Tag Archives: frugality

Reflection

I’ve fallen a bit behind on my picture taking recently. There’s been so much to keep track of, and it’s hard to keep everything organized. As a result, some neat stuff has fallen through the cracks and won’t make the blog (though they may end up on a “recent sales” post).

My storage space looks like a disaster zone again, and I’ve been recently thinking about finding an additional storage option, preferably a garage. However, there doesn’t seem to be anything suitable on the market, at least in my price range, and I think now that I might just need to better organize my current storage space. I bought a whole bunch of plastic storage containers (paid for in large part by that gift card I found last month!) which should help keep things a little more manageable.

In general, I think I need to pull everything out of my storage and put it back in differently. Of course, one of the best ways to do that is to have a yard sale! I hope to do one this Sunday, as long as the weather is good.

Today I’ll show you some miscellaneous finds from the past month or so. I found these Deep Trance Medium cassettes in the lower Plateau. I haven’t listened to any of them, but this lady seems to be into some next stuff. Titles include: “Lemuria and the Gods of Legend”, “Druids Pt. 25″, Prosperging [sp?] through love in the 90s”, “An E.T. on Christmas”, and “Future of P.Q. 1991”. I’m not sure if P.Q. is the original owners initials, or if she’s trying to predict the future of Quebec.

I’d never heard of Lemuria before, but according to Wikipedia it is a “a hypothetical ‘lost land’ variously located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.” Apparently this was a legitimate scientific hypothesis back in the 1800s but has since been debunked.

I also found these cassettes made by Interdimensional Communications International, a company run by the same people that made the Reflection tapes. They could have some value, being quite niche and hard to find, but it’s hard to tell.

I came across some rich people stuff in TMR, including: a Kindle, an iPhone 5 with a busted screen, an empty Tiffany box, a Gameboy Advance, a working iPod, and three digital cameras. Two of the digital cameras are in rough shape, but one of them is probably worth selling for parts.

At the bottom is a bracelet that I’m proud to have recognized as a Links of London design (it’s a good skill in this business to be able to recognize brands!). It’s a fake, but it looks nice and should sell at a yard sale.

I also found some doctors tools, including a Welch Allyn diagnostic set. I saved a similar one a while back that sold for 65$. My roommate likes tuning forks, so I gave him the ones on the right in exchange for future food.

I almost threw this digital picture frame in with my yard sale stuff, but I thought it would be funny instead to load it with pictures of my roommates cat. We got a good laugh out of it!

I took home a big old wagon wheel. I don’t really know how much they go for, but I’m sure someone out there will want it for their garden.

I’ve been finding a fair bit of Christmas stuff lately, like these vintage lanterns and a Santa light. The lanterns are a little busted up but someone might still want them – at the very least the boxes are pretty cool.

I also found a snowman blow mold. It’s not that old (probably 90s) but it should make me 10$ at a yard sale.

These were my best finds from a nice spot in Outremont. Yves St Laurent “Opium” is relatively hard to find because it only existed for a few years – the Champagne producers in France sued to force them to stop using the name. It had never been opened and sold very quickly for 100$. The Dior “Poison” soap is a nice get too, it has also never been opened and smells pretty good for its age (generally, I don’t think soap doesn’t age as well as perfume). I expect it to sell for around 50-70$.

I found a couple of neat jewelry pieces at that spot as well, including a dragonfly keychain signed by Lalique and a brooch designed by David Gerstein. These people threw out plenty of other good stuff, but unfortunately I never got around to documenting it.

I saved this owl figurine elsewhere in Outremont. It’s a little unusual in that it seems to be made of resin, or at least smells a lot like pine sap. It’s around 3″ tall. Has anyone seen anything like it before?

I spotted this old motor / grinder on the curb in Villeray. It worked fine, though the wiring was pretty sketchy. It sold at my yard sale for 20$.

