Tag Archives: ebay

Cool tools / efficiency

furniture

I’ve had some good luck recently finding useful stuff!

It all started with this collection of furniture I found on the curb in Rosemont. I’d been wanting a set of drawers, so I unloaded the car (which was full of junk) and came back for the dresser on the right. It was a challenge to get the thing in the trunk by myself but it all worked out.

I’m always paranoid about bedbugs, especially with furniture and especially when I see it in dense, working class neighbourhoods. However, I inspected the dresser and saw no signs of infestation – if anything it was unusually clean. It’s good to be wary though – I recommend checking out my guide to avoiding bedbuggy trash if you’re ever considering taking something off the curb!

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Anyways, the dresser replaced a trunk in my room. It’s a lot better for storing the small items I tend to find, and I also like that I can stash some stuff underneath.

(FYI, I do have the missing handle. It’s broken but might be easy enough to glue back together).

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However, the best part is that switching the trunk with the dresser allowed me to finally set up a light box! I wasn’t able to before because the trunk was top loading, and moving the setup every time I wanted in the trunk would have been very annoying.

(Here’s the light box I bought. The price is 300$ now for whatever reason. I paid 100$ and would recommend it at that price, but 300$ seems a bit rich).

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It’s just a small box, but it’s big enough to photograph most of the items I find. It makes listing on eBay much easier that’s for sure! I no longer have to rely on natural light or plan around the weather, and can take clear photos at any time of day. Here’s a picture I took recently using the light box.

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Here’s a photo I took outdoors, just to show the contrast. This photo is good enough for eBay – I’ve seen some truly disastrous examples of photography on there – but it’s not great and it’s certainly not a game-changer. Some turned out better than this, but I regularly had to deal with these sorts of long shadows and weird lighting and would often end up compromising on photo quality. I’m still learning how best to use the box, but its consistency is obviously a plus.

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A few days later I found an old Windows XP desktop computer, a monitor, and a laser printer in two large boxes on the curb.

I should mention that I’ve long had an irrational hatred of printers. Especially those stupid inkjet ones that are designed to be thrown in the trash after the cartridge runs out. It seemed like every time I’d try to use one I’d encounter a software issue that was unreasonably hard or impossible to figure out, there would be paper jam for no particular reason (actually the reason was that the modern inkjet printer, even when new is a cheap piece of junk), or the print quality would just be crap. I hated printers, and though I’ve seen many inkjet printers on the curb in my time I’ve never bothered to take any.

However, maybe this one is different. I plugged it in and the photocopy function seemed to work okay, though the print was very blotchy. Thanks to the minimal, no-nonsense setting layout I was easily able to find the “clean heads” function which I ran several times. Soon enough the print quality was very good. Installing the drivers also proved easy, and I found myself printing in no time!

For years I’ve been hand-writing the labels on my shipments. I didn’t mind doing that, especially considering my hatred of printers, but it was far from efficient given my profession and increasing number of sales. Lately I’ve been enjoying printing my labels. I definitely like not having to double check the address, or re-write the label when I inevitably screwed up. It’s also great that PayPal automatically adds the tracking number to eBay, saving me the effort of doing so myself.

Perhaps this Samsung SCX-4200 will be my BPF (best printer forever)! Oh, and the computer worked well too. I was tempted to keep it but decided to list it on Kijiji instead. I don’t have much space to work with, so continuing to use a laptop is probably my best bet.

All in all these finds (and one purchase) will help me run this operation a fair bit more efficiently. They should save me time, but perhaps more importantly hassle, leaving me more energy to find more, list more, or just chill out.

Otherwise, I had a … let’s go with “interesting” encounter with the police last week that ended with me getting a ticket and them forcing me to get a mechanical inspection – basically another safety – of the car I was driving despite it being in rather good condition. All this because I had the nerve to look through trash in one of Montreal’s wealthier neighbourhoods. My next post will describe the experience in detail!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com

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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Recent sales (July 18 – August 14)

It was pretty slow going for a while there. In fact, there was a period of two weeks (between July 23 and August 7) where I didn’t sell a thing. Thankfully sales picked up a bit and I ended up having a decent if unspectacular month.

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1. Yard sales: 330$. I had a sale a couple weeks ago that I didn’t advertise whatsoever. I made around 100$, which is below average, but while everything was out on the curb I was able to weed out the clutter that wasn’t going to sell anytime soon, if ever. That set me up nicely for yesterday’s sale. I wasn’t able to put out as much as I usually do, but still had success because the things I brought were of better quality. I ended up making 230$, despite it being super cloudy and near rain for much of the day. I think I would have been cleared out if it had been sunny all day.

By the way, those framed images I mentioned in my last post didn’t last too long. The first to sell was the only non-religious one. The second was actually kitschy Jesus, who I figured would be the hardest to sell. The last supper sold last. I priced them all at 5$, which was maybe too low but I was happy to move them quickly. Looking back, this stuff might actually be in style, at least in the artsy / hipster Plateau.

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2. IBM Selectric Typewriter: On Kijiji for 50$. The Selectric was very popular in the 1960s. It was very bulky and quite heavy. Found this May in Rosemont.

3. Perfumes: To a reader for 40$. I found a nice, nearly full bottle of Miss Dior near Snowdon metro last week that went for 30$. It was vintage, probably from the 70s. The other two were smaller, half full perfumes by Annick Goutal that I found in Outremont. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures.

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4. Macbook Pro, for repair: On eBay for 250$. I bought a new battery for it, so my actual profit was around 200$. This is the one I found back in February. It seemed to work at first (at least after I took out the old battery which was bulging and impacting the trackpad), but after a while it became really slow and painful to use. It was a 2009 model, so chances are the original hard drive was cooked. It’s probably an easy fix for whoever bought it. Found in TMR.

