Tag Archives: frugality

Things I find while walking

What I find is determined in part by my mode of transportation. For example, if I was biking or driving I never would have stopped at these apartment trash bins – as you can see, there’s nothing indicating that anything good was inside. However, because I was walking I figured I might as well take a look.

Inside was a lot of regular old stinky garbage. There was also a bag of bathroom stuff (like old shampoos, a shower rack, etc), a few bags full of clothes and accessories, and a bin filled largely with loose articles of clothing. I didn’t expect much, but I decided to take a closer look regardless.

A few commenters have suggested that I always check the pockets of the clothes I find. I most often do, even though I haven’t had much luck with it historically (unless you count finding old kleenexes as a success). However, my luck changed in a big way yesterday! Below is a video I took shortly after my first discovery…

That’s five twenty dollar bills, good for 100$! I wasn’t done yet though…

That’s another 20$! I found one more 20$ bill for a total of 140$. All the bills were in breast pockets, which must have been a habit of the person who owned the clothes (I personally rarely use those pockets). I’ll keep an eye on those bins in the short-term, perhaps more clothes will get purged before the end of the month. I also saved some of the nicer clothes, by the way. They were a little dirty but some were vintage-y and might clean up okay.

That’s not the only cash I found yesterday. This pile produced a lot of quality yard sale stuff, mostly kitchenwares and knick knacks, which I may or may not get around to showing you at some point.

Anyways, inside one of the bags was a hefty sack of (mostly) pennies.

The bag weighs 2.885kg, and after I’m done writing this I’ll see what that adds up to. It’s times like these when I miss that free coin machine at TD Bank – now my only option is to use the Coinstar thing that takes 11.9 cents per dollar counted.

I don’t think the fee is worth the convenience most of the time, but when you have a bag full of pennies it’s an okay deal. Let’s say it takes a minute to roll the standard fifty pennies – that means that in the two minutes it takes to roll a dollar you’d “earn” the extra 11.9 cents not taken by the machine. Times that by 30 (or the number of two minute segments in an hour) and you get a 3.57$ hourly wage, which isn’t even close to the current minimum. Even if you were to somehow roll pennies twice as fast you’d still be earning well below minimum wage for doing so. In short, it’s really not worth the time. Rolling other coins, however is still a profitable endeavor.

Once I get this bag counted I’ll make sure to share the profit in a comment below, so take a guess now if you’re into that kind of thing!

Outside of yesterday my luck has been mediocre of late. This small haul, which included two unused frames, a small collection of coins, a digital photo frame that ultimately didn’t work (I put the digital part in my e-waste bin), a container of fondue fuel, and a Lodge 8cf cast iron deep skillet was all that came from my Friday run. Admittedly, the skillet was a great find – it needs only a light cleaning and reseasoning and sells for 62 USD new, but these kinds of hauls aren’t enough to pay the bills. Fortunately, eBay sales have kept my head above water, but I’m looking forward to the quick injection of cash that should come upon the arrival of yard sale season.


1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

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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Loonies & Toonies



I went for a walk last weekend, not to find garbage but to get out of the house. Junk has a habit of finding me, however, so while I left home with no bags I ended carrying home five.

I kicked this bag and heard the jingle of coins, but unfortunately they were only pennies. More importantly they had been sullied by food waste, and I didn’t feel like getting my hands dirty for maybe 25c. To the dump they likely went, to join the millions of pennies already there.


I had better luck later on my walk. Yup, those are toonies. When you throw those out, maybe it means you have too much money.

All in all I found three toonies, six loonies, at least three Euros, and lots of other coins. I also found a £10 British pound bank note, and a fiver in one of the many purses that you’ll see later on. This all adds up to something close to 40$, making it my best cash haul in quite some time! British pounds, American dollars, and Euros are the best foreign currencies to find as they’re easily exchanged.

I found no gold here, but I did some pieces from a sterling vanity set (at right). I’ve never seen a hook like that before, so I’d appreciate it if someone could enlighten me! The animal charm bracelet looks vintage and cute, while the necklace is a quality Monet piece.

I usually don’t peddle in stuffed animals, but this time there was a whole garbage bag full and they all looked to be in pretty good condition. Plus, I’m more likely to take a chance on stuff when it comes from a household that throws out toonies.

These toys should find a new home at my next yard sale. This Fisher Price dog is especially fun, if you click on the picture it should show you a short video of it walking.

I also enjoyed this squirrel puppet (there’s a video of this one too). Perhaps my cat will appreciate it.

This spot was perhaps most notable for its large collection of barely used bags. The Herschel duffel at the top right was a nice find, they retail for around 100$ new. The Lole bag still has tags and seems to retail for around 140$. There’s a couple of vegan bags, one by Urban Expressions and one by Rachel F, a local designer. The WESC backpack also a lot of life left in it.

The little green purse is signed Christian Louboutin, and if it’s not fake it could be worth good money. I tried to do some research online, but most of the info out there is about fake shoes, not fake bags. It does look well-made.

I found lots of shoes as well. The two at top right are Repetto ballet / dancing shoes, which seem to sell for good money online. The black ones look barely used. The APC heels are also nice.


