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The Emergence of the Fix-It Society

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chaps676

In Amsterdam, community members are gathering at cafés, not for a cup of coffee, but to fix broken toasters and vacuum cleaners. Started as a small volunteer-based center, the Repair Cafe has become a success story, attracting more than $525,000 in funding. “In Europe, we throw out so many things,” said Martine Postma, the journalist who came up with the idea. “It’s a shame, because the things we throw away are usually not that broken. There are more and more people in the world, and we can’t keep handling things the way we do.”

The Repair Cafe reminds us that our definition of “broken” has radically changed over the past 50 years. We used to sew patches on ripped clothing and wrap duct tape around frayed extension cords, but now it’s easier, and often cheaper, to just purchase a replacement. “This cost 5 or 10 euros,” said a women, referring to a black H&M skirt she brought to the Repair Cafe. “It’s a piece of nothing, you could throw it out and buy a new one. But if it were repaired, I would wear it.”

The movement towards repair isn’t just bound to Amsterdam; a small gallery in Brooklyn, New York, now invites community members to bring in their broken and worn belongings. “Anyone can bring something in and tinker with it. If you don’t fix it, you can turn it into something else,” said gallery owner Tammy Pittman. “We turned an MP3 player into a telephone. Somebody once turned a shoe into a lamp.” Now known as the Fixers Collective, not only do participants save money by revamping their goods, they also learn how something works by tinkering with broken parts.

1010uk on Flickr

Participants of the Repair Cafe examine an appliance.

This approach hearkens back to earlier habits. “In the early decades of industrialization, people might pass down, repair, or sell service products like ovens, refrigerators, and phones to junk dealers,” writes architect and designer William McDonough. “Today most so-called durables are tossed. Who on Earth would repair a cheap toaster today? It is much easier to buy a new one than it is to send the parts back to the manufacturer or track down someone to repair it locally.” Instead of this constant disposability,  McDonough envisions a cradle-to-cradle approach to design that encourages companies to create waste-free products.

Even with do-gooders like McDonough, it will never be easy to persuade companies to create long-lasting products. It’s no secret that many retailers practice planned obsolescence, deliberately designing and manufacturing objects to have a short lifespan so that consumers constantly purchase new versions and throw out the old.  The Repair Cafe and various other fix-it groups emerging around the world are an example of how people are taking matters into their own hands to completely redefine consumption. It appears we have the beginnings of a fix-it economy, where the most highly valued skill is the ability to mend.

Chappell Ellison is a designer, writer and design writer. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as a contributor for The Etsy Blog and design columnist for GOOD.

4 Featured Comments

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  • fbstudiovt

    Laura Hale from fbstudiovt says: Featured

    Love this. I grew up in an old falling apart farmhouse with just my mom and me, and part of that was learning how to fix everything that broke, because there was no way she was buying a new anything. I sewed clothes, knit sweaters, garden in recycled containers, cooked with whatever we had in the fridge and pantry, stuck the soles back on shoes, fixed the vacuum more than once, reupholstered furniture when it wore out, repaired old plaster walls - whatever it took. I'm often amazed and alarmed by what my friends throw out. Those of us that are DIY and reuse inclined, I think it benefits us all if we tried to mentor those who've never dipped their toes into the fix-it pool. My guess is that a huge fear factor and lack of knowledge on how to repair or reuse cause a lot of great stuff to be tossed.

    1 year ago

  • ansluasi

    ansluasi from OnceUponABookshop says: Featured

    I love it! we live on a budget and so I try and fix everything I can. Love that old saying: Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without. Hopefully this small movement can spread, especially if today's more eco-minded young people embrace it. In our house, our 4 year old daughter already "helps" with repairs, learning not only repair skills but also the habit of repair instead of tossing. We have fun, it saves money, and it is earth friendly. All around win.

    1 year ago

  • truthbeautyandlove27

    Colleen O'Neal from truthbeautyandlove27 says: Featured

    I was just reading "A Brave New World" where much of the economy is based on people making new things and never ever repairing old things. That book scares me because I see so much of our current world in that never ending cycle of consumption. So much of my desire to make jewelry is based on looking at something old and broken and thinking what can I make with that? I applaud this idea of a group of people getting together to fix what would other wise be turned into trash!

    1 year ago

  • BlueBrocade

    BlueBrocade from BlueBrocade says: Featured

    Its true that repairing many of today's commodities is not easy and not always cheap, and the knowledge is not always easy to access--where does one train to fix vaccums? But I feel better trying to fix it than throwing it away. Where do our old appliances go? Our old computers? Often they wind up in dumps in India where local people sift through the dangerous metals. I am inspired by these projects that encourage the repairing and refurbishing of old things, and hope the movement continues to grow!

    1 year ago

  • funkomavintage

    Tressie from funkomavintage says:

    I fix dinner, I fix old clothes, I fix cars....and sometimes I even fix broken hearts....viva la vintage !

    1 year ago

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle says:

    yeah its sad that products are designed to break so that we will buy more products - we try to fix, patch, repair and reuse when we can too - not out of necessity but because we can and should. Thanks for this article - inspiring more people to think a bit more about what they use and toss.

    1 year ago

  • VoleedeMoineaux
  • taylorfords

    Jeremy Taylor from TaylorFords says:

    Really good read. Thanks for sharing.

    1 year ago

  • DGEnterprises

    Therese Magnani from DGEnterprises says:

    There is great satisfaction to be had in repairing something. Would love to see this idea spread in the U.S.

    1 year ago

  • HelloShoes

    HelloShoes from HelloShoes says:

    It is so true that the things we sometimes throw out are not truly broken. I have to admit easy to fix. I am still mad at myself for throwing some things away a few years ago..Though I do love giving my daughter a new wardrobe while cutting and stitching away on her old clothes. Those also seem to be her favorite. I do cherish items more to either give away,recycle or repurpose. No more trash:)

    1 year ago

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye from VintageEye says:

    Every neighborhood used to have a fix it shop where repairs to vacuum cleaners, toasters & televisions could be had for a reasonable price. Getting a new appliance was a big deal & you expected to have it for 20 or 30 years. Shoes & clothing were resoled or mended as often as was needed to keep them serviceable. I find so many vintage items that are still going strong after 30, 40, 50 years or more. I am firmly in the try to fix it before you toss it camp.

    1 year ago

  • tarikyousef

    Tarik Yousef from TYFineFurniture says:

    I try to fix everything I can when reasonably possible. It makes so much more sense, even when an item may cost as much to repair, there are always hidden costs associated with replacing an item, not to mention the impact on landfills of simply tossing slightly damaged items.

    1 year ago

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering says:

    I wish I could take my digital camera to that place, I almost want to take it apart myself & tinker with it!

