things i find in the garbage


I found this old frame in the garbage.


I came across this blog the other day called, Things I Find in the Garbage.   I think you are going to like it. Martin makes a living off what the good people in Montreal throw in the garbage. Granted, it is a humble living but it's enough to support his simple life.  It's what he finds and how he finds it that is so fascinating. I cannot imagine putting anything valuable in the trash, but lots and lots of people do. My guess is that whatever they are throwing away is no longer of use to them at that moment. Here are his top finds for 2014Prepare to be amazed.

Here are links to his Ebay and Etsy Stores. The best part about him is that he is so humble and does this mainly to keep worthwhile things out of the landfills and has deep beliefs about preserving history and caring for the earth. Whatever he finds that he can't use or sell he gives away to friends or charities or for free on craigslist.

I think one of his most fascinating finds (btw they are all fascinating) was a box of 150 love letters written during WW2. He gave them to his friend Courtney and she made a blog dedicated just to these letters called My Darling Sheila. You will not believe how beautifully written the letters are. They take you back to a time and place that is so far removed from our instant social media lives. To think that they were in the trash.  Her blog is right here.

So my question to you guys is...have you ever thrown anything out that you have later regretted? During our move to this place, I accidentaly threw out the only photo album I had that contained any pictures of my parents. I still cannot believe I did it and if I think about it for too long I start feeling sick. I've always wondered if someone found it...

So go take a look and say hi.  You'll never look at garbage the same way again.




42 comments

  1. I can't think of anything at this point. I think we have donated enough stuff to actually furnish another house. My "valuables" are my pictures, my earrings and wedding ring from my hubby and a small box of stuff my son has made. I like to donate so someone can get some use and love out of these items.

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    1. Wish I still I had my original wedding ring, the burglars got that, haven't decided on a new one yet, doesn't seem the same.

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    2. us too heather. i just can't imagine purposely thowing things into the garbage. btw, where do you live?

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    3. And sorry about your ring. Best investment we have made is a safe. When I don't have on my jewelry, it's in their.

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  2. Oh my goodness, this sounds amazing, when I have a minute I'm going to pop over to devour his blog. ( Gales/power cuts/trees down, here) How awful about that photo album, it must have made you ache for an age. I haven't but when I was living between US and UK, I was at my parents for a weekend and put my best clothes into a giant laundry bag, there were Prada and Alexander McQueen dresses ( my lip is quivering) I thought, "yeah I'll get mum to box that up and send it next week" Two weeks later I called with my instructions: "What bag? The checked laundry bag? I took it all to the charity shop last week."
    My mum ran to the charity shop but everything had gone! I was raging!

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  3. Hello Janet,

    Throwing away anything of use or sentiment simply does not come into our scheme of things. Hence, of course, we are surrounded by 'stuff' with all thoughts of a minimal lifestyle completely out of the window.

    We shall certainly take a look at this blog. Your recommendations are always wonderful and, from what you describe, Martin certainly has all the qualities that we admire even if we cannot match up to them ourselves.

    Wishing you every joy and happiness in 2015. Last year was definitely a hectic one for you, may peace and calm descend this year!

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    1. i agree. and i know you two will be fascinated by his finds.

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  4. Ouuuuch oh that's awful about the photo album! ill keep my fingers crossed it'll show up at an estate sale where you happen to be! stranger things have happened! I don't think I've ever thrown anything precious away. I constantly regret selling some things, but that's different. I once agonized about having thrown away a gorgeous pair of carved mahogany elephant bookends that I found in my Colonial India decor phase; but then later realized I had them stored all along with the rest of my carved wood exotic animal bookend collection.

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    1. Just spent the last 45 min or so skimming over his blog. Crazy that some of that is thrown away! But I know it is a complicated situation clearing out someone else's collectibles, usually when they have passed, and there is so much that many things just get lost in the shuffle. I think the way he photographs things as an auction house would, natural light and white background, is so perfect because it isolates the object and helps you really see it. I think that takes vision, as most things look unattractive in a pile of garbage. Very good find of a blog!

