By Jenny Lindsay and Michelle Fisher
Surprise! The festive season is upon us. You might love it, or you might grin and bear it.
For some, it’s about the beach, barbecues, picnics, prawns and pav. For others, memories of hot, sweaty hours in the sweltering kitchen serving up a roast in the heat of an Aussie summer – wait, was that just my family?Or you might be relishing the time spent with family, or a chance to get away and reflect on the highs and lows of the year.
Wherever your festive journey takes you, the Repair Café along with 2nd hand and sharing organisations will help you navigate through the gift-giving season.
#1: If your kids have literally loved their new toys to death before the family lunch, don’t despair. Bring your broken toys to the first Melbourne Repair Café session in the new year (details TBA in our next newsletter and on our Facebook page - or find a repair cafe in your 'hood). We can do our best to fix your items, but sorry, can’t help mend your child’s broken heart.
#2: Better still, why buy when you can borrow? Visit your local toy library to add some variety to your play options. Then you can swap the toys over after the novelty has worn off! It’s a sure-fire way to reduce your holiday spend. (Click the map below to find a toy library near you.)
#3: Woo-hoo! Upgrade! After running around impressing your friends, the neighbours and their dogs with your new device, consider what you’ll do with the old one. Can you pass it on to someone else to use? Is it suitable for some other purpose, or can it be upcycled or refashioned? Give your old device or item a new life with someone who could use it or could remake it. Try your local Good Karma Network or Buy Nothing New group, or Gumtree. And of course there are a number of charities who accept clothing and other goods. Or, if it’s destined for the bin, then be sure to take it to an e-waste depot for responsible disposal – lots of valuable materials can be retrieved and diverted from landfill. Your local library often has a drop-off facility near the door, or check out your check out your local council's clothing and electrical drop off hub - see here, for Maribyrnong City Council residents. Before tossing, though, think about creative uses - like this mobile phone Christmas installation:
#4: Instead of replacing a broken or torn item, give your loved one a "Gift of Repair" gift card. We've designed one which you can download and print. We hope to have some printed cards in time for our next Repair Cafe session at Yarraville and will leave some stacks around town. If you can help distribute these, please get in touch through the Contact page or by email.
And #5: Have fun doing your shopping at 2nd hand and op-shops this year. Pick up great bargains, with a zero waste benefit - the more we reuse and upcycle, the more we save from being thrown away to landfill. Besides vintage vinyls and 2nd hand bookstores, you can head out to heaps of op-shops around Melbourne - check out I Love to Op Shop, OpShop.Org, and Urban List's top op shops.
Enjoy finding unique pieces. So that second-hand jacket needs mending? The vintage bag you’ve scored has a broken clip? That bargain gadget has a loose connection? Bring it into the Repair Cafe for help to bring new life to old treasures.
Wishing all of our volunteers, visitors and supporters an enjoyable festive season. Hope to see you back in the new year refreshed and ready to get repairing!
Michelle Fisher is the founder and coordinator of the Melbourne Repair Cafe (Inner West). She is more comfortable wielding pens than tools and welcomes contributions from those who can wield one or the other or both! Please send submissions to the Melbourne Repair Cafe's email address..
Jenny Lindsay is a seeker of sustainable lifestyle solutions who regularly helps out on the Repair Café registration desk. Jenny is the founder of Connectjen virtual assistant which offers copywriting, marketing and admin support for businesses committed to challenging the status quo.