Daily Flash

Half Mag / Half Zine

How many YouTube tutorials does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One—if that many.

But when you need to fix something that’s beyond your level of DIY expertise, with nearly a bazillion videos offering differing and sometimes conflicting repair advice, it can be hard to know where to turn—or, at least it was until the advent of Fixit Clinic.

With its jaunty motto of “Education, entertainment, empowerment, elucidation, and, ultimately, enlightenment through guided disassembly of your broken stuff,” Fixit Clinic was conceived as a series of in-person events.

Participants brought in various non-working items to get expert guidance. The goal was not only to put the broken stuff to rights but also to help owners understand what made their things tick in the first place.

“Fixit Clinic conveys basic disassembly, troubleshooting, and repair skills using peoples’ own broken things as the vehicle. By sharing these skills while transferring them to others we teach critical thinking through the lens of our relationship to consumption and sustainability. We strive to demystify science and technology so that we can ultimately make better policy choices as a society,” their website explains.

With COVID-19 curtailing most forms of non-essential contact, rather than shut down, Fixit Clinic smoothly shifted gears. The in-person meet-ups have given way to a virtual format that has actually expanded the pool of repair seekers and repair makers exponentially.

The process is fairly simple. After signing up, participants submit their broken items to a “global assembly of community repairers” for troubleshooting tips and suggestions.

Next, the needful things, their owners, and the appropriate Fixit guru or gurus team up in “Zoom breakout rooms to implement the suggestions and, hopefully, fix the items.”

The Fixit Clinic also boasts a Global Fixers Discord Server for synchronous/asynchronous around-the-clock around-the-world repair.

Of course, some things are simply beyond repair. While Fixit Clinic makes no guarantees a broken item brought to them can be made good as new, if nothing else, participants will learn the how and why of what went wrong—all at no cost.

“I did a session with them for my hand-held blender last weekend and they were amazing. It’s all free, of course,” Anya Hart Dyke told The Guardian from her home in Scotland.

While they started out with smaller gadgets, Fixit Clinic can now tackle repairs on larger things including dishwashers, TVs, furniture, and more. To participate in an upcoming Intergalactic Fixit Clinic or set up repair via Discord, just head here.

So the moral of this story is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but if it is broke, Fixit Clinic is a great way to go.