The home office

I thought it might be nice to show you where my work gets done. Today I’ll give you a tour of my home office, which is really just a section of my room, in an apartment I share with 3-4 others at any given time.

I do a lot of photography here, particularly for eBay but also for the blog (mainly collections of small items, because the box isn’t too big). Now that I have photo lights in my garage I take a lot of blog photos there as well. I do most of my researching, eBay listing and blogging here, though sometimes I wonder if I should get out of the house more often (ie: by going to a café to work). I use that laser printer (which I found, and still haven’t had to buy ink for) to print off my eBay shipping labels.

(Notable former garbage in this picture: the map, the cat embroidery, the blue cabinet thingy the photo lights sit on, lots of bits and bobs).

Working at home is comfortable, of course, in large part because of Girl Kitty. She was a foster cat along with her brother (Boy Kitty), and both were inherited by my former roommate. Boy Kitty went with someone else, which is fine by me because he was kind of a jerk, and eventually Girl Kitty came to be mine. Anyways, she’s a fun cat with a lot of personality. She’ll rarely sit right next to you, but if there’s a box there she’ll often jump inside. So, some of my best working from home moments involve me sitting on my little couch with a cat in a box beside me.

(Notable former garbage: cat’s box. I got the couch at an estate sale for 40$).

I store a lot of stuff at home. This china cabinet (which I got at the auction house for about 50$) contains a bunch of different junk, including: a tub (the green one) for found e-waste & batteries; small boxes for shipping; business cards for my new business card project; cleaning products (ie: for silver); and miscellaneous finds to be photographed or otherwise dealt with. The drawers below are often in flux, but right now they’re mostly focused on items I’d like to try to sell at a flea market.

The filing cabinet (trash find) contains things that I could / should list on eBay (top drawer), packing supplies (middle drawers), and stuff that could go into future auction lots or flea markets (bottom shelf). I don’t think having the packing materials in there really make much sense, so I’ll probably store them elsewhere at some point.

On top of my filing cabinet were boxes full of sorted Pokemon, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, and other playing cards. Stashed under my bed were three big boxes containing many more unsorted, unloved cards. After looking at this photo, I realized that I didn’t really want to see these cards ever again, and decided to bring them to the auction house “as is” in their unsorted state. It’s been almost a year since I found the card hoard, and the upcoming anniversary made it clear in my mind that it was time to move on. I’m still likely to make some decent money from these cards, just not as much as I would have if I had put the many hours into organizing them. Though, upon saying that, that might not even be true. No way to know, I guess.

Otherwise, this spot is often a resting place for miscellaneous trash, items of interest, or packing materials. Now that those Pokemon cards are gone, the potential is limitless.

I found that embroidered serenity prayer in Ville Emard many years ago. I’m not religious or a member of AA, but I think it’s a good message regardless.

Here’s a look inside one the drawers in my blue cabinet. This one’s reserved for small items, most of which could be listed on eBay, or at least require further research. I try to keep all my pens in here, and as you can tell I’m a bit behind in getting them listed. That’s okay though, as they take up next to no space. This is just one of the many drawers & cubby-holes filled with junk at “the office.”

The home office isn’t always this organized, for the record, but sometimes it is. I found that purple chair in TMR this past fall, and the painting is the Edmund Alleyn I found a couple years back. At some point I want to get it restored, but I haven’t gotten around to that yet. On the chair is a Gutenberg word processor manual (trying to figure out what to do with it), and some packages ready to be mailed.

This part is just for decoration. I found that mid-century yellow lamp years ago in NDG. My friend saw a similar one by Douglas Ball and John Berezowski at the Fine Arts Museum in Quebec City last year, and through that I was able to track down one that looks the same via Google (though the link won’t open for whatever reason). So, it’s probably worth a bit of money, but I plan on keeping it. I found that radio around six years ago, and it’s still a favourite of mine. I also really like the preserved (I’m not sure how) piranha, and the four-legged alien looking Beauce plant pot. I enjoy the other things as well, but I’m not as committed to them, and might switch them out at some point.

While on the topic of lamps, I really like this green capiz shell chandelier I found years ago. It needed some fixing up, but I think it was worth the few hours I put into it. I hung it from an old light fixture that probably hasn’t worked in decades anyways.

