Did you know tomorrow is International Repair Day? There are many excellent reasons to repair things and International Repair Day, an initiative of Open Repair Alliance, aims to raise awareness of the value of fixing things.
In a society that has become increasingly ‘throw-away’, it is easy to replace things rather than repair them and repair skills are becoming a lost art. There are, however, three obvious reasons to repair things:
- Save money (sometimes – some new goods are so cheap, or spare parts so expensive, that it can be more expensive to repair than buy new)
- Reduce waste
- Lower your environmental impact
Another reason is to learn new skills – and it can be so much fun. There are so many learning resources available online. Check out ifixit for tech repairs and YouTube of course.
Options for Repair
You don’t have to do the repairs yourself, however. Recently I helped set up a local Repair Café. These are popping up all over the place now. People with repair skills volunteer their time, or sometimes for a small donation, to fix items brought in by the public. They could be electrical items, toys, clothes, jewellery – it just depends on what skills the repairers have. Many will also show you how to fix things yourself too. Search for one near you.
Local Repair Businesses
From shopfront cobblers to home-based businesses, there are people in your community who you can pay to fix items that are beyond your own skills. We need to support these business to ensure their continued viability.
Swap with a Friend or Neighbour
Your friends, family, neighbours or members of your local Facebook group (such as the wonderful Buy Nothing Groups) may have the skills to repair your item. They may also be willing to teach you new skills at the same time. You could offer them something from your skillset in return or they might be happy for you to ‘pay it forward’ and help someone else out at another time. That’s another plus for the repair movement – it builds community.
How to get involved in the repair movement?
Whether it is on International Repair Day or any of the other 364 days of the year, how can you get involved in and support the repair movement? You could:
- repair something (obviously), is there anything you can’t learn from YouTube?
- seek out and support your local Repair Café
- support a local repair business
- share your skills with others
- share your repair on social media
- agitate for the ‘right to repair’ by writing to business who are failing in this area, or you local MPs
Happy International Repair Day! Let’s bring repair back into the mainstream.