Getting Into the Repair Mindset

Repairing a broken item, instead of throwing it away and replacing it, reduces the need for a new item and saves the energy, water, and natural resources that would have been needed to manufacture and ship it. Because repair lets items last longer, it fits nicely into the top of the waste hierarchy, preventing an item from becoming waste for as long as possible.

As I work to reduce my personal environmental impact, I’ve been trying to get into the repair mindset. I’m not a handy or crafty person, so sometimes my repairs work, and sometimes they don’t – but it hasn’t taken a lot of effort to try!

Here are a few of the things I’ve tried to fix (or gotten a professional to try to fix) recently:

“Sewing” Repair: New Drawstring for Produce Bags

I’m embarrassed to admit that this repair took me twenty minutes (including hunting down the supplies), but I waited to do it for literally years. But at least it’s done now!

produce bag drawstring

These handmade produce bags needed new drawstrings, so I pulled out my Brownie skills and threaded ribbons through.

Yay! Fixed cloth produce bags, using materials I had laying around the house.

Shoe Repair: Fixed Soles

I left this one to the pros! A local shoe repair shop extended the life of three pairs of shoes for me, and gave me the OK to let another pair retire ;)

Worn out shoe soles

I brought these shoes to a shoe repair store in Kirkland. They said they looked well-loved and it was time to buy myself some new shoes ;)

Pieces of the heel were starting to come loose, so I had some preventative maintenance done for my favorite boots. They also fixed a floppy heel on a couple pairs of dress shoes.

Using Sugru

Sugru is a moldable glue that hardens after a long set period – it feels kind of like Sculpy from what I remember. I successfully fixed my corkscrew, but my (notoriously difficult to repair) Fitbit eluded fixing. Having had multiple Fitbit straps fail, I decided not to replace it for a fourth time.

My corkscrew split in half :(

My fixed corkscrew has been going strong since January!

My fitbit was separating from the strap – and this was already the second model to do this! Before replacing it again, I wanted to try repair.

Sadly, Sugru can stick to many things, but not the fitbit strap. I don’t hold it responsible since tape didn’t work either. My technique may also have been flawed ;)

Fixing A (Very) Leaky Faucet

My kitchen faucet started leaking dramatically from the handle – think pooling water under the sink – and I figured it was just at the end of its life. I was all set to buy a new one, but I paused and pulled up YouTube. Voila, a possible solution requiring only an allen wrench and an adjustable wrench! All that was needed was tightening the valve. Now I don’t have to go faucet shopping!

Adopting a New Mindset

Item by item, I’m shifting my mindset to try to fix things before replacing them. It might take me a few minutes, but as well as saving myself money and saving the planet resources to replace things unnecessarily, I’m learning :) Repair might seem intimidating at first, but once I give it a try it’s less daunting than I expect.

I haven’t gotten a chance to attend a Repair Cafe, but the free fixer fairs are a neat opportunity to have local experts repair household items that are beyond my skill level.

What have you tried repairing recently?