Fix-it Fairs and Repair Cafes

My beloved box knife, Big Blue, was near death after he lost several incredibly infuriatingly small screws. No big box store carried that size. Even my these-guys-ALWAYS-save-the-day McLendon, a hold-out family-owned chain harking back to the magnificent old days when screws didn’t come in plastic packs of 12, only had a near-match. I LOVE MCLENDON. I sure as heck don’t have the know-how to figure out what size he needed.


An ingenious and thrifty crew saved him with the right size screw at a Repair Time coordinated by the King County Dept. of Solid Waste’s inventive EcoConsumer division. Fix-It Fairs, Repair Cafes are an increasingly popular community event in which volunteers gather to repair their neighbors’ small electrical appliances, household gadgets or even clothes. The Wikipedia article I link to on “Repair Cafes” credits an Amsterdam resident with the idea in 2009. My rescuers were at the Woodinville Library.


Am I wrong for feeling nostalgia for by-gone days when everyone probably knew how to hem a pair of pants? I used to watch Little House on the Prairie: that’s the closest I’ll ever come to knowing how to build a house until I get a chance to take a day with Habitat for Humanity.


I applaud this return to self-sufficiency and sociable community. I’ve got about 50 such events on my calendar, and more to come as I find them. Bring something of yours to a fixer. Or maybe join the fixer clan.

About Lauren Williams

Me, Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®: I'm a professional organizer who works in homes, home businesses and also small businesses. I'm a NYC native who's spent time in Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Baltimore and now Seattle. All great places, but NYC will always be home, and Seattle will be where I now stay. I help you think outside of the box to get something into the box.