Tracy Johnson is a car boot enthusiast who tries to visit at least one event a week to see what she can find. Among her treasures are a number of second-hand rugs.
Q: How long have you been keen on car boot sales?
A: My passion probably started about eight years ago. I decided I wanted to clear out some stuff and a friend told me about a place where she’d had a stall on a couple of occasions. I booked a pitch and my stuff sold well. I also took time out to have a wander round. I loved it. I probably ended up buying almost as much stuff as I had got rid of!
Q: What kinds of things do you look out for at car boot sales?
A: Anything and everything! Over the last few years I have pretty much furnished my home from my car boot sales. I go most weekends – and sometimes twice. I have bought tables, chairs, pictures, plates and other things for the kitchen, as well as bedding, curtains and rugs.
Q: What sorts of rugs have you found?
A: All sorts. I have two large, shaggy rugs in my living room. Both were found at car boot sales. One is a large, woolly cream rug and the other is smaller, in a burgundy shade. I have rugs that are in a more oriental style in my hallway, and I even have a brightly coloured rag rug in my bathroom that I found at a car boot sale.
Q: Do you mind buying second-hand rugs?
A: Not at all! Why should I? Most of what I have at home is second-hand, and from car boot sales. It is all good quality stuff and I have got hold of it at an incredibly good price – and I have had items cleaned when they have needed to be. In a way, it is nice to own second-hand things. They almost take on a life of their own and it is fun to imagine their history, the homes they might have been in before.
Q: How do you decide if a second-hand rug is worth buying?
A: Well first of all you have to like it and it has to be right for your home. I never buy anything unless I can picture exactly where I am going to put it. Otherwise, I just end up collecting more junk than I know what to do with. I then look carefully at its condition. It is worth examining the front, and pulling the fibres apart slightly to check they are not wearing away. Then always turn it over and check the weave or backing is in good condition too.
Q: Do you buy second-hand rugs if they are dirty?
A: It depends how dirty they are. I would never buy anything that had a paint or oil stain on it but a bit of general grime is usually OK! The rag rug I bought and the smaller shaggy one in my living room both went into my machine on a cold wash and came out beautifully. I gave one of the rugs in my hall that was a bit grubby a light shampoo. The others I just hung outside for a while to air before putting them down.
Q: Are you on the look out for any more second-hand rugs?
A: Well, funnily enough I am! I would like a nice rug for my bedroom, something warm and thick underfoot that would be nice to step onto in the morning. I am looking for something quite plain but dark in colour. But there’s no rush – every so often I look on the internet and every week I check what is out there at the car boot sales. But in the meantime, there are other bits and pieces I still need for my house – and I am always happy just browsing!