Area Rug Care: A Tale of Two Rugs

steff rug close up

My two woolen rugs are 33 years old, from Sears, and shockingly are worth over $800 even now. Buy quality and you’ll have a good resale value for years.


As most of my readers here likely know, my time as a homeowner is coming to a close. My travels loom and it means selling everything I own. Will I succeed? Gosh, I hope so! With any luck, it’ll begin this week with a sale of my woolen rugs. It’s a bitter-sweet time.

I’d be thrilled to get some good money — $800 — but sad to say goodbye. Fact is, they’re over 30 years old. From Sears, if you can believe it, back when Sears was truly for the middle-class in the early ‘80s. Wool, man, it’s built to last!


I remember when my mom and dad bought them. I was there, an impressionable 8-year-old seeing the big prices on the rugs as my parents flipped through all those on display. The salesman was being quite fancy with my folks, as it was two 5’7×8’4 rugs of the same design, a pretty penny for a sale.

That was when my home went from “nice” to magazine-worthy. My mom redid the formal living room just after my dad installed fantastic hardwood floor he pulled out of a tear-down reno for free. They refinished the floors. She got a little chair at a yard sale and had it upholstered and bought more of the same classic, light floral pattern to make her own curtains. The carpets, though, they were the big investment in a room that would look amazing for years, but was done, I suspect, on a pretty low budget. We were far from wealthy people. My parents just were smart, resourceful, and bursting with good taste!

With good care, good things last

IMG_2937As I vacuum those rugs today, I know I’ve underpriced them because I’m honest that they need a good professional cleaning (about $200 per rug), I’m still impressed at what great condition they’re in after three decades of use.

Right now, they’re on the only living space I got. Believe me, I’m giving them a lot of foot traffic, but they look really great. I may not have had them professionally cleaned in the time I’ve owned them (a shocking 16 years), but I’ve vacuumed them every three or so days.

That’s the big misnomer a lot of people have about rug care. They vacuum area rugs in homes filled with hardwood, and they think all the fluffy stuff coming into the vacuum are carpet fibres, but it’s just dust. People believe vacuuming less will keep it in better shape, but the longer you go without vacuuming, the more likelihood you’ll get enough sand in there to start cutting fibres off, and that, my friends, is how you get your wear patterns. Remember — sand is what glass is made of. Do you really want to leave it in your rugs?

33 years, and zero wearing visible on these heavily-used rugs, friends. Vacuuming is your friend.

Good money tends to pay off

And so buying well the first time is also your friend. When you’re talking about a high-quality woolen rug, you’re investing in something that won’t last you a decade — it’ll last as long as you’re a homeowner, if you’re doing it right. There are Persian and Oriental rugs out there that are a couple hundred years old. They’re made to be used and they’re made to last.

Here I am, selling them now at the age my parents were when THEY bought them, and I’m getting $800 for them, probably not much less than what they paid then.

That’s what proper purchasing is about. When people tell you that you get what you pay for, they’re absolutely right.

Consider re-sale value

Always, always, always consider your resale value. If you can’t afford to buy something made with quality new, look for something great used. Quality construction lasts. It stays out of landfills. It puts money back in your pocket. It’s money well spent.

And that $800 helps me say goodbye to a large part of my life, while embracing the next chapter. Hard to believe two 33-year-old rugs from Sears will pay for 6 weeks of a room in the south of Spain. Now there’s your incentive to buy quality, friends!

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