I found these pens (in bags, of course) while biking around my neighbourhood last Thursday. The top is a Cross with a 14k gold nib, and the bottom is a Sheaffer Targa (c. 1980s) also with a 14k gold nib. I expect to get around 35$ for the Cross and 75$ for the Sheaffer. Not bad! I’m always pumped to see vintage pens – they’re often worth good money, and one of my readers is very good at helping me identify the exact model (this information is very useful when selling them).

I’d never seen one these these Old McGill yearbooks before I found three in the same week (two at the same spot just down the road) not long ago. Old yearbooks are always a nice find, and one (the 1965) has already sold for 60$ with free shipping.

I found a cute chalkware (basically plaster) wedding cake topper in Rosemont a couple weeks back. According to the writing on the back the couple was married on July 20, 1957. This topper would have been pretty inexpensive, but it likely made a great memento regardless.

Rosemont also produced this great collection of Expo 67 glasses. They were in bags – thankfully none of them broke. If I lived alone I’d think about keeping them, but I think they’d be better off with someone else at this point. Plus, they’re worth decent money, around 10$ each according to eBay’s sold prices. I do think I’ll keep one of the smaller ones, I’m leaning towards the Western Pavilion.

Otherwise, I have plenty of other things to show you. I’ve been finding some neat stuff in Villeray, and also happened upon more rich people garbage in Westmount and the Plateau. I owe you another recent sales post as well.

It’s been a while since I told you I was going to start an Indiegogo campaign for the car. I apologize for the wait, mostly I’ve been procrastinating on the video. I do want to get that done soon however, and I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

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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Move-out day 2017

I spent a lot of time at the end of April cruising the streets of a nearby university neighbourhood, hoping to find great move-out related trash.

Move-out day is a phenomenon in every university town, but especially those with high international student populations. Basically, when kids finish the spring semester many of them move (often home / far away) around the same time. As you can imagine this results in a lot of great trash. The kids aren’t often all that organized, and a lot of them are quite privileged as well – us trash pickers are thus doubly blessed, triply when you consider just how many people are moving at once.

Last year I did very well, finding a working MacBook Pro, and iPad, a couple of valuable perfumes, change (including loonies and toonies), and even some bills. However, I realize now that I got pretty lucky. I used to think that May 1st was the biggest day for garbage, but this year I figured out that April 30th is best. Last year I was actually late to the party, and was lucky to come away with some great finds regardless. I’m surprised I made that mistake, as now it seems obvious that most of the moving would happen before the end of the month.

The mistake didn’t effect this years results anyways. My plan was always to go to the area early and often in hopes that I’d get the first pick of as much garbage as possible. I knew that even if the 1st was the best day, it wasn’t the only day – some people were bound to move out before that. There’s actually a lot of competition for move-out day garbage, so it pays off to put in that extra effort.

I ended up having a pretty productive few days! My finds don’t quite match up with last years, but they’re still very good.

I think I was most excited about finding another MacBook Pro. The things are like money in the bank – even when broken they typically sell for three figures. I know I’m going to have at least a decent day when I see that silvery plastic shell.

Thankfully, I found one in the trash pile above. I could see it through a little hole in the bag.

The MBP, a 13″ Mid 2010 with a good screen (but no HD and perhaps other issues) sold quickly for 180$. But I found lots of other good stuff that day, including a Samsung notebook that seems to work fine (it runs Ubuntu though so it’s a little harder to do a factory reset), a nice pair of Sony headphones that are worth around 60$, and some tea, spices, and paints.

I had good luck with laptops. I found another one, a Lenovo Yoga 2 not far from my storage. This one is actually in very nice condition except for an issue with the screen, which flickers and stays off about 95% of the time. I was persistent and managed to get it working (mostly through determination / sitting in front of it for a while) long enough to do a factory reset and test the internet. It’s a nice little laptop that should sell for around 175$ even with the screen problems.

People were throwing away Plantronics earphones left right and center. I found three different pairs, all of which worked fine. I guess they were cheap enough (24.95, according to the packaging) to not worry about. I also found two pairs of Qatar Airways headphones with noise cancellation. I sold the lot (minus the fancier Sony headphones) to one person at my yard sale for 15$, which I think was fair for both sides.

