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It’s Repair Week. Learn how to mend, maintain and save money

Mamun, October 13, 2022

Love the idea of repair but not sure where to start? Here are our top tips.

Doesn't it feel more and more that things aren't built to last? Companies update their products almost every year and the latest fashion trends change in the blink of an eye. Throwaway culture generates about 1.3 billion tonnes of landfill waste around the world annually and by 2025 this is set to increase to 2.2 billion tonnes!

Repair is a really important part of tackling throwaway culture and reducing waste. If you’ve borrowed from us before, you’ll know that our fab team of Thing Technicians like Mike in Bromley or Heather in Hammersmith regularly repair and maintain the items in our library to keep them in use for longer. Apparently, 72% of Londoners feel they're losing repair skills that we all used to know. So how can we brush up on the skills we need to feel confident mending stuff ourselves?

A Repair Cafe is a great place to start

Last month lots of you took part in our poll and told us how you would like to take action on reducing waste. 67% who voted said you’d like to take items to a local repair cafe!

Repair cafes are becoming increasingly popular and they provide loads of benefits for people who take the time to show their belongings some TLC.

The Restart Project runs regular events to help people fix broken electricals. Have a look at this handy events calendar to see what’s happening near you (Restart Project Events). You could also check out the Open Repair Alliance, they have a map highlighting all the events taking place around the world.

Everyone’s welcome to attend, mingle and share ideas. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people and learn new things.

Find a mending group to learn new skills

According to Clothes Aid around ‘ £140 million worth of used but wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.’ We’re currently working on how we can bring mending workshops to a Library of Things near you - but in the meantime check out these organisations.

Fashion therapy is offering a regular sewing workshop to help people repair, upcycle or remodel their used clothes. You can find more information here. Or take a look at Fashion Revolution - they have a great guide on mending your favourite pair of jeans and to get more wear out of your clothes.

Show things a little love to stop them from breaking

It sounds obvious, but learning how to take care of your items and appliances is the easiest way to stop them from breaking. So here are some top tips.

1. Remove rust with aluminium foil

Have a bike or chrome appliance that’s accumulating rust? Simply wet the area then grab some foil and crumble this into a tight little ball, you can then use it to scrub away the rust from the affected area to prevent damage from building up.

2. Make clothes last longer

Always wash your denims and darker clothes inside out to avoid colours from fading or bleeding. You can also rejuvenate dark-coloured clothes in a simple dye bath, simply add the directed amount of dye into a bucket and dip your clothes - place them in a cool wash for the first couple of washes to stop the dye running.

3. Prevent damage - descale your kettle and shower head

Soak your shower head inside a ziplock bag filled with white vinegar overnight and rinse with water. The water should flow much faster and help you take quicker showers.

You can also do the same for your kettle by filling it with ¾ white vinegar and the rest water, let the mixture boil and then sit for an hour - Boil water a few more times to get rid of the smell and any leftover limescale hanging around.

Get involved with Repair Day this weekend!

This weekend and beyond there are lots of activities and repair cafes happening across London to mark Repair Day. It’s a great opportunity to check your home for things that you were going to throw away and visit the Restart website to find out how you can get some help with mending them instead! Here are some of our favourites happening around city:

Oct 15th: Broadwater Farm Repair Cafe

Oct 15h: International Repair Day with Makers Cabinet

Oct 23rd: West Central London Fixers; Electronic Repair Party

Oct 23rd: Annual Sustainability Day at Hackney Town Hall - Library of Things will have our very own stand here, pop over to say hello.

Oct 29th: Repair Cafe at Nunhead Green

Nov 26th: Hackney Fixers, Cropley Street

Nov 26th: Restarters Tooting