Tag Archives: waste

Quality junk

One of my storage areas after a heavy purge.

I’ve been too busy lately. I did a yard sale on Saturday, and those are always a lot of work (roughly nine hours without a real break in this case). On Sunday I organized my storage area, which was a disaster zone, and did a purge of junk I didn’t think would ever sell or was just sick of looking at. I also went on a garbage run that night, and filled the car with more stuff.

On Monday a friend and I did more organizing, and dealt with some of my finds from Sunday. In the evening I went on another trash run, and again filled up the car with more quality junk.

At this point I’m slightly burnt out, so a car full of stuff doesn’t conjure up the same amount of joy it normally might. If anything, part of me is annoyed that I had to take time today to make room in my garage for these recently orphaned items. I’m not completely burnt out, but I will need a real day off sometime soon.

Most of my finds last night came from a wealthy street in Cote-des-Neiges. I almost skipped it this week, but at the last minute I reversed course, remembering that one specific household looked to be getting ready for a move.

I saved a bunch of decent stuff, including two vintage folding chairs; two enlarged prints of vintage 1960s Couture magazine covers; a set of what I now know to be Roto-Toms; a hockey stick, driver, and putter (there were more golf clubs, but I left them for others); a mid-century looking cushion; a pinball game; a signed photo of Patrick Roy; and some other things.

I also saved a couple decent pieces of furniture. I particularly like the cabinet on the left, which has some great mid-century pulls. Neither are in perfect condition, but they’re definitely worth yard sailing. I also found a miniature chair and a pen holder thing. The latter looks kind of fancy, and has a powerful magnet that holds the ball in place. The plastic bit is busted, but that could probably be replaced.

Inside the large “Montreal 1986” folder was a nice screen print of the Eglise Notre-Dame. The artists involved don’t look to be famous, but it’ll definitely sell at a future sale.

I also found a few things in Villeray, like this vintage wind-up toy clock by Westclox. I’ve been finding a lot of good stuff at a spot there recently, but most of that will have to wait for a future post.

I’ll finish up with some other bits and bobs I’ve found recently. St-Michel has been productive of late, and one spot in particular has produced some excellent finds. My collage friend will be happy to receive this batch of National Geographics, most of which date from the late 60s and 1970s.

I also found a vintage enameled bedpan. I’m not sure anyone wants this kind of thing, but I do like having a few funny items at my yard sales!

Edit: just checked eBay and people do seem to want them, though they’re not super valuable or anything.

A bin in TMR last week provided a large collection of vintage wristwatch bands. Some of the bags had gotten a bit moldy but most were fine. They were all made by a company called Meillon in Paris. I can’t find any reference to them online, but I’m sure they’ll sell regardless. They might even be worth eBaying, since the cost of shipping would be very low, basically lettermail + bubble envelope.

The bin also provided this very cool mid-century perpetual calendar. I love the globe design, and it should sell for between 10-20$.

I picked these up on a local heavy garbage day. I’m not sure what they were made to do, but I thought they were cool and potentially useful for some interior design project. They remind me of the inside of a confession both, though I doubt they were used for that purpose. If anyone has any ideas, let me know in the comments!

That’s just the tip of the iceberg really. I’ve found so much recently, and unfortunately a lot of it will never make the blog. I already have a load of photos to post and stories to tell, so some things unfortunately won’t make the cut due largely to circumstance. A recently acquired storage cabinet is full of these things – here’s a look inside. There’s a lot more, and unfortunately I would need an unpaid intern and more storage space to get it all on the blog.

Although I’d love to take next weekend off the weather is supposed to be great, and Sunday seems like a perfect time to do a final yard sale. Mark the day in your calendars if you want to check it out! If all goes well I’ll do a couple more posts this week, one featuring a couple bags of cool vintage clothes I found a couple days ago and one featuring recent furniture finds. Assuming I get the posts done in time all the items within will be available at the sale.

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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Mercury

I found some nice stuff on Thursday, and also saved something toxic from making it to the landfill.

In one of those bags was a little jar of mercury! Judging by its label I’d guess it was made in the 40s. The listed weight is one pound, but it’s around half full (weighs about 240 grams according to its scale, and presumably about 30 grams of that is the jar). Regardless, for its size the jar is quite heavy, and it’s interesting to feel how it sloshes around in there.

