Financial year in review! pt. 1

I’ve added up the financial numbers from the last year and will share the results with you in a few different posts. This one focuses on where I found the items I sold. I owe many thanks to my friend Sarah, who did most of the work designing the excellent infographic below!

Note that while I did achieve my goal of 20k for the year, the numbers here add up to something closer to 15k. This is because I don’t keep track of the origins of the items I sell at yard sales, the small change I deposit to my bank account, and much of the gold and silver I sell for scrap.



I should note a few factors that influence where I end up looking for trash.

The first is geographical convenience. In 2015 I became even less motivated to travel long distances for trash. It costs a lot more in gas and mechanical wear and tear to go somewhere like Pointe-Claire, and it takes a bunch of extra time as well. For reference, I live roughly around the location of the dot in the Plateau.

The second is the quality of the garbage day. The best is when neighbourhoods put out garbage and recycling just once a week on the same day (ie: Verdun, Mount Royal, Hampstead, Rosemont, much of the Sud-Ouest). Second best are neighbourhoods with two trash days a week, and a recycling day that coincides with one of the garbage pickups (ie: NDG, CDN). Roughly equal to that are those with one trash day and a different recycling day (ie: Cote St-Luc, VSL, Westmount, Lachine). The worst are neighbourhoods with two different trash days and also a separate recycling day (ie: Ahunstic, Plateau, Montreal North).

The more pickups there are the more spread out the good finds will be. At this point I mostly avoid those lower-tier neighbourhoods. The exception here is the Plateau, which I’ll often explore because I enjoy walking or biking around the neighbourhood. Fortunately, Montreal is apparently now moving to standardize the once a week trash pickup. Much of Villeray recently converted to a once a week pickup, making it a much better picking destination. I won’t necessarily know when a trash schedule changes, so if you’re living in Montreal let me know if they switch around your trash days!

The third factor is the wealth of the neighborhood. I’m more likely to travel to wealthier spots because they have a track record of throwing out the best stuff. Plenty of neighbourhoods have small enclaves of wealth, but only Westmount, Hampstead, and Mount Royal (of the places I regularly visited) can be characterized as generally wealthy.

My most profitable neighbourhood this year was Mount Royal, which I would rate very highly in all three categories. It’s worth noting here that the frequency of my visits is probably the biggest factor determining a neighborhood’s final profit numbers; I went to Mount Royal more than any other borough this year.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggested destinations! I may not actually make it to the places you suggest, but I always appreciate the information.

Check back soon for a regular post, or another financial summary. Whichever comes first.

List of neighbourhoods

Red (3000$ and up)
1. Mount Royal: 3795$

Orange (2000-3000$)
1. CDN / NDG: 1367$ NDG, 1270$ CDN, 2637$ total
2. Hampstead / CSL: 1629$ Hampstead, 580$ CSL, 2209$ total

Gold (1000-2000$)
1. Westmount: 1947$
2. Plateau: 1619$

Green (500-1000$)
1. Ville St-Laurent: 932$
2. Verdun: 887$

Blue (100-500$)
1. Outremont: 480$
2. Rosemont: 442$
3. Sud-Ouest: 247$
4. Montreal West: 165$
5. Park Ex / Villeray / St Michel: 140$
6. Ville-Marie: 130$

Light blue (1-99$)

1. Ahuntsic: 85$
2. Lachine: 70$
3. Pierrefonds: 30$

Grey: no sales of note.



I’m still a bit behind, so let’s make this another quick one!

This spot in TMR has been producing on and off for months. Sometimes weeks will go by where I’ll see nothing out front, but then one day the flow will suddenly begin again. It seems that the house is being slowly cleared out: there’s never any “normal” waste (ie: kitchen scraps and so on), just random stuff you might find in a basement or garage. On a side note, the tosser is using the cheapest trash bags possible, the kind that fall apart if you look at them the wrong way.


The most notable find so far has been the collection of Post Shooters hockey game pieces, which sold for a nice 149$ back in October. I also saved a couple of Expo 67 colouring books, and a cool die-cast tin toy from the 1950s.

The finds had previously been mostly basement storage kind of stuff. This time however the contents of the bags had a bit more of a “junk drawer” feel to them.


I saved a collection of perfumes, some of which I sold to a reader at my recent art market sale; …


… a collection of vintage glasses, some of which may sell for a pretty decent price;


… a 900 silver Fend Dictator mechanical pencil, which though broken is worth a bit for scrap;


… a nice Parker Pen “Wadsworth” compact;



… and some travel ephemera (in the recycle bin). My favourite piece here is the Smokey Bear litter bag.

