Old carpet and dogs go together like rug stains and red wine. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Old carpet and dogs go together like rug stains and red wine. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Old carpet is gross but has one redeeming quality

Asking “What’s the point of owning nice things?” marks a watershed moment for American consumerism.

My family has now lived in our home for 17 years, which means that our carpet has is no longer old, it’s ancient. It wasn’t even new when we moved in. In fact, we originally considered replacing it, but couldn’t afford to. How old is our carpet? Twenty years? Twenty-five? Nobody knows.

Over the years there was always a home maintenance project that was more pressing than carpet replacement. The roof leaked. The upstairs toilet overflowed. The 1980s wallpaper destroyed my soul. Then we got a dog.

By the time you have two kids and a dog, white carpet doesn’t stand a chance. I steam clean it twice a year, and vacuum every day, but it’s gross.

But here’s the thing about ancient carpet that makes it worthwhile keeping for a little while longer — it can’t be ruined.

When the poodle has an accident… When sunscreen splatters from the tube… When someone spills barbecue sauce in the dining room… When fir needles blow in through the door… The carpet can’t be ruined because it’s already ruined.

An appreciation for indestructible home goods is something that’s becoming more popular these days. Now you can buy rugs that go into the washing machine, couches with replaceable covers, and waterproof dog blankets that look like elegant throws. The 1950s woman with plastic over her living room furniture has become the mom who swaps out throw pillow covers according to the seasons.

We’ve lost our tolerance for fuss. Case in point: Brides rarely register for china anymore. It’s expensive, inconvenient to store and you can’t put it in the dishwasher. I have two sets of china which I cherish, one from my wedding and one from my grandma, but when I brought the dishes out last Christmas, I wondered if the extra work it took to use them was worth it.

Housewives like me asking “What’s the point of owning nice things?” marks a major change for American consumerism.

Once you think like that, it leads to deeply philosophical questions about your home. Is the piano that nobody plays worth it? Are these scrapbooks that nobody looks at worth it? Is the Bundt pan worth it? Is the dining room worth it?

I’m not sure that my goal in life should be in to live in an indestructible, machine-washable home. But at that same time, having brand-new carpet that could be ruined with one errant spaghetti noodle … that sounds scary.

One day when my poodle Merlin and his untrustworthy bladder are no longer with us, we will finally replace the carpet. Unless… wait a second… is carpet worth it? Maybe we should choose something easier to clean, like luxury plank vinyl.

In the meantime, whenever I pour red wine, I lift my glass and toast our old carpet for making life a little less stressful. If some of the wine spills, no worries. There are stains everywhere.

Jennifer Bardsley is the author of “Sweet Bliss,” “Good Catch” and more. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

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