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?


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, “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!


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.


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

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