Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

repair instead of replace!

The environmental motto Reduce, Reuse, Recycle really focuses on getting people to not be so wasteful. And when you put it into perspective, everyone's waste has to go SOMEWHERE. "Away" is not a magical black hole that sucks your trash into space. Out of sight for you, but not out of mind for others and the planet.

One way to reduce your trash is to repair things instead of replacing them. Of course, if something is broken beyond repair, then don't kill yourself trying to fix it. A vase that's shattered into 39294 pieces is really not going to be very functional glued together anyway. If there's only two or three broken pieces, then put it back together! (Oh gosh, and now Humpty Dumpty is stuck in my head!)

The biggest victims of being thrown out when broken are electronics. Now, the fact that electronics tend to be obsolete after a year is another rant and post in itself. But, whether it's new or old, a lot of broken electronics can be repaired. Sometimes you may need to replace a part, and sometimes you may have to call a professional, but it's better than throwing out and getting something new. (Read more on electronic waste!)  I've had success getting a cheap DVD player fixed, and it lasted another year after that!

And if you have a phone or Fitbit or tablet (or anything with a battery) that takes a swim, put it in rice immediately! It does help save your device from being ruined. (And I'm still mad that I lost my first Fitbit this way. Note to self: Keep more rice around!)

Got a shirt that still fits with a button that came off, or a hole somewhere? Grab a needle and some thread, or if you really can't sew, call someone who can! Repair your clothing before you toss it out and get new stuff. I am by no means a seamstress, but I am especially tired of skirts losing their hook-and-eye closures, or hems coming out of skirts or pants. Because I'd rather just fix it and be able to wear it again than be lazy and throw it in the donation pile, I'll pull out my needle and thread and do a (crappy) job repairing the issue.

Broken household items are also victims for being thrown out. When my boyfriend bought his house, I found a pile of trashed household items the previous owners had left out. I found a nice, unbroken soap dispenser that I rescued, washed in hot soapy water and let dry. We still have that soap dispenser around and I use it! Why throw it out!? I recently had a clog in another soap dispenser, but instead of getting rid of it, I just used a straightened paperclip to unclog it. Highly technical!

I get to practice repairing items a bit more often thanks to my rambunctious (a-hole) cat. I have a wooden necklace organizer that looks like a small coat rack, and one day he jumped onto the table and knocked it to the floor. One of the arms came off, and for awhile I just left it as is. But one day I got tired of having a jank necklace organizer, so I grabbed some superglue and fixed it back on. And if I remember correctly, that didn't hold long, so I had to use that nasty expanding Gorilla Glue. But now my organizer has all its arms and is holding my necklaces.

When it comes to blemishes on furniture, do a little research for how to best clean it. Wood glue can fix wobbly legs on tables and make them good as new. There are specialized wood scratch markers that can fill in tiny grooves. For couches and chairs, it depends on the material, but many fabrics can be spot cleaned. One step further, if it's really badly stained and won't come out, slip covers can work wonders, and can be machine washed. There are even ways to repair scratches on leather furniture!

If there's something you don't know how to repair, look it up online! YouTube has tons of how-to videos that can give you clear instructions with visuals.

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