Our embarrassing old, worn, DIRTY carpet. Much worse than we realized
DH = Dear Husband
Frugal living with old, worn stuff
I just did a search to find out when I first mentioned our carpets on this blog. It was three years ago – in the post “Mickey Mouse and His Broom: Debt Illustrated in Fantasia”. “After fourteen years, a household shows signs of wear,” I wrote. “I’m noticing stains on our carpet . . . The furniture in the family room is visibly worn . . . DH and I have no shortage of material wants.”
We ended up getting some of our carpets cleaned – but not the one in DH’s home office. A 10′ by 10′ space, it was filled up by desks and chairs and the equipment he uses to run his business. It would be impossible to clean that carpet – with the exception of a small area in the middle where people actually walked or sat on chairs. We could see that area was in need of a clean, but it didn’t seem worth the expense to have another “room” cleaned, when it would only be a fraction of that room.
Our evolving renovation plans
Three frugal years later – three years of accepting the old carpets and worn furniture in the name of debt-reduction – we’re making changes. I’ve written about our renovation plans – and about the evolution of those plans – a few times over the past six months. In a nutshell, DH outgrew his 10′ by 10′ home office space, and we’ve moved it to what used to be our living room and dining room – an area more than twice the size at about 24′ by 11′. His former office space is going to become our living room. Our family room is going to become our dining room.
Initially, our renovation plans gave me the kind of shopaholic, dopamine-release brain-buzz that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. “I was high on visions of tile, hardwood, and leather furniture,” I wrote for that first post about our renovation project. “I don’t even care how shallow that sounds!” I’m so glad we didn’t act upon it immediately! We would easily have spent twice as much has we needed to. No exaggeration there.
Four months later, we had a “sobered” renovation plan. Among the ways we were going to cut back on our initial ideas was this one: “Instead of installing two new floors, we’re going to install one – in what will be the new dining room. The new living room? We’ll have our old carpet cleaned and keep on using it. That’s about $500 not spent.”
The carpet cleaners
When we moved everything out of DH’s old home office, we were shocked by the carpet. With all of the furniture and equipment gone, the still-pristine areas of carpet – covered for years and protected from feet and rolling office chairs – were now exposed for comparison, and only then were we able to see just how bad the rest of it was. It was disgusting.
Thursday of this past week, the professional steam cleaners arrived. They took one look at that carpet and said, “We can’t clean that. We don’t perform miracles.” So they left.
Back to Plan A – with a difference
So much for our “sobered”, frugal plans! We’re back to plan A: We will rip up the carpet of the old office and install hardwood. DH wondered if it might be less expensive to go with new carpet, but since he wouldn’t be able to install it himself – and he can DIY hardwood installation – hardwood it is. We’re going to buy it today.
What’s the moral of this story? I think there are a couple:
- Life doesn’t always unfold according to the plans we make. Even the frugal plans.
- Sometimes, in our efforts to be frugal, we set ourselves up to need to pay more later. Three years ago, we chose not to have that small area of carpet cleaned. If we had taken on a minor expense then, maybe we wouldn’t have to take on a major one now.
But it’s hard to say. Maybe we would still be ripping the thing out. And in the end, although our current intention looks more like our original “high” plans than our modified and more frugal plans, they’re not the same. The dopamine isn’t there. We’re looking forward to getting rid of that gross carpet and to setting up a new living room, but not under the influence of a brain-buzzing rush. It’s Plan A sobered up.
Have you ever “saved” money – only to set yourself up to need to spend more? Does furniture removal in your house reveal dirty carpets? Your comments are welcome.