I am a huge fan of bagless canister vacuums, specifically my Canister Model. However, through necessity and personal choice, I have spent my entire adult life as a highly thrifty individual. Since my tastes in general tend to be upscale, I have been forced to be creative when shopping for high-price items.
Not long ago I moved into a large home with hardwood floors. The lack of carpets made noise echo off the walls and chilled my bare feet in the mornings, so I began to look around for rugs and carpets as a solution. To my dismay, I found that cheap rugs were ugly and of low quality and all the carpets I liked were far too expensive for me to even consider buying.
Fueled by frustration and fully aware of the potential danger of slipping while walking on hardwood when wearing socks, I looked for more inventive and innovative ways to shop for inexpensive carpets. I now share my solutions with you in the hopes that, as a nation, we can continue to live well while spending far, far less.
Rug making is a skilled craft and the materials that go into it are expensive. I understand and respect this, and therefore would in no way want to inhumanely underpay human beings for their labor. Because of this I refused to buy cheap carpets from distributors or large department store chains.
I looked instead to recycling options, knowing that they would take more time to search, but would align with my ethical and environmental standards.
Many years ago I got lucky and found a gorgeous handmade carpet that someone had only just thrown out. No longer with me, I began to travel through nice neighborhoods the night before ‘big garbage’ pick up day. I found many rolled up wall-to-wall carpet remnants and several nice pieces pf well made furniture, but no rugs to my liking. Although this method can work, it is better to look in general and see what you find, rather than looking with a specific item in mind.
I next began to frequent tag sales, estate sales and the occasional government auction. Of the three I found tag sales to be the most work, but also the most rewarding. I found well-made carpets and rugs for very little money with varying states of wear. I like a lived in look, and don’t mind used goods, so this worked out very well for me. Estate Sales also had a large selection of even better quality rugs at slightly higher prices on average, but I felt a bit like a vulture. Shopping at government auctions made me feel even more like a carrion feeder, and so I could not stomach buying anything at all. However, it is a feasible option for anyone who doesn’t mind the process.
Next I posted ads up on the community message boards of nice neighborhoods, and on craigslist. I stated what I wanted, in general, and gave a vague indication of the price I’d be willing to pay. It took a bit of time but I got luckier than I planned and ended up with an embarrassment of antique rugs to choose from. This method can be unpredictable, and again, you need to be comfortable buying something used, but it is also an excellent solution if you have the patience to wait for the right rug at the right price.
Then a friend gave me the idea to ask local dry cleaners and rug cleaners if any rugs or carpets had been abandoned, unpaid. There were several, although a few shop told me that they get rid of them annually, so it is best to call first and plan on looking just before the first of the year. These are available at the very least for free (they are going to throw them out or donate them, after all) and at most for the price of the cleaning they. This method is the closest thing to purchasing a new rug and may be more appealing to those squeamish about used things.
I personally did not try the following, but I did consider them as options initially. One method to get a new carpet is to go to carpet warehouses and ask for free remnants, or cheap remnants. The options may be limited so this may work for purely functional, not aesthetic, carpeting. The other method is to look into buying rugs wholesale. Use craigslist or just regular networking to get a bunch of people together to purchase a large order of rugs or carpets which can be reduced to wholesale prices due to bulk.