From what I can tell mercury is safe enough in this form, ie: in a glass bottle at room temperature. It’s even relatively safe to play with it in your hands – my friend’s mom apparently used to break thermometers and play with the mercury, and I also read some accounts of students touching it as part of a high school science class. However, it is still quite toxic, especially if inhaled. It’s especially bad for the environment, particularly in the food chain. Seafood is particularly vulnerable to mercury, and through biomagnification it can affect larger animals (like us) as well.

So, it’s good that I saved this from going to the dump! It’s also probably good that it didn’t get crushed by the garbage truck, as the mercury in theory could vaporize and end up in the face of the garbage collectors. I’m guessing whoever tossed it wasn’t paying attention to what they were throwing out, or didn’t know just how toxic mercury can be.

This is the first time I find a significant amount of mercury. I’ve seen a few old mercury thermometers before, but those apparently contain only up to around 2.5 grams. Finding this makes me wonder if there are any other toxic elements collecting dust in people’s basements. Maybe someone has a jar of cadmium, arsenic, or radium kicking around.

Fortunately, I also found some stuff here that I can use or sell.

I found a couple little plastic containers, once of which held a small collection of Wade figurines.

They’re not worth much, probably around 3$ a piece, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

I saved plenty of neat old junk, including two card games from Canada’s centennial (1967), a couple pairs of cool no-name frames, and two rolls of veneer.

Sorry these photos aren’t as good as they are usually, I’m still figuring out how to take photos at my new garage space. The lighting definitely isn’t as ideal as it is in my light box, but it’s better for taking larger group shots (which saves me a lot of time, and generally makes it easier to share extra finds).

Here’s a couple of cute strung together cardboard animal figures. I’d guess they’re from the 60s or 70s.

The jigsaw was a nice find. It’s old and a bit dirty, but still seems to work great. My friend will likely make use of it in some future woodworking project.

Otherwise, I saved some leather scraps, powder paints, and some vintage watercolour paints. I’m not sure if any of the paints are still good, but I figured I’d give them a chance.

I’ll definitely be returning to this house this week. Hopefully I find more old junk, and less mercury.

I’ve been having a lot of luck lately in my garbage runs. In fact, I have a backlog of photos on my computer waiting to be shared. I’m sure I’ll have another post up by the end of the 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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Tuesday in Rosemont pt.2

Last week I returned to Rosemont in hopes of finding more neat stuff. There wasn’t much at that spot this time around, though I did find a little box of threads and a decent, if slightly rusty pair of vintage scissors. Kudos to the reader who noted that the figurines from the last post may have been bingo-related good luck charms, as the box also contained some bingo game pieces.

I also found a ziplock bag full of aluminum pull-tabs. I remember various people, including my grandmother (she still does it, in fact) saving these thinking that they could be donated to a charity which would then turn them into wheelchairs. I’m not sure there are actually any charities that do this in Quebec, though I did find a couple that collect them in the Toronto area. Either way, though pull-tab collectors certainly mean well it doesn’t seem like a particularly effective way of raising money for charity. According to Encorp, a beverage container management nonprofit, you need around 12,000 pull-tabs to get about 5$ worth of aluminum, the same amount you’ll receive if you return 100 small cans. Apparently it’s also a lot easier in modern recycling plants to recycle an intact can versus just the tab. Overall, it doesn’t seem to be worth the effort, though it’s nice to see that people care enough to do it in the first place.

This find made me wonder if this pull-tab thing is a specifically central Canadian phenomenon. Is anyone in BC, or the US, or anywhere else collecting pull-tabs, or have heard of people doing so? Let us know in the comments!

Though I found little of value at that last spot, I was luckier at another familiar location.

You may remember these nice perfumes I found a while back, which came from the same recently sold house. That was around a month ago.

In subsequent weeks I found some lightly worn, and sometimes unused shoes and bags. Also a nice jewelry box, a few unspectacular watches, some nail polishes…

… and another nice perfume. This large 100ml bottle of YSL Opium Fleur Imperiale is worth around 100$.