    1 year ago

  • ForTheGirlsThisOne

    ForTheGirlsThisOne from ForTheGirlsThisOne says:

    I asked for advice from my co-workers when my lawn mower cord broke. Everyone thought I should get a new lawn mower. I took it apart and installed a new cord and for less than $5 it's fixed. It wasn't easy and it was dirty but I did it. Love your article.

    1 year ago

  • RonsJewelry

    RonsJewelry from RonsJewelry says:

    Love this post! Yeah zero waste!

    1 year ago

  • GrowingUpWild

    Kelly Engel from GrowingUpWild says:

    Thank you for this! I get so frustrated when I see so many things being thrown away when they have so much life left in them! I wish more people would take the time to do repairs. Such a rewarding feeling at the end, saves money and keeps items out of landfills. If you don't plan to fix it please at least find a place to donate it that will fix and sell it to keep it out of the trash!

    1 year ago

  • yourauntiespanties

    Genevieve F from YourAuntiesPanties says:

    Really, very interesting! I hate to throw perfectly good things away, especially appliances!!

    1 year ago

  • donnamarietta

    donnamarietta says:

    I put a "not special" lamp in the trash this morning, but this inspires me to go fetch it and give fixing it a shot. The post about the satisfaction got me thinking. That has a value I have not given enough weight in these kinds of decisions. Thanks for the post!

    1 year ago

  • guziks

    Stephanie from Phylogeny says:

    I'm always amazed by the things we're willing to toss aside and replace with new replacements. I'm glad to see someone taking on the challenge of changing that status quo. I'm all for fixing things that can be repaired!

    1 year ago

  • SciarrettaFarms

    Birgitte Sciarretta from SciarrettaFarms says:

    My dad is a Mr Fixit and so is my husband. Being handy is not just great for the planet and the pocket book, but it also saves time and aggravation!

    1 year ago

  • PatternsAndPlans

    PatternsAndPlans from PatternsAndPlans says:

    Thanks for this post. I would really like to revive the repair economy. We might start with revitalizing shoe repair shops. Clothing and apparel create the most land fill waste!

    1 year ago

  • OnToVintage

    OnToVintage from OnToVintage says:

    Amen! All the more need for vintage shops! Simple repairs made on otherwise durable products!

    1 year ago

  • ValliCraftEmporium

    ValliCraftEmporium from ValliCraftEmporium says:

    This is dear to my heart. I recycle old parts to make new creations. Wish more people would do the same.

    1 year ago

  • eclecticarmadillo

    eclecticarmadillo from eclecticarmadillo says:

    Love this blog post! Hope this kind of things catches on all over the world. My boyfriend is a retired electrical engineer. I am daily amazed at things he can fix!

    1 year ago

  • Made2Impress

    Made2Impress from Made2Impress says:

    There is true wealth in recycled/repaired goods! We need to make it ever present so that future generations survive. Otherwise we bury ourselves in our own garbage. How shameful!

    1 year ago

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom says:

    What makes no sense to me is that these appliance-makers *could* start up repair departments--like the fabled Maytag Repairman, only they'd actually have work to do. And it'd employ people in many different countries, which would make these corporations look good. I don't know why they haven't apparently considered it, and I'm glad to see regular people doing an end run around them.

    1 year ago

  • EdgeFinderLED

    Bill Browne from EdgeFinderLED says:

    If I can't fix it, I'll tear it apart to see if there is anything in it I can use, and to see how it works. My girlfriend's treadmill died a year ago. The walking belt became a non-skid mat in front of the lathe, the power switch got used on the accent lighting in the guest bath, and part of the frame got used to build an engine stand for the race car. I'm still robbing parts off the circuit boards and cutting up pieces of the frame.

    1 year ago

  • BeadtrissLane

    Krista Kirk from BeadtrissLane says:

    This is great!!! I grew up with the mindset of taking care of things, and then fixing them when they broke. (As long as the cost of fixing was not more than the actual item cost.) Great post!! ~Krista

    1 year ago

  • rickrackshack

    Vanessa Ryerse from TheMosaicButterfly says:

    This article blisses me out. It's so quietly rebellious. I love it. I am part of the fix-it society.

    1 year ago

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations says:

    Yeah! Go go gadget Repair Cafe!

    1 year ago

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery says:

    I love this! I always get bothered by the attitude of tossing and re-purchasing!!

    1 year ago

  • fbstudiovt

    Laura Hale from fbstudiovt says: Featured

    Love this. I grew up in an old falling apart farmhouse with just my mom and me, and part of that was learning how to fix everything that broke, because there was no way she was buying a new anything. I sewed clothes, knit sweaters, garden in recycled containers, cooked with whatever we had in the fridge and pantry, stuck the soles back on shoes, fixed the vacuum more than once, reupholstered furniture when it wore out, repaired old plaster walls - whatever it took. I'm often amazed and alarmed by what my friends throw out. Those of us that are DIY and reuse inclined, I think it benefits us all if we tried to mentor those who've never dipped their toes into the fix-it pool. My guess is that a huge fear factor and lack of knowledge on how to repair or reuse cause a lot of great stuff to be tossed.

    1 year ago

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits from OuterKnits says:

    Great idea! What goes around comes around. Does that include mowing your own grass?

    1 year ago

  • loopyboopy

    loopy from loopyboopy says:

    I definetly love this intiative and would like to see this idea take off with both consumer and manufacturer! Return the idea of something lasting a lifetime or at least a couple of years. With electronics though I fear something else is going to have to happen as updated versions of electronics come out on a yearly basis, many people are hell bent on getting them as soon as they come out, leaving the last years items to either be thrown away or ideally recycled. But until this idea of new is better is changed, not sure how this can take off. NOW, I love seeing the kid fixing. Thats who we gotta get on this bandwagon, the children.

    1 year ago

  • KettleConfections

    KettleConfections from KettleConfections says:

    To expand the fix it economy, companies will have to design things with replaceable parts, and a blueprint of the product like they use to- or else, the consumers will have to figure out how to take apart a broken appliance and fix it themselves. These days, you can search on youtube on how to do these things, but if companies don't change the way they design things, we'll have to rely on the collective knowledge of the crowd to show us how things can be fixed.

    1 year ago

  • RenataandJonathan
  • DamsonTreePottery

    Marieanne Cavaciuti from damsontreepottery says:

    We have never bought a washing machine TV or tumble dryer - my husband just fixes other people's broken ones!

    1 year ago

  • DamsonTreePottery

    Marieanne Cavaciuti from damsontreepottery says:

    Fabulous - my husband fixes everything and saves so much money and waste!

