The physical act of moving is rough no matter how you slice it, and the last thing you want to worry about is damaging your possessions. Of course, worse still is accidentally ruining an important element of your home, like a nice living room rug. Most people don’t know the proper methods to pack and store rugs, so it’s natural that we get a lot of questions on the topic.
Although packing, moving, and storing area rugs are technically three separate things, the basic principles are all the same:
With that said, let’s get down to the best ways to get your rug ready for shipping or storage.
So you’re moving, doing a home renovation, or just need to pack up your rug (or rugs) for some reason. Where do you start? The absolute first thing you have to do is to clean the rug. This is a total non-negotiable.
Vacuum Your Rug
We have preached the benefits of vacuuming before (read more on our spring cleaning and rug care articles) and we have no problem saying it again. Vacuuming is one of the best and easiest ways to extend the life of your rug. This is even more important when it comes to packing up an area rug!
Professionally Clean Your Rug
It might be a good idea to look into having it professionally cleaned if your rug is:
We recommend doing some research to find a reputable cleaner in your area. If you are having trouble finding a cleaning service you can trust, contact us! We have might have recommendations for a service in your area or know someone who does.
Do Not Rent In-home Steam Cleaner
We don’t really recommend doing an in-home steam cleaner rental for this (or really ever, we touch on the topic in our Rug Care 101 article) but ultimately, here is why we DON’T love these machines.
Once your rug is properly cleaned, it’s ready to be rolled, moved, and stored!
Now that you have a nice clean rug, it’s time to get rolling. Starting at one of the shorter ends of the rug (or any end if it is a circle or square shape) begin to tightly roll your rug. So if you have a 5’ x 8’ rug, the end rolled rug will be 5’ in length.
Once rolled, you’ll want to tie up your rug to make sure it doesn’t unroll. We suggest using twine, clothesline rope, or packing tape. You’ll want to make sure the rug is secured by the rope or tape securely, but wrapping too tightly can cause pressure marks in the rug.
Next, it’s time to wrap the rug in plastic. You want to look for a heavy duty plastic like a plastic painters drop cloth or large contractors garbage bags. For a single flat piece of plastic simply lay it out on the floor and wrap/roll your rug up making sure there are no air pockets where anything can get in. If you need to use multiple pieces of plastic to encompass the entire rug make sure the pieces overlap to help seal the rug in. Then securely tape the plastic to make sure it does not come undone.
This is not a super high priority if you are simply transporting the rug and the weather is dry, but it’s essential if you’re planning on storing your rug. The plastic will help keep your rug safe from everything from pests and rodents to water.
When moving your rug, make sure not to drag it. If it is too large for one person to carry alone, find someone to help or transport it using a dolly. Even if your area rug is wrapped tightly in plastic, if it is dragged on the ground the plastic can get ripped and the rug can become damaged. You also want to make sure that when you are moving or storing your rug it is not situated under a heavy item. If your rug gets stuck under a dresser, for example, the rug can get crushed. This is especially an issue if the rug has a hard backing, which can crack.
When storing your plastic wrapped rug, we recommend storing the rug horizontally, in a climate controlled environment, not under anything that can crush it, and off of the floor. This ideal storing situation will keep your rug free from getting damaged by water, heavy items, or from its own weight.
If your rug is sturdy enough, it can be stored vertically leaning against a wall. Just make sure the ends are properly protected by the plastic casing.
More flexible styles such as handmade rugs and dhurries can also be stored vertically, but you will want to find some sturdy cardboard or tubing to roll the rug with before wrapping in plastic. This will help keep the rug upright rather than falling over or bending.
Keep in mind that a properly wrapped rug can be stored with no issues for a while, but the longer the rug is stored, the better the chances that it will experience some sort of issue. The three most common being:
Of course, this advice only makes sense if your rug is valuable to you and “worth” keeping. If you’re just moving your rug because it’s a pain to buy a new one, contact us. We’re always here to take the hassle out of rug buying!