On a bitter cold night in February I’m with Julie walking her spirited Patterdale Terrier pup, Macie. We trip through the snowy alleys looking for discarded furniture and clothes with resell potential while Macie jerks to the right and left to check out interesting smells. Julie pauses by a dumpster and bends over what looks to me like a heap of drab, bulky fabric.
She immediately recognizes a rolled-up 5′ x 7′ rug and springs into action, giving me Macie’s leash. After a moment of struggle she’s lifted the damp, unwieldy mass. She treks home along the icy sidewalks with the rug sagging from her arms. To a passerby it might look like she’s disposing of a body. I don’t know why she’s bothering with this crappy length of carpeting but she moves with purpose and I decide not to question.
Once inside Julie unfolds the rug full-length. I have a hard time believing this is the 30 lb. bundle we just lugged up a flight of stairs. It’s patterned in coral and green, colorful and fun but classy enough to add interest to a room and pull it together without overwhelming it. The rug was in like, perfect condition too.
I’m totally impressed at Julie’s ability to spot the potential in what others would pass by. I know now not to question her instincts as when it comes to alley finds Julie’s a pro. This rug easily and quickly commanded a keen fifty dollars on Craigslist.
Turns out, that this rug is made by the high end, Nuloom, named the Barcelona Faded Medallions Spa Blue Area Rug. This “junk” julie eybealled out retails for $249 at places like Rug Studio
Well I happened upon a gosh darned so-so rug. But it was going to sell, being soft and neutral brown, and without piss stains or cigarette burns. It was an Ikea rug, and I’d had one in blue before, so the Craigslist copy was already written, sans a little smithing of the words to account for the difference in color.
But one thing was going to hold me back from closing this sale – the wretched indentations on the rug where a coffee table had once dared to stand. I thought to myself, there’s only one thing to do at a time like this: google.
Google presented two alternatives to me: hot or cold. In other words, I could use the ice method, or the steam method. The ice method didn’t sound right to me, as it entailed ice cubes and paper towels and overnight work that sounded like it could potentially damage the rug and leave weird fuzzy paper towel and/or water stains. But the steam method, that sounded like it just might work (and it did!).
So if you ever find yourself with a rug with undesirable furniture marks in it, here is what you must do.
1. Get your iron out and heated up
3. Once iron is hot, hold it down on the rug and steam baby steam – but not for too long. Chances are, you can apply the iron directly to the surface of the rug (there were some suggestions that you put a cloth or tee shirt in between the rug and the iron to prevent burning, but I did just fine without that stupid step)
4. While rug is still hot, use your fingers to pull the rug fibers back out and comb it back and forth so the rug returns to its original state
5. Repeat steps 3-4 a couple times if you need to
6. Vacuum it, for a nice and uniform look
The following is a series of Found Rugs that I carried home from the alleys, vacuumed, photographed, and wrote some awesome copy about. These rugs then were put on Craigslist, where they were hit fast and furiously with requests for purchase. All sold within 3 days of being posted.
Geometric Area Rug (Blacks, Browns, Greys)
SOLD FOR $35
Red & White Area Rug
SOLD FOR $20
Festive Print Rug
SOLD FOR $40
Black & White Pinstripe Area Rug
SOLD FOR $20
Gorgeous Green Taj Mahal Rug
Sold for $35
In conclusion, people will throw away perfectly good rugs. I will nab them and I will sell them. The buyer just needs to hear a story from me, including that it’s from a pet-free, smoke-free home, about why I’m getting rid of it (I’ve been saying because we got a new puppy and don’t want her to ruin the rug), and it’s theirs! My observation, from researching the initial value of these rugs, and no matter how good of condition they are in, if it’s a Craigslist buyer, the price must be between 10-40 for a rug. Those cheapskates just refuse to spend any more than that on a rug. But, like I said the nice thing about finding rugs is they aren’t heavy, they’re easy to transport, and, as I’ve said, they sell like hotcakes!