Ways to satisfy floor envy and help others, too

Allegra Bennett
I was walking up the street one fine day when a snippet of someone else’s conversation got picked up in a wind draft and blew past my ear. “What a woman needs … ” the wind said.

I spent the next eight blocks entertaining myself filling in the blank. I had a million fillers but with my need to move a big piece of furniture from one end of my apartment to the other dominating my mind, my favorite turned out to be “What a woman needs is to know she can move a big piece of furniture all by herself if she has wood floors.”

Wood floors rock. They are a girl’s best friend. They are especially noteworthy if you are one of the 51 percent of women in the United States who, according to 2005 statistics from the Census Bureau, are living single.

With wood floors, you can just slide that hulk of an entertainment center anywhere you want it to go. With flat-screen televisions getting hung up on walls and over fireplaces, designers have just gone ahead and dismissed entertainment centers and armoires as passe, leaving many of us in a design dilemma about our so-called outdated stuff.

But being the independent sort that I am, I decided I’m going to do my part for the environment and instead of buying new stuff, hold onto my double-decker rosewood entertainment center and give it an entirely fresh look simply by moving it into a different scene at the other end of the room.

If I had wall-to-wall carpet, I couldn’t even have this thought freely. But my wood floors have freed my mind to design with abandon by moving my entertainment center about. All I need do is empty it, get big pieces of felt under each end to protect the floor and start slowly shoving, and inch by inch, it will be where I want it to be.

There are all sorts of ways we women — and you guys too — can help ourselves in a single situation. Sliders are another cool help-yourself product. I believe they were actually designed with women in mind. They come in different sizes and shapes to go under chair legs as well as awkward, bulky furniture, making it easy to move single-handedly.

Now, if my story has given you floor envy and you’d like to remove that old wall-to-wall carpet and replace with girl-friendly wood, here are some things to think about:

First, determine where you are going to put the carpet, how are you going to dispose of it. Talk among manufacturers about carpet recycling started to come about in the late 1990s when it was discovered that about 1.8 billion tons of carpet ends up in landfills. But it didn’t get very far, apparently. While the carpet supposedly has a seven-to-10-year life in our homes, its estimated life in a landfill is 20,000 years.

One idea for unwanted carpet in great condition is to see if an organization that does home remodeling for low-income families accepts such donations. Also, used carpet may be welcomed at shelters. Check the business directory to see if there is a carpet recovery, recycling and reuse program in your area. Also, check with your local government’s waste disposal program.

On the Web there is Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) at, which has a map with locations in the country where some carpet recovery may be practiced.

However, if you decide to dispose of it, you will have to remove it yourself. Remove as much furniture as possible out of the room. Wear heavy gloves. Start at the wall and pull the carpet up from the tack strip.

If donating for reuse, roll it up as you pull it free and tie with cord. If it’s destined for a recycling program or the landfill, use a box cutter and cut the loosened carpet into manageable sizes and stack them. Then, think about life with the ease of wood.
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