15 August 2014

The Great Thrift Store Rug Saga

Okay so I showed you this rug yesterday and told you all about how I talked myself out of it and did not buy it. I thought I was getting caught up in the name brand, maybe it was a style that was fading out, it was a little dirty, etc. But that first day I looked at it I thought surely it could be cute somewhere, in the "next house." After I left just saying that to myself made me want to run back over there and get it, but I resisted!

One of the reasons I resisted was that I thought perhaps it would need professional cleaning. Not too long ago I had gotten a bid to clean a 9' x 12' rug I already own and it was several hundred dollars. I thought it would be no savings to buy this and then spend a small fortune cleaning it.

The next day (Day 2) when I saw the 9' x 12' version of the rug is on sale right now at West Elm for $750, I had to reconsider. I realized this rug wasn't that old and that it still had some style life in it. I dropped everything, dashed across the block back to the thrift store hoping it was still there. IT WAS! I rolled it out, looked at it again and thought, do I really want a mostly cream colored rug? The answer was no. Cream colored carpet in our current apartment has been a nightmare. I thought that keeping it clean would drive me crazy and on top of that, cream isn't a color I really like.

So I walked away a second time. I also noticed this time that some of the threads along the edges were frayed and it was a little dingier than I remembered. So we left empty-handed. But I was glad I went back and was absolutely sure of my decision.

I photographed the rug, (above) and when I got home I thought "Dang it photographs well in a terrible space," and it made me like it all over again...but I had made my decision and put it out of my head and forgot all about it.

The next day (Day 3), having moved on with my life and the obsession with this rug,  I started getting ads for this rug from West Elm all over the internet as I was going about my day. Obviously the internet gods has picked up on the fact I'd performed a searched the day before for this rug. I smiled and went about my business. Later that afternoon I was doing some meditation and one of the meditations I've been doing is for my dream next home.

When I finished my short meditation I had some ideas floating around in my head from my visualizations and I was inspired to hop up and take down a few notes. The color gray kept coming into my notes and then yet again there was the gray and cream rug in ads everywhere I went on the internet. I started wanting that rug again. I knew it would go well in any room in the house....that mystical next house or even in our current living room if it was cleaned.

I did some research on rug cleaning costs and found a local place that would clean it for about $60-80. That was a little more practical and I also read up on "how to" instructions to do it myself. I just don't have an easy space to be spraying a rug this big with a hose and washing it out and letting it dry.

Once I knew 1) it was possible to clean it pretty easily, 2) that it fit right into the color scheme and thoughts I had for my home going forward, 3) that the cream really isn't that yellowy and 4) I realized that I still REALLY liked that rug, I jumped back in my car and raced to the thrift store with a beating heart hoping that it was STILL there.

While I was searching around for a parking place my worst fear was that someone would walk out holding the rug while I was still in the parking lot. It was like I'd been dating a guy for five years telling myself he was just a friend and then it has dawned on me all of a sudden that HE was the one. It was epic love story, gotta get that rug action.

We finally found a parking spot and eyeing every customer leaving the store I didn't not see the rug in anyone's hands, thank goodness! The Bug by this point thought I was a complete nut for all the going back and forth on this rug. When I told her I wanted to go back for it she shook her head and laughed at me. But once we got into the store she began running to the back to make sure that rug was there waiting for me. It was, we grabbed it and headed right for the register. Moments later, we were stuffing it into my car and headed home.

Before I even took it into the house I hung it over the railing of our front walkway and swept both sides well with the broom and tried to beat it a bit without making too much noise (impossible.) Then I grabbed our heavy duty insect spray that will kill any kind of bug that likes to infest homes, fabrics and carpets. I sprayed both sides well and then let it dry.

The next step was to bring it in the house. I moved a couple of chairs and put it in the easiest, most open space available -- The main walkway between our living room and dining room. Had The Man been here that would've not been a viable option, but The Bug and I, in all our tender care for the rug were more than happy to tip toe around the sides for a while. I vacuumed both sides very well. I did the front, then the back then the front again. Every time we passed over a section, The Bug and I both thought it looked brighter.

At that point I was going to just roll it up until I decided what to do with it. Then I found myself pulling out the spray carpet cleaner in an attempt to clean up any dark spots on the rug. It's pretty easy to see the traffic pattern from the previous owners. The edges are stained and more soiled but the center of the rug is in good shape. So I did some spot cleaning in the middle of the long sides of the rug where almost all the real stains were. The rug was looking even better quite soon after a few minutes of gentle scrubbing with a nice wet towel.

By the next morning the rug was looking so great I decided to just place it in the center of our living room until we make our decisions on a move. I may try to clean it more. We'll just have to see how it goes. If we find out we're moving and we'll have space to clean it, say in a driveway or something I will wait and do that.

But I am so happy with this rug. Once it's clean it will be lovely and luxurious to walk on. Now that it's been vacuumed well it already feels pretty great under the feet.. It's a good neutral pattern and I know that wherever it finds a place in our home it will work just perfectly. This was a good experience for me to have to work through all this back and forth silliness and to finally make the decision I was really happy with.

It gave me a chance to think about how I listen to my instincts, how I talk myself into things and out of things. It also reminded me to consider all sides of a purchase before I make a decision: look at all facets of the item carefully, investigate and have a clear understanding of all the associated costs, know the monetary value and know the personal value I assign it.

I'm not sure how this will guide me next time I run into a similar situation but I'll definitely be thinking about it over the next little while and what lessons I can learn from The Great Thrift Store Rug Saga. Meanwhile I have this awesome rug in my closet. That makes me smile.

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