WHAT ARE FIX-ITS & REPAIR FAIRS?
Fix-it Fairs (aka Repair Fairs, Fix-it Clinics, and Repair Cafés) are free community gatherings in which people with repair skills share their time and talents to help fix their neighbors’ belongings. These gatherings can be organized by friends, a neighborhood group, a nonprofit organization, even a city or county agency. They range in size from a handful of people to a few hundred! Organizers designate a time and place for people to gather and community members brings items that are broken, torn, or otherwise non-functional. Then, volunteer fixers do their utmost to get the items back in working order (at no cost to the attendee) while sharing information about the repair process with the item’s owner. Fixers may invite the owner of an item to assist with the repair in order to boost knowledge and confidence that anyone can fix things! These events not only create connections with others and help community members get new life out of beloved possessions, they save items from going to the landfill!
Common services include:
- Bike repair
- Sewing and mending
- Small appliance and electronic tinkering
- Knife and tool sharpening
- Jewelry repair
- Computer and device repair
- Groups often add other “stations” that draw on unique talents, interests, or needs in their community. These may include:
- Plant and Seed Swaps
- Gardening advice and soil analysis
- Paper and Fabric Crafting
- Take it or Leave it / Really Really Free Market (where you can bring things you no longer need and pick up items you do)
- Instrument repair
- Word-Smithing (advice on resumes, creative writing, and more)
- Kids activities centered around disassembly and building familiarity with tools
Pictures & videos from some of the awesome repair events around Washington!
Get to know Washington's fixer and repair groups
Transition Fidalgo & Friends hosts Fix-It Days at the Anacortes Farmers Market from June through September!
Guests are encouraged to bring any item that needs repair (like lamps or small appliances -whatever a handy person can fix) and our talented tinkerers will see if they can get it working again! Our motto is “if you can put it on our table, we’ll assess it and attempt to repair it”. We’ve repaired kitchen appliances, yard tools, hand tools, home appliances, clocks, lamps, ice makers, sculptures, almost anything you can think of over the past 11 years. Of the items we deem repairable, we have an 80% success rate!
Most items brought in during Fix-It Days are repaired on the spot. However, some items may require locating replacement parts and take a week or longer. Transition Fidalgo charges for the cost of repair supplies, (e.g.- watch battery) and gratefully accepts donations to further support the work of Transition Fidalgo & Friends.
About Transition Fidalgo & Friends: Transition Fidalgo is part of a network of nonprofits that aims to raise awareness of and develop solutions to the challenges of climate change. We promote a move away from fossil fuels through decreasing demand, increasing efficiency, supporting renewable energy, and fostering the local production of food, energy, and goods. Locally, TF&F encourages community members to reduce consumption of goods, reuse and repair them as much as possible, and then recycle items that are no longer salvageable.
For more information, visit https://www.transitionfidalgo.org/projects/#Fix-It-Day
– vouchers for low-income residents and those recovering from crisis, providing clothing and home textiles;
– emergency financial assistance for those facing a crisis;
– emergency warming packs for those without housing;
– learning opportunities through free clothing repair workshops held the first Wednesday of each month, with free access to tools like sewing machines to fix a favourite garment; and
– reduction of textile waste, providing a sustainable alternative for purchasing and directing unsellable garments to a textile recycling stream, keeping clothes out of landfills.
*Not a traditional repair event for members of the public to have their own items fixed. This offers opportunities to donate and/or volunteer to repair used furniture for others**
Similar to food banks, furniture banks re-distribute resources. In this case: home furnishings. While our other friends at furniture banks across the nation are working with gently used furniture finding pieces new homes “as-is,” we, at Furniture Repair Bank, focus on items that no one else wanted. The first of its kind, we put work, love, and community hands onto furniture that was destined for the landfill and bring its value back to use in serving our most vulnerable community members.
Green Okanogan Repair Cafés are free fix-it events where fixers will be on hand to repair electronics, small appliances, household items, clothing, jewelry, yard and garden items, bicycle tuneups and bicycle tire patching. Learn more at: https://greenokanogan.weebly.
