Tag Archives: environment

Sugaring off

Things were a bit slow last week, in part because someone decided to break into my friend’s car. They took only the registration and insurance papers that were in the glove compartment, which was a bit odd considering the car isn’t particularly valuable. Apparently criminal organizations sometimes do this to provide legitimate looking documentation for stolen vehicles that are set to leave the country via shipping containers.

Regardless of the motives, it was a minor hassle for all involved. We had to go get new papers, and it took a couple of days to get new glass installed. I missed out on a quality garbage run as a result. Oh well! Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again, as it cost around 300$ to get everything sorted out.

The weather also hasn’t been particularly picker-friendly. There’s been lots of rain (apparently a record amount for Montreal in April) which washed out a few of my preferred bike trips. Still, I made a few decent finds, and I have high hopes for this week as move-out day approaches.

The place in the Mile End where I found the jewelry and watches last week provided more neat stuff, mostly old bottles this time around. I love old bottles, but I will say that it feels kind of gross to look through bags full of medicines in the rain. Something about the wetness and the smell of weird old liquids makes me feel like I’m going to get a disease, even though the risk of anything bad happening is extremely low. Either way, I overcame that feeling and amassed a great collection of bottles, most of which date from between the 30s and the 80s.

My favourite bottles are the ones marked “poison,” like the synthetic wintergreen in the picture above. I think a lot of people feel the same way – poison bottles have good value in the market, especially the ones with the skull and crossbones logo like the bottle of iodine I found a few years back. I could probably sell that one for around 40$, but at least for now it’s part of my personal collection.

There’s another poison bottle in this bunch (this time iodine), as well as a tin of boracic acid. The bottle of Perry Davis Painkiller is hard to date, but I’d guess it’s from the 30s or 40s. Production started in the 1840s, and apparently it was mostly composed of alcohol and opiates.

Yeah, maybe it’s gross to take 40 year old Preparation H, but I just really like things in their original packaging!

The 1964 Montreal street guide is pretty neat, as is the small Lenormand tarot deck on the right. It’s probably worth around 20$.

I thought those Rawleigh’s tins were really old when I found them, but now I think they’re probably just from the 50s or 60s (pre-metrification). I’m pretty sure Rawleigh’s still makes tins like this today. The vintage safety glasses are kind of neat, as are the hairdressing scissors.

I haven’t noticed any trash at this place recently, so maybe the source has dried up. If so, too bad as I quite enjoyed its specific brand of junk.

The people who tossed the tarot cards from my last post threw out another deck last week! This one is called the New Tarot; it was self-published in the early 1970s by Jack Hurley and John Horler, both of whom were influenced greatly by Joseph Campbell. Apparently the deck was pretty revolutionary at the time – check out this blog post if you’re interested in knowing more about their history. There seems to be a healthy market for this deck, one pretty similar to mine (and in far from perfect condition) recently sold for 170$ on eBay.

The only thing I’m confused by is the number of cards that are supposed to be in the deck. I counted 79, but the deck is supposed to only have 78. Then again, the instructions say that the “fool card is zero” so perhaps it is not included in the final count. On the other hand, the listing I linked to above says it includes two “extra cards” without specifying what those cards would be. I don’t know much about tarot, so I find all that pretty confusing. If anyone can help clarify how many cards I should have let me know in the comments! I guess I could also compare every card to the ones mentioned in the instructions, but that would take a while.

I found a neat old chandelier in a bag in the lower Plateau. I’d guess that it was made in the 1910s or 1920s. “Com Fix 589” is stamped on the top but I can’t find any reference to that phrase online. Regardless, it’s a pretty nice piece! I put it on Kijiji for 100$, and we’ll see if anyone bites.

There weren’t that many noteworthy finds last week, so I’ll bulk up this post with a couple of finds from this week. I saved this chrome “eyeball” lamp from a bag in Villeray on Monday night. It was probably made in the early 70s. I think there’s a solid market for these right now, and I’ll find out for sure soon when I list it on Kijiji.