There’s always some dumb frosh / frat stuff that gets thrown out en masse on moving day. This year it was sunglasses. The design is actually pretty cool, but they’re almost always emblazoned with some slogan that makes them a hard sell.

I also found a 1tb external hard drive. I haven’t been able to get it working yet, but it might just be my computer being weird.

Here’s some semi-useful stuff. There’s so much to choose from that you really have to limit what you take. The jewelry was almost exclusively junk that ended up in a free box. I sold the two canvases for a dollar, and the Cuban pesos for another dollar.

I found a shopping bag full of books that reminded me of my Sociology degree (I actually still have a copy of The Protestant Work Ethic & The Spirit of Capitalism). I sold most of them to some guy at my yard sale for 10$.

I also found a longboard that my skateboarding expert friend says should sell for around 60$.

I opened up a bag on St Urbain and was greeted with a mushroom container full of jewelry. Most of it was junk, but I did find a locket that was marked as being made by Tiffany in 2004. The locket looks legit in a lot of ways, but Tiffany is commonly faked and it’s best I determine the authenticity one way or the other before selling it. I can’t find a similar piece online, which might be a good thing as most fakes are based on well-known and popular designs. I took a few extra pictures which you can see below, and if you have any potential insights let me know in the comments!

Otherwise, the kids always throw out lots of change.

I had better luck on that front last year, but I still found around 24$ overall, not including Euros and other foreign coins. Better than nothing!

My best cash find though was this gift card. I was optimistic that there would be a little money left on there, but I wasn’t expecting it to be 63$! This is actually the first time I found a gift card with money on it, and obviously I hope to find more going forward. I feel like it’s something I should see more often than I do, and I wonder if I’m just overlooking them as I scan and evaluate the trash.

I look forward to doing this again next year! However, July 1st (aka Moving Day in Montreal) is coming up as well. This will be the first time in a few years that I won’t be moving myself, and I’m excited to see what I can find on the curb.

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Recent sales (October 10 – November 6)

I’d like to thank everyone for their comments on my last post! I don’t have time to reply to all of them, but it’s good to get positive as well as constructive feedback. I also enjoyed reading people’s trash picking related stories. There ended up being a lot more comments than I ever would have expected (I’m pretty sure we beat the record for the most on a single blog post), and that certainly helped to remind me that a lot of people care about garbage, history, and reducing waste.

I’ve taken some days off this week to allow my brain to reset. It’s already been hard to resist the allure of garbage, which means that I should be good to go soon enough.

Otherwise, I plan on continuing with the full-time picking, perhaps switching up my schedule so that I go out more often in the mornings. I think that will make me less intimidating to concerned citizens. However, if I see an opportunity for a cool job I may take it. Sometimes I miss working with other people and being part of a group. As things are now I do most of my work alone, and that can feel pretty isolating. But I sure won’t be quitting my reasonably well paid garbage work to become a dishwasher or anything like that, and I’ll definitely continue picking and posting even if I do happen to find a different line of work.

Anyways, here’s a list of recent sales. Or, as they can otherwise be referred to, things that probably would have been destroyed if not for my trash picking.

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1. Yard sale: 400$. Thankfully the weather cooperated and offered me one more nice weekend day for a yard sale. There’s now snow on the ground, so it’s likely that this sale was the last of the year, though I might end up selling some stuff at an indoor market event sometime in December.

This year I organized fewer sales, but in general made more money per sale. It’s a strategy I imagine I’ll employ again next year. Yard sales are hard work, and doing more of them doesn’t seem to actually result in more money.

My advertising skills got a lot better as the year went on, basically because I found this sandwich board in the trash. I used it for my last two sales and they were among my most successful of the year. In fact, I think the 400$ from this sale might have made it my most profitable ever. It seems obvious now that having a good sign on a busy intersection would help, to the point where I probably should have just bought one earlier in life. Oh well!