The Repairocene (noun): A time when common goals of healing, repairing, and restoring of our lands, our things, and our relationships are shared.
Repair Events are free community gatherings where individuals can bring their broken belongings to be repaired by local volunteers with a variety of skills and knowledge. Our crew of volunteers can do repairs ranging from rewiring a floor lamp or figuring out why the suction on your vacuum has suddenly stopped, to mending a torn fabric item. These events spark connections within the community through the exchange of valuable mending and repair knowledge – all while diverting personal possessions from the landfill!
For more information on these events, head to JeffCoRepair.com.
Jefferson County held its first Repair Café in Port Townsend on Feb. 29th, 2020 in partnership with Local 20/20 and its Beyond Waste Action Group.
Currently, JeffCo Repair is a grant-funded project sponsored by PTMSC, with the support of Local 2020’s Beyond Waste action group. Grant funding is provided by the Department of Ecology Public Participation Grant.
A program of King Co.’s Solid Waste Division, these repair events have been taking place regularly since 2016.
At these free community repair events, our skilled repair people, or “fixers,” will work on your items, repairing or mending them if they can, and often giving you useful advice as well! We work on lamps, vacuums, fans, chairs, tables, tools, computers, music players, TVs, blenders, toasters, toys, pants, dresses, bags, and much more! Although you are encouraged to call or write in advance to discuss your repair, all these King County repair events are first-come, first-served (one item at a time), with no appointments or reservations. We offer these repair events throughout King County, excluding Seattle.
Learn More about King Co. Repair Events
Northwest Free Repairs is a group of volunteers dedicated to conserving the earth’s resources and decreasing the burden on our overtaxed landfill areas by repairing and rehabilitating broken household items that would otherwise be discarded.
For any broken or non-functioning item that you can comfortably carry in, NWFR will evaluate it and determine if it can be repaired. Owners must be present and participate during the repair of their items. Minors must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Evaluation and repair services are free and they also supply some basic parts and materials. However, if unique repair parts are required (e.g. new motors, circuit boards, wiring harnesses, etc.) the item’s owner must purchase them – that is your only cost. Most of successful repairs require no new parts.
Events take place at the Bellingham Makerspace as well as the downtown Bellingham Public Library in the Skill Share section.
An extension of the Phinney Neighborhood Association’s Tool Library, the PNA Fixers Collective is an informal group of folks who meet simply for the fun of taking stuff apart, putting it back together again, and maybe even fixing some things in the process. The idea is to take a moment before throwing something away to figure out if you can save it and prevent buying a new one. It’s also an excellent way to learn how things work and enjoy some good company!
You can bring something broken along with you or just bring yourself. The Fixer Collective hosts fixer pop-ups twice monthly on the 1st Wednesday in Greenwood and 3rd Thursday in Crown Hill. Check out the events calendar for details: www.repaireconomywa.org/trainings-events/
A project of Sustainable Capitol Hill and run out of their Tool Library, you’ll also find workshops on everything from sewing basics to fixing your cell phone screen. Learn more!
From its start in June 2018, Rodeo City Repair Café‘s community of volunteers have been donating their time to help with the repair of household appliances, lamps, tools, furniture, bicycles and clothing, to keep these items in service and reduce landfill waste. Our repair staff offer a wide range of repair skills and knowledge and we have a good selection of tools on hand. Events are held at the IOOF Cemetery Shop on Radio HIll, 1900 N. Brick Rd. in Ellensburg. Our repair services are offered free to community members. We gladly accept donations of money, tools or repair materials.
Hosted by the SJI Grange #966 in partnership with Transition San Juan, Alchemy Arts, and The Fellow Shop. The SJ Repair Fair features booths offering demonstrations and/or DIY instruction on Screen-Printing & Natural Dyeing in addition to Basic Mending/Sewing, Blade Sharpening, Small Furniture Repair, Bike Repair, and Tool Repair (no combustible eng
- BYO: Mug, Stuff to Fix, & Clean Clothing to Darn, Screen-Print, & Dye.