Maple syrup is one of my favourite things so I’m always pumped when I find some in the trash. It comes around semi-regularly, but not often enough that I never run out. Anyways, I found an unopened wooden box containing a bottle of syrup and jar of spread this morning. I ate some of both already, and it was great! Thanks are owed to whoever for satisfying my maple cravings for the next little while.

I also came across a bag full of old photos and slides. I haven’t had time to look at most of them yet, but one envelope contained a bunch of photos featuring former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. They were taken at a “sugaring off party” in April 1976. Current PM Justin (age 4) may be there too actually, it’s hard to tell – check out the photo at bottom left and let me know what you think. It’s a pretty neat find regardless! Here’s hoping more of those photos turn out to be interesting.

My yard sale the other day went very well. I’ll let you know exactly how well in the next sales summary post. I still have lots of stuff to sell so I’ll be doing another sale soon, maybe next weekend if the weather is nice. I’ll keep you posted!

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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My junk runneth over

Last week was one of my busiest in a while. Maybe spring cleaning season began because I sure did find a lot of junk. (FYI, I refer to everything I find as junk these days, even the good stuff).

Don’t get me wrong, I love junk, but finding too much can quickly cause me to feel burnt out. I think that’s because finding more stuff means an exponential increase in workload. After all, the more I find the more photos I have to take; the longer my blog posts are; the more I have to research; the more I want to get listed on eBay; the more I have to mail out; and the more my life turns into a chaotic junk-filled mess.

I’ve gotten better at managing my workload over the years. However, it’s clear that I have more work to do if I want to avoid the cyclical burnout I’ve experienced in the past. I came up with the idea of a more streamlined schedule (photos on Monday, blog on Tuesday, day off other than picking on Wednesday, eBay on Thursday and Friday, day off on Saturday, and a “do what you want” Sunday) which could help, as at least then I’d know what I’m supposed to do and wouldn’t be rushing around trying to finish 12 tasks at once.

Also, I’d like to build a small shed out front (above), under the stairs so that I could leave junk there to be photographed on the Monday. I bring the best stuff inside right away, but I prefer to leave the random items outside until photo day as otherwise they end up cluttering up my life. Right now I have some bins out there, but it’s kind of ugly and generally not ideal. I’ve never built anything in my life, but I figure it wouldn’t be that hard to do. I found a wood pallet that might make a good foundation.

It would help as well to get my storage space organized, because after a whole winter of junk collecting the place looks like a tornado went through it. I think I’ll do it on Sunday when it’s supposed to be really nice out.

If you have any other ideas let me know! I think the main thing is that I need to plan things a bit better, and focus on specific tasks instead of doing whatever comes to mind.

Anyways, let’s get to some garbage. My Monday morning bike ride in the Mile End / Plateau was largely a waste of time, though I did find some neat old papers relating to some Polish community organization. There were way too many to take, so I stuck with the ones that looked most interesting.

One stack of papers was composed of invitations, and responses to those invitations, to a variety of events in the early 1950s. They aren’t too exciting except for the fact that some fairly important people were invited. As a result, there were some cool signatures on the response letters. Shown here are signed response letters from Wilder Penfield, the famous neurosurgeon and the namesake of Docteur Penfield road which passes through McGill; Former Canadian Senator and Speaker of the House W. Ross MacDonald; and Cleveland Morgan, the museum builder and collector who was born into the wealthy Morgan’s family.

There could be more, as I only looked through them very quickly. I doubt they’re worth too much, but they’re still pretty cool.

Here’s an invitation to a Bal des Nations held by the United Nations Association in Canada on October 28 1967. Lots of big names (at least if you’re Canadian) were said to be attending.

Here’s a Polish culture magazine celebrating the election of Pope John Paul II, and a petition supporting the Solidarity trade union that emerged in 1980s communist Poland.

Otherwise, I thought this collection of 1960s Alert anti-communist publications was pretty neat. This is “red scare” era stuff, inspired by a strong fear that society would be subverted by far left interests. The magazine was written in plain language and sought to warn people about the various organizations, publications, and political candidates that would try to sway them towards communism, as well as inform them about the tactics of communist groups. Interesting stuff if you’re into that kind of thing. I posted some more pics below if you’re interested in seeing more.