I try to not collect too much stuff, lest I let the junk take control of my life, but I do like little bottles & tins. Here’s are the ones I have on display in the corner, next to the door.

Well that’s a pretty good look at the home office. At some point, maybe in the spring I’ll show you the state of my garage, which is where I try to leave most of the mess. It’s kind of chaotic, but it’s an ordered chaos that makes sense in my head.

It’s very cold today, so this is the second Friday in a row that I’ve skipped due to weather. I would have gone out if I have an interesting spot to check on, but I haven’t had much luck on my Friday runs recently anyways. Most of my good fortune this week came from Pointe St-Charles of all places – I’ll show you those finds at some point soon.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

Part one of a million pt.2

 

This spot (part one) continues to produce really cool trash on a near-weekly basis. It’s definitely one of my all-time best, but I hesitate to say much more while they’re still tossing – I have a (perhaps superstitious or irrational) fear that if I share too much they’ll find out somehow and quit putting such great things on the curb. An alternative, for example, would be to pay a company like 1-800-Got-Junk to pick everything up for an exorbitant fee, or to throw everything into one of those big red dumpsters. The former cuts me out from the process completely, and the latter leads to a lot of breakage and makes picking much more difficult. Either would make me sad, that’s for sure.

Oftentimes I’ll find a bunch of little bits at the bottom of a bag. This time they were kinda dirty – something else had spilled inside the bag – so I picked out all the good stuff and gently washed it in water with dish soap.

Here’s the accumulation after sorting and washing. There were lots of coins in there, several of which were silver.

The coins aren’t in good enough condition to be worth much above their scrap value (which I’d say is about 20$), but I love finding silver in any form. That beat up ring is also silver, as is the necklace chain. The cufflink is probably just plated, or covered with a thin piece of silver but it has an interesting spring-loaded design (pretty similar to these). It probably dates to the late 1800s, and I’m hoping the other one turns up eventually.

I’ve found a lot of jewelry boxes here, some of which are worth decent money. These ones are nice, but mostly quality yard sale material. The gold keychain fob is made to hold a Charga-Plate, an early form of credit card that was in use between the 1930s and late 1950s.

Here we have some very old sewing needles, some pottery sherds, a mother of pearl manicure tool, and what might be the oldest nail clipper I’ve found (below the blue pack of needles).

More interesting if not particularly valuable stuff here. That Lufkin ruler is nice, but one section in the back is busted.

I found this collection of carved fish and turtles inside a ziplock bag. The fish could be cutlery rests, but I’m not sure what the turtles would do. Either way, I think they’re made of soapstone, and are in fairly good condition overall.

More interesting doodads. That fish brooch is neat, but looks a little chewed up. I wonder if it’s tortoiseshell. Otherwise, we have a nice little pocket knife, some old keys, a cool rock, and an old pair of scissors.

This place has been great for old pencils and pens. The nib on that dip pen third from the top is very rusty, but it can be replaced – the rest is made from silver and bone. Below that is a Gillott dip pen that looks nearly new. The checking / marking crayons date to the late 1800s. I’d guess that the Hooper and Co. doohickey is a fancy pen or pencil cap, but I’m not 100% sure.

This dip pen is unusual. The glass “handle” contains some kind of hot pink, viscous liquid. I don’t think it’s ink – I’m not sure how you’d break it open and write with it – so maybe it’s just for decoration. Regardless, it’s pretty neat.

I opened this Georg Jensen box with high hopes. Inside were two watches and a Georg Jensen ying/yang pendant.

This is the second Jensen piece I’ve found, the first being that bracelet I sold for 350$ last year. This piece isn’t as valuable, but it should still sell at my asking price of 85$.

I really like this Mercury watch, perhaps because of its distinctive black dial. I may keep it for my personal collection, even though I never wear watches (though I guess I could always start). It was probably made in the 50s or 60s.

Let’s finish with this quality batch. The enameled ring is hallmarked “Made in China Silver,” and the silver earrings above it were made in Peru. The Timex watch is pretty cute, and probably dates to the 50s. The filigree earrings with the Jade-like stone are probably silver. The clasps on the back aren’t, but feature the patent number 1967965 which indicates that they were likely made in the 30s or 40s. Finally, the little bronze medal was made by a not particularly well known Belgian medalist named Louis-Antoine de Smeth.