    1 year ago

  • ansluasi

    ansluasi from OnceUponABookshop says: Featured

    I love it! we live on a budget and so I try and fix everything I can. Love that old saying: Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without. Hopefully this small movement can spread, especially if today's more eco-minded young people embrace it. In our house, our 4 year old daughter already "helps" with repairs, learning not only repair skills but also the habit of repair instead of tossing. We have fun, it saves money, and it is earth friendly. All around win.

    1 year ago

  • viperxmns

    Mark Strauss from viperxmns says:

    Nice. Sucks when you want to fix something but the fates conspire against you; I have this TV that seems to have a broken remote sensor, but finding a place that supplies a compatible one (for a price I'm comfortable with) has kind of fallen through. Still though, it was completely rewarding to be able to save my drawing tablet, which had a bad section of wire that needed to be cut away and resoldered.

    1 year ago

  • TheBeautyofBoredom

    Gracie from TheBeautyofBoredom says:

    Wow, what a great idea! I have many things that need fixed, especially clothing. A week ago I sent out an ad on craigslist saying that I was looking for a seamstress to shorten, repair, and take in a few dresses. I got two replies; one being a recommendation to a local tailor and one person who offered to do it for very cheap. I am going to choose the latter and hope everything works out. There is no way I would throw away these, and there aren't replacements as they are vintage, but the main idea is still that broken things should be fixed or turned into something new. The dresses aren't doing any good in my closet not getting worn, and a landfill isn't a good option either. I wonder how long it will be before something like this appears in many countries across the globe?

    1 year ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    Most people don't even keep things until they break before they replace them. The mindset that demands the latest fashions in everything needs to be broken before we can hope to really make an impact on the amount of things that end up in landfill unnecessarily.

    1 year ago

  • MarilynPonty

    Marilyn Ponty Salzano from EastCoastPonty says:

    When we were kids my my father would bring home broken wrist watches, radios, toasters etc. we'd get out our own set of screw drivers and proceed to take them apart. Sometimes we even fixed something. I still do that. I can't resist trying to fix a broken appliance or just take apart a cell phone or answering machine because the inside of these digital machines are so beautiful.

    1 year ago

  • poplovedesigns

    Andrea Hughes from PopLoveHers says:

    This is a spectacular concept and is completely in line with everything that we're all about at PopLove. We need more cafes like this, everywhere.

    1 year ago

  • onepennysparrow

    onepennysparrow from onepennysparrow says:

    I love it! This is such a great article. I would love to see this happen in my area...

    1 year ago

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose says:

    This is great! It is soooo important! Global warming is real. It is coming to eat us. And only we can stop it. All we have to do is more stuff like this and make less waste and abuse our planet less. Just, going green in the kitchen, takes away an entire third of your home's waste contribution. That is where I have started and I highly recommend others do the same. It is so important now to change how we live or there will soon cease to be a planet able and willing to support our continued existence. Thanx for this great article it is so nice to see how people are changing the way they are living to try to save the earth and all of humanity.

    1 year ago

  • ThePolkadotMagpie

    Polkadot Magpie from ThePolkadotMagpie says:

    This happens in our home on a daily basis. First because my son loved to take things apart and see what was inside. Then he began to fix them. People, neighbors, friends are always bringing us stuff to repair. We usually do it, unless there is a circuit board that's fried. Great blog!

    1 year ago

  • LondonFelt

    Louise from LondonFelt says:

    I so want to see more of this - I don't want to replace things when they break I want to mend them or get them mended. We need to make things that are more easily fixable with available parts more see my hoover story at http://londonfelt.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/please-remake-hoover-constellation.html

    1 year ago

  • dailydangerco

    Dejah Danger from DangerIndustries says:

    What a great idea to add to my list of planned community changing projects in my city. This is fantastic. We're all about re-using, fixing, and repurposing around here. What a great way to share that with the community.

    1 year ago

  • MaidenVoyageClothing
  • MaidenVoyageClothing

    MaidenVoyageClothing from MaidenVoyageClothing says:

    Great post! We're constantly fixing up vintage items at home! We found a 50s toaster... this thing is the BEST toaster we've ever had. Toasts come out so even, so crisp. Funny, but true!

    1 year ago

  • lilamariedesigns

    Carrie says:

    My husband is a miracle worker when it comes to repairs of anything! And I don't throw anything anyway... if it can't be mended well enough to wear, it can be re-purposed, buttons kept, zippers re-used... I am the queen of fabric yo-yo's! :P I will be darned if I will repurchase my electronics b/c companies intend of making things NOT last. Shame on them.

    1 year ago

  • ecokaren

    Karen Lee from ecokaren says:

    So great to hear there is a place where you can take things to be repaired and fix. Totally green and eco-friendly! I'm all for it! Thanks for sharing.

    1 year ago

  • rarebeasts

    Brian McNamara from rarebeasts says:

    Cool idea.

    1 year ago

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique from RetroRevivalBoutique says:

    This is a great article! :0)

    1 year ago

  • spiderbunny

    Jessa Cady from Spiderbunny says:

    What a great sounding place! I wish that there was something like that in my city, very cool! ^ . ^

    1 year ago

  • darkcycleclothing

    darkcycleclothing from darkcycleclothing says:

    I love this article. It's countercultural thinking that is going to bring lasting satisfaction, not a shiny new blender or toaster. I am guilty on this front, but this article has really encouraged me to re-examine my consumerist ways.

    1 year ago

  • atinyforest

    Kimberly from atinyforest says:

    What a great post - I would love to see this attitude spread. I've always lived this way out of necessity and frugality, but I probably would even if I didn't have to. It does make it harder when manufacturers make items that are meant to be replaced, not repaired. "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, and do without," I say.

    1 year ago

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy says:

    What a great idea to work on reusing and fixing instead of throwing! Pretty funny to me that my broken old TV is on the deck for my two year old to "fix it" and buy mommy a few quiet minutes....maybe he'll start his fix it business when he grows up!

    1 year ago

  • 5gardenias

    kathi roussel from 5gardenias says:

    Such a heartening feature! I really hope this catches on. One of the reasons I'm happy selling vintage is that it's another way to help to recycle and offer goods to others to find new uses for. The amount of "stuff" filling the world is just ridiculous and at some point there will be no more room for it. The idea of returning to the principles of quality over quantity and of repairing, repurposing and upcycling are wonderful solutions to the issues of waste and excessive consumption. Thanks for the inspiring stories above!

    1 year ago

  • quiltitems4u

    quiltitems4u from quiltitems4u says:

    Sign me up! It is so hard for me to throw away that item that just does not perform as it once did! But what to do with it? I even tried to get one local technical/magnet school to take these items as "learning tools/experiments" in hopes they could/would become just the people in your article. BRAVO! Do you think the next ‘café’ could open up in Charleston, South Carolina?????

