Repair Cafes Can Help You Fix Everything from Electronics to Jewelry

A Repair Cafe event in Paris, 2014
A Repair Cafe event in Paris, 2014
Patrick Kovarik, AFP/Getty Images

If you don't consider yourself a particularly handy person, you may be at a loss when something around the house breaks, whether it be your computer mouse, your nightstand, or your child's Furby. But if you are an avid recycler, you might also feel a sense of guilt throwing away electronics, furniture, toys, and other home goods that are almost usable but just need some love from an experienced professional to get working again.

Repair Cafe, as CityLab reports, is a network of volunteer organizations that help people fix their broken products. The first Repair Cafe got its start in Amsterdam in 2009, when Martine Postma opened up the first cafe dedicated to helping people fix up their broken products. Experts are available to help look at malfunctioning electronics, broken jewelry, busted vacuums, and other everyday items, helping the owner troubleshoot the problem and get everything working again.

A tailor at a Repair Cafe in Bangalore, India in 2015Manjunath Kiran, AFP/Getty Images

The goal is to prevent as many of these products as possible from ending up in the trash, and it's free for anyone to attend. While the cafe provides access to knowledgeable experts and some tools and supplies, the goal is to help individuals learn to fix their household goods on their own.

Due to the success of the Amsterdam cafe, Postma founded the Repair Cafe Foundation to bring her idea to cities around the world. There are currently more than 1500 volunteer Repair Cafes internationally. Anyone can start one, in fact. For less than $60 (€49), the organization provides a step-by-step manual, logo use, templates for advertising posters and liability forms, and other support.

If there aren't any Repair Cafes near you right now—and you don't plan to open one—consider investing in products that come with lifetime guarantees. (If you don't know where to find those, start here.)

[h/t CityLab]

Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 2. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

This All-in-One Storage Solution Can Be Used at Home or Carried on the Go


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Whether you're looking for a durable storage solution for your garage or a roomy pack for a long camping trip, the collapsible RUX carrier can help keep your stuff safe and secure without taking up much room in your closet when you're done. And until December 10, you can support the project on Indiegogo.

The main idea of the RUX is to serve multiple purposes at once. You can carry it around like a backpack or duffle bag during a weekend trip outdoors, or you can use it as a stationary storage bin for your car or home. Despite being strong enough to hold your bulkiest gear, it only weighs around four pounds and is designed to be collapsible, so you can fold it up and slip it away afterwards. (Unfolded, the RUX comes in at 15.7 by 19.5 by 13.8 inches.)

And if you're looking to use it during more serious outdoor adventures, you can rest assured that its weatherproof construction will keep your stuff dry in the rain. There's even a window that allows you to double-check that your items are safe and sound.


The RUX was created with sustainability and longevity in mind. Not only does the RUX have a lifetime warranty, but each component can also come off and be replaced easily so you can continue using the product no matter the problem. RUX is a member of 1% For The Planet, which is a group that gives back 1 percent of sales to environmental causes, even if they are not profitable.

There is still time to back the RUX campaign and reap the rewards. If you back $196, you’ll get your first RUX along with it. However, if you back $265, you’ll get one RUX, two divider totes, an EDC pouch, and two utility straps. If you back $449, you’ll get all the same things from the second level along with an extra RUX. If you want to back $515 or $725, you’ll get double or triple everything, respectively, from the second level.

The RUX campaign ends on December 10, so there is still time to back this product through Indiegogo. Shipments of RUX will hopefully start by June 2021.

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