Yes, we live in a disposable society, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Recently my husband and I have been trying to repair stuff around the house, rather than relegating it to the landfill and buying a new one. And there’s something supremely gratifying about making that stuff almost-like-new again while saving yourself the money you would’ve spent on a replacement. Not to mention, being able to keep your belongings in good working condition for as long as possible makes great sense from an environmental standpoint, too: After all, when you don’t have to replace something, you eliminate the need to trash the original and all the packaging from the new version, too.
Here are the five basic repair tricks we’ve benefitted from the most so far:
1. Invest in a Bondic Kit. Bondic plastic repair kits were a hot holiday gift on The Grommet this past season, and for good reason. You can use them to repair plastic, glass, wood, fabric — all sorts of objects. They’re great for fixing broken eyeglass frames, repairing glass objects, or fixing cracks in plastic storage bins. Chances are you’ll be roaming the house looking for an excuse to fix stuff if you get one of these gadgets!
2. Find out how to properly clean your toaster oven. In this case, cleaning counts as a repair: A clean toaster oven works more efficiently, so the machine doesn’t have to work extra hard to do its everyday tasks. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s trashed a working toaster oven simply because it’s gotten too gross and gunky to use. Luckily, it turns out that giving a toaster oven a deep clean isn’t as time consuming or as onerous as I’d thought (these steps from Good Housekeeping will have your toaster oven sparkling again in no time).
3. Brush up on your sewing skills. A rip in a favorite piece of clothing is the worst — you can’t wear it anymore but it’s not in good enough condition to donate it. Back in the old days, when fabric was expensive, people had very few pieces of clothing and what they did own was carefully mended and maintained… after all, it had to last for a long, long time! The art of sewing and mending is just about lost, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, with step-by-step photos and even videos, it’s easier than ever to learn basic mending techniques, such as fixing a zipper or sewing on a button. Invest in a little sewing kit and gather up all those clothes in the back of your closet that you’ve stopped wearing because of a split seam or a ripped pocket. It’s a great pastime while watching TV or listening to the radio.
4. Repair broken dishes. Next time you’ve cracked a plate or a favorite mug, don’t fret — the pieces don’t need to go in the trash. Indeed, it’s difficult to find recycling facilities that accept stoneware and ceramic, but there are many different methods for repairing broken china. One unconventional method even relies on soaking a cracked dish in hot milk to repair and seal it! And if you’re crafty, you might try out the Japanese art of kintsugi, which makes broken ceramics beautiful again by sealing cracks with gold (real or fake!). When you’re looking for a dish repair method that works for you, keep in mind that certain epoxies might render a dish no longer food safe.