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Repair Cafés: Putting New Life on the Menu


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Repair Cafés: Putting New Life on the Menu

Reduce, Reuse, REPAIR—Another “R” Word Makes the List!

All over the world, people are being brought together through brokenness. Broken alarm clocks, broken blowdryers, scissors in need of sharpening and elastic waistbands that have come loose or lost their stretch—all these things and more are finding new life at community fix-it events known as Repair Cafés.

There’s something heartening about the idea of a Repair Café. In a world where tools, TVs and toasters are often discarded once they decide to go kaput, it’s nice to know that doesn’t always have to be the case. Chances are, somebody out there probably knows how to fix your on-the-fritz FryDaddy, and they might even be willing to fix it for free—just because they can.

What’s a Repair Café?

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A Repair Café is a place where anyone with something in need of fixing is welcome to stop in and get a free repair, thanks to a range of volunteers with an assortment of skills. Fixing your broken item yourself is also encouraged; you’ll find a variety of tools on hand as well as willing volunteers to guide you through the needed repairs.

But there’s more to a Repair Café than simply breathing new life into an old item. It’s a chance to connect with others in your community. According to RepairCafe.org, “It’s an ongoing learning process. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.”

A Win Win for the Community

In addition to the obvious benefit of saving money by not having to purchase a replacement item, Repair Cafés offer other less tangible benefits too:

  • A chance for people to become involved. Those who might otherwise be sidelined in society now have the opportunity to contribute and to share what they know.
  • A chance to learn a new skill. Since the volunteers are usually happy to share their knowledge, you can learn new skills as you also form new friendships.
  • A chance to make a difference. In an increasingly “throwaway” world, the Repair Café offers people the opportunity to see their possessions as something worth holding onto—which in turn helps kindle enthusiasm for more sustainable living.

Besides all that, going to a Repair Café is fun!

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Repair Cafes Are Popping Up Everywhere!

The first one started in Amsterdam in 2009, and now more than 1150 can be found in 29 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Norway, the Baltics, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, U.K., Germany and more. See if there’s one near you!

comment_2Have you ever hesitated to throw away something that no longer worked, wondering if someone, somewhere, might know how to fix it? We’d love to hear the details! Just tell us about it in the comments below.

Resources:

Would you use a Repair Café if your community had one?

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Yes:
 
97%
No:
 
3%
Total Votes:
127
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Katherine Miller
Katherine Miller
4 years ago

I’m excited to see this. There was just an article in our local newspaper that the library is going to start a Repair Cafe in Racine, Wisconsin. That was the first time I heard of it, and now I learn more in your article. Thanks! It’s a great idea.

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 years ago

That’s wonderful, Katherine! Let us know what you think if you decide to check it out!

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
4 years ago

I love this!! I grew up in an era where we fixed anything broken. I have always lamented the throw away attitude of our society now. I’m so happy to see this coming around. If I could find one in my area and have the time I would happily volunteer.

Meighan Hopper
Meighan Hopper
4 years ago

What a great way to connect with others in the community and learn a new life skill!

Beth Rood
Beth Rood
4 years ago

This is such a great idea!

Sadiemae Smith
Sadiemae Smith
4 years ago

What a great idea!! I’ve never heard of this but think it’s a brilliant way to unite a community and utilize the hidden talents of so many people or increase work ethic and skills in a new younger generation! Plus if coffee is involved – I’m in.

I would love to see something like this get started in our community… Especially with retirees and a young generation not quite old enough for jobs – that would be a beautiful pairing…. Let’s face it, things aren’t not built to last and if we could impact this–the effects could be rippling!

Amanda Gobatto
Amanda Gobatto
4 years ago

You learn something new every day – what a fantastic idea! AND thrilled that they are in Canada too!

Linda Watson
Linda Watson
4 years ago

This also provides a perfect opportunity for seniors to pass on their experience and knowledge to the younger generation!

Tanya Aoyagi
Tanya Aoyagi
4 years ago

We have a few things around the house that need a little repair love. I would love to see one of these cafes close to us! Fingers crossed!

Karen Codrington
Karen Codrington
4 years ago

What a great idea! – So much waste could be avoided.

Amber Lettau
Amber Lettau
4 years ago

I checked out this article thinking about how cool an idea it was that someone had. But unfortunately there are none anywhere near me. Hopefully, they will continue to expand and open one here in Ohio!

Janice Rebey
Janice Rebey
4 years ago

What a great idea! Looking for one in my area!

Alexandria Perone
Alexandria Perone
4 years ago

I was just saying to my husband that we should be fixing things instead of replacing them!!

Jennifer Rottman
Jennifer Rottman
4 years ago

Such a great idea. I hope they become more popular in Michigan.

Sharon Campese
Sharon Campese
4 years ago

I think this is a fantastic idea! The older generation would get so much out of this by passing on their knowledge to others!

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
3 years ago

A friend of mine tried something similar here in Central California… it was a tool library, for checking out tools for DIY projects and such. It is slowly gaining traction. We are also seeding out Free Libraries and Give Boxes here in the Central Valley in California. If you ever wanted to feature these grassroots efforts, I would be happy to snap some photos for you!

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
3 years ago
Reply to  Gingi Freeman

The tool library is a great idea! Glad to hear it’s being embraced. And yes, thank you Gingi, we would love to feature photos of what you and other Movement members are trying out in order to live more simply and sustainably, and to make connections with others.

Lynn Babcock
Lynn Babcock
3 years ago

What a fantastic idea!