I’ve always been that person who saw broken and rejected items as orphans who just needed a little love. Of course, my parents weren’t very fond of my “orphans.” First it was a broken Mickey Mouse record player (it might decide work one day!), then an old portable a.m. radio, followed by piles of stuffed animals whose eyes had popped off or arm got torn off by the neighbor’s dog, and, then, many more years of collected gems.
Over the years I’ve learned what I’m capable of fixing, mending, or repairing—and leave the rest for roadside free piles. Now, I’m a self-proclaimed DIY fixer. I do sewing repairs on garments that still have life left in them; I fix rusted and dull tools by sharpening and adding a little oil; I repair books passed down from Gramma to Mom to sis.
We hold onto these broken or tired items because they hold the memory of years of use and others who also cherished them; the attachment to the items maintains our connection to the past. We keep them in hopes of preserving their posterity, as we know some things can’t be replaced, or are no longer being made the same way or quality. I love repairing MOST because it keeps things out of the landfill -- knowing that things don’t just “go away,” and can be harmful and even toxic to the soils we put them in.
I also appreciate that in this age of the internet, there are still opportunities (like the Repair Café) to come together, IN REAL TIME, and learn from each other. There are folks out there with knowledge to share—as they grow older and are no longer with us, we lose the value of learning generational skills. We can’t learn that from the internet or from You Tube, or the Instructables. And even if we CAN, there’s so much more that can be gained from these tangible experiences passed on from an actual real live human.
What’s YOUR repair skill? What have you held onto all these years in hope of fixing? Would you be willing to share your ability to repair things with others? Are you excited about repairing something you’ve hung on to through the years? Send us a photo of your beloved broken (or fixed) item, and tell us its story, or share with us at Facebook or on Instagram (@vtzerowaste)!
And if you'd like to contribute your skill to a Repair Cafe, please join us!
Jan Lloyd is the brand new CVSWMD Zero Waste Events Coordinator.