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  5. How terrible about the photo album! The worst material thing we ever lost as a family was my grandmother's strand of pearls. She had gotten them as a wedding present in 1937 and I think all her grandchildren chewed on them while teething! It took weeks before my grandmother confessed to anyone she couldn't find her pearls. We searched and searched. When she retraced her steps, she remembered taking them off and placing them on top of the newspaper she had just finished reading. We decided they must have gone into the recycling bin. A call to the recycling center gained nothing more than a bored employee telling us it wasn't their problem. Oh well. I'd feel a lot better if someone did find them and is enjoying them.

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  6. Thank you for those links I will pop by and spend some time reading later when I am not busy.
    We live in an area where people place free things on the boulevard...I got an interesting jug last week...sometimes the things left are hideous and other times they are amazing. What does upset me is when TV's and computer bits are left out in the rain...just plain silly.
    The photo album is really quite distressing....I was sad for months after we were burgled and all my childhood christening gifts were stolen...they were lockets of gold , engraved sterling bracelets, and all my other jewels too but those early pieces has much more power over me.
    I think I understand what Tabitha is feeling about her wedding ring.

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    1. Agree it's so sad to lose things that have such family importance - photo albums and jewellery in particular. Do understand your distress, Janet, Tabitha and Hostess. When we first married and moved to London we were burgled. They took the old gold locket (and chain) set with rubies and pearls I'd been left by my grandmother - all the girls in my mother's family for generations had worn it on their wedding day, as I had too. Also taken was all the good jewellery I received for my 21st. Later I lost my engagement ring, years ago now. Had decided not to wear it on an overseas trip and hid it in a safe place at home. By the time we got back had forgotten where. Have never found it!
      In Canberra where I live, over 440 homes were lost in the bushfires that swept into the capital ten years ago. It all happened so quickly that most people were lucky to escape with their lives and most lost everything, all the albums and things that were completely irreplaceable. There was great community spirit and so many people stepped in to help but our city was in mourning for all that was lost for quite a long time. Pammie

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  7. Ha Janet, this is so funny because a few weeks ago my husband and I were on our way home from walking the dog on a pretty busy street. Laying there on the ground near the curb were 4 never used activity books from the 70's. Including some weird paper doll book. I thought well let me see if I could sell these on eBay but not seriously thinking I could...so yes, after doing some research I have the potential to make $40-$45 off something that someone discarded. Ya never know what you are going to find!

    Sorry about your photo album. After my dad and stepmom passed away years ago my step-sister never even asked if my sister or I wanted any of the old photos/albums. She took it upon herself to throw them out. WTH.

    Linda
    xo

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  8. I struggle to throw things away! I would say it was what I once did accidentally to my dad - throwing his prized fishing rod over the side of the cliff at the old dump. Never lives that one down...

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  9. That sounds like a great site, Janet! I love that he rescues valuable history while he's collecting other people's garbage. I threw away my wedding album. I saved some pics for the kids in the case they might be interested when they're older. But the whole thing I got rid of. I don't spend any time regretting it, though I'm not sure it was the right thing to do. I don't have the space to keep such things 'just in case'.

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  11. Sometimes we just do odd (and stupid) things when we're not ourselves. Our 'moods' can be dangerous when it comes to pitching stuff! I left one job once in an unhappy attitude. Had a yard sale during my limited amount of time off while unemployed...and got rid of everything associated with that job, including nice things my 'boss' had given me. I've kicked myself dozens of times for that. I specifically remember selling a beautifully-painted birdhouse, hand-painted gardening can and some other outdoor-decorative thing...all three as a unit for one dollar...just because I was angry. I had a long relationship with a guy in my 20s and, when we broke up, I threw away every letter, card or item he'd ever given me...and I totally regret that action because it was part of my history and most of it was a nice memory. Another time, all I cared about was a new dress for that week's party night so, when a friend had a sidewalk sale, I put out anything I thought I could do without, which included an antique telephone...1940s-era...decorative wooden shoes from the 1920s (yeah, we're Dutch), and a large, beautiful geode (sparkly, crystal-y, lavenders) from the Midwest. All for a dress which, now, I find staggering. (Who WAS that person? But, I was liv'in in the moment back then.)