My hope is that these finds bode well for future success at this spot. The theory is that if someone is willing to toss this kind of stuff, then they’re not far off from throwing out even better things. (Some gold jewelry would be nice, for example!). It’s impossible to tell what finds are yet to come, but I’ll certainly let you know if I find something great.


TMR was pretty productive that night. A different spot gave me an old bottle of R. Jelinek Passover plum brandy (which was mixed in with some cool vintage drinking glasses, some broken some not); …


… a beautiful Mexican silver and abalone letter opener, which I cleaned up and listed on eBay for 60$ + shipping;



… a neat candle (there was a second matching candle, but the other was pretty busted up);


… and a sweet fly brooch, which looks to have been made from wicker.


I found several ziplock bags full of junk at yet another spot in TMR, which I condensed into one ziplock bag full of good stuff including: a Chanel Mademoiselle perfume I sold to a reader for 45$, a bit of scrap silver, and a bunch of small change.


Otherwise, the rest of the city produced a collection of old tobacco pipes (Cote St-Luc);


… some old technology (the typewriter in the case didn’t work, but the two portable TV / radios / clocks both work fine and have some value to collectors) (Cote St-Luc);


… and a 45 record of the electric transcription variety in the Plateau. It publicizes the long defunct Brading brewery of Ottawa.


I’m not sure what’s on the disc, but it was apparently recorded at a May 1952 Retail Merchants Association Convention in Montreal. These kind of pressings are very fragile (it’s already in poor condition), so it’s important not to play them unnecessarily. I’m going to try to get the audio digitized, and if it’s interesting I’ll share it here on the blog. After that, I may try to sell the physical copy of the disc, as it’s likely of interest to a collector of beer memorabilia. It seems to be an uncommon piece (I found nothing at all similar in a cursory Google search) and the top would make for a great decoration.

The liquidator pt. 3


I’ve been checking on the trash of the liquidator (part one, part two) every garbage day since I found some great stuff there near the end of June. At first I assumed they were clearing out the house but it’s now clear that they actually live there themselves. I guess they bring their work home with them sometimes because I’ve been finding small quantities of interesting stuff there on a semi-regular basis.


Often I’ll just find a few thing worth saving, such as this photograph from around the turn of the century.


Sometimes there will be a bin full of broken or mediocre china. The pieces are occasionally very fancy but those are always broken beyond repair (or at least are not worth the price to repair). I’ve added a few functional if unspectacular pieces for my home collection.


For the last couple of months I’ve been keeping my eye on a spot in Westmount. In a bit of a twist I discovered that this liquidator was working a job at that same house – a few things I saw in their garbage bore the names of the people who once lived there. It was a bit funny and strange to this stuff pop up in a totally different part of town.

I’ll share some of my finds (mostly great ephemera!) from the Westmount place soon. For now, here’s the related stuff I found at the liquidators. Here are four sealed high quality cassette tapes. These actually sell pretty well on eBay, but they don’t go for quite enough for me to bother listing them. They’ll go to my yard sale pile instead.


There was a bunch of 1976 Olympic ephemera, including four competition programs, four “all about the games” booklets, and a general information brochure. A similar competition program (but in worse condition) recently sold on eBay for 20$ so I might be able to make a bit of money here.


The booklet on the right is a guide to the Swiss Olympic delegation, while the one on the right is actually veiled Christian literature.


It’s actually kind of funny. It starts out looking very official and not unlike like your average information booklet. However, the last few pages (and these final two in particular) are filled with religious references. There’s also a “please send me more information” insert. I wonder if this worked on anyone? It was published by a local organization called Literature Crusades.


Otherwise, I found a bit of Expo 67 related stuff, including a 1969 map of Man and His World …


… and a pamphlet called “Introducing Expo 67” which seems to have been published before the event.


I also saved three old yearbooks from the 1930s. They’re pretty cool to look at, as you might expect.


One peculiar historical oddity is the number of casual Hitler references. I noted several (and two on this page alone!) while only briefly looking through them. These were written in the pre-war days of course, so most people weren’t yet aware of how terrible Hitler actually was.

On a side note: if anyone knows what Marcelle Lambert means by “kirk” let us know in the comments! I couldn’t figure that out.

I’ll share some of my Westmount finds soon!