I had planned on going out to CDN on Monday night, but I was too tired and decided to go to Villeray on Tuesday morning instead.

I think of all the neighbourhoods I’ve gone to regularly I’ve had the least luck in Villeray. I don’t go so much these days, but I used to when I did all my garbaging via bicycle. Considering the amount of time I spent there I don’t really have much to show for it. I think it’s just bad luck, as the neighbourhood really isn’t that much different from the Plateau (perhaps slightly newer, developed in the 20s-40s instead of the 00s-20s, slightly less gentrified) which has brought me a number of great finds.

I included the Google map above just to show people what Villeray looks like. It’s hard to make out from here but you can see the boundaries as a red dotted like. Like a lot of Montreal it’s largely composed of rows and rows of duplexes, triplexes, and so on, like the ones you see below. It’s most famous resident, at least internationally was probably Jackie Robinson, who lived there for a year while he played with the Montreal Royals in 1946. (One of my fantasies is finding some old Montreal Royals stuff, especially something related to Jackie).

I was actually fairly lucky this time around. One household put trash bags in front of multiple buildings on the street, which is something people in denser neighbourhoods sometimes do when they worry about putting out too much (I don’t think it actually matters in most places).

A lot of it was indeed garbage, but I found lots of cool little vintage stuff (my favourite). The best pieces are probably the old rosaries, particularly the one on the right which I think is made from bone. I also like the lucky penny, which was an early 1950s souvenir from the Empire State Building.

My favourite things here are the 500 card game scorekeeper and the vintage Montreal menuiserie (carpentry, I think) sign. I put the latter up on eBay for 30$, I’m sure someone will buy it eventually.

I feel like every household back in the day had some boracic acid. I come across more containers of that than I do anything else. The watch isn’t too special, but it looks nice and doesn’t look to have ever been used.

When I find a bunch of neat stuff I usually bring only a few of my favourite (or at least, eyecatching) finds inside with me right away. At first I thought the cap badge at the bottom was a military thing, but now I think it’s probably just a boy scout thing. Still cool of course, but it’s unlikely to be worth as much money. I’d guess that it was made in the 40s.

The (probably) most valuable thing here will probably surprise you. It’s the tiny bottle of Skin Musk, another vintage 1970s musk scent made by Bonne Bell of Lakewood Ohio. I listed it the same day, and it actually sold within 6 minutes for 60$ plus shipping. I mailed it off not long after, which makes this probably my quickest sale ever.

I also saved this plant. It was dry as a bone when I found it, but these guys (whatever they’re called) are pretty tough… I can say that from personal experience. It perked up quickly after receiving water and it now looks nice in our kitchen.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much here this week. I’ll give the place one more chance, as I want to go back to Villeray next week regardless.

Wednesday was pretty slow. I did find this reasonably modern and seemingly barely used LG E-900h smartphone however. It’s probably worth around 30$.

Now it’s time for some birthday (Thursday) garbage! I actually had decent luck on my special day. I found this junk (including a Holga 135 camera, a Zune, some portable charging batteries, and an iPod Shuffle) on my morning bike ride. If that FM transmitter thing on top works I’ll be pumped, as I’ve been wanting one of those for a while.

For my birthday I decided to do little actual work. I did however go on a “bonus” garbage run to a part of Rosemont (roughly between Dandurand to Belanger, and Papineau to Iberville) that collects its garbage on Thursday evenings. The area isn’t super exciting or anything (it’s certainly not rich) but because it has some history it’s bound to produce some neat old stuff on occasion. I’m guessing here, but I think this area was probably built mostly between the 30s and 50s. Lots of row houses as usual, but sometimes there are stumpy little single family homes as well.

I found some neat things in these orange bags. I find that orange bags are more like to contain good garbage that other types of bags, at least when they don’t contain yard waste.

There was a lot of junk here, a lot of which was decent yard sale-able junk.

