Garbology pt.1

The place where I found those stamps has been one of my best spots of late. Many large black trash bags have appeared on the curb since then, often stuffed full of old papers, junk, and collectibles. Unfortunately, whoever is doing the tossing isn’t taking much care when putting things in the bags, and a substantial percentage of the ceramics were broken in the process. Still, I’ve been able to save a lot of good stuff, including one of the biggest collections of fun vintage junk that I’ve ever seen on the curb!

I’ll share my finds in a few different posts. This series will be one of the most thorough I’ve ever shared on the blog, thanks largely to my new photo setup which makes it easier to process large numbers of items. Basically, a lot of things will appear in these posts that wouldn’t have made the blog otherwise! I think this is a good thing, as it makes the blog a better sociology (or garbology) project. Plus, it provides more opportunity for readers to connect with, and tell stories about the items they see.

Remember: you can click on the picture and zoom in for a better look. That kitten holding the ball of yarn at top left is an old chalkware piece. The lobster salt and pepper shakers are pretty cool, but unfortunately one of its companions didn’t make it. You’ll be seeing more of those little metal plates soon enough… if you know what they were made for, let us know in the comments! My guess is that they were part of a children’s tea or kitchen set.

That lobster claw looks to be a souvenir from a vacation to P.E.I. That dog on the bottom is another old chalkware piece, and that framed bambi is pretty cute as well.

(PS: this is my favourite photo of the bunch, and the photos I’m taking now are of a similar quality. No more concrete background shots!).

You might have noticed one of these bizarre figurines in the last photo. Apparently someone in the 50s decided it was a good idea to make a series of ashtrays featuring toilets and black babies. I don’t really get why, but I can only assume that racism had something to do with it. Some old racist crap is worth good money, but these aren’t particularly valuable – I could probably sell the unbroken one on the right on eBay for 10$ if I wanted to. However, I’m just going to put them in the yard sale pile. I found a similar piece years ago, which you can see here.

I wish that vintage Jovan Musk Oil bottle on the left was full! I sold a small, albeit seemingly NIB bottle for 65$ early in 2017. I found a lot of perfume bottles here, but very little actual perfume. The boudoir lamp is nice, and there’s several fun fridge magnets here.

Here’s a nice vintage jug, a shot glass with a picture of a dog on it, and more fridge magnets.

That teapot shaped trinket holder / spice rack is pretty cute. I’m tempted to keep it myself! There’s also a package of vintage toilet paper, a roll of some other kind of paper, a container full of what looks like tiddlywinks, a lid to a corning glass pot (one of my favourite kinds of pots), and a wood cutout of a cat. I soon found out that the vintage power cord belonged to…

… the vintage waffle maker on the bottom left. It looks a little grimy here, but I brought it home and it cleaned up nicely. It’s a Reliance #850, probably made in the 50s by JK MacLodd & Co of Toronto. I found a similar one on Etsy that sold for 55$. Otherwise, we have some cookie cutters, a rag rug (that might say “1940?”), and a cool galvanized dustpan or scoop.

I saved a lot of old papers here – this is just the beginning. I’ll save the rest for another post. Here we have some old calendars, a “Kingston 1976” Olympics sticker, a package of vintage magic transfers, a couple packs of airline tickets, a message from the Quebec eye bank asking for eye donations (I didn’t know this was a thing), and lots of other miscellaneous stuff. Click the picture for a much better look.

I enjoy taking these pictures, but it’s a lot of work and I’m not sure how sustainable it is in the long-term. I think I’ve spent about 10 hours shooting and editing these photos (including the ones that will appear in the future posts) and I’m not even done yet! In short, I might not have the time or energy to take photos like this when things get busy again (I’m actually on a bit of a dry streak when it comes to finding quality trash), especially since I don’t make any direct profit from blog photos.

If you want to help the blog reach its full potential consider donating a small sum to the project! For instance, I can probably convince an underemployed friend to come take some photos or help organize for 10$/h. A contribution can also help pay for blog-related expenses (for example, I just paid over 300$ to keep the blog running ad-free for another year), and also go towards larger expenses such as a more powerful laptop or camera. If interested, please visit my donation page, or send me an email at (especially if you don’t use Paypal).

Anyways, here’s a few more recent finds…

I mentioned recently that some pens I found in Outremont may have salvaged an otherwise unfruitful trash run. Well, here they are. The Parker 51 is on the right – it’s probably worth between 50-70$. There’s a Sheaffer and another Parker (both fountain pens) in there, as well as a couple rapidograph pens. The rapidographs might be junk, but the others should at least make me money at a yard sale. I have yet to figure out what models they are.