On the back is written “Caritas Jodoigne Septembre 1918.” I have no idea what that means, so please let us know if you have any insights!

I have bins full of blog worthy stuff from this place. It’s going to take a long time to share it all, but it’ll all come out eventually!

Last week was pretty good for trash, one of my best since the year began. There was a huge dump of snow, about 40cm worth, over the past couple days. If this had happened on a Monday, that would pretty much write off the whole week, but because it started on a Friday my picking schedule shouldn’t be affected much. This city isn’t known for being well managed, but the snow removal services are generally pretty good.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items

Growth

I recently received an email from someone writing a book about Gord Smith, the creator of this sculpture I found back in the spring (and which came in at #5 of my “Best of 2019” list). She was browsing the web, doing some research when she came across my blog. She was pretty excited to see the sculpture, and asked me if I still had it. She shared some details about the work that I didn’t know previously, which you can see below:

“The piece is made of cor-ten steel and bronze was braised on top of it to create the beautiful texture. This sculpture is from a series Gord did between 1961 and 1969 called Growth. These sculptures were inspired by plant and animal life i.e. seaweed, flowers, birds…etc.”

Eventually, she showed the pictures to Gord, who she meets with regularly, and he offered to buy it back for 750$. That seemed like a very fair price, so I went for it. A friend of Gord’s came to pick it up, and the transaction went off without a hitch. I quite liked the sculpture, but I need cash more than I need art, considering all the student loans I have yet to pay off.

This sale also shows how letting things sit around for a while can occasionally be a good selling strategy. My blog is popular enough now that the things I write about appear in Google search results (not right away, but they get indexed at some point), which makes it more likely that interested buyers will find my wares. Of course most items won’t sell themselves, but these days I’m finding so much stuff that a few things are bound to collect dust for a while anyways.

Given the nature of the sale and the final price I think I’ll unofficially move this sculpture up a few notches on my “best of 2019” list. I think it could easily move into the #2 spot, and you could definitely make an argument for moving it all the way to #1.

That Inuit sculpture (#4, and which I found at the same spot) is going up for auction soon enough. Depending on where that ends up, I may want to unofficially change its positioning as well.

I’ll fill out this post a bit by sharing some miscellaneous one-off finds from the past few months. I passed by a huge pile in NDG the week before Christmas and found a fair bit of stuff, including these chairs.

They were vintage Eames / Herman Miller fiberglass chairs. They needed a bit of TLC, but I was still able to sell them very quickly via Kijiji for 180$. This was the first time I found an Eames chair of any kind, hopefully more are in my future!

Other things I saved from that pile included: a NAD CD player, a number of junky brass decorations, a few books and magazines, a pair of lamps, some kitchenwares, and a few little bits.

On the bottom right is a cute brass lock, which was probably made in India. At bottom left is a pendant that looks to be made from silver and bone or ivory. That bracelet (or maybe anklet) at top right has little bells on it and makes a very pretty sound.

I didn’t see anything else here in subsequent weeks, so I guess it was just a case of someone clearing out their garage or basement.

In late October I found a bag containing the remnants of a jewellery box. There wasn’t as much in there as I’d hoped, but I still found a few nice pieces.

On the right is a bunch of gold. The pearl earrings are pretty nice, as are the ones with the shiny stones. The rest was scrap quality, other than the platinum ring. It’s quite old, and comes with two of three diamonds. It’s a tiny ring, a size three, so maybe it was made for a kid. Regardless, it should sell “as is” on eBay, perhaps to someone interested in repairing and resizing it. The Mount Fuji medallion is pretty cool, my guess is that it’s a tourist piece.

Here are my best finds from another nearly random trash bag near Vendome metro. Those medals are likely gold and both date to the early 1930s based on the engravings on the back. If they are gold, at 8.5 grams they’re worth between 200-400$, assuming the carat is between 10 and 18. The brooch is cute, it looks like silver but I haven’t tested it. No signatures, unfortunately.

I did a lot of trash runs this week. I wasn’t particularly successful on most of them, but I found a few intriguing spots that could provide dividends someday. The “part x of a million” person is still tossing lots of stuff, and has been my primary source of late. I’ll probably share some more stuff from that spot in my next post.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com – note that it might take me some time to reply, and that I am unlikely to be able to fulfill requests for items