“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” We’ve all heard it at some point, but I feel like there is a fourth element missing from the popular phrase: repair. A lot of us, when something breaks, just toss it and move on. But for many breaks (or snags, tears, leaks, etc.), there are simple fixes we just don’t take the time to explore. Or maybe we don’t have the skills (or confidence in our skills) to get the job done.
Good news! There are tons of options on the internet (and from your friendly neighborhood Library) that can help you out. I’ve done my best to compile a handy list of resources for those of you who are ready to get your hands a little dirty and dare to repair!
Automotive and Small Engines
Most drivers have, at some point, changed a windshield wiper or checked their oil, but what about changing the air filters and oil? Replacing a spark plug or putting on new breaks? If you’ve got the will to learn and the tools handy, many repairs can be done from the “comfort” of your own driveway!
You can use Library resources like ChiltonLibrary.com and Mitchell 1 ProDemand (in-library use only), which offer up all kinds of information about automotive repair! If you’re looking for information about smaller appliances (like lawn mowers and such), check out Small Engine Repair Reference Center for instructions on all kinds of basic, and even some complex, repairs!
If you want more detailed, visual instructions, check out the thousands (yes, thousands!) of videos on YouTube that can walk you through nearly any repair without the help of professional tools. You can also find tips and tricks from websites like Family Handyman and HowStuffWorks or automotive shops like AutoZone and O’Reilly.
DIY Home Improvement/Repairs
Even fairly simple home improvements or repairs can be costly when you bring in the professionals. Resources like Home Improvement give you tips and tricks, as well as in-depth information, about all kinds of in-home projects. Once again, YouTube can also be an extremely helpful resource when looking for visual cues and walk-throughs of tricky repairs. You can also check websites like Bob Vila (yes, really!), Family Handyman, and DIY Joy.
Clothes and Fabrics
Everyone knows someone who can’t sew on a button (Honestly, I’m not sure I could without help!). If you’d like to learn to sew on a button, mend jeans, save a snagged sweater, or resurrect a ratty robe, check out the Sewing 101 program from Universal Class, or check out Library eBooks through OverDrive.
Of course, YouTube also has thousands of videos—from small mending tasks to making your own wardrobe. And you can find all kinds of tips and tricks from websites like LifeHacker, iFixit, and even Martha Stewart’s website!
There are all kinds of items that break on us—often in unfortunate and poorly timed moments! If your computer dies, or the toaster won’t toast, DIY repair resources, including YouTube, are only a click away! For computer questions and repairs, you can always check the manufacturer’s website as well as sites like wikiHow, How-To Geek, and Popular Science. For smaller appliance repairs, find tutorials from places like Dummies.com (yes, the guys who make the books), HowStuffWorks, and Instructables!
I will say, some jobs are definitely best left to the professionals! If you don’t feel comfortable with the job, don’t mess with it. This handy list is just here to encourage you if you’re feeling the itch to DIY. I hope you can use these tools and resources to build your knowledge, confidence, and skills, so the next time something goes awry, you might just be able to repair it!
Consumer Technology Specialist