    1 year ago

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Smith from opendoorstudio says:

    I LOVE this! I remember the small engine repairman who could fix your little fan in your old kitchen, rather than having to pitch the entire thing. I love the old clock repair and bicycle repair shops too. I hope and pray that this will emerge as the "new way" or the " in thing" for this society that is so used to tossing things at the drop of a hat example: disguarding an entire artificial Christmas tree ( i prefer a fresh tree myself) when one light strand goes out... change the fuse, find the bulb that doesn't work filling landfill after landfill...have some pride in fixing things yourself! it feels good to do so!

    1 year ago

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Smith from opendoorstudio says:

    oops discarding..sorry!

    1 year ago

  • Musclesandcrafts

    Melanie from merVazi says:

    I love to reuse things, especially making them into something else. We recently renovated our kitchen, and all our old cabinets went to store all my craft stuff - I gain twice - a bigger kitchen to cook in and more organization for the things my heart loves to do - craft.

    1 year ago

  • theshagbag

    theshagbag from theshagbag says:

    Good to hear! For many of us this is a way of life. I have found great satisfaction in recently repairing several hoses, making pants for my son out of pants I could no longer wear, making a fireplace screen from wire and a falling apart old screen. When I buy new socks I buy thigh high socks so when the foot officially wear out I cut the foot off, sew it up and have a new pair of knee highs! Sometimes I think I take DIY and fixing to extremes, but I love the creativity of it and all the money I don't have to spend :)

    1 year ago

  • leafprintstudio

    Camille from leafprintstudio says:

    Yes, my new toaster oven stopped toasting after barely 1 year! Ridiculous. And how feasible is it to repair something like that? So there it sits in my garage...

    1 year ago

  • BackyardBrand

    Jim McLean from BackyardBrand says:

    I recently took our whole washing machine apart to replace an old switch inside; felt good; saved a ton. Couldn't fix the super-old box freezer, tho; so I cut out the motor and recycled and still use the cold box for storing nonperishables and shipping materials. I wouldn't say I'm attached to it; but its large, flat surface is very useful; there's also a particularly well located edge on it that I that I use to brace metal parts that I press together in my process. The other day I got a kick out seeing a jeweler in a little stall using a well worn edge on a drawer the same way, to do a repair. I could happily relate!

    1 year ago

  • MagAnna

    MagAnna from MagAnna says:

    Printers (HP especially) break so fast. According to one of their own help line person, they are only to last 2 years. Terrible, this waste. How to repair printers? There is so much electronics in them.

    1 year ago

  • LeatherheadOriginals

    LeatherheadOriginals from LeatherheadOriginals says:

    I love to attempt to fix stuff before replacing. Learned the value of that as a kid(even though I didn't like helping Dad all the time in my teen years LOL!). Nowadays, I enjoy the challenge of repurposing things to create art, or extend the life of an appliance or machine that goes on the fritz! Looking forward to a return to "fix- It" society as the future no doubt!

    1 year ago

  • mirabellamorello

    mirabellamorello from mirabellamorello says:

    Thank you for this article! I love the idea of things having a new life instead of filling up the landfill! As many have pointed out in various comments, repairing, repurposing and selling vintage items all share a common thread: there is more life left in this, let me use it!

    1 year ago

  • uniquefabricgifts

    Unique Fabric Gifts from uniquefabricgifts says:

    Great interesting article!

    1 year ago

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry from pinksnakejewelry says:

    Super Post!!! I really hope this catches on. We try to fix and mend as much as we can at home too.

    1 year ago

  • candycanemaker

    candycanemaker from candycanemaker says:

    Grew up with "fix-it" parents and still try to do as much as possible today! There are so many things we can salvage!

    1 year ago

  • LeatherheadOriginals

    LeatherheadOriginals from LeatherheadOriginals says:

    Glad to see this "Fix -It" movement emerging! I too get lots of satisfaction in resurrecting broken stuff, or re- purposing parts if not repairable! I really love reusing the nice, soft leather from old garments to create hats.

    1 year ago

  • AntoinettesWhims

    Antoinette from AntoinettesWhims says:

    What a concept!!! It's nothing new though, our grandparents and great-grandparents lived by the motto “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”. For them it was a matter of frugality ~ "waste not want not", "A stitch in time saves nine" were other maxims they lived by.

    1 year ago

  • ChandraValli

    Chandra Valli Paetsch from ChandraValli says:

    I love this. Over the past few years, between the environmental crisis and lack of money to buy new things due to the recession, even I (who have always been frugal) have felt a strong urge to abandon consumer culture. And it feels great! I can live on so much less than I would ever have thought possible, and there is some pride which comes with that. I will admit that old habits die hard. A few weeks ago a blender at my work began to leak profusely. 'Oh, dear. I think this is on its last leg...' I said, to which one of the girls who works with me immediately said 'I think it's a loose washer,' turned it upside-down, and within two minutes had fixed it! It simply never occurred to me that it could be so easy to repair appliances. I'm thinking in a whole new way, and its very exciting. I'm glad to see so many other people are, too!

    1 year ago

  • iammieCLAYshop

    iammieCLAYshop from iammieCLAYshop says:

    Interesting!

    1 year ago

  • mflueders

    Martha and Nikki Rule from VintageHomeRevival says:

    Inspiring comments...This has nothing to do with repair but I regularly buy toys for my kids at thrift stores, really nice toys, like keyboards, R2-D2 with remote...that I'm convinced are donated largely b/c they are out of batteries. People just get rid of them instead of putting new batteries in because their kids have so many other obnoxious battery-needing toys. Our house is a revolving door of items being bought and re-donated. I always put new batteries in them before I donate if they've run out. The needy kid who grabs it off the shelf will be so jacked that is works and his mom will be jacked that it costs like $2.00 or less.

    1 year ago

  • HandMadeBox

    Tania E. from HandMadeBox says:

    I love this idea! Totally me! This should become everyone's goal, regarding the fact that we are in the middle of a recession and an environmental crisis!

    1 year ago

  • lovelyfeverboutique

    Jessica from LovelyFever says:

    What a fabulous movement! Besides being a way to reduce waste and making a statement against over-consumption, I bet that fixing things that need mending is a fun hobby for these people. Even if the things are not fixable, its wonderful that they find creative ways to repurpose them.

    1 year ago

  • Namaz

    Nazima Banka from nazimabanka says:

    What an amazing idea of an article! I'm always amazed with how the Americans make do/Fix-it/DIY items, brilliant!

