Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Matters
Nutritional Information
Submit a Recipe
Share how you’ve made a difference in your community to inspire others.
Two people work at a table to repair a broken part.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

A repair café is a workshop where community members gather to learn how to repair household items.

Why this recipe matters

The United States throws out more stuff than any other nation in the world. While Americans make up only 4% of the global population, we produce more than 12% of the planet's trash.

Embracing and nurturing a “fix-it culture” can make a significant impact in the reduction of waste and the promotion of responsible consumerism.



1. Request a starter kit from the Repair Café website for access to templates, registration forms, and guidance about how to publicize your Repair Café.

2. Locate a large space for repairs.

  • Consider whether you have access to an empty garage, a large driveway, a school lobby, or room at a local place of worship or community center. You’ll also need to find storage for any donated or purchased tools and supplies.

3. Make sure you have a variety of supplies that can repair anything from textiles to electrical appliances. Some tips on where to find free or low-cost tools:

  • Ask volunteers to BYOT (bring your own tools) for the day
  • Local garage and yard sales are a great place to find tools on the cheap
  • Find your local tool-lending library
  • Check with your local library to see if they offer a tool lending program

4. Recruit volunteers.

  • Publicize your Repair Café, and ask friends to spread the word to interested volunteers. Your starter kit includes invitation and publicity templates that will come in handy as you promote and recruit.

5. Prepare for opening day.

  • Set up an appointment system to better understand the types of repairs people need, and to make sure you have the right tools and volunteers to get the job done. Platforms like Calendly offer free basic scheduling solutions. Don’t forget to take and share photos of the Repair Café on social using #Idealist so we can celebrate with you.

Nutritional Information

How this recipe has nurtured a community

“Not only has our local Repair Café meant fewer household items—clothes, vacuum cleaners, kitchen appliances, you name it!—in the trash, but I have met so many talented neighbors! I’ve lived in this town for fifteen years and nothing has connected my community like our little Repair Café events! We’ve also started collecting used batteries at our events, for proper disposal … don’t just throw your batteries in the trash, people!”

— Jordan A, Virginia

Finishing Touch

Don’t let your repair-athon turn into a silent retreat! Music is powerful, and a familiar song can actually boost our dopamine levels and our productivity. 

Make your Repair Café a celebratory community gathering with this Repair Shop Bangaz playlist 😉