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5. Vintage Tiffany jewelry box: On eBay for 50$. I’d guess this box was made in the 20s or 30s. Anything Tiffany related is worth a bit of money. Found January 2016 in NDG.

6. Rodenstock Rocco eyeglass frames: On eBay for 44$. I listed these a long time ago. I have a faint recollection of finding in the Plateau a couple years back, but I can’t be certain.

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7. 1964 Lindsay Place (Pointe-Claire) High School yearbook: On eBay for 40$. I’ve heard of people having success selling old yearbooks, but only recently did I try doing it myself. This yearbook, one of several I listed sold within a day. I was pretty happy about that. I’m sure the rest will be long tail items, but eBay’s fees for listing books are lower for just that reason. Found in TMR.

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8. Rosen remote control: On eBay for 27$. I don’t think there’s anything less exciting than selling remote controls. I don’t even know what this remote was for. Still, selling them is pretty easy and they make me a bit of extra cash. I only recently realized that this was market I could capitalize on.

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9. Vintage Alan Stuart designer toothbrush: On eBay for 30$. It was in its original box. Saved from a cheesy bag in June of 2015.

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10. Silver turtle bracelet: On Etsy for 30$. My first Etsy sale since May.

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11. Vintage Lancome Magie Noire perfumed dusting powder: On eBay for 80$. This stuff seems to be pretty collectible! Found last month in Outremont.

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12. 1977 Grey Cup pennant: On eBay for 100$. I found this over two years ago. I kept it myself for awhile, using it as a decoration. I like collecting Montreal related stuff, and especially enjoyed the image of the Big O. However, I didn’t end up putting it up at my last place, and when I didn’t display it at my new place either I figured I might as well sell it. I got a very good price so I’m pretty happy. Found May 2014 in TMR.

Total: 1071$, 15051$ since the new year.

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Recent sales (March 14 – March 27)

I had another great couple of weeks. I made my first four-figure sale (!) and sold a lot of items otherwise. Things won’t keep up at this pace, but it’s nice to have a bit of extra cash for a change. This March might have been my most profitable month ever, and at this point I’m wondering if the goal I set of 24k profit for the year was a bit conservative! We’ll see how it goes, as summer is generally a slow time for online sales but things are sure looking good so far.

Now, here’s the former trash that I’ve converted into cash…

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1. Broken DJI Phantom II drone camera / gimbal (for parts or repair): On eBay for 200$. This was the first time I’ve found anything drone-related in the trash. The technology is pretty modern, so this gimbal sold for a nice amount even though it was broken. Found about a month ago in TMR.

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2. Vintage plastic ring box: On eBay for 25$. I considered using this to package one of my Etsy sales, but instead decided to sell it. Found last March in Hampstead.

3. Anime DVDs: On eBay for 130$. This profit came from three different listings, but I’m grouping them all together because DVD sales aren’t particularly exciting. They were all part of the anime collection I found last October in the Plateau.

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4. Delta Phi Epsilon sorority 10k gold pin: On eBay for 210$. Found alongside an Omega watch this January in TMR. That ended up being a pretty profitable pile of trash.

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5. Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound miniature sewing kit: On eBay for 25$. I had this sitting around for quite some time before finally listing it recently. Found in Park Ex way back in 2013.

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6. Montreal Alouettes 1961 season ticket card: On eBay for 15$. This sold pretty quickly, making me wonder if I should have upped the price a bit. I’m happy it sold regardless. Found last summer in Westmount.

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7. Collection of 19 pre-war Polish magazines: On eBay for 40$. They all came from a dumpster in Glenmount, which is a tiny neighbourhood within Cote-des-Neiges. I spent a while there digging through old, often ruined books, saving the ones that looked most irreplaceable. I assume that it’s relatively hard to find Polish stuff from before WWII given the devastation that occurred there. Regardless, I’m glad they’ve found a new home. To see the magazines (and others I’ve since given away or sold), check out the link above.

8. Danese Milano cube ashtray: On eBay for 40$. Found in Snowdon sometime last year.

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9. British isles pamphlet / map: On eBay for 20$. Found in Westmount last summer.

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10. Parker Pen “Wadsworth” compact: On eBay for 35$. Found December 2015 in TMR.

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11. Boss DB-12 Dr. Beat Digital Metronome: On eBay for 16$. This ended up going to some remote part of Labrador, reducing my profit by at least a few dollars. I do flat rate shipping, so this kind of thing is bound to happen on occasion. As long as I still make money I don’t worry too much about it. Found in the Plateau last May.

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12. Broken Mondaine watch: On eBay for 65$. This watch didn’t end up working but I still managed to profit from it. Found late November in the Plateau.

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13. Vintage tartan pen knife: On eBay for 58$. Found last April in NDG. Kudos to my mom for letting me know these knives were collectible.

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14. Lot of Expo 67 photos and documents: On eBay for 1250$. My first four-figure sale! After taking months to consider my options I recently began the process of listing the Expo 67 haul I found last October. Not long after I listed the Hostesses’ Handbook I received a message from a potential buyer and we got to discussing the photos I had yet to list. I think I negotiated myself a good deal here, with my patience and my willingness to test the market as I do likely earning me a better price.

I’m also generally happy with how the deal worked out. I earned a nice chunk of cash, and the buyer is someone who will use the items to further various intellectual and artistic projects. I’m confident this stuff won’t be collecting dust somewhere, or simply part of someone’s inaccessible private collection.

To clarify, the Hostesses’ Handbook was the most valuable part of the deal, netting me 250$. The photos went for an average of 15$ a piece, while the miscellaneous documents went for an extra 50$. The collection made me a lot of money largely because it was so extensive. Nearly everything included in the listing is shown in the link above.

Total: 2129$, 7484$ since the new year.

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