I also happened to meet the lady who was throwing these things out. She drove up in her car and seemed mostly fine with my picking but asked me to close the bags. She looked mildly irritated, perhaps because someone else (maybe a can collector) had torn a hole in one of them. She went inside, but eventually came out and asked if I wanted some stuff. I ended up with a bunch of extra junk, nothing super exciting but decent yard sale items (a box of picture frames being the best get). The lady seemed nice enough, but I think the gift was more a result of her being sick of the moving process than it was an act of generosity.

I went back the next week and saw nothing on the curb. I figured that she finally moved, and that there would be nothing left to find. I was surprised when I passed by last week and saw a large collection of bags on the curb. Inside was my best haul from that spot to date. I have to wonder if she threw it out knowing that someone like me would find it, though she also threw out some nice stuff before our encounter. It’s possible she didn’t care one way or the other.

I found more lightly used items, including a pair of leather Blondo boots, a North Face bag (which I sold to a friend for 5$ at my most recent yard sale) …

… and a pet carrier, which I sold to the same friend for another 5$. He just got a kitten.

Otherwise, I picked up some more quality junk, including some mirrors, pictures frames, decor boxes, change purses …

… other stuff, some of which still had price tags attached;

… as well as a vintage pencil sharpener and silver plate thingy. Both of those sold at my most recent sale.

This jewelry box was one of my better finds. The latch was stuck so I had to pry open the top.

Inside was a lot of junk, but some quality stuff as well. There’s a bit of silver (like the chain on the left, at least) and some gold (the broken earrings near the bottom right, and the tangle of chains and pearls on the left). The spotted gold and black metal jewelry on the right is all signed Laurana, and may fetched a decent price because it’s a set. The earrings near the middle with the spiky things are pretty cool but unfortunately unsigned. The black, white, and bejeweled brooch looks Pierre Bex-y, while the pendant near the bottom left may be a chunk of raw silver with a real pearl set in.

There’s a few cool earrings that unfortunately don’t have a match, but I’ll try to find them a home regardless. If anyone knows what that star brooch with the numbers is supposed to represent let me know!

My best single find however might be this cute ring box, which appears to be British sterling silver.

The inside is in nice condition as well!

The stamps on the bottom indicate that it was made in Birmingham in 1928, if I’m reading this guide correctly. Unfortunately I can’t make out the makers mark, though it might be easier to read if cleaned of tarnish.

I found a British sterling silver box, also from Birmingham once before and sold it cleaned of tarnish for 195$. We’ll see what I end up getting for this one.

Otherwise, I also found a little bag filled with change and change rollers (as well as a silver chain with a Star of David pendant). I’ve been needing to roll my found coins for quite some time, but I refused to buy coin rollers because I knew I would find some eventually. Garbage picking makes me cheap in some ways, but the strategy worked out and I saved a few bucks.

Don’t get too excited by that bag that looks like toonies, they’re only Mexican pesos! They don’t have much value, even if you do happen to be going to Mexico.

My mom was in town this past weekend and she helped roll all my found coins. Here’s what I found that day all or partially rolled up. I forget the exact total, but it was somewhere around 25$.

While on the topic of change, here’s my accumulation of found change in rolled form. I’m very grateful to my mom for helping me tame this beast! This collection is around a year and a half old, dating approximately to when TD Bank removed all their free change counters (which were very convenient at the time). The total came to nearly 110$, and I’m sure I spent a few quarters or dollars along the way. This 25$ haul was been my biggest in some time, so this collection grew largely little by little, thanks mostly to people ditching some layabout coins as they moved or cleaned.

A new collection has already begun to grow. I found a roll of pennies in NDG the other day, and found some other coins last week that didn’t make it to the rolling party. In case you’re wondering, my biggest single haul of coins is still the 56.85$ I found in Westmount a few years ago. It’s hard to believe that someone would throw out that much change, but I guess that’s chump change when you’re a multi-millionaire.

I returned to both these spots yesterday but found nothing. Perhaps these sources are extinguished now, though I think I’ll return once more next week. If I find nothing again I’ll retire the route for a bit and focus my energy on other areas.

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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