Westside Repair Café Home Page

The Westside Repair Café 

What is the: 

Westside Repair Café

What do you do when you’ve got something you like but it no longer works?  Throw it out and buy a new one?  Stick it in the attic, the basement or under the stairs?  Pay to get it fixed?  Fix it yourself?  Chances are you toss it out.  Or maybe you store it away until that magical day when you can figure out what to do with it.... right.

Strategy: We have established a Repair Café on the Westside of Los Angeles to give you another option. The Westside Repair Café is a volunteer-run, community service dedicated to encouraging the repair and reuse of goods rather than relegating them to landfills.  It is an extension of Our Time Bank’s Sharing Economy program to further support sustainable living solutions.

Consider this:  In 1960, each person in the US generated 2.68 pounds of waste per day.  By 2000, the average was 4.65 pounds per day.  This is the most in the world.

The first Repair Café was started in Amsterdam in 2009. Since then, over 1500 Repair Cafés have sprouted up around the world. The movement expanded in 2015 when Ifixit joined the network.  Ifixit provides more than 16,000 repair guides for free.

The Westside Repair Café is affiliated with the Repair Café Foundation in the Netherlands.  We are one of a growing number of Repair Cafés to become operational in the United States.  (Though we are affiliated with the Repair Café Foundation, we are self-funded and operate independently.)  “Regional” Repair Café events are collaborations with local Cities (presently Mar Vista, Santa Monica, and Culver City).

Learn more: The Repair Café Foundation in the Netherlands. Read this 2017 article in the New York Times and this 2015 article in the Los Angeles Times. Watch the Al Jazeera video. Read about our collaboration with the City of Santa Monica in Western City Magazine.

How it works:  We will conduct Westside Repair Café events quarterly or every other month.  Bring your items for assessment, disassembly, and possible repair.  We would provide workspace, specialty tools, repair Volunteers, and guidance to help you disassemble and troubleshoot your item.  Whether we get it fixed or not, you'll learn more about how it was put together and how it works.  You can work with our Volunteers to do the repairs yourself (with their guidance) or have them tackle the job directly.  With luck, you’ll walk away with a once-again useful item and some knowledge of how to repair other things in your universe.

You would need to provide any parts required for repairs and we encourage small donations to replenish consumable supplies.

Non-repairable items:  Some items might be candidates for re-cycling or re-purposing.  These items can be reviewed by our team, if desired, to see if recycling or another use for them might be appropriate so they are kept out of our landfills.   We will have an optional “give-away table" where you can offer your item to others with the understanding that you remove it before you leave if it’s not wanted by others.  We will not accept donations of items to be fixed and sold.

What to bring:  Expertise will vary event to event, but we would like to be staffed and equipped to diagnose and do work on:

  • Small household appliances like toasters, hair dryers, mixers, vacuums, etc.
  • Various electronics including computers, games, tools, audio/video, and other devices
  • Toys, furniture, lamps, kitchen items, fixtures, minor woodworking
  • Bicycles, tricycles, skateboards, scooters, skates
  • Clothing, shoes, luggage
  • Blade sharpening
  • Small plumbing items like faucets, valves, hoses, sprinklers
  • Car, truck, motorcycle, lawnmowers ... diagnostic and repair advice
  • Most items suitable for general handyman types of repairs
  • If its too big to carry in, bring a picture and/or describe the problem to us and we will make repair suggestions

What to expect:  Of course, there is no guarantee you’ll walk out with a workable item.  We may not be staffed with the right skills or equipment; it may take some time to research and/or find repair parts, or it may just not be feasible or cost effective to repair your item.  But we would give it a shot.  If we can’t fix it, we may recommend local repair shops. 

No Rivalry: The Repair Café Foundation sometimes gets asked whether access to free repair get-togethers is competing with professional repair specialists.  The answer is; quite the opposite.  Our sponsors want to use a Repair Café to focus attention on the possibility of getting things repaired, reducing landfills, and building sustainable neighborhoods.  Visitors are frequently advised to go to the few professionals still around.  Furthermore, people who visit Repair Cafés are not usually customers of repair specialists.  They say that they normally throw away broken items because paying to have them repaired is, in general, too expensive.  At the Repair Café they learn that you don’t have to throw things away; there are alternatives to adding waste to our landfills.

Volunteer:  If you would like to help, please email us at [email protected].  We will need volunteers to keep this program alive, so please let us know if you are willing to help.  Please tell us the ways you could help ... you do not need to be an expert to help with repairs and we are always looking for apprentices!  

eNewsletter: Want more info about upcoming events and locations? Sign-up for our eNewsletter HERE or view our upcoming events calendar HERE.  

Pictures Taken at Past Events

Watch the Westside Repair Café on the Nationally Syndicated TV Show Me Time with Frangela HERE

The Westside Repair Café on local TV news


Links to More Information:
        Repair Stations
        Rules, Guidelines