None of these sunglasses are super fancy (ie: vintage Dior) but some are still pretty cool. A couple are vintage 80s, and in pretty good condition overall.

A sewing box held some neat stuff, including some Catholic medallions, an Expo 67 pin, and a container filled with vintage Montreal transit buttons. My favourite find here is probably the green eyewash cup. I’ve seen a few of these now, but never one made from green glass.

The watch is a Cyma and it might have a bit of value. The subdial hand is missing and it runs a little weird, but it seems that some collectors appreciate the brand. I’d guess that it was made in the 1940s.

Another eBayable thing from this spot was an old Rodania watch box, probably from the 50s. Vintage watch boxes often have value and I expect this one to go for around 40-50$.

Another birthday bonus find was this vintage 90s cell phone. According to Wikipedia the Motorola Startac was the first truly popular cellphone; around 60 million were sold. I expect mine to sell for between 40-70$. Check out this short video my friend made that brings to life the now ancient sounds this thing made. It’s was a pretty good day for finds overall!

On Friday morning I went to another part of Rosemont. I stopped to look at trash pretty regularly, but most often I went back to the car empty-handed. At one spot the only thing worth taking were these eight postage stamps.

Someone asked the other day how much money I save by finding useful stuff in the trash. I can’t really put a number on that, but I can say that these stamps will save me about 8$.

I also found a violin. Well, kind of. The actual violin is in pieces, and I doubt it was much good to start. Still, it’s old and someone might like it as a decoration.

Some of the pieces might end up being more valuable, who knows. There were some old strings, knobs, and other violin things in that little hiding spot in the case. As you can probably tell I don’t know anything about violins.

I came across this pile later on. I took the old radio cabinet, which was totally empty but in solid condition. I didn’t really want to hold onto it for long so I posted it on a local Facebook trading page. I ended up trading it for a delicious rack of lamb, which was a solid trade from my perspective.

Around the corner was another pile of junk, presumably from the same house. Inside the boxes was a bunch of vintage audio stuff, a lot of which looked to be in rough shape. I’m glad I have a cell phone for these situations, because I’m able to easily research what’s worth taking and what’s not. A nice piece in rough shape might have value, but something that was mediocre in the 70s isn’t likely to be worth my time now.

I did take a few things, like this vintage James B Lansing speaker crossover. I don’t really know what it’s supposed to do, but it seems like people want to buy them. Mine’s not in great condition, but I still expect that it’ll sell for somewhere between 50-100$.

I also took a SuperScope TDR-830 8-track recording system. SuperScope owned Marantz for a while, and anything Marantz-related is good as far as I can tell. It does turn on, which is good, but I expect something is wrong with it. Regardless, it’s in decent enough condition that someone might want to buy it for parts. It’ll clean up nice once I take a micro-fibre cloth to it. The car stereo stuff is probably junk, but I figured I’d take it just in case.

Anyways, that’s it for this week! Phew, that was a long one.

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 (February)

The finds haven’t come all that quickly in the last year or so, especially since getting that ticket back in November. I hope some good hauls come my way soon, but on the plus side this slower period has given me a lot of time to catch up on my “death piles” (ie: junk that sit around for months or years waiting to be listed or otherwise dealt with) and get other organizational stuff done.

I basically have nothing left to be listed at this point. There’s a few projects here and there to do, including cleaning up that mid-century floor lamp I found a while back, but there’s really not much sitting around gathering dust these days.

Because I’ve mostly caught up on my own stuff I’ve taken on a bit of consignment work. I don’t want to get too busy selling things for other people – I hope to have more of my own work to do soon – but it makes sense to try it out while I have the time.

FYI, I won’t mention any consignment sales on the blog. These posts are for garbage, and garbage only.

Now, let’s get to the sales! There’s a lot of cool vintage stuff this month.

1. Vintage WWII-era US army belt: On eBay for 55$. I found this last year but only got around to listing it recently.

2. Macbook, for parts / repair: On eBay for 35$. I sold it with a similar laptop that was given to me by one of my readers. This one was in decent cosmetic condition but had no hard drive. I found it in the Plateau along with a MacBook Pro (below) back in January.