    1 year ago

  • stinnovation

    ST Innovation from stinnovation says:

    Great idea for fix-It! it is fix our life and tomorrow.

    1 year ago

  • SimpleFamilyGifts

    Miranda Noll from SimpleFamilyGifts says:

    Thank you Repair Cafe! I have become a "fix it" over the last several years and find it rewarding on so many levels. I am grateful to be part of a community that feels the way I do!

    1 year ago

  • ColdMountainDesigns

    Teresa Rickards from ColdMountainDesigns says:

    Great article! My grandfather had a repair shop for many many years back in the 50's-70's that did exactly what the author is shedding light on. My father worked for my grandfather in the shop for many years as well. In fact, that's how my father met my mother! I was raised to fix broken or worn items, but more importantly, to take very good care of my possesions so that they wouldn't break. Of course, nowadays, goods are made to be disposable, and therein is the sacrifice of quality. I find that handmade items and goods made in the era of quality products are of a much higher quality than most commercially produced items. Support and celebrate handmade and vintage items and being a DIYer. It's always more economical in the long run!

    1 year ago

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas from FreakyPeas says:

    When I make a purchase no matter how big or small, I always ask the question...Will I want/need this forever? Usually the answer is no so, it goes back on the shelf.

    1 year ago

  • MagpieWorkshop

    Jeanne Berg from MagpieWorkshop says:

    Like so many others who already posted, my parents never threw away but repaired or refashioned. I find today, you can buy some things so cheaply that they have lost any sense of true value or meaning. And that being the case, it is very easy to just throw them away without giving it a second thought. I try hard to follow the example of my parents.

    1 year ago

  • littlekdog

    Kirsten Bodnarchuk says:

    When one of our flashlights batteries died we went to purchase a new battery. it was one of those huge square things. we found the replacement batteries were $8 but right beside it was the same flashlight with battery for $5! Bizzare and such a waste! Love this story though. Wish we had something like this near me; I'd use it all the time!

    1 year ago

  • BretJames

    Bret James from BretJames says:

    Great article! Being able to fix and repair broken items is an awesome life tool, that can save you thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime. This concept is the best Iv'e seen because it gets people working together in a combined effort and contributes to chances of something being fixed properly.

    1 year ago

  • truthbeautyandlove27

    Colleen O'Neal from truthbeautyandlove27 says: Featured

    I was just reading "A Brave New World" where much of the economy is based on people making new things and never ever repairing old things. That book scares me because I see so much of our current world in that never ending cycle of consumption. So much of my desire to make jewelry is based on looking at something old and broken and thinking what can I make with that? I applaud this idea of a group of people getting together to fix what would other wise be turned into trash!

    1 year ago

  • my2handsstudio

    Donna from my2handsstudio says:

    Thank you for the article, I fix and save anything I can!

    1 year ago

  • ArtsyFlair

    Michaela Stephens from ArtsyFlair says:

    Wonderful article! I was the kid that took my desktop computer apart out of boredom and then put it back to together. :)

    1 year ago

  • MeredithAshe

    Meredith Ashe from ChasingCinderella says:

    I admit that (sometimes) I just want something new, but I love the idea of being able to fix things, passing them along to someone who will love their new item as much as I love mine. :)

    1 year ago

  • Ebrown2503

    Eleanore from FiberBeads says:

    I knew if I waited long enough my old habits would come back in style.

    1 year ago

  • MulberryCreek

    Melissa from MulberryCreek says:

    I love this post! One response brought back memories of my hometown years ago. When you would walk "downtown" ( there actually was one ) you would pass a Shoe Repair Shop, A Tailor Shop ( which happened to be my grandfathers and fathers ), A TV repair shop, and a Saw Shop where they repaired tools. None of those shops exist now. When you purchase a product now they want you to buy a extended warrenty for half the cost of the item sometimes, and then maybe, maybe someone might take a look at it if you send it in somewhere that you never heard of. So sad. I love this idea of a Fixit Cafe! Carry On!!!

    1 year ago

  • lizziebones

    Lizzie Agosto from lizziebones says:

    This is a great post- on one of my biggest pet peeves. I just fixed my son's ipod!

    1 year ago

  • bhangtiez

    Jana from bhangtiez says:

    So awesome to hear this story! Thank you!

    1 year ago

  • UncommonShop

    UncommonShop from UncommonShop says:

    Glad to see that people are taking time to repair and not just throw away. Thank you for a great article.

    1 year ago

  • rctees

    toni from RCTees says:

    Society as a whole needs to be "fixed"....what a wonderful place to start. Nice job Chappell : )

    1 year ago

  • alorasadorables

    alorasadorables from AlorasAdorables says:

    Recycling is near and dear to my heart. Back in the day, people had fewer things and took care of what they had - being careful not to be careless in it's use. With an eye to keeping it 20 or 30 years, if it needed repair, they fixed it - they didn't buy a replacement. There were "junk yards" that people "shopped' in, recycling parts, bits and pieces. Garages contained workshops where dads would tinker for hours on the weekend feeding a sense of self worth as they extended the life of items of necessity or comfort. Manufacturers offered products for sale with longevity in mind and one measure of value was how long something would last - that was before planned obsolescence. As American incomes gradually increased, so did the ability to "replace" instead of "repair". A changed attitude set in about keeping and reusing "old things", replaced by a cavalier assurance that to "buy new" was good for the world for it spread wealth to the masses. Plastic replaced steel for parts in day-to-day goods and kept prices low ensuring things would break and be thrown away and everyone could afford to replace them with a newer, "better" version. Today, space that used to be used for growing food is turned into landfills which are bursting at the seams and the nutrient-rich soil used to "bury" our waste now produces gases made up of a brew of chemicals that depletes the ozone layer and contributes to making the Earth unhealthy. Gradually unhealthy attitudes have led to unhealthy practices which led to unhealthy lifestyles and unhealthy people. My store is my humble contribution to upcycling fabrics - 90% natural fibers with a history, in hopes of restoring health to a planet that "nurtures".

    1 year ago

  • 4EnvisioningVintage

    Tracy from 4EnvisioningVintage says:

    I think the reason people are quick to throw things out now instead of fixing them is two fold. One because the item is not valued which brings us to the second reason, it is cheaper to buy another then to fix it. So the underlying problem is of the value and quality which takes one to a whole different conversation. Great article & resources!! Hope it catches on in more places.

    1 year ago

  • wernera4

    wernera4 says:

    i am an advocate of fix before throw away and use until no longer useful but I think its a little irresponsible to mention duct-taping electrical cords in the article. That is a fire hazard and should not be done!

