Well, it depends on your purpose. If your goal is simply to get the old carpet out of the way, protect your hands with heavy gloves and use a sharp utility knife to cut a border around the entire area, about four or five inches away from the walls. Then just lift out the center section, pull up the remaining border of carpet and remove the underlying tack strips along the perimeter. If, however, you simply want to pull up a small section to check the type or condition of flooring beneath the carpet, use a small crowbar to loosen one corner of the carpet (figure M), hold it out of the way and hook the crowbar around the underlying padding. Then carefully pull the padding off the tack strips and pull it back to reveal the surface below (figure N).