Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is the Repair Café?
Five Cities Repair Café is a volunteer-driven organization patterned after the Repair Café movement that started in the Netherlands in 2009 and now is flourishing worldwide with over 2,000 Repair Cafés around the world. The aim of the Repair Café movement is to reduce the amount of “stuff” that ends up in landfill by helping you fix items that you might otherwise throw away.
What have been your experiences so far?
Our first event was October 6, 2019. Typically visitors and volunteers at Repair Cafés work on bicycles, sewing projects, lamps, jewelry & crafts, small household appliances like toasters, irons and vacuum cleaners, luggage, small mechanical things like lawn mowers and weed whackers, electrical appliances like clocks, fans, and computers and computer-related items. Our inaugural event's fix it success rate was almost 100% (we were only puzzled by a couple IT questions).
How much do you charge for this service?
The events and the repairs are FREE. If the purchase of repair parts is required, and they are available, you will be asked to pay for them at cost. Of course, we encourage donations to help cover other expenses, like food for our volunteers, miscellaneous supplies, and spare parts that we keep on hand.
Can you tell me in advance if you can fix my broken item?
Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to know whether we can fix your broken item unless you bring it to the Repair Café to have one of our volunteers diagnose it.
Where and when is the next Repair Café?
See our "Home Page" for the current schedule. Events run from 1:00-5:00 pm. Please arrive before 4:30 pm, as this increases the likelihood of our having enough time to fix your item.
What should I expect if I come to the Repair Café?
If demand is high, do expect a wait; come equipped with reading material and be ready to enjoy the community spirit of the Repair Café. We provide water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and a light snack for you while you wait.
What if you cannot help me fix my broken item?
Often, if our volunteers can’t fix your item, they can offer advice on what you might need to fix it yourself. If an item is beyond repair, check with your San Luis Obispo Waste Management or your city's utilities department to see what to do with broken items.
How can I support the Repair Café movement?
Volunteer - Use the "Contact" menu item at the top of our page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Besides fixers we also need greeters, intake or reception staff and help with marketing, refreshments, and set up/take down.
Donate - Five Cities Repair Café is a non-profit that has been taken under the wing of the South County Visitor Services 501(c)(3). We operate on the energy of our volunteers, but some of what we do costs money. Contributions of any size would be greatly appreciated and will help us expand our efforts to fulfill our mission. Donations are accepted at events, or send us an email at the email address on our Contact Us page.
You can also start a Repair Café in your own town. We would love to see more Repair Cafés and will gladly help you get started.