    My newly-widowed and grief-stricken grandma walked away from her house in a daze, leaving behind my mother's treasured doll from childhood, my grandfather's wooden ice skates from the old country and the only photo we had of him under the age of about 18. She couldn't bring herself to go into Grandpa's workshop at the rear of the property, so all was lost. No photos of my husband exist before age 3; his mother couldn't remember what she did with them and she's dead now. Imagine that: No baby pictures. My mom gave away or sold my Barbies, Barbie's clothes, the doll cases and Barbie Dream House from the 1960s; I'm sure as a teen I must have given her my permission. (Did I?) Lots of stories, in my own family and things I've heard from other people over the years. Everybody has thrown out, given something away or sold something they regretted. And then we look at some of the crap we keep and can't understand why we held onto it.

    I accidentally threw out premium Disneyland tickets belonging to my brother. We spent a day looking thru gross bags of trash but FINALLY found them. I've moved to a lot of places in my lifetime and have lost something every single time. Once, we were halfway cross-country when my husband realized he hadn't checked the attic. Fortunately, we had friends who the realtor let in...so that they could get the rest of our stuff. Moving is just plain disorienting. Some years after my young-adult brother suddenly died, we finally...as a family...steeled ourselves to tackle the remainder of his belongings and boxes. I thought I'd checked everything, but I got a call from the librarian that a vintage silver certificate was found between the pages of one of his books we'd donated. It was worth a sizable amount of money; he'd been a coin collector. I don't do much scavenging, but I can well imagine some of the finds out there.

    Thanks for the links for the other blogs/sites. I am particularly interested in the love letters. I have stacks upon stacks written between my young parents during World War II, before they were married. Nobody in my dwindling lot of distant relatives is gonna want them. I've had rough choices as an only child and have had to make impossible decisions over other loved ones' things, sometimes so personal to sell or donate. It's been anguishing, but I just can't keep everything...and I've thrown a lot away, which doesn't exactly make me feel very good. I think that's how some stuff winds up in antique stores, making other people scratch their heads in wonderment why nobody kept it for themselves. Circumstances often make things a mystery.

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    1. Janet, my comment got too long again. Would you please delete it? Thanks. The problem is, if I hit 'preview' my whole comment is lost, but I need to hit 'preview' to keep an eye on length. I'm so sorry about this again.

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    2. Janet I don't post much ( aiming to rectify that this year on my fav blogs) but I continue to love both your blog and your other blog finds. One of my other favourites is a 60 + English blogger "life after money "
      I have recently moved, after al the children have left and I turned 60, and I downsized and have brought about 20% of my stuff with me. Occasionally I regret not having kept something, either valuable, sentimental or useful - I have had to replace some things! But I downsizing / culling is not an exact science and overall I am so happy I did it,
      Janey

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  12. I work for an estate auctioneer and every week I bring home treasures that were bid upon in the box lots but not wanted and left for the trash! I, too, have an etsy store to sell these things....amazing stuff! I can't wait to pop over to Martin's blog and take a look!

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  13. Yes, I threw away a childhood dollhouse. It was a simple, sturdy wooden one that just needed a lick of new paint. Even if nobody played with it, it would have been so darling on top of my antique armoire. I have read Martin's blog. After I got over the ewww factor, it was very fascinating!

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  14. Chad and I have been in awe for about 2 hours now. I guarantee I will find Chad casing the new neighbor's houses next Wednesday morning!

    I'm impressed though that he's considerate of the historical values of some of the items and mostly that he rescues them from the landfill. It's sad that we're such a throw-away society, we're just surrounded by too much stuff.

    I threw away my collection of Little House on the Prairie books last summer during our move. I got them as a gift for my 7th birthday and read them so many times that I wore holes into the covers. It still makes me sad, but I would be heartsick if I lost a photo album.

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  15. Hi Janet, This was an interesting blog. I looked up the Garbage Finds blog, wow! I can't believe the stuff he has found. Oh Janet! When I read what u threw away my heart sunk for you. That would be tragic! Do u think you can find some pictures of your parents on ancestry.com? Just a thought.

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  16. Great blog recommendation. I had never heard of it before. He had some great finds, especially those gorgeous binoculars!

    I have not thrown away anything important before, but my mom once threw away her dentures while at a movie theatre :-(

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  17. I accidentally culled my favourite pair of black trousers…that is so sad about the album.