I went back the next week and found bags and bags full of audio and video reels. I don’t have the technology or knowhow to deal with this kind of stuff, so I usually just drop it off at a local Montreal archive and let them figure it out. They’re always pumped to get any kind of archival footage, as there’s always a chance that it might contain something unique that doesn’t exist anywhere else. This bag looked to be filled mostly with old Radio Canada (French CBC) reels.

This one was full of loosies. It would have been quite the job to get this organized, but the archive apparently got it done.

If it turns out that there’s anything interesting on these I’ll let you know! As for the spot, I found more interesting stuff there last week (perhaps I’ll share it here in the future), but nothing this week. Hopefully they produce again in the future as I quite enjoy their special brand of trash.

I was out in Westmount this morning and happened upon an intriguing pile. Unfortunately, the garbage truck roared around the corner not long after I arrived and I was forced to leave with only this bag of electronic junk.

I sorted through it when I got home and found a Tomtom GPS, a satellite radio receiver, a bunch of those light timer doohickeys, some portable phones, and lots of miscellaneous wires. Nothing mind blowing, but stuff that should do well enough at a yard sale. Plus, most of this was “e-waste” that shouldn’t have been put in the trash in the first place.

Otherwise, I finally looked through a collection of wool blankets I found late last summer. They were nice enough, but not in good enough condition / not fancy enough to bother selling on eBay. They were nice enough to sell at a yard sale, but I decided to donate them to one of the local missions instead. These old blankets are very warm and very useful for people sleeping on the streets during this cold winter.

I also donated a collection of scarves, knit hats, and other potentially useful clothing items that I found in St Michel recently. I brought it all to the Old Mission Brewery in downtown Montreal, and would recommend that anyone with extra blankets, winter items, non-perishable food, & etcetera do the same!


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Very rich people pt.1

I happened upon a great pile of rich people trash a couple weeks ago. In fact, this pile was probably one of my best spots of all time. It sat out front of a house that I’d guess is worth around 3-4 million dollars, and it was pretty clear that the (previous?) occupants weren’t afraid to spend their money.

At one point while I was picking a guy walked down the driveway with more trash in tow. I anticipated an awkward situation but he was actually pretty cool. He told me that there was lots of good stuff in the bags and didn’t seem to mind me looking through them. I didn’t quite grasp his relationship to the garbage (my French still sucks) but I don’t think the stuff was his. My guess is that the house recently sold, and these might have been things left behind by the previous owners (some landscaper guy actually dropped by at some point and asked if I was the new owner… I wish!).

Anyways, I’ll share my finds here over a few different posts. This one will feature the glasses & sunglasses, watches, phones, and cash.

The Oakley’s are actually pretty low-quality fakes, but the Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Armani frames look legit.

I’m more excited by the folding Christian Dior and Silhouette frames in this pic. I figure I can get around 100$ for each. I should be able to get something for the Mercedes frames as well.

These Julbo mountaineering sunglasses might be the best of the bunch. They’re pretty cool and in good condition too. I have them listed for 135$ on eBay, and I expect they’ll sell for around that.

I saved a whole bunch of watches. The Hublots and the Bvlgari are fakes unfortunately, otherwise I’d be rich. I’m most excited by the Krieger third from the left. Krieger isn’t particularly well known but they make some high quality specialty watches. This one tracks the tides somehow, and maybe the moon phases as well. A similar one, not working and in poor cosmetic condition sold recently for 115$, so I expect I can get at least that.

The Ironmans are good watches as well. On the far right, hidden by glare is a nice looking Cheval. The Lorus moon phase watch might be interesting, I’ve had a hard time tracking down similar models online.

All these phones are junk (well, the portables might not be but unfortunately I didn’t find any of their bases). I took them to add to my e-waste recycling pile. This constitutes 850 grams of diverted waste!

Otherwise, I found a bit of cash. Most inexplicable was a ziplock bag containing 9.75$ in change, including two toonies, five loonies and three quarters. I guess that’s chump change when you’re a millionaire!

I’ll share more from this spot soon. Otherwise, I’ve been doing more trash picking than usual in hopes that I can profit from the July 1st moving day. No luck thus far really, though I have been doing well with regular old non-moving related garbage. I suspect most of the best moving day garbage will emerge on the 29th, 30th, and 1st. Here’s hoping it doesn’t rain too much!