One way to keep stuff out of the landfill, save money, and learn new skills all at the same time is to learn how to fix items that fall into disrepair. Household items like appliances, clothing, toys, and tools can often be mended to “like new” status with a little time and energy.

Today’s economy requires consumers to continually buy new things. It seems that the shelf life of everything from washing machines to shoes is made to fall apart faster and faster each year. Designed or planned obsolescence is actually a thing which makes me so sad. This is when product designers purposely design a product with a limited lifespan so it will become obsolete after a certain period of time either because it breaks or becomes unfashionable. Which is ridiculous. You can fight back against this trend, though, by learning to fix broken items rather than throwing them in the garbage.

For me, one big barrier in learning how to fix broken objects around the house has always been learning to use the different tools required for repair. I’m pretty good with a sewing machine, but not so great with an electric drill. (I still use a screwdriver in most cases!) Lucky for me, I have a friend who is great with power tools, so we share skills. I can repair their clothes and they can help when a small appliance needs some help. If you’re feeling ready to learn how to use a new tool, you can often find other people in your network to teach you how to use them and share knowledge. It’s a lot easier than learning off the internet!

Guelph, the city where I used to live, also started hosting Repair Cafes last year. They are popping up all over the world so check out if there’s something similar happening in your city. If not, there might be a maker space or community library that could share resources or run workshops teaching how things are made or mending clothes. Social media is a great resource for finding what’s happening in your community, or check in at your local public library to see if they can point you in the right direction.

The next time something breaks, rips, or blows in your house, think about repairing it before tossing it. You might save some money and learn something new!

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