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The Repair Cafe will fix your gadget for free!

Written by: Hendrik

Category: Lifestyle, News

Updated on:


You buy something, and a month later, it breaks? Then you have to deal with customer service representatives who didn’t get enough sleep. Is it worth all that hustle to get your money’s worth? Perhaps you could go and get it fixed somewhere nearby and have fun while doing it?

What if there was a place where people could get together and repair items that may otherwise be doomed for the bin? Well, let me tell you, there is such a place, and it’s called the “Repair Cafe.”

Related article: The 5R’s, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Rot.

Yes, sadly, companies and corporations design products to break and we have to buy new ones. Often they are completely encased, and you can’t even open them to find out what could be wrong with the item. 

Just look at your car’s engine. You used to change the oil and spark plugs yourself, and now, forget it. You can even see the machine anymore.

Did you know that the first lightbulb invented still glows in a museum in California? You can watch it live here:


Yes, the company hired people to design lightbulbs that would break to profit the company. Who wants something that lasts forever, right? 

It took months and months of hard work to finally create the lightbulb that would die after 1000 hours of use. 

This is only one small example of how companies design our products these days.

Related Documentary: The end of ownership.

Luckily, a lot of people are fed up with this idea of rebuying the same stuff over and over. And in October 2009, the first repair cafe was founded in Amsterdam by Martine Postma.

What is a repair cafe?

A repair cafe is a place for people to get together. It is a place where you can bring your broken devices and repair them with help from neighbors, friends, and some professionals as well. All are getting together in these cafes and bringing life back into items that have been otherwise thought dead. 

If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job. You can also get inspired at the reading table – by leafing through books on repairs and DIY.

It is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint since making new items causes CO2 emissions, and we can reduce this by merely fixing what’s broken. 

This is also a trade often forgotten in our society and not much appreciated. Thanks to the Repair Cafe, this is changing. Here you can not only fix your toaster or sow your favorite jeans back together, but you can make friends and help other people along. 

What can you repair in a repair cafe?

You can repair anything you can carry with you, from electrical appliances to clothes, furniture, crockery, housewares, bicycles, toys, etc. If you wish to know whether someone will be available to help mend your broken item, please get in touch with the organizers of your local Repair Café.

Where do you find a repair cafe?

Since they first started in 2009, repair cafes have been popping up everywhere around the world. You can choose from over 1930 Repair Cafe’s from Brazil to Germany, from Australia to Canada, and you can most likely find one in your area. ee if there is a repair cafe in your area? 👇

How much does it cost?

The repair of an item is free. However, donation boxes are set up in each cafe. You are welcome to donate money to cover the cost of the space rented, the tools, or just for your appreciation.

You are always welcome to contribute your skills and help other people fix their items.

If you want to go even further because you love fixing things, this could be your way to share your skill and meet new people. Why not create your repair cafe?

Do you need to bring your own tools?

The essential tools will be at the cafe, but it is always welcome to bring some of your own. If you require switches, fuses, or other small items, they may not be at the cafe. You will be advised to order or buy the part missing to repair your item. Lease does not donate broken items.


I am surprised that I haven’t come across this earlier since it is not new. We never stop learning. I hope it inspired you to get your broken items fixed and value them a little bit more. Do you feel excited about starting up your cafe?

I have always enjoyed fixing things, but I also know that this is a dying art. Nowadays, people learn different skillsets and get trained to be good with computers, and well we are just told to throw things away and repurchase them.

Perhaps fixing old items could even turn into a nice little side-hustle for you to make some extra cash.

If you have an old toaster in the basement, perhaps someone might pay a decent amount of money for it since it might be an antique?

Photo of author

Hendrik Kaiser

I've studied biology and lived for 3 years on an off-grid permaculture farm. I love kitesurfing and keeping my body healthy and fit. Hence, I care so much about keeping our environment clean and being as zero waste as possible. Being a zerowasteman is a superpower everyone has inside of themselves, and I want to teach you how you can unleash it.

2 thoughts on “The Repair Cafe will fix your gadget for free!”

  1. Hi, Hendrik,

    Honestly, I’ve never been a DIYer. I’ve always paid someone else to repair whatever needs to be repaired. I had never heard before of repair cafes. They seem like a good idea. I might try to find one in my area and visit one.

    Thanks for sharing.


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