Tag Archives: garbage picking

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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Expo’s [sic]

I looked through the rest of the photos / slides from last week and found a bunch from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. They’re pretty neat! Whoever took these went to the Olympics pretty often, as there are photos from several events including the opening ceremony and even some kind of public showing of the construction of Olympics stadium. Below is a small sample of what was included.

Surprisingly there don’t seem to be many amateur Olympics slides on eBay. I saw a listing of 31 Greg Louganis slides that sold for 32 USD, so maybe I can get around a dollar each for these as well. That would be nice, as I probably have around two hundred in all!

I also found one box of slides from a late 1970s Expos game. There’s some neat shots here of Gary Carter, Tony Perez, and Warren Cromartie, the latter of which now leads a group trying to bring baseball back to Montreal. I also can’t find any amateur slides of Expos games on eBay, but I expect these might worth around a dollar a piece.

It’s been a good few weeks for photos. I found a box on the curb earlier this week with some very cool photos inside, many of which date back to the turn of the century. I even saved a couple of tintypes – those don’t turn up in the trash very often. I’ll share some of the cooler photos in an upcoming post!

I focused a lot on the McGill area during move-out last week, but I’ll wait until my next post (or the one after that) to show you what I found there. Lots of good stuff, I’ll say that much.

It’s probably just a proximity bias, but Friday is the day that makes me realize what how little of my Montreal’s garbage I’m actually able to pick. A huge region near me (the Plateau east of St-Denis, Rosemont east of Iberville all the way to Pie-X, Centre-Sud to I’m not even sure how far, all of which are connected) has a Friday morning collection, as do other areas not too far away. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people on the same day – I could go picking from around 7am-3pm and I’d still be unable to see it all. Not that I have the energy to do that anyways, but most of my other routes are self-limiting – once you’re done, you’re done.

Anyways, I happened upon these boxes while cruising around the Centre-Sud area (near Sherbrooke & Fullum) last Friday.

Inside was some great stuff. One box held some mid century lighting, including this nice “eyeball” desk lamp; …

… and a cool ceiling fixture. Sorry for the crappy pic, it’s hard to capture this kind of thing well without a legit studio! Both pieces were in good condition and looked great after being cleaned and polished with a micro-fibre cloth. I expect they’ll sell for a nice price, I’m not sure about this piece but I saw a similar desk lamp that sold on eBay for 75$.

I also saved a vintage Christmas tree. The fact that it comes with the original box probably improves its value. I won’t bother listing it anywhere before November, but it should eventually earn me some $$.

Here’s what the tree looks like! It might not actually be the same tree on the box (I think that one is just green) but it’s close enough.

I’m always picking up vintage luggage, even if it’s not in particularly good condition. Oftentimes they’re at least attractive or sturdy enough to hold yard sale stuff. This one however is in very nice shape and it’d be a shame to use it as such. Maybe I’ll keep it myself for home storage, or try to sell it for a premium on Kijiji. It was made by Dominion Luggage in Toronto.

This Belkin FM radio transmitter is probably my most useful recent find. I found another one a while back that I hadn’t gotten around to testing, but this one is probably better anyways. Now I can listed to podcasts in the car!

I found two nice vintage JBL speakers in Rosemont. They look like they need some work, but JBL is a good brand and I expect they’re worth money even just for the cabs.

I also saved a pair of mid-century looking tables in the Plateau. I was on bike at the time, but went home so I could pick them up with the car (and also because I was carrying around 20 pounds of vintage files on my back and was getting tired).

I’ve been doing that Thursday evening Rosemont run pretty regularly, in large part because there’s no real competition for that time slot. It’s also been producing some interesting stuff, like this box of vintage sewing bric-a-brac, an old tin, and a neat vintage “souvenir of Canada” pocketknife. I can probably get around 20$ for the latter. Just FYI, these are two photos spliced together, so the pocketknife is not the same size as the tin. It might look a little confusing!

That same spot also gave me a couple of stuffed monkeys, one of which looks hand-made. I’m a sucker for anything hand-made. Both are in nice condition, and you can expect them to appear in my next yard sale.

That’s all for now! There’s lots more to show you, but it’ll have to wait until next time.

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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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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