Or, How to Lay an 8′ x 11′ Rug in a Room with a 250 lb. Desk by Yourself

The reconnoitered antelope rug for my office arrived on Friday. The finished rug is 8′ x 11′; the pad is slightly smaller. It was late in the afternoon, just before carpool, when the rug was delivered and I thought, “I will have Mr. Blandings help me with that tonight.” Then an unfortunate thing happened. Mr. Blandings took all three boys for hair cuts at five o’clock. “I think,” I thought, “that I can get that rug in there myself. I do.” It was not an easy task so I have provided the instructions below:
Begin with rug pad.
  1. Drag rug pad into room. Realize as the 8′ roll is about half way through the door that the angle precludes a straight shot.
  2. Fold rug pad somewhat like a fortune cookie and continue through doorway.
  3. Drag rug pad to edge of room and line up, as well as you can by eyeballing it, with wall.
  4. Fetch tape measure.
  5. After realizing that the left side is about a 1/4 of an inch closer to the wall than the right side, udge the right side forward.
  6. After realizing the the right side is about 1/4 of an inch closer to the wall than the left side, udge the left side forward.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 a minimum of fourteen times until pad is straight.
  8. Unroll pad until it hits the 250 lb. desk.

Now that the pad is partially in place, address the rug, which, while being only slightly larger than the pad, weighs three times as much.

  1. Clasp your hands under the rug about two feet from the edge.
  2. Pull.
  3. Pull again.
  4. Consider waiting until your spouse/partner/roommate comes home.
  5. Envision the moment of triumph in showing your spouse/partner/roommate the success of your hard work when he/she arrives. Persevere.
  6. Use a strategy of pull and rest combined with a 48-point turn to move the rug into the room.
  7. Pray that when you pull the rug across the pad that the pad does not move.
  8. Thank a higher power that your prayer was answered.
  9. Maneuver rug to overlap pad by one inch on all sides. This, compared to squaring the rug pad, will be surprisingly easy, fortifying your initial feeling that this is a reasonable project to take on yourself.
  10. Unroll rug until it hits rug pad which is resting against 250 lb. desk.
  11. Have a moment of sanity and think, “I will wait for my spouse/partner/roommate as there is no way I can move that desk even an inch by myself.”
  12. Go to the kitchen and eat four crackers.
  13. Return to the office and circle the desk. Put both hands just under the lip of the top and try to lift. Nothing will budge but a disk in your back.
  14. Eat three more crackers.
  15. Stand in the doorway of the office with arms crossed and head tilted to one side.
  16. Realize that if you could lift the desk and tip it over the rug pad/rug, the rug pad/rug will allow the desk to tilt back without a lot of force, enabling you to lower the desk to the other side of the rug pad/rug at which point you can roll the rug the rest of the way out.
  17. Smell victory.
  18. Stand with hands under the drawer opening on the keyhole side of the desk and lift, tilting the 250 lb. desk back as envisioned. Lower it gently onto the floor until it is resting on its top.
  19. Wonder if this entire task might be easier if you removed your boots with the three-inch heels; leave them on.
  20. Roll the pad and carpet to the three bookcases where it should hit just the edge per your careful measurements.
  21. Consider the two inches of carpet rolled up against the (completely full of design books which weigh four pounds each) bookcases.
  22. Have a lucid moment when you realize that if you wait for your spouse/partner/roommate to come home he/she can easily help you lift each bookcase without having to unload the books.
  23. Eat three more crackers.
  24. Remove 157 books from bookshelves.
  25. Roll rug flat.
  26. Replace bookshelves.
  27. Think, “It doesn’t really matter that the bookcases are not level (as the front half is on the rug); no one will notice.
  28. Eat four crackers.
  29. Go to the basement to find shims; place under the back edge of three bookcases.
  30. Re-shelve 157 books.
  31. Realize that if you had put something under the desk when you lowered it, you would have been able to lift it back to standing at which point confetti would have fallen from the ceiling, bands would have played and you would have lived forever in the glory known by people like Lindbergh, Hilary and Clarkson. Instead, you stand in your three inch heels, your job 98% done, knowing you are not even an asterisk in the history books of do-it-yourself.
  32. Admit defeat.
  33. Finish sleeve of crackers.
  34. Read the text from your spouse/partner/roommate, “Carry out?”
  35. Text back, “Yes! Am starving – haven’t had a bite,” and open a bottle of wine while you wait for the calvary to arrive. Hell, even Hilary had Norgay.
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44 thoughts on “DIY

  1. Hahahaha! Epic!

    Not quite Waterloo, really, more of a complicated Normandy situation. But then something about the un- and re-shelving of books recalls a burning library in Alexandria.
    Life is but a series of small acts compounded over time, after all. Soldier on 😉

  2. Its never the main task, its all the little ancillary tasks that come with it that are so maddening. We like to end projects with wine here too. Good job!

  3. Oh my heavens! I happened upon your blog during one of my random Next Blog>> adventures, and your desk/rug/cracker battle was just what I needed to kick off this Monday of being my girlfriend's Colonoscopy Buddy. Thank you, Mrs. Blandings. Best regards – Jenny

  4. Yes!! It is that bottle of wine that solves every problem–even a slightly damaged ego. Carry on….
    Been there-done that so many times. How is your back? The antilope rug sounds fantastic.

  5. Jen – wishing your friend the very best of luck.

    And, Gaye, Triskets. Is that low rent or old school?

    Pictures to follow at some point.