    1 year ago

  • BlueBrocade

    BlueBrocade from BlueBrocade says: Featured

    Its true that repairing many of today's commodities is not easy and not always cheap, and the knowledge is not always easy to access--where does one train to fix vaccums? But I feel better trying to fix it than throwing it away. Where do our old appliances go? Our old computers? Often they wind up in dumps in India where local people sift through the dangerous metals. I am inspired by these projects that encourage the repairing and refurbishing of old things, and hope the movement continues to grow!

    1 year ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    Great article, I'm still surprised that in my area we still have a rag and bone man. Its such a traditional UK thing, the sort of guy who goes around just looking for these kinds of broken things to fix up and sell on that people no longer want. Just watch steptoe and son!

    1 year ago

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 from breadandroses2 says:

    Such a clever concept to have a fix-it cafe! I've learned much by doing and would love to learn ever more. Great story.

    1 year ago

  • ToosDetectiveAgency

    Sara Schroeder from ToosDetectiveAgency says:

    I think this article should have been titled "The Re-emergence of a Fix-It Society." My parents' generation grew up fixing things rather than throwing them away. They are also very frugal, so I grew up having things fixed and using items for as long as they worked. Sometimes my mom calls me to ask, "Do people still fix (insert noun here)?" It will be important for those of us who value fixing and reusing rather than just buying, buying, and buying to learn how to repair, since all the Fix-Its are so old! BTW, my favorite pair of shoes, about which I receive so many compliments, cost $14 at Target eight years ago. I've had the heels replaced three times and have no plans to stop wearing them!

    1 year ago

  • anaabattsetseg1

    anaa battsetseg from SAVENATURE says:

    My hobbies are sewing cross stitch, quilt art, taking felt art and decorating the thinks. I like talking fine people. I love singer MICHAEL JACKSON. I like join on internet. I love, happy etsy.com. I love all people, earth and nature. I don't like most richest life. It is destroy my earth. I like reading about of profile on etsy.com . YOU are my teacher.

    1 year ago

  • Thoroughfare

    Sadie Glass from Thoroughfare says:

    Love, love, love the idea but i find most things needing fixed are made too complicated for the average DIYer (planned obsolescence anyone?)

    1 year ago

  • busybonniebee

    Bonnie Becker from busybonniebee says:

    yes for fixing!

    1 year ago

  • bluetreestudio

    Corly Eggen from bluetreestudio says:

    my grandfather is great at fixing, countless times he has brought life back to appliances thrown out in the trash...my first apartment tv was from the garbage....I have been guilty of walking down neighborhood alleys day before garbage day, and i have found some great stuff....I really love bringing life back to an old piece of furniture, .my house is mostly second hand treasures...... I am all for recycling goods, i think it is actually really fun..

    1 year ago

  • kbrightwell

    Kay Brightwell from SpringsofJoy2 says:

    Recycling, Upcycling, repairing, are a part of my daily routine. I live in a small townhome community that has a good many rental properties. It distressing me to see what is thrown out for garbage pick-up. In the past 2 years, I have seen brand new baby clothes with the tags, still on, a laptop in excellent condition, vintage furniture (chairs, tables, lamps), artwork, etc.,too many to list. We have become a "disposable society" of throw aways, adding to the mountains of trash that are in the city dump yards. Yes, I check each day before and the day of garbage pickup to see what may be rescued and reused. I would love to see a place where we could go to repair or repurpose where I live. (Charleston, S. C.)

    1 year ago

  • bexterstreasures

    bexterstreasures says:

    So many of my fellow flea market vendors make a living repairing and reselling things that others don't want. I come from a family of frugal fixers, too, and I am not ashamed to take the cast off items people throw out and give them new life. It is immensely satisfying to be able to repair your own things or take a piece of clothing and make it fit instead of casting it off. If I had ten dollars for every vacuum cleaner in my house that someone else threw out because they didn't know how (or want to) replace a ten dollar part, I would be able to buy a new vacuum.

    1 year ago

  • BookGlassesBlue

    M. Q. Collier from EloquinntCreations says:

    I read this article sitting next to two lamps, three plastic storage units, a printer and a karaoke machine pulled from the recycling room of my old apartment building. When people would move or when a thing would break sometimes things would be smuggled into what was later dubbed "the magic room of free stuff". If I had had the space I could have furnished an apartment three times the size of our old one for only the cost of paint, cleaning agents, and some elbow grease. It boggled the mind what would be sitting abandoned on the concrete, 50+ inch televisions, wood furniture, almost new tech, large rugs, lamps, nice luggage, small electronics, flat-screen monitors, and on one occasion two double breasted tuxedos and an upright piano- in tune.

    1 year ago

  • kateharp

    kateharp says:

    There's a community fix it clinic in the San Francisco Bay area: http://www.facebook.com/FixitClinic There was also a short documentary about the group:http://www.shareable.net/blog/fixit-clinic-video

    1 year ago

  • AliceSioux

    Alice from AliceSiouxBridal says:

    I have recently discovered there is a shoe by Keen that actually fits my dumb and hard to fit flat feet, so I bought several pair~! Unfortunately I have a hard time buckling them but not wanting to part them I removede the buckle placed it on the strap permanently and hand sewed industrial snaps that I can easily manage with one hand. I am probably the only person to alter their shoes~!!! (aside from a cobbler, of course.) Another pair was too high up on the top of my feet but the shoe overall was very comfortable so I cut down the heel by 1/4" and I removed the front band cut the top front shoe out a bit more and replace the band sewing it on by hand then reinforcing with my industrial Juki straight stitch machine.

    1 year ago

  • MickeyandGrace

    Dana from MickeyandGrace says:

    I love this....I hope this movement grows in momentum. I have inherited these exact tendencies passed down a few generations from the Great Depression Era and it makes sense on so many different levels!!! Thanks for the great article!

    1 year ago

  • embracingKATHY

    Kathleen Sampson from EmbracingYourLife says:

    I believe in fixing first and if it can't be fixed take it apart and save something that can be used somewhere else. I love to make clothes, and some of these fix it pieces end up on a new garment. My daughter is always saying, throw it out...already! She is very happy when I fix her sweater or repair her dress that she stuffed in a goodwill bag. Funny thing is I married a " fix it man" and sometimes I say the same thing...throw it out already!!! I loved this article.....made my day

    1 year ago

  • katrinaalana

    Katrina Alana from KatrinaAlana says:

    I love this article. I always believe in repairing broken things as long as it doesn't pose a safety issue.

    1 year ago

  • kiihelewest

    Kiihele West from SewMeHawaii says:

    Both of us are fix-it, DIY'ers, use it until it completely wears out. Recycle, reduce, reuse...a good mantra. When we built our little cottage, Keith did the building, I did the painting, the sewing of curtains, bed covers. We garden or buy from the farmer's market, we buy fish right from the fisherman. I make my own clothes most of the time and his when I can. I think when you are hands-on you have a greater investment in your project.

