Fix-it Fair breathes new life into broken, damaged goods

Organizers say the event is 'part of a larger movement to help support repair culture.'

Organizers say the event is 'part of a larger movement to help support repair culture'

Aaron Taylor fixes a 40-year-old lamp brought to the fair on Saturday. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Two lights in Donna Huffman's 40-year-old floor lamp work perfectly, but the third hadn't worked for a very long time — until she brought it to the second ever Fix-It Fair held Saturday at the Halifax Forum.

"I just didn't know how to fix it. It's not your standard switch. But I really like the lamp and so I thought I'd give it a shot. It's been quite a challenge for him. He's been working on it for a couple of hours, I think," Huffman said of repairman Aaron Taylor.

The Fix-it Fair was organized by the Clean Foundation. The aim of the event is to keep excessive waste from ending up in landfills by encouraging people to fix the things they have instead of buying replacements.

The second ever Fix-it Fair was held at the Halifax Forum. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

There were how-to presentations during the fair and booths were set up around the hall from businesses that offer repairs. At the back was a fix-it café where people like Huffman could bring their broken products to get fixed for free.

"It's part of a larger movement ot help support repair culture," said Anna Weinstein, a spokesperson for the event. "Repair cafes are popping up all around the world. It's a big movement of teaching people how to fix their own stuff."

"We're really part of a throw-away culture right now. A lot of things are made so that they can't actually be fixed by a human and even the things that can be fixed — we're just so used to upgrading."

Anna Weinstein is a communications specialist with the Clean Foundation, the group that organized the Fix-it Fair. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

In order to fix Huffman's lamp, Taylor said he had to build a new switch "out of just whatever is lying around here."

"Given the right parts, we should be able to get it going," said Taylor. "To be honest, I've been fixing this all day."

Huffman said the lamp belonged to her husband before they got married.

"If we can fix stuff rather than throw it away and buy a new one, that's the way to go," Huffman said. "These guys are really dedicated and they're working really hard and it's great to see them. They seem to enjoy the challenge."

"I better not break it on the way home," Huffman joked on her way out.

The first Fix-it Fair was held last year at the Halifax Central Library and Weinstein said it was a big hit. She said the Clean Foundation is hoping to make it an annual event.

For those who could not make the fair, Weinstein said the Clean Foundation put together a website called Fix-it Atlantic which will soon be a directory of businesses that offer to repair or sell goods made out of recycled materials.

About the Author

Anjuli Patil


Anjuli Patil is a reporter and occasional video journalist with CBC Nova Scotia's digital team.