When I was younger, I used to scoff at my dad’s habit of holding onto things until they were irretrievably broken and could not be repaired anymore. I couldn’t understand why he preferred to spend hours attempting to fix something rather than just run to the store and buy a new one. However, the majority of the time, he would return from the garage triumphant, fixed object in hand. Even when he failed at fixing, he was happy, boasting that he now knew more about that particular object than he had before.
I didn’t really understand this perspective until a few years ago, when I started getting more involved in the green movement. Repairing an item is better for the environment than simply throwing it out and buying a new one. This is not a new way of thinking - it’s shocking to realize how much knowledge and skills of repair and fixing things that people possessed just a couple of generations ago. My father was, and still is, just doing what he had witnessed in his parents who lived through the Depression, a time when repair and reuse were necessary. What’s sad is that my generation has grown up without those skills of repair, for the most part. However, it’s exciting to witness the revival of these skills around the world, especially in programs called repair cafes or Fix It Clinics (we have one here at Recycled Reads!). At events like these, you can bring in broken items and learn how to fix them yourself with the help of volunteer fixers.
So the next time something you own breaks, but looks like it still may have some life in it, don’t give up on it! Look at the library’s calendar for the next Fix It Clinic or check out some of the library’s DIY databases to see if there are resources available to help you fix your item. Give it a try, at the very least you might learn something.