Don't Despair - Repair

CC BY 2.0. George Alexander Ishida Newman

We focus a lot on gift ideas this time of year, but let's pause for a moment to think about the most sustainable choices we can make in life. At the top of that list: repair!

A fix-it attitude applies both to shopping trips for new items as well as to giving renewed life to broken possessions before trashing them.

Start with seasonal shopping: if a new gift must be bought, think about sustainability. Buy the appliance that is built to be repaired. Opt for the sweater that will hold its shape long enough to make it worth darning a hole or two. Choose the toy that a child can re-gift to their own child or grandchild someday.

But consider this too: you can give the gift of repair. Rather than buying new to replace the old, you can make the old new again. Imagine sharing the joy of keeping that beloved item with all (or most of) its flaws fixed. Make a commitment in your secret Santa circle to re-purpose and let your creativity shine.

Feeling insecure about your handyman (handyperson) skills? It is easier than ever to learn how to repair just about anything. You can start with a simple search like "how to repair..." to find videos, manuals, and links to how you can order replacement parts.

web search for how to repair

C. Lepisto/Screen capture

Or bookmark some websites focused on fixing to inspire you. We got the idea from an amazing portal in Germany, cleverly called Kaputt, which lends a helping hand and also sells repaired items, reflecting a culture of repair that is widespread in Europe. That got us looking for options for the English speaker, and led to sites like

If you already have a favorite fix-it site, share it in the comments (if you have to write it without the link we promise to add it to the links above as a reader favorite).

So this season of giving: don't start over, overhaul!