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  • Writer's pictureClaire Marie

To Repair or Not to Repair

We live in what many refer to as a disposable society. Coffee pot quit working? Throw it away and buy a new one. Toaster died? Toss it in the trash and get a new one. Oven quit heating? There's a 50/50 chance you'll replace it. Car problems? Oh wait, let's repair that.

Have you looked for a new freezer lately? Depending on what you want, you could be waiting 6 months to a year. Looking for that one particular toaster you've always loved? Good luck finding it.

So, what happens when you can't just go to the store or hop online to get a new one?

When I was a child, we moved into a house with a gas oven and gas stove in the kitchen. They used pilot lights to ignite the flame when you wanted to cook something. Sometimes those pilot lights would go out and they'd need to be relit, so we just relit them until you couldn't. After a while, pilot lights build up carbon that keeps them from working right and the one in the oven kept going out. Instead of replacing the oven, my dad fixed it by cleaning the carbon off the pilot light. It's not that we couldn't have afforded to replace the oven, but dad knew how to fix things and knew that it was cheaper to fix it than to replace it.

Both of my parents grew up during the depression and WWII. They knew that many times, you just had to make do with what you had. If you didn't know how to fix it or make something yourself, you'd go without or you'd find another means. They recycled things to use in other ways. They carried that knowledge into adulthood and tried to teach it to their children too.

As my husband and I grew into adults, we often had to make choices between new, used and repair to reuse. Neither of us had the money to just replace things as they broke, so we learned how to diagnose and repair problems. Sure, you still have to do some critical thinking and determine if it costs more to repair than to replace, but many times repairing is your only option because you just don't have the money to replace.

When we moved into our current house (built in 1961), most of the appliances were original. While we did replace the electric stove with a gas one, we kept the original oven. When it quit heating, the hubby replaced the heating element. A new oven would have cost the price of the new oven plus renovating the kitchen cabinet to accommodate a new oven. The repair cost? About $20. We didn't have a few thousand dollars to replace the oven and were thrilled when fixing it cost so little.

Necessity is both the mother of invention and the drive to learn how to fix stuff (thank you Plato and Jeffrey Walter). Finding anyone that knows how to repair anything is like finding a needle in a haystack, not to mention pricey. Doing it yourself may be the only way to get it done. (I can almost guarantee you there's a video online that may teach you how to do it too.)

So, with all the stupid stuff going on in the world today and supply chain issues getting worse, learning to repair things may become a valuable skill. Are you willing? Are you capable? Will you even try?

As with all my blog posts, if you enjoyed this article, please like, share and/or comment below.

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