    1 year ago

  • UniqueBeats

    UniqueBeats from UniqueBeats says:

    I hope we will live in a future were this type of thing becomes the norm.

    1 year ago

  • oldmcdonald

    oldmcdonald says:

    Sometimes it's too overwhelming to save "everything." yet art is in everything. My mom always patched our clothes... Back when it was "groovy!" for a while I had to make my own patches. Now you see them everywhere. It's the power of the collective. New electronics are hard to fight but nothing, NOTHING beats vintage!

    1 year ago

  • prettylady3

    Vee Thompson from prettylady3 says:

    What a great artcle and very timely. I am moving now and just overwhelmed by the amount of "stuff I've accumulated; but as the offspring of parents born in the depression era, I am really into wearing things out. I just wanted to remind everyone to donate to the Goodwill or my personal favorite charity : Habitat for Humanity when you feel the urge to purge. One woman's trash truly is another woman's treasure.

    1 year ago

  • soveryhappyart

    Diane from soveryhappyart says:

    This is terrific, and great food for thought (and action!!)

    1 year ago

  • RubyLaneMoments

    Anna W from RubyLaneMoments says:

    What wonderful inspiration! Loved the read, thanks!

    1 year ago

  • stonebridgeworks

    stonebridgeworks from stonebridgeworks says:

    On our farm, we have two old tractors that we can do most maintenance for but once in a while, we need help from the expert in his small town shop. We worry about what will happen when he's gone. We need to build an apprentice system again for fixing things. Farming is catching on lately--maybe fixing will come along with it.

    1 year ago

  • FrannysHome

    Francesca from FrannysHome says:

    This is a great, great, great post! And I can say I'm proud my Daddy teached me with it's example when I was still a child, the Fix - it philosopy. That's one of the reason I know hardware tools! And thank to my mom, that teahces me how to change zip, and attach buttons! Craft (or glue?) in the DNA! Thak you so much for this post!

    1 year ago

  • MichaelsRosaries

    MichaelsRosaries from MichaelsRosaries says:

    Ah, the good ol' days. Cynics like to say how the good ol' days weren't that good because we didn't have this, that, or the other convenience. But, I like the idea of fixing things like we used to do. When I was a boy, I always took things like my bike or my dad's transistor radio apart to see how it worked or how it was put together. I remember there being a repair store in town that would fix electric razors, coffee percolators, toasters, and other small appliances. Unfortunately, they went out of business, since things became cheaper to replace that to repair. I think that's ridiculous, actually. It costs less to buy a brand new electric razor (or toaster, etc.) than to get a part for it.

    1 year ago

  • YOURDAILYJEWELS

    norah downey from YourDailyJewels says:

    Everything has gotten so disposable Lets hope this movement and philosophy spreads. Fantastic article!

    1 year ago

  • genevaforte

    geneva forte says:

    yeah the good old days. they were good at times just like now it is all what you make of it and them. I do miss parts of the good old days and yeah they were good.

    1 year ago

  • urbanartifaks

    urbanartifaks from urbanartifaks says:

    OMG, i LOVE this! its what I'm all about, and great to see it spreading. My FAVORITE fix-it story was a toaster that didn't 'pop' when done...my hear husband took it apart, tightened the spring, and now the toast shoots 12-18" in the air! he said he'd put it back but i said no, leave it-it makes breakfast so much more exciting!

    1 year ago

  • pennypratt

    Penny Pratt from PennyPratt says:

    Love this thanks for sharing.. To throw aways is such a waste and so many do it. I like to reuse anything and everything possible in what I make and also around my home. More people should do it.

    1 year ago

  • CougarTShirtCompany

    Cougar T-Shirt Company from CougarTShirtCompany says:

    This is such a great story. Amazing how we go in circles, thinking this is better and realizing that the way it was before is better. (not all instances!)

    1 year ago

  • NannyMadeandfound

    Melinda from sixtybeansVntg says:

    What an amazing idea.... a repair cafe. My husband is a master "Mr. Fixit". We both grew up on farms, long enough ago and raised by depression era parents, that we both automatically think of how to stretch, reuse, fix and restore. This may be the beginnings of a new career for my husband, who was laid off from his State job a few years ago. Now due to age/lack of job opportunities it is hard to make ends meet on the retirement checks he basically was forced to start taking early. Thanks for sharing this story, it's really inspirational!

    1 year ago

  • thinkertinker

    Caroline Dang from thinkertinker says:

    I love this idea of gathering in a cafe/gallery to fix things and saving it from the already full rubbish bin. Hope this will catch on.

    1 year ago

  • BeatriceCLaNore

    Brittany Hodgson from BeatriceCLaNore says:

    I love fixing stuff rather than getting new items. This article is great! Fixers are usually tinkers too and I definitely fit that category of crafters :)

    1 year ago

  • menii

    Menii Supplies from menii says:

    I was watching a Chinese movie once, and the girl in the movie fell and dropped the ceramic bowl she was carrying. She picked up all the pieces and later, she had someone repair it... with glue and brass bridges. It blew me away. Who would have ever thought to fix a ceramic item? It's so true... in this day and age, we throw away too many things and do not repair and keep what we can. Sad, but at least the tide is starting to turn.

    1 year ago

  • anniezouski

    Annie Zouski says:

    I always like the challenge that companies toss at me to assemble their easy to assemble goods. The pieces are never cut correctly so my challenge is usually to make what they gave me work. The end product is usually sturdier than if all the parts would have gone together as planned.

    1 year ago

  • WbritW

    Britt from NotDesigner says:

    I'd love to start a fix-it club in my community! As I hardly throw anything out I already have a lot to work with! I'll definitely be looking in to this.

    1 year ago

  • HideaHeart

    MCatherine from HideaHeart says:

    You have just inspired me to better find the fix-it club in Portland OR!

    1 year ago

  • pamafrombama

    Pamela from ParadiseCrochet says:

    I am a true believer in use it til it breaks, then fix it! It started as a young newlywed, but now I feel that its my responsibility to avoid the "throw-it-away" mentality! I may only be one person and might not make a difference in all the growing landfills, but I keep thinking that maybe someone sees me and will at least make small changes. My son will certainly grow up knowing that our Earth is to be respected!

    1 year ago

  • sweetandblue

    sweetandblue from sweetandblue says:

    As someone who cant repair a great deal, i have learnt to fix a few things around my home from you tube vids. if you can fix, its a good idea to teach as well.