The South King Tool Library (SKTL), began supporting and coordinating repair events in 2018 to foster repair over replacement. In addition to repair events, SKTL provides equal access to tools and training in order to help maintain neighborhoods, build community and reduce unnecessary consumption. The key principles of our organization are Sharing, Training and Empowerment. We share tools and information, offer training and education, to empower our community to make a positive impact in their lives. We provide instruction on proper tool use, offer classes on a variety of topics, we work with community partners to distribute educational and informative materials. Our partnerships are critical in bringing our community together, building equity and accessibility, as we work together to build better lives in South King and North Pierce Counties. Anyone 18 or over can become a member of SKTL. You don’t even need to live in South King County.
Spokane Zero Waste‘s “Mend-It” Cafe, in partnership with Art Salvage Spokane, is designed to help divert textile waste from landfill and grow a repair economy here in Spokane. With this effort we will be joining communities around the globe engaged in reuse and repair over replacement. Our aim is to reduce textile waste by offering free mending services, to teach people a variety of repair/sewing techniques and provide an income to menders.
Hosted by the Tacoma Tool Library, Fix-it Nights are free, community-based events where community members come together for the fun of taking stuff apart and putting it back together again. In this process items get fixed, rather than buying a new one and preventing throwing something away. Come and learn how things work, enjoy some good company and save an item from ending up in the landfill.
What can be fixed? Almost everything, including mendable clothing, lamps, small appliances, small electronics, furniture, jewelry, toys, bikes, and outdoor equipment. We only ask attendees not to bring anything leaking, dangerous, that contains gasoline, or has a strong odor.
Learn more about Tacoma’s Fix-it Nights!
Like all Repair Programs, ours is based on volunteer Fixers in our community. Our Cafés consistently serve two to three dozen people, and twice that in items. We offer sewing, darning, mechanical, electrical, and woodworking fixes. Our repair program offers a practical, hands-on solution for our customers to continue to be owners of their belongings. We now offer Repair Cafés in conjunction with Our Tool Library, Recycling, and Material Reuse Programs. Providing these services together, at the same location, makes it easy to for our customers to use resources wisely and change the cycle of consumption.
Learn more about Methow Recycles Repair Café
We are members of the Vashon community who love to tinker and have a fervent desire to keep as many useable items out of the waste stream as possible. Funded by the King County Eco-Consumer Program the repair café is a collaboration of the Vashon Tool Library, Zero Waste Vashon and committed members of the community at large. Learn more about Vashon Fix-it!
Waste Loop inspires and transforms local waste streams into sustainable resources in the greater Leavenworth area. Building on this mission, the Waste Loop team offers pop-up repair events like Mending Mondays and a Gear Repair Café. See what’s next on the Waste Loop Repair Events calendar!
Blender busted? Computer kaput? Weedeater wrecked? Whatever’s broken, don’t let it keep gathering dust in the corner – bring it down to West Seattle Tool Library‘s Fix-it Workshop, every Wednesday of the month! Use the tools and facilities of the shop and pick our librarians’ brains to get your damaged equipment back in the action.
Availability is first-come-first-served. This workshop is provided free of charge, though donations are appreciated!
We ask that all items brought for repair be of reasonable size. We are unable to service pressure vessels, refrigeration equipment, firearms, and high-voltage electrical components.
Hours: 5:30-7:30, every Wednesday
Thinking of starting your own fix-it or repair fair?
There’s no “right way” to run a fix-it event. They’re a constantly evolving process and should reflect the communities where they happen. However, there are some general principles that can make them more successful. Plus, everyone can use a little help! Complete the short form below and we’ll send you either the Quick Start Guide, the Comprehensive Fix-it Fair Handbook, or both if you like! They’re FREE!
Tools to collect and share repair data
There are a few resources out there for groups who want to gather repair data (which can be helpful for all kinds of things, from improving the chance of fixing and item, to making recommendations for durable/repairable manufacturers, to applying for grants!). These tools make it easier to share and compare data – around the world!
Want to connect with other fixers, tool libraries, and makers around Washington?
Join the Repair Economy community hub on Hylo and jumpstart a conversation or even a project!
Repair Economy WA is made possible with generous funding from the WA Department of Ecology’s Public Participation Grant