Here we have some Star Wars toys, an unopened box of Q-tips, and some plastic ties.

I also found some teas (I drank some already, they’re great) and an unopened jar of maple butter. As you may know, I love maple and am always excited to find it in the trash. I expect it was at least 8$ new.

There was another big pile here last night, but it was mostly unexciting garage / under the sink kinda stuff. I saved some useful cleaning products, but nothing too exciting. I’ll keep an eye on the situation, but at least I did very well here this one day.

Otherwise, I found a cool “Man and his world” (post Expo 67) vanity plate at that spot in Villeray I blogged about recently. I’m trying to figure out whether I should sell it or put it on my car.

I found a collection of slides in Outremont, all of which contain pages from two old comics.

One was À quand notre tour?, an anti-communist comic book first published in 1947. For this shot I used a little plastic slide viewer I found a while back, it did a pretty good job!

It definitely provides an interesting look at Cold War era politics.

The other was Cidopey, a trippy looking comic by well-known illustrator Richard Corben. Cidopey first appeared in an underground comic in 1971, but since these are in French they’re likely from the first issue of Métal hurlant, which is the French version of Heavy Metal magazine. I’m not sure why these comics would be in slide form – if you have any ideas, let me know. Regardless, these might be of interest to a collector.


Next to the slides was an old society sash. It was made to be reversible, with green fabric and red / gold illuminations on one side, and red fabric with green / gold illuminations on the other. I’m not sure what society this comes from, and I’d appreciate any input you might have!

I happened upon a bag in Villeray that contained a bunch of old stocking, and also a little ring box. Underneath the little ring holder part were two 10k gold Catholic pendants with chains. Maybe the previous owner didn’t notice them, but it was pretty obvious that something was inside the box.

There were many other bags around, but all of them were filled with actually gross garbage. This jewelry made getting my hands dirty worthwhile, however, as the scrap value of 8.5 grams of 10k gold is about 185 CAD$. If anyone wants these, I would sell them for a bit above scrap.

I found a ruined Victrola cabinet in St Michel. It wasn’t worth saving, but I did remove the top (which I thought could be repurposed) as well as this old badge. It’s worth around 15-20$, but I might just keep it myself.

My friend and I happened upon some great stuff from an eviction in Westmount the other day. It’ll take a while to process all that, but I’m excited to get it figured out. In the meantime, I have other recent finds I can share with you.

The weather is looking good for this weekend, so expect my real last yard sale to happen on Saturday or Sunday. I’m considering doing both as well, with Sunday being a kind of “pay what you can” kind of thing. I really don’t want to store a bunch of stuff over the winter, and I hope that by the end of it I’ll only be storing a bunch of empty suitcases. I’ll keep you posted and let you know by mid-week.

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

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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Fine folding furniture

I had a productive run out in Cote St-Luc about a month back. This pile provided most of my finds.

My guess is that the garbage was divorce-related, given the presence of a few different wedding photos. The frames were pretty nice, so I removed the photos and sold them at one of my recent yard sales. The little trinket box and frame at top right were made of Alpaca (basically faux silver) in Mexico. There’s some other nice stuff here as well, including a silver ring (bottom right) that I sold to my mom. I also found a couple American postage stamps. I have no use for them, so I’ll give to the next American reader who buys something!

Here’s some more quality yard sale stuff. I particularly like that little brass box which looks to be pretty old. If I remember right that bracelet on the bottom right is sterling silver, and the eyeglasses are Dolce & Gabbana.

That Montreal Canadiens picture frame sold for 5$ at one of my recent sales. The Star of David pendant is marked 10k gold. There’s also a pair of Chanel costume jewelry earrings, though I can’t be sure if they’re legit.

The stamp box in the foreground had a sticker on it claiming to be an antique, with a price of 65$. I don’t think it was an antique however, it’s more likely that it was made in the 70s or 80s and made to look antique. The main giveaway were the screws and patina, neither of which looked particularly old. Regardless, all these items sold at the yard sale for a modest profit.

I also saved a few larger items. The lamp is nice, made in Norway by I forget which company. Mind the dust, I haven’t had time to give the garage a good clean yet!

I checked that spot the two weeks after but found nothing, so I guess it’ll go down as a one-hit wonder.

That same night I found a great folding table set just down the road. It had been attacked by some kind of white mildew or mold, but none of the pieces showed signs of permanent damage – I was able to clean it off using soap and water.

The pieces were made by Hourd in London Ontario. All were well made, but the folding table, which also extended to comfortably fit the four chairs, was probably the nicest folding piece I’ve ever seen. I sold the set to a friend for 100$, which I think is a good price.

Otherwise, I was hoping someone could help me figure out this little sewing machine I found. The thing that confuses me is that it’s about half the size (maybe 1′ long) of any other old, heavy sewing machine I’ve seen previously. It’s of the hand crank variety, so I expect the machine is close to 100 years old.

It has a few numbers on it, but unfortunately I saw no signs of branding. Here’s the throat plate area if that helps. If you’ve seen something like this before, let me know in the comments!

Relevant links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings
3. Etsy store
4. Kijiji listings
5. Contribute to garbagefinds.com
6. Follow me on Instagram

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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