So you just got new carpet and there are a bunch of scraps laying around. What should you do with them? Sorting them is the first step. Anything less than 18” wide should probably get tossed into the garbage. The ones that are wider are the ones we will be talking about.

First, some of the pieces should be saved in the event of some tragedy. If a hole or stain appears in the middle of your family room that can’t be cleanout out, these scraps could be very important. That means you can’t use them as walk-off mats at your back door. They need to be stored where they will remain clean and dry.

If you have enough left over, you can have the dealer you bought your carpet from bind up some of the pieces and use them as throw mats in heavily trafficked areas. The binding keeps the edges from fraying and creating messes. The good part about this is you can make the throw rugs exactly the size that you need. If you have a sliding glass door that leads to the outside, these throw rugs can do a great job of keeping the carpets in the room clean and free from stains. If you have a fireplace that you use, this can save the new carpet from getting ruined by debris.

Let’s say a stain appears in the middle of one your rooms. You did everything to clean that spot, but it’s now permanent. Sometimes the only way to fix this is to replace the carpet. This can be painful, expensive and may force the replacement of the adjoining rooms (because the colors may not match at the doorways). If you have kept your carpet remnants intact, these pieces can be used to repair the problem since they are the same dye lot. If the only pieces you have were sitting by the back door and are trashed, they won’t be much help.

One of the other tricks we use when someone has a problem of this nature and has no scraps involves a closet chunk. This happens most frequently when someone is renting an apartment and their dog chews a corner of the carpet somewhere. The renter has no extra carpet remnants of course so we take a piece out of one of the closets and use that to repair the carpet because the dye lot matches. Then we send out a scrap that’s close to the color of the closet carpet and hope the landlord misses it. If this doesn’t work, the tenant may be on the hook for a couple grand worth of carpet replacement.

We use this technique in homes as well. If you just bought a house and have no idea where the carpet came from and have no scraps, what do you do? There’s a hole in the middle of the room and you need it fixed without spending a fortune. We start searching closets for matching pieces. If we have to put a piece that doesn’t match somewhere, better in the back of a closet than the middle of the living room.

Ultimately, it’s great if you can save some carpet remnants as it could save you bundles. You might regret tossing the scraps if a stain sets you back thousands of dollars.