3. Late 2008 Macbook Pro, for parts / repair: On eBay for 125$. The display was busted at the very least, but this machine still went for a decent price.

4. Fernand Labelle painting: On eBay for 127.50$. Labelle seems to be a somewhat known Quebec artist. He’s not famous enough to have his own Wikipedia page, but he’s notable enough that his works sell for good prices at auction. This was a nice piece, and I’m happy I was able to get three figures for it.

5. Vintage Bakelite manicure set: On eBay for 21.25$. I’ve been experimenting with sales on eBay, and if you see any cents in the price it means that the item sold while on sale. It’s a good way to encourage people to buy the stuff that’s been sitting around for a while. This manicure set was pretty cute but I don’t remember where I found it, though I do think that it’s one of those things that sat around for years before being listed.

6. Sony remote control: On eBay for 15$. They aren’t very exciting, but these little remotes are worth listing. They’re easy to photograph and don’t take much effort to ship either. I don’t even test them at this point, I just assume they work if they’re in good cosmetic condition. Haven’t had any issues yet, so I guess it’s a decent strategy.

7. Vintage Lacoste after-shave: On eBay for 75$. I found this in Westmount around two years ago and it finally sold last month. It was new in box, and probably made in the 90s.

8. Sodality of The Blessed Virgin silver medallion: On eBay for 65$. This medallion was pretty neat. I found it in a tin alongside a bunch of screws.

9. Vintage Commodore Red LED scientific calculator: On eBay for 60$. I held onto this thing for months hoping to figure out a way to test it – I didn’t find it with its original power cord. Only recently did I realize that there was a spot for batteries inside, and that the calculator contained some now very corroded double-As from the 1970s. Thankfully this model is pretty desirable to calculator collectors and is worth money even as a project. It was in great cosmetic condition, and it sold within a few days of my finally listing it.

10. Vintage Parker 51 fountain pen: On eBay for 80$. This is the one I found around a month ago in the Mile End. The buyer seemed pretty happy, and that in turn made me feel good as well.

11. Vintage 1950s Everdry match safe: On eBay for 35$. This buyer left me some nice feedback as well.

12. Vintage 1980s John Hardy “Kali pebble” sterling silver wristwatch: On eBay for 550$. I remember paying around 75$ to fix it (the quartz movement was broken), so my actual profit here was closer to 475$. This thing is off to China via a shipping forwarder in the City of Industry, California. I’m just glad it’s out of the house. I found it alongside the Omega way back in January 2016.

13. Colognes (L’instant de Guerlain, Teck by Molinard): On eBay for 81$. Now let’s hope this one actually goes through, because it seems that Canada Post delivered the package to the wrong address. I requested that CP look into it but neither the buyer or I has heard from them yet. I already refunded the money, so now I just have to hope that the buyer does end up with the package or that Canada Post pays me insurance. I’ve been burned by the insurance process before, so I’m a little worried that I’ll get screwed again.

14. Vintage folk art painting: On eBay for 100$. It was a good month for Quebec art. This one was painted by someone named Turcotte back in 1927. I found it in that huge box of photos around two years ago.

15. Early 2011 MacBook Pro, for parts / repair: On eBay for 245$. This is the one I found a couple weeks ago. It actually sold for 335$, but since I spent 90$ on that hard drive I only consider the profit to be 245$. Still, that’s a pretty good deal in my books.

16. Vintage Montreal public works sign: On eBay for 30$. This went to a local buyer. I found a few similar signs, one of which is up above the door to my room. I think they’re pretty cool, but I only really need the one.

17. Clip-on silver earrings: On Etsy for 25$. I found these in Westmount a while back.

18. Vintage hanging lamp: On Kijiji for 50$. This took a while to sell (about a year, to be specific) but I eventually got a good price for it. Items like this make me glad I have a basement now; I can just stick things down there and forget about them for months or years on end. Out of sight, out of mind.

Total: 1699.75$, 3642.75$ so far in 2017. Not a bad month overall, but I’m really looking forward to yard sale season.

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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