Friday, May 9, 2008

In The Garden, Around The House: Endless Uses for Carpet Scraps

scrap carpet originally uploaded by la femme jen.
I am a pack rat at heart. I get it from my French grandmother who unfailingly extricated for me treasures from her vast storage cabinets, the perfect box or bottle or ribbon or scrap of fabric, all items she had saved from the trash bin.

To this day, I save fabric scraps [I sew], and plenty of fabric samples from my Wear-Dated upholstery fabric days [now collector's items]. To those, I've added carpet pieces and samples.

My daughter uses many of those, some for doing her "work" [per her school's Montessori model], some for play [as an upcoming episode of "A Foot's Perspective" will demonstrate].

However, several articles about carpet scraps have offered me renewed appreciation for Carpet In the Garden and Carpet Around the House. If you're like me, you'll be impressed!

From the March/April 1972 issue of Mother Earth News comes CARPET YOUR GARDEN by John Krill. Says the article: "You can reap rich garden harvests on slim expenditures of time and physical exertion by putting a rug in your produce patch."

The proper technique calls for using the carpet "bottom-side-up" in the garden. Note the timing: "in the fall or at least a month before planting time in the spring." I've used rubber/tire composite tomato rugs and they worked well to control weeds. I wonder how carpet scraps work. Do read the article for expert and detailed advice, and let me know how your garden grows!

Reader's Digest offers "Extraordinary Uses for Carpet Scraps" with 14 practical ideas in total. There's protection [as in knees, floors, workshop tools, and for changing tires], sound absorption [for appliances and noisy pots/pans], and shine [as in buffed shoes]. Then there's keeping floors dry [i.e., when watering plants] as well as your dog, exercising, catching socks and distracting cats from clawing. I really like the car mat idea, and it, too, mentions weed control in gardens.

[eHow offers similar carpet scrap recycling suggestions.]

6 Ways to Use Carpet Scraps (With bonus tips.) from Mrs. FIXIT's How-To Library has some tips I hadn't thought of: placing carpet at the level where your car door opens to prevent nicks and scratches, to move furniture, in a drawer to keep tools in place, on your sawhorse to protect your project and on the bottom rung of a ladder. Wow! Oh, and use it to make cat furniture.

My additions:

+ Place larger pieces of carpet by doors that connect a garage to the home to help catch dirt and grit and keep it out of the house [also listed in Mrs. Fixit's list].

+ Keep a mat size piece by a sunny spot in the house for your pet to sleep on or for your cats to do claws on.

+ Keep a stack in a common room to keep visiting kids from bickering about who gets to sit where. Each piece carves out personal territory and levels the playing field. [NB: make sure all pieces are the same size.]

And, the Carpet and Rug Institute recommends that you retain a piece of newly installed carpet for future use.... I'll go over some of those uses in my next post.

I was amazed to discover these Endless Uses For Carpet Scraps... from the garden to around the house. If you come across others, please let me know so I can add them to the list.

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