I volunteered at my first Fix-It Clinic a few weeks ago, and it was a great experience. Here is a recap of the event from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The table lamp, with its fizzling lightbulbs, was built like a tank and was about as attractive. Its base was so heavy that not even the cats could knock it over — and therein lay its beauty.
Reason enough for Molly Ross of Edina to set it before a group of people who know how to fix fizzling lamps and recalcitrant toasters and unpredictable boomboxes.
They’re the volunteers for a Fix-It Clinic, an effort begun last year by Hennepin County. Clinics have a three-pronged approach: One, a repaired gadget is one less gadget tossed in the trash. Two, you can learn to do your own troubleshooting and repair work. Three, you get to meet some really smart and generous people, and that’s not a wasted Saturday, even if your toaster never works again.
The effort is itself part of an international movement that began about four years ago in the Netherlands. A similar group called the Fixers Collective started in the New York borough of Brooklyn.
Here’s how they work: Bring in small appliances, electronics, mobile devices, even clothing that needs mending. Volunteers guide you through the repair process, helping you figure out where the problem may lie and the possible solutions.