John, a Fixit carpentry trainer shows two participants how to repair their wooden chair.

When our favorite household appliances, beloved furniture, or heavily used electronics break down, sometimes the easiest thing to do is to throw them in the trash. When the zippers on our jackets break down or the eyeballs of our children’s soft toys fall off, we deem them obsolete and then throw them in the trash.

When our things tear, tear, break, or just stop working, we throw them in the trash. The life of our material possessions often ends in the landfill due to the disposable relationship we have with our business.

While it may be easier and less time consuming to replace our broken item with a brand new one, the consequences outweigh the practical benefits. More unnecessary waste means larger landfills and more raw materials extracted to make substitutes. The idea that our goods are disposable, especially when they break, fuel our current unsustainable materials economy.

So how do we change our relationship with our broken stuff? We are learning how to fix it! Some things cannot be fixed – we understand – but trying is both fun and empowering, and generally ends up being more profitable for the consumer.

There are dozens of programs around the world that are actively working to make this change a reality. Whether it’s creating goods that are designed to last or accompanied by repair instructions like this laptop company, or information on home repair such as ifixit site, the possibility of repairing our business is becoming more and more accessible. Groups like the Right of reparation movement and organizations around the world are fighting against planned obsolescence and for our right to repair.

Sometimes all people need is the right tool and the space to attempt a repair. Tools can be expensive and DIY may not come naturally to some of us, so we need community spaces where we feel empowered to explore with people who can walk us through the process. These spaces are called Fixit clinics. These events are gaining traction everywhere with new clinics starting up regularly around the world.

A Fixit clinic is an event where members of the community can bring in their worn, broken or faulty items and learn how to fix them. Trained volunteers (aka Fixit Coaches) help repair these items by sharing their knowledge and skills in sewing and mending, carpentry, electrical and appliance repair.

One of Home ReSource’s many goals is to reshape the way we see our materials and see our relationship to our business through a sustainable lens. When we, the ReSourcers, heard about Fixit Clinics, we knew this program was perfect for our community.

We then held our first Earth Day in 2018. Since then, we’ve repaired over 50 items and built a small but powerful team of amazing Fixit Coach volunteers. These clinics take place on a Saturday of each month (to stay up to date with the schedule, visit our website!) and usually take place in the Home ReSource community room. Tools and repair expertise are provided, but fixes are not guaranteed. At the very least, someone can guide you through your repair attempt.

Fixit clinics help us to think critically about our relationship with consumption and sustainability and to demonstrate how repair is a good way to reduce the global burden of resource extraction and waste. The result is technology demystified, more people with simple repair know-how, and fewer things destroyed and replaced.

If you are not interested in attending a Fixit clinic in person due to the recent increase in covid cases, check out some of these Fixit online. Resources and Blog of the National Fixit Clinic! If you know how to fix your broken item but don’t have the tools, check out our user-friendly neighborhood tool library, Urban demonstration of Missoula (MUD), and they should have you covered.

Do you have some knowledge and fixing skills that you would like to share with your community?

Sign up to become a Fixit coach by sending an email Michelle barton.

Michelle Barton – Member of the Big Sky Watershed Corps serving Home ReSource.

Sustainable development

Soil Cycle Compost Delivery Bike – Friday, September 17 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Volunteers wanted! Contact [email protected] to be involved!

Spontaneous construction – September 18. Missoula’s Creative Reinvention Festival! Reuse. Compete. To create. Enjoy! More info and team registration here.

Fall beekeeping workshop – Sunday September 19 12 pm-2pm to the MUD Tool Library. To buy tickets here.

MUD will be hosting a two-hour beekeeping workshop that costs $ 10 for MUD members and $ 20 for non-members.

Missoula’s Third Annual Clean Energy Expo – September 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Climate Smart Missoula, in conjunction with partners – the Montana Renewable Energy Association, City of Missoula, County of Missoula and Clearwater Credit Union – are back to host this premier event at Caras Park. More information is HERE, let us know if you want to sponsor or host a table, and do Save the Date.

Fixit Clinic – October 2sd 11 am-3pm at the MakerSpace of the Missoula Public Library Register here.

Here, we offer ideas on sustainable ways to stay involved in our community. If you like these offers, consider signing up for Climate Smart’s electronic newsletter here. And subscribe to Home ReSource eNews via their home page here.

Introduction to Female-Led Carpentry – October 16 and 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the MUD library. To buy tickets here.

MUD will run a two-day, female-led carpentry course that costs $ 30 for MUD members and $ 60 for non-members.

Missoula Farmers Markets. Eat local now until early fall! The original Farmers Market at the north end of Higgins takes place every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – info here. The Clark Fork Market is now located at 101 Carousel Drive near Dragon Hallow, runs every Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – information is here.

Tour Bike to Barns – Aug 14-Sep. 30. Explore the farms and local flavors on a 15-mile bike tour through the Orchard Homes and Target Range neighborhoods of Missoula. Check again here for more information.

Material donations to Home Resource turns the wheels of reuse in our community; and remember that all you need to know about what to do with your unwanted items is below. www.zerobyfiftymissoula.com.

Find more local activities and events on Missoulaevents.net and the Montana Environmental Information Center Retention schedule. And you too can help organize events – here is the 2021 Calendar of Environmental Awareness Days – month-by-month distribution of World Day campaigns.


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