You buy something, and a month later it breaks? Then you have to deal with customer service representatives who didn’t get enough sleep. Is it worth all that hustle just to get your money’s worth? Perhaps you could go and get it fixed somewhere nearby and have fun while doing it?
What if there was a place where people can get together and repair items that may otherwise be doomed for the bin? Well, let me tell you, there is such a place, and it’s called the “Repair Cafe.”
Related article: The 5R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Rot.
Yes, sadly, companies and corporations design products so that they break and we have to buy new ones. Often they are completely encased, and you can’t even open them to find out what could be wrong with the item.
Just look at your car’s engine. You used to be able to change the oil and spark plugs yourself. Now, forget it, you can even see the engine anymore.
Did you know that the first lightbulb invented still glows in a museum in California? You can watch it live here:
Yes, the company actually hired people to design lightbulbs that would break, to make a profit for the company. Who wants something that lasts forever, right?
It took months and months of hard work to finally create the lightbulb that would die after 1000 hours of use.
Now, this is only one small example of how companies design our products these days.
Related Documentary: The end of ownership.
Luckily, a lot of people are fed up with this idea of rebuying the same stuff over and over. And in October 2009, the first repair cafe was founded in Amsterdam by Martine Postma.
What is a repair cafe?
A repair cafe is a place for people to get together. It is a place where you can bring your broken devices and repair them. With help from neighbors, friends, and some professionals as well. All are getting together in these cafes and bringing life back into items that have been otherwise thought dead.
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.
It is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint since making new items causes CO2 emission, and we can reduce this by merely fixing what’s broken.
This is also a trade that is often forgotten in our society and not much appreciated. Thanks to the Repair Cafe, this is changing. Here you can not only fix your toaster or sow your favorite jeans back together, but you can make friends and help other people along.
What can you repair in a repair cafe?
You can basically repair anything that you can carry with you. From electrical appliances to clothes, furniture, crockery, housewares, bicycles, toys, etc.. If you wish to know for sure whether someone will be available to help mend your broken item, please get in touch with the organizers of your local Repair Café.
Where do you find a repair cafe?
Since they first started in 2009, repair cafes have been popping up everywhere around the world. Now, you can choose from over 1930 different Repair Cafe’s from Brazil to Germany, from Australia to Canada, you can most likely find one in your area. See if there is a repair cafe in your area? 👇
How much does it cost?
The repair of an item is free. However, donation boxes are set up in each cafe. You are welcome to donate money to cover the cost of the space rented or the tools or just for your appreciation.
You are always welcome to contribute your skills and help other people fix their items.
If you want to go even further because you love fixing things and this could be your way to share your skill and meet new people. Why not create your own repair cafe? Get all the help you need to set up your own repair cafe in your area, with the handy set up guide for only 49 euros.
Do you need to bring your own tools?
The essential tools will be at the cafe, but it is always welcome to bring some of your own. If you require switches or fuses or any other small items, they may be at the cafe. If not, you will be advised to order or buy the part missing to repair your item. Please do not donate broken items.
I am surprised that I haven’t come across this earlier since it is not a new thing. But hey, we never stop learning. I hope it inspired you to get your broken items fixed and value them a little bit more. Or you feel excited about starting your own Cafe up.
For me, I have always enjoyed fixing things but, I also know that this is a dying art. Nowadays people learn different skill sets. Get trained to be good with computers and well we are just told to throw things away and repurchase them.
Perhaps fixing old items could even turn into a nice little side-hustle for you to make some extra cash.
If you have an old toaster in the basement perhaps someone might pay a decent amount of money for it since it might be an antique?