Repair Café. Toss it? No Way!

The Saratoga Springs Public Library and Sustainable Saratoga were elated to host their 6th Repair Café last month, on September 18, 2021.

“After cancelling our Repair Café in March of 2020 as the COVID pandemic was unfolding, we were waiting for the right opportunity to safely hold our next event,” said Sustainable Saratoga Executive Director Wendy Mahaney. “We are grateful to the Saratoga Springs Recreation Commission and staff for generously allowing us to hold the event at the Recreation Center on Vanderbilt Ave, which afforded us with the space to spread out fix-it stations and maintain adequate social distancing.”

The location was not the only difference. People registered in advance for appointments with the repair coaches, who were eager to once again offer their skills and help people repair their broken items. Jennifer Ferriss, librarian at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, notes that “The reservation system made it easier for us to plan what parts and accessories were needed to ensure some success. We realize reserving in advance is not ideal for many people and we welcome feedback to our process as we plan for our next in-person event.”

While this was a smaller event, our coaches helped people fix 19 of the 21 items brought in that Saturday. Here is a sampling of what was repaired – all of the lamps were fixed; ancestral linens fixed by our amazing seamstress Lucy Manning; a Halloween decoration is ready for another year thanks to Dan Barkevich; and a plugged-up vacuum took a while but got its suction back. The collective brainpower of our electronics repair team could not fix a broken hedge trimmer, but they did identify the problem.

It is great to put on an event where people are always happy to be there and grateful for our assistance. One person lauded her coach’s efforts, which went beyond simply repairing her lamp to fulfill the full goal of Repair Café: “John taught me how to fix it!”

Lamps are popular repair items and they typically can be easily repaired. Vacuums and hair dryers often just need a good cleaning out to get back in working order.

We have heard from several people asking when the next event will be – we are working on those details and will announce it as soon as we finalize plans. In the meantime, sign up for Sustainable Saratoga’s emails or check either organization’s social media accounts or websites. and

Above: Lucy repaired some ancestral linens with great care and attention to detail, while all the electronics coaches worked together to try and fix these hedge trimmers.

Sustainable Saratoga promotes sustainable practices and the protection of natural resources through education, advocacy and action. We are a leader in promoting awareness of environmental issues and what we as a local community can do to minimize our ecological impact while maintaining a high quality of life.

If you benefit from our events and would like to see them continue, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you!