These days when you inquire about repairing something, you’re often confronted with a $50-$100 minimum diagnostic charge with no guarantee that it’ll be fixed. Combine this with carefully planned obsolescence by the manufacturers, and it’s no wonder that people tend to throw things away rather than fix them.
I was reading an AARP magazine article (yes, I read AARP magazine) about a growing chain of Repair Cafes in Amsterdam, where volunteers gather and help you repair your things from appliances to furniture to mending clothing. I think it’s a great idea for people to share their skills and help each other out in the community. Also profiled recently in the NY Times. My skilled 4-Her wife mends my clothing all the time, albeit reluctantly as she’d rather me look like I fell out of a J. Crew catalog…
I was also happy to find out that there are some local groups in the US doing similar things. It might be cool to volunteer at one, even if just to learn how to fix various things.
- Fixit Clinic in the San Francisco CA Bay Area
- Fix-it Clinic in Hennepin County, Minnesota
- West Seattle Fixers Collective
- Fixers’ Collective in Brooklyn, New York
There are also many online guides to fixing your own stuff. Check out iFixit.com, their Self-Repair Manifesto, and their goal to make a free repair manual for every device out there from cars to iPhones.