One of my first major publications was a piece for the Globe and Mail’s Facts and Arguments section. It was an essay about diving dumpsters – specifically the one behind the supermarket near my house. We were finding food, all kinds of it: loaf after loaf of delicatessan-style bread, pounds of butter, lots of veggies, and even, one day, a mushroom lasagna.

Dumpster diving is still a way of life for many and I commend them for it, but I’ve hung up the habit. These days instead of looking for second-hand food (I mean, really, how easy is it to find organic carrots and tahini tossed out?), I hit the thrift stores for second-hand treasures.

The latest trips I’ve taken to the Goodwill across town have opened up a whole new interest – oddly, in ceramics. First, there were the mushroom salt and pepper shakers that I couldn’t resist:

After that, it was love at first site with this thing… I mean, really, does this objet d’art not whisper some story about free love and hallucinations of diamond-studded skies? And not only is it adorable, it’s also a piggy bank!

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, they say. I’m not a man, but I sure know what they mean. This pleasingly-retro item was made using a mold, my potter sister-in-law informed me. She was there when I squeeled in delight upon spotting it. And it wasn’t created anonymously. In fact, Vince crafted it in 1974, as the scrawled signature on the bottom attests.

And now, in keeping with the great cycle of discard and claim, it’s mine. It’s your turn: what was your greatest second-hand find?