Fixers wanted

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November 5, 2012 // UPDATED 6:01 pm - January 1, 2013
By: Journal staff
Journal staff

Back in September, Hennepin County had its first-ever Fix-It Clinic, an event that brought together volunteers skilled in all kinds of repair work and a couple of dozen local folks with broken — but salvageable — stuff.

So, how did it go? 

“Really well,” said Nancy Lo, a zero-waste expert who works for Hennepin County.

“We had 27 people come and they had 33 items,” Lo said. “… We were able to fix 85 percent of them.”
She said most of the items that weren’t repaired at the library event could have been fixed later. Volunteers sent the owners home with instructions to complete the fix, or identified a spare part that needed to be purchased.

The handy men and women made useful again a surprising variety of items, ranging from kitchen appliances — including a coffee pot, mixer and microwave — to an antique radio. Other items repaired during the event included a paper shredder, stereo system, air mattress and tea strainer.

They didn’t see much clothing, although they did have volunteers with sewing skills ready to help, Lo said.

Fix-It Clinics are now being held around the county. An October clinic in Edina wasn’t quite as well attended, but Lo hoped to see more people at clinics in Minnetonka in November and Brooklyn Center in February.

There is a clinic scheduled to take place 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Dec. 8 at Northeast Minneapolis maker space known as The Mill, 2300 Kennedy St. N.E., Suite 130.

Lo said the success of future clinics really depends on recruiting volunteers with the skills to help, including expertise in soldering, electronics, computer repair, sewing and wood-working — or just general handiness.

“Volunteers make or break us,” she said.

To help out, contact Lo at nancy.lo@co.hennepin.mn.us or 348-9195. For more information on future Fix-It Clinics, go to hennepin.us/fixitclinic.