  6. Hilarious. Any good design addict would do the same thing! Why wait for reinforcements when victory is in your grasp? I've tackled a few of these Herculean tasks often to be thwarted. Glad you had the crackers and wine. And I can't wait to see photos. I love that antelope carpet. I've stalked it for years.

  7. I can relate. It's too much fun to wait for any assistance where décor is concerned! A friend of mine got stuck between a rattan chaise and a wall after dragging it up a very narrow antique Massachusetts stairwell. She eventually slide under the arm of the chaise and broke free! But her attempts put a large hole in the wall! We still laugh about it. Can't wait to see office pics!

  8. Anon – usually in jeans and socks (as I hate shoes and rarely wear them if I don't have to) but sometimes I get started doing something and don't want to stop. So stubborn.

  9. Loved, loved, this. Felt like I was reading a "scene" from my life.The four-poster beds I have inched from side of the room to the other… just shows the drive we have to complete the project and have it "looking good" before "critical eyes" arrive. Sometimes, it is just easier to do it by yourself– (oh, the boots with heels, just further shows that once "we are on a mission", we stop for nothing!! Great writing!

  10. Too funny, Mrs. B.! I had a similar moment last weekend while moving a marble-topped table by myself. My right bicep still hurts. Thanks for the Monday morning laugh. I'm almost defrosted.

  11. Heavens I have watched far too many HGTV design shows to know that one has to empty out a room first. You had the elements the wine the crackers perhaps some cheese or a pizza for end/wrap party– but there is help behind the scenes to move the furniture and other elements. Did the other family members not know or care about the rug delivery?

  12. Anon – there was no way of getting this desk out of the room – it took three movers to get it in. And, of course, my family would have helped had I waited for them to get here.

  13. After laugh,laughing at your post!I have a tip. I call them "MovingMen"-they are plastic disc with rubber on one side and you can move a refrig. if you wanted to too..easy to scoot under a leg(rubber side up) and away you go! I can not live without them! Bed Bath&Beyond, or hardware store.

  14. Substitute Archway soft iced molasses cookies for the crackers and this could be me at least once a month.
    How could you not call? You were so far away when you lived in Missouri but now…

  15. You are hilarious. Seriously I laughed out loud at #24. I would have done exactly the same thing (HAVE done the same thing) and I'm smiling because I would still have my heels on too I'm sure. Too funny. Now I just want to see the photos of the rug / desk. Thanks for the entertainment this morning.

  16. Funny, funny! I am going to be refinishing my floors this year and I dread it for this very reason. Either I must shell out several hundred to have the furniture moved or rely on my Super-Slides and time it for my husband to be in town or teenage son home from college to help.

    Triscuits are still one of my favorites. Have you tried the Rye? So good!

  17. Here's to crackers, take out and the knowledge that sometimes….we just can't do it alone!

    Love that antelope. Still trying to figure out how to convnce Mr. Tulips that we "need" it on the 3rd floor, too!!

  18. I have the same antelope rug. It was actually delivered earlier than expected one day while I was at the store, so the delivery men left it on the front porch. Like you, I was full of confidence that I could handle the laying of the rug myself, esp. since I was single and the deliverymen were long gone. I only had a full-size sofa, two lounge chairs, a granite-topped coffee table and two end tables to move. Three hours later…

  19. I once moved a 3-cushion sofa up two flights of stairs. I was pregnant at the time. "Tipping" was a crucial part of my strategy.
    Archimedes, who figured out the math of pulleys and levers, once said, "give me a place to stand, and I could move the world."
    Good on you!

  20. I did the same thing with a rug in my basement, only to have the room flood 6mo later. Then I was really pissed I had to cut, roll and deposit my soggy investment in leaky trash bags and haul them up the stairs. Pity party ensued though I actually felt a sense of accomplishment for not needin' no stinkin' spouse/partner/roommate to help me! Although it would have been nice 🙂

  21. Best post ever. True, that. Well, until your next one. Thank you for the laughs (like having a mirror held up to myself).

  22. Haha! Fabulous story! LOVE the step by step instructions, and it all sounds just like something I would do!

  23. Don't be silly!!!!!!

    (I am so sorry; I have been "out of town" in a most inappropriate area of the country…..the northeast…..I did forget how cold it is! )

    You have earned the "purple heart" in my book!


    Well done!


    ps I decided that I could not be trusted to "measure"
    when Stark delivered the "custom" rug. And it went up the wall about a foot on one end. "Back on the truck!! I cried! Thank the Lord it was a "border-on field sew on"; not "made to measure in Portugal or something……..Lord have Mercy!

    I decided that day…..someone else…….(the carpet company) or someone else……… would measure from then on…….I am unsafe with a tape measure or anything that requires mathematics. Anything!

    ps the sleeve of crackers is hilarious…..we can all relate!

    ps when pregnant with my daughter…….(the baby) who is now 40! (years,not months) I ate 3 sleeves of Oreos a day!

    (do not do this)

    You just brought back memories.

    and then there was the sofa that didn't fit up the stairway! (another story..all about heroic movers!)

  24. Having only just surfaced from the frozen tundra I am trying desperately to catch up. Ah yes the solo carpet and furniture mission. This brings so many images of my own endeavours to mind.I cannot begin to count the number of times that I have found myself circling a piece of furniture like a wrestler sizing up an opponent. Attempting this hold and abandoning it for another. Some hours later, hair and nails slighly the worse for wear, ultimately through sheer stubbornness I have won the fight.

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