    1 year ago

  • nanaandcompany

    nanaandcompany from nanaandcompany says:

    This really is nothing new. My mother, dad, grandmother, and most of that generation kept what they purchased, found, bartered for, etc. That's mainly why we have so many antiques today. They took care of, fixed, mended what they could. It's funny that the younger crowd thinks they thought this up. Years ago they went through the depression when nothing was easy (and look out, we may be headed for one very soon-keep your eyes on the poor situation in Europe and the ripple effect to show up in the U.S.-and some of that stems from austerity). They had to do this to survive. It's no wonder that things have swung in the opposite direction. Few people REALLY want to try to keep things going far beyond their ability to be fixed. Once people finally climbed out of the depression (and they would have done it sooner had the government not interfered so, making work programs, welfare programs, taking from the wage earners and hindering them so--at one point Roosevelt thought the gvt. deserved 100% of the income of the "rich") they were able to earn a better living, have better things and it has been that way until recently, where we all need to cinch up the belt again and try to survive on what we have. No shame in either. You do what you have to, and enjoy it when life isn't so hard. Just an aside, there had been a minor depression about a year before the Great, but we had a different President/advisers then and the gvt. didn't interfere and the country climbed out of it in about a year. The Great took 10 long, hard years. FDR went against the advice to leave things alone and history is the judge. My mother had to eat oatmeal 3X a day, and hated it thereafter, wouldn't eat it because she didn't have to any longer. Some people HATE antiques because that was the furniture they had to grow up with, why would they want to decorate with it now? My mom wasn't fond of them until much later in life. I read recently of one younger celebrity who hates them, thinks they're creepy. To each his own. It's actually good that some people let go of things, it gives others an opportunity to acquire them and create.

    1 year ago

  • CatladyDane

    Brenda Kitch says:

    Great article! Alice, you're not the only one who alters shoes...the straps on Chinese Mary Janes will wiggle out when I walk a lot, which drives me crazy. So I glue or stitch a piece of velcro to the end of the strap and to the shoe to hold it. Also occasionally hand stitch a worn or broken strap. (Between poorly made shoes & difficult to fit feet, I can't keep a shoe on without a strap.) Some bags can also be mended. It's getting so hard to find a shoe repair shop to half-sole & fix heels, and those still open are frequently not open at hours that those of us trapped in M-F day jobs can access them. Wouldn't it be lovely if quality manufacturing and reasonable repair options became in vogue again? Until then, most of us must bumble through DIY, with reduce, reuse, recycle, & donate as backup. I'm quite new here, and I absolutely love all the creativity I see on Etsy!

    1 year ago

  • 47thHeaven

    "Mama" Shari from 47thHeaven says:

    Wouldn't it be nice if companies would take a step or two back and start making things that can be fixed and can last. I sew -- I have a nice sewing machine that is computerized and does all the fancy stuff. But I know when it will no longer sew, it probably can't be fixed economically. I purchased an old 1950's Elna sewing machine to sew the heavy stuff I make to save the wear and tear on my computerized machine. It sews like a dream - it was made to last and probably will still be sewing when my other machine is no longer.

    1 year ago

  • shabbyone

    Anita Spero from AnitaSperoDesign says:

    Many of my pieces are vintage or antiques that would have put in a landfill. You can make anything beautiful if you really see it in your heart. I love this...

    1 year ago

  • LISAM1972

    LISA says:

    I have been brought up on a budget. We never seemed to have any money. This has proved invaluable growing up. Whenever there is a financial disaster, like unemployment etc, we can cope. We make do and mend.

    1 year ago

  • misspoppys1

    Marie Allen from misspoppys1 says:

    I love this! I grew up in the England in the 1970 - a time of economic strife, strikes, energy shortages and a distinct lack of cash. My dad had to fix everything and I remember he and most other men on our street fixing up their rusty cars every Sunday morning. I NEVER see that now! Lots of people I know cant even change a plug! I`m lucky that I am married to an engineer who can literally fix anything, so we rarely have to call in outside help. I agree that most items cannot be fixed now and just have to be dumped when they no longer work, but I suppose that is how big business survives! I have still got my mothers electric food processor from the 1970s, its a lovely shade of beige and still works just as well as it did 30+ years ago. However I have burnt out the motors of many modern hairdryers, hoovers, liquidisers etc.

    1 year ago

  • alittlelessmundane

    JoAnn from BookstoreCafe says:

    Fantastic. Terribly sad that things are designed to have a short life on purpose. Love this!

    1 year ago

  • Curlytresses

    Laura Longoria says:

    Love this...we are such a discard society! I learned from an early age to pass down and pass on...

    1 year ago

  • CreativeTherapy

    Stefanie van den Brandt from CreativeTherapy says:

    It's such a shame that items are not made to last these days. Most products that are being discarded now aren't even broken, they are just not fashionable anymore, or a newer version has come out and the old one is no longer worth much. Not to mention the increased complication of broken technological items, which, rather than being fixed with a screwdriver and some pliers, are now entire computer systems that require specialised skills to be fixed. Technology firms count on people to want the latest version of technology, mobile phone providers offer upgrades, shops count on people buying cheap clothes to wear for just one season, rather than investing in more expensive, higher quality items that will last for years. Even buildings are not made to last anymore. Upcycling and recycling are fortunately becoming more fashionable, and although I doubt that the majority of people actually cares about reducing the landfill size and care more about the 'shabby chic' and 'green' fashion, the result is still preferable and brings to the foreground the issue of our disposable culture and our habits to discard the 'old' and the broken. Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough is a great book (and watch a talk by him on TED http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/william_mcdonough_on_cradle_to_cradle_design.html)

    1 year ago

  • yoonawelling

    Yoona Welling from YoonasDesigns says:

    When I was in highschool, some 40 years ago (yikes!), our Social Studies teacher told us that built in obsolescence was a necessary evolution in the capitalist money system, to enable it to sustain itself and grow. It has to continually expand/grow, and one way is to make stuff that has a limited life span. Another way is to convince everyone they need stuff and to find more people to buy the stuff. It is very gratifying to see such a large component of sellers on Etsy who recycle so creatively so much pre used stuff. It gives me hope that Western Civilization is finding other ways to live in order to reduce the gross waste of the planets resources that is modern society. Instead of accepting the status quo many young people are taking up the challenge of ensuring the future on the earth for their descendents. Love urbanartifakts post of the husband fixing the toaster so the toast now shoots 12 to 18" in the air, and this is interesting stuff!

    1 year ago

  • liddysopretty

    liddy sopretty from liddysopretty says:

    Fabulous! Get people to start thinking and using more brain power. hahaha!

    1 year ago

  • huntingman

    huntingman says:

    i love messing with stuff and trying to fix it (usually it doesnt get fixed but left in peices) : )

    1 year ago