This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Green Tip Tuesday: Repair or Replace?

Yesterday I was talking with my friend Chellie and she was telling me the story of her camera falling off its hook and breaking.  I began immediately asking her questions about how she was going to replace it.  "We may replace it," she said "if we can get one on eBay for the same amount or cheaper than it costs to repair it."

Repair it?  I felt embarrassed because I hadn't even considered trying to repair it.  The fact is we live in a throw-away society where frequently, replacing something rather than repairing it, is cheaper, easier, and more exciting.  I can remember when my grandmother's vaccuum cleaner broke and I rode along with her to take it to get repaired.  I remember my mom had Sears come out to repair something gone awry with her Lady Kenmore washing machine and dryer that she had for nearly 20 years.  I am stunned to realize that I have gone through 4 vaccuum cleaners in the 20 years I've lived on my own and not once did I even consider repairing one when it stopped working.

I just bought something new.  Something better.  Something with bells, whistles, lights, and sounds.

My father-in-law has an entire cottage industry going in his garage: finding lawn mowers people put out in their trash, repairing them, and then selling them at the flea market.   He reduces, reuses, recycles, and makes money all in one.

So, as with all things I blog about, I decided to try out this phenomenom first.  I have a sewing maching that hasn't worked in years.  I have been seriously considering asking for a new sewing maching for Christmas but now I am going to try repairing this one first.

I went down to the basement.  Unboxed the broken machine, got out the manual and began following the maintenance instructions and troubleshooting guide.

I took it apart.  I oiled it.  I put it back together and tightened all the screws. 

I plugged it in and held my breath.  Maybe I'll have to call in a professional, I thought, but at least I'm trying.  I slid a remnant under the presser foot, turned on the machine, and voila!  It worked!  I have left that poor machine in a box for 4 years with the intention to replace it and all it needed was oil and its screws tightened!

Sometimes items need to be replaced.  Sometimes it's just time for something new and the old can be recycled.

But sometimes a little elbow grease will save money and reduce waste too.  Now that's what I call Green.

1 comment:

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

It is really gratifying when you can fix something yourself. Both my parents were very handy and I think I got that gene myself. I figure it's already broken, I can't do any damage, but I just might save a buck. You know me, if I can save a dollar, I'm up for the challenge.