10 Really Good Reasons to Repair Stuff

You can repair household things that break with free instructions from the Fix-It Club.

You can repair household things that break with free, illustrated instructions from the Fix-It Club.

Things break. Everything we own, from air conditioners to zippers, eventually wear out or stops working. We can toss them and get new stuff — or we can try to repair them. The Fix-It Club offers ten really good reasons to repair or recycle automotive and household things that break:

  1. You can be a smarter consumer by knowing how things work and what to do if they don't: cars, appliances, heaters, air conditioners, mowers, plumbing, electronics, clocks, paint, flooring and more.
  2. You can save money by not having to replace things that you easily can repair. It might just need a fuse, a new electrical cord, or a screw tightened. You can do that!
  3. You can buy better things that will last longer than disposables because you know you can probably repair them if they ever do conk out.
  4. You can reduce the environmental impact of having a replacement manufactured from raw materials and transported from a far-off land.
  5. You can learn how to recycle or reuse the things you just can't repair.
  6. You can learn new skills and discover the satisfaction of repairing something that's broken.
  7. You can spend some quality time with kids repairing things together — and teaching them the importance of recycling.
  8. You can keep that family clock or other heirloom running longer.
  9. You can justify the cost of expanding your collection of tools.
  10. You can impress your spouse, partner, and others with your new-found repair skills.

How can you repair broken stuff? The Fix-It Club offers easy-to-follow instructions. It doesn't matter whether it's a door chime, a barbecue grill, a child's toy, or a computer printer. Figuring out what's wrong with it is the most important task. Once you know what's wrong with it, you're well on the way to repairing it — or making an informed decision not to. Figuring out what's wrong with something may sound obvious, but it's often the step that keeps folks from repairing things easily.

  • What does this thing do?
  • How is it supposed to work?
  • What isn't this thing doing that it should do?
  • What's the possible cause(s) of the problem?
  • What parts and tools will I need to repair it?
  • What are the steps to repairing it?
  • Once repaired, does it now work?

Easy electrical test on a coffee maker.

Easy electrical test on a coffee maker.

For example, a coffee maker, obviously, is an apparatus for brewing coffee. There are two types of coffee makers: drip and percolator. A drip coffee maker is designed to heat water then pump it to drip through the coffee basket and into a carafe. Most drip coffee makers also keep the carafe of coffee warm. That's a drip coffee maker's as-designed state; that's what it's supposed to do.

What does it not do? In our example, the drip coffee maker doesn't keep the coffee hot, though everything else works. Knowing how a coffee maker is supposed to work, you will identify the problem to be within the warming element or controls. To check it you need a multimeter for testing these components. Then, following the specific steps in the Coffee Maker Repair Fix-It Guide, you disassemble, test, and, if needed, replace the part. Finally, you can brew yourself some coffee and know that it will stay warm.

So, that's the fix-it process . You can apply it to every thing that's broken. That's because the fix-it process works for every thing. It's a simplified version of a time-tested problem-solving system. If it's repairable, you probably can fix it!

Need more repair advice? Here's a list of more than 250 free Fix-It Guides for repairing things around your home and car. Thanks for joining the Fix-It Club!

--Dan "The Fix-It Man" Ramsey

Fix-It Club


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