By Michelle Fisher
There’s a wave of decluttering happening, inspired by the ABC’s War on Waste and Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up program. The “Kon-Mari method” invites us to only keep possessions that bring us happiness, or that “spark joy”. This sentiment harks back to that famous 19th century quote of William Morris that still resonates today:
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful,
As you go through your stuff, once you’ve sorted out the obvious junk, you may find that you still have things that you really love. They might be in disrepair or simply don’t work for some unknown reason. Or you might realise that you’ve rarely used the thing (other than giving it “room and board”), and resist getting rid of it. It’s still in great condition, after all, and it might come in handy one day!
Aside from throwing things out or donating them to Vinnies or the Salvos (which can itself create problems for councils and charity organisations), how else might you honour your cherished and useful goods, and even still be able to access to them when you need them?
Well, you’re in luck! You can take your broken goods and torn clothing down to your local repair café where volunteer fixers will show you how to mend them – for free! The Melbourne Repair Café (Inner West) was set up three years ago. At the time, it was the first repair café in Melbourne and one of only five in Australia! Now there are dozens in Australia which are part of an international movement that includes over 1700 repair cafes across 33 countries. The Melbourne Repair Café runs monthly repair sessions out of the Yarraville Community Centre. Check out the website to see when the next repair session is and how they run, or locate another repair café or fix-it initiative near you: http://melbournerepaircafe.org.
If you’re looking to move on useful goods that are still in really good nick, you can give them a second life by donating them to Sharing Shed Melbourne – a new initiative starting up in Melbourne’s Inner West that is working on setting up a “library of things”. The Sharing Shed will offer low-cost memberships to enable individuals and other community organisations to borrow infrequently-used but really handy items for holding events, trying out new recreational pursuits, doing home maintenance and more. If you want to donate your quality 2nd hand goods or otherwise get involved, head over to the Sharing Shed’s website at http://sharingshedmelbourne.org.au.
Michelle Fisher is the founder and coordinator of Melbourne Repair Café (Inner West) and co-founder and Chief Executive of Sharing Shed Melbourne. You can follow these initiatives on Facebook and Instagram – just search for “melbournerepaircafe” and “sharingshedmelbourne”.
This article also appeared in the February 2019 print edition of The Westsider newspaper.
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.