone than usual this year.

Otherwise, I finally bit the bullet and hired an old friend to help me with my emails. I was about a year behind, and it was time to accept that I just suck at that aspect of my job. She’s only helped me for a couple hours so far, but I definitely think it will help me stay on top of things going forward. (I still hope to respond to those past emails as well).

I also got her to make me a mailing list for yard sales and such. At some point I might add a script to the bottom of this page (it doesn’t seem to be working at the moment), but for now you can sign up by clicking this link. Unfortunately yard sale season is nearly over, but at least it’ll be set up for next year. Either way, my next and probably second last sale is probably going to be this Saturday, when the weather is supposed to be (relatively) warm and sunny. Again, it will be at 4096 Coloniale starting round 11:30.

Links

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

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.

Watch out for those boxes!

The past month hasn’t provided many “omg” finds, but I still pick up good stuff even when my luck isn’t great. Here’s a nice collection of bird figurines I found at the bottom of a bag a couple weeks ago. It wasn’t as big or owl-y as my haul from late last year, but there’s still some nice ones here. Remarkable only one was broken (the wooden bird at far right), but I have the piece and it should be easy to fix.

I haven’t done much research on these yet but I suspect the ones in the back are the fanciest. I think they were made in Mexico, and there’s some writing on them that I have to decipher.

I found this .999 fine silver keychain fob from 1991 at another spot. It’s only worth around 20$, but it’s always fun finding bullion in the trash. This is the second silver keychain I’ve found this year, here’s hoping a solid gold keychain is next!

Another run was salvaged when I found two watch boxes in excellent condition. Generally speaking the more expensive the watch the more expensive the box – I expect this green Rolex box to sell for about 100$, while the IWC below should sell for closer to 150$.

I’ve made a fair bit of cash from watch boxes (and occasionally other vintage cases) these past few years. The most valuable to date were the pair of Universal Genèves I sold for 450$ a couple years back. Needless to say they’re something to keep a lookout for, and knowing of niche markets like these helps make garbage picking a reasonably profitable venture.

Still, I hope my luck improves in the near future. Some gold would be nice – it’s now valued at over 2000 CAD per ounce, which is about as high as it’s ever been.

Links

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

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.

The windowknocker

This spot provided some great finds over a couple of months in the late spring / early summer.

As I was picking one night an older guy knocked loudly on his window, presumably to get my attention. I looked up but he didn’t give further direction. Windowknocking is a passive aggressive way of telling me to get out of the garbage – It happens semi-regularly, usually in the evening, and it’s always a little awkward. Fortunately I was just about done with the pile by the time this happened so I took my finds and left.

These folks had tossed some great stuff though, so I wasn’t going to be deterred that easily. I just made a point to go to that spot nearer to the end of my trash run, instead of close to the beginning. That seemed to work, and I was able to avoid further contact with the windowknocker.

I take photos of most of the trash piles I frequent to prove that I was there and that there were things on the curb. When I find something really cool, I might try to get a shot of the object inside the bag as proof that it was indeed in the trash. I do get paranoid that someone will accuse me of stealing, particularly when people throw out literal gold. It seems like an unlikely scenario, but if I’ve learned anything in life it’s that people can be quite stupid! Anyways, because of all that I’m actually happy that Apple tracks all my movements, and that all my photos have the specific locations attached to them.

Those iPhone photos aren’t always that great, especially at night with the flash on. But above you can maybe make out an intriguing blob wrapped up in old sheets.

It was a heavy soapstone carving in pretty much impeccable condition. It’s funny when people throw things out with care (I guess they thought it might have torn through the bag otherwise?). It weighs about 3.77kg (or 8.3lbs) and measures about 10″ tall.

A tag was taped to the back, which noted that it was made in the Belcher Islands (in Hudson’s Bay off Quebec) by a J. Emiko Loar. I had no luck finding any reference to this person, but if you have any ideas please let me know!

A number and a couple of letters that are probably Inuktitut are etched on the bottom. I haven’t looked too much into those yet, but if you know anything about them please save me the effort! It’s a very nice piece, and should be worth somewhere in the three figures regardless.

I found another soapstone figure here. This one’s much smaller, maybe 5″ tall, and doesn’t seem to be signed (the bottom is rough / not polished). Still, it’s pretty well done.

These guys must have had quite the art collection if this is what they were throwing away. This bronzed steel sculpture fit pretty awkwardly into the trash bag as you can probably imagine. The “wingspan,” or whatever you want to call it is about 15″ in length.

The piece is signed “Gord.” It’s a simple signature reminiscent of what you’d see on amateur art, but I figured out that it was by Gord Smith, a noted Canadian sculptor who created the “Canada Screen” at Expo 67. It’s a pretty cool object, and it seems like it should sell easily for hundreds of dollars, maybe a thousand if I’m lucky.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this vase, which is aluminum (I think) and covered in bits of curved coloured glass. It’s very nicely done, but I don’t see any signatures or other identifiers. If you’ve seen something like it, please let me know!

This spot wasn’t big on jewelry, but I did save an Italian silver bracelet and an old silver band. I doubt the stones are diamonds, but I should get them tested.

This prayer necklace is probably more valuable than either of those. The beads smell like Bakelite, and I’ve had great success selling the reddish stuff before. I still don’t know much about the market (ie: what qualifies as “faturan“), so maybe I’ll let an eBay auction figure out what it’s worth.

On the last day I met a younger guy, who told me in a sort of whiny voice that he didn’t care if I took anything as long as I didn’t make a mess. Fine by me. I saved a lot of small stuff that night, including a coin collection (nothing super exciting, but still), several bills including a ripped 5$ (I think it’s still worth 5$ but I have yet to bring it in), some patches, a Nintendo Game & Watch (ie: an easy 50$+), and a collection of Bruce Springsteen tour pins. The house looked empty the week after, and there was no more garbage to be found.

Over the weeks I also saved some old photos, clothes, canned food, and other useful if unexciting stuff.

The weather’s looking pretty good this weekend so I’m planning on doing two garage sales. It’s also that time of year when university kids make their way here for the fall semester, and I figure it’s a good time to unload some quality junk. Sorry for the late notice, but at least they start a little late as well!

Links

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

Please note that I am hopelessly bad at responding to emails & Facebook messages.