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2. Vintage hand-made church / creche: On Kijiji for 40$. I always liked this thing. If I had a bigger place I might have used it as a decoration but alas I don’t have anywhere to put a 2′ tall church. I’m guessing it was made in the 50s or 60s. It was definitely some kind of nativity scene despite the fact that Jesus wasn’t born in a church. It took a while to sell, but the guy who bought it seemed to like it a lot. Found not far from my last place in the Plateau.

3. Anime DVDs: 3 different titles for a total of 75$. I’m starting to run low on anime DVDs. Once they’re all gone maybe I’ll look back and figure out how much I earned from the collection. I’d guess that it’s close to 1000$, making it a very good find. Found last fall in the Plateau.

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4. Vintage Oldfellows sash: On eBay for 25$. This went to a buyer in Australia. Found in Westmount last summer.

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5. Trippen heels: On eBay for 175$. I consider myself pretty good at recognizing when something has value. However, when it comes to clothes and shoes I know very little, and to be honest find the whole category intimidating. I don’t feel confident about sizing (when it’s off, you’re getting a return), I’m not good at recognizing what people actually want to buy, and I don’t have a good setup for taking photos, though this is more of a problem for clothes than shoes. In the end, I just don’t understand fashion besides what looks good on me personally (and sometimes not even that).

However, I seem to have gotten lucky with these Trippen heels. I found them in January, and threw them in the car because they were leather and looked to be in good condition. They came from a rich neighbourhood, so I thought it was slightly more likely that they were designer and expensive. As it turns out Trippen is a fairly desirable designer brand, and once I actually listed them (about eight months after I found them) they sold within a week for a very nice price.

I guess shoes aren’t really so bad. At least they’re easy to take photos of. Clothes though, I can’t see myself getting into that market anytime soon.

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6. Unopened vintage 1960s can of Nestle Quik: On eBay for 100$. I found these cans way back in February, and one of you mentioned that sometimes these old tins sell for pretty good money. I did some research and found one that sold at auction for almost 700 CAD$ which really surprised me.

My can wasn’t quite as old as that one, and the “free 6oz” thing probably detracts from the value a bit given that it’s not the classic design, but it was still very cool and I decided to list my Quik tin for a ridiculous price (I think 500$ to start, and then I lowered it to 300$ at some point). I didn’t really expect it to sell for that much but I figured I might as well try. I mostly forgot about it until I got an email recently from someone offering me 100$. I figured that was a pretty good deal – it was still a lot more than I ever would have expected to make selling ancient, long expired chocolate powder.

Now that this can is gone, maybe it’s time to list the other one. Especially with Christmas coming. I actually like collecting old food tins, especially stuff that was never opened, but I’m too broke to justify not making three figures when I know it’s possible. Found on Beaconsfield road in NDG.

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7. iPod Classic 80gb: On eBay for 100$. This was the most valuable of the many iPods I found in the Plateau this year.

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8. Sterling silver bottle decoration: On eBay for 23$. I found this almost three years ago. It took a while to sell, but that’s partly because I had it overpriced for some time. It says l’chaim, which is a Hebrew toast that translates to “to life.”

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9. Inoxcrom sterling silver pen set: On eBay for 120$. Found this February.

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10. Collection of miniature perfumes: On eBay for 35$. I’ll probably list another lot of miniatures soon. I could earn more selling them individually, but doing that takes a lot more time and effort.

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11. Logitech Harmony 650 universal remote: On eBay for 35$. This thing sold really quickly. Found a few weeks ago in Outremont.

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12. Vintage Pelikan fountain pen box: On eBay for 19$. Found last year in Hampstead.

13. Lot of Jewish pins: On eBay for 13$. I had these listed for a lonngggg time. I’m just glad they’re gone.

14. Vintage mother of pearl compact: To a reader on Etsy for 26$.

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15. Finder’s fee: 100$. I guess this counts as income!

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15. Perfumes: To a reader for 400$. This included all the Guerlains, most of the Chanels and some others. I still have lots to list! This junked perfume was easily one of my best finds of the year.

Total: 1660$, 19484$ since the new year. I’ll need a good Christmas season if I want to reach my goal of 24k.

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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