Fixable or Tossable? Try This First!

In today’s society, there are still many good reasons to fix things instead of throwing them out. You can save money. You can get some some satisfaction and pride in being able to fix something. And for the Earth’s peace of mind, you’ll be keeping that something out of the landfill. Extending the useful life of items is always a plus, whether via eco-options such as recycling or regifting things that you just don’t want, as the Daily Green suggests.

Is It Worth Repairing?

It all depends on how much an item’s worth to you sentimentally, but from a practical standpoint, if it’s not too difficult to do and you can repair it for less than half the purchase price, it will be worth it. Do a little research about the value of repairing things with resources like Consumer Reports or antiques/collector’s guides.

What to Repair?

Consumer Reports suggests that some electronics and appliances are just too frustrating, costly, and difficult to repair. Items like these include gas cooktops, built-in refrigerators, digital camcorders, and home-theater systems. Computers break a lot and some technologies are finicky, depending on how they were designed. You can get information about your item’s fixability factors with a little research in online forums and manufacturer’s websites.

There are items you may have thought you couldn’t repair that turn out to be quite inexpensive and easy to fix.

Shoes and Boots

Take your favorite shoes or boots to a local shoe repair shop for an estimate, and you could find that those expensive boots are good as new for under $25 with resoling or a little sewing. If you’re very enterprising, a little online research can get you the supplies and instructions to fix your shoes by yourself.


Clothes are a prime item for fixing versus tossing. Sewing a button back on or sewing a seam is easy enough for most people. Last year’s prom dress? Take it to a tailor and get it altered for a casual cocktail dress or a new look. Get more complicated, but inexpensive fixes, such as broken zippers repaired at your local dry cleaner with tailoring services.

Plumbing and Water Appliances

Before you rip out that dishwasher and order a new one or call the plumber about the leaky faucet, stop and take look at what’s actually going on. Many water issues can be solved with something as simple as replacing a worn gasket or o-ring. Consult your owner’s manual or look at things like the O-ring chart on to see if that leak is a quick fix.


Luggage repairs can help extend the useful life of suitcases and carryon bags so you can spend your money on vacations instead of on new bags. Straps, handles, wheels, and rips may all be fixable with simple replacement parts, glue, or duct tape versus spending a lot of money on a new piece.


New furniture can be a big ticket item, but wear and tear damage can be simple and cheap or even free to fix. Carpenter’s glue, upholstery tacks, wood filler, and many other economical furniture repair items are available at your local hardware store or online for touch ups. If you’re crafty, replacing seat cushions with more attractive fabric or sanding and staining a sturdy wood chair might actually be fun for you.