    Off to check the blogs xxx

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  18. What a brilliant link. Is really is astounding what people throw away, much of my house is living proof.
    That's sad about the album.
    xxx

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  19. My camera came up missing one Christmas and, after much thought and tracing my steps, I realized I had thrown it out by mistake. Not only did I lose all of my Christmas photos from that year, but it turned out to be my mom's last Christmas.

    I can see picking up an item from somebody's trash pile that is visible, but if I started going through actual bags like this guy does, I know people would get upset. I perused his blog (although I didn't read every post) and am curious if he ever runs into situations where people get angry with him. Seeing some of the things he has found, I am glad he is out there doing this and saving some of these items that would otherwise be destined for the landfill.

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  20. We've all lost things that were dear to us through theft, accident or the like. I'm in the middle of reading Susan Strasser's book Waste and Want - A Social History of Trash. Ever since my job took me on a tour of a landfill and I saw all the plastic junk being buried I've been conscious of what I throw away - and of course what I buy. Strasser talks about 'stewardship' - being mindful of the resources used to make things, even badly made things; we all seem to have forgotten that. I'm not particularly an environmentalist (more of a tightwad - and there is a lot of crossover!). I'm pleased to hear about someone finding the treasure in trash. I hope his blog wakes us up to our foolish habits! Happy New Year - love your idea of a 'Forever Wardrobe'!

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  21. Lovely Janet and so thoughtful to send some readers and buyers his way! If I don't want something, I always recycle it to Goodwill or one of the various charitable agencies here - many even do pick up!

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  22. I haven't thrown anything out that i have regretted. ...but i must have been mad to donate an early victorian chaise to a council recycling station.a few years ago..because there was no room in the (then) house for it...i wouldnt have minded if it actually went to charity as i intended...but it turned out one of the council workers took it home for free... Your frame is charming and a fab find. Love the idea of not throwing things out.

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  23. I read quite a bit of the blog, and it was wonderful and very sad. I cannot believe how much usable items are thrown away! And the money...good heavens! I have been moving more and more towards minimalism and I can say that this kid has he head on straight! Who in our generation has the drive to look through trash as a way to supplement their money and then recycles things. Amazing. xoxo

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  24. In my town it is against the law/rules to remove anything from the recycle bins as it is being donated to our resale shop to help underprivileged.

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  25. Arrggg! This is my big fear while struggling to downsize my household! Getting rid of things and I'll regret it later! I must keep the mantra... things are just things. But photograghs, well, your lose breaks my heart.
    ~diane

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  26. Many years ago, my mother sent me a beautiful antique-framed print (when her mantra was that she'd rather people enjoy things while she was alive) in a huge shipping box filled with those horrible pink styrofoam peanuts in it. Problem is, she never told me there was another treasure tucked into all those packing peanuts until several weeks later when all the peanuts and the box had been sent to recycling: My grandmother's recipe box, filled with family recipes. Gone. I was horrified. I think it broke her heart a little, and I could still cry when I think of it. I am in the middle of decluttering, and am happily giving things to Goodwill. I like knowing that someone may find some beauty or use in things I don't need or want anymore. But I'd give anything to go back in time to dig through that huge box and find the little blue-and-yellow-flowered metal recipe box with yellowed recipe cards in my Nana's spidery handwriting.

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    1. oh that is heartbreaking! so much history and love in that little box.

      recently i sent a little "care" package to my grandaughter. nothing much, just a few little things. a few weeks later i asked how she like the little flower ceramic thing i had gotten her and she said she didn't get it. i had wrapped it carefully and placed it in a carboard tea box b/c it was fragile. she did tell me that she didn't drink tea tho. i started laughing and i said the gift was in the tea box. she went home and thankfully found it.

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    2. Oh, that lost recipe box breaks my heart too.

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  27. I know how you feel about throwing away a photo album of photos of your parents. I once put all my children's (2) studio baby photos in a phone book to flatten them out or something. Inadvertently I threw out the phone book when tidying up. I realized it the next day. I took to my bed and cried all day. I do have other photos I took but these were all the studio ones. I cannot think about it and am grateful my children grew up healthy and well in spite of not having studio photos.

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kindness is never out of style.

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