Shaun, Hespeler | January 4, 2021
Don’t let it scare you, fixing can be fun (and we can help!)
People that know me are often surprised that I do a lot of my own home and car repairs. I guess the macho construction worker image doesn’t mix well with that of the quiet, bookish librarian. I am very much the quiet and bookish librarian, but I also fix stuff. One doesn’t have to be overtly macho to be a fixer. Anyone can learn, and it’s not as big a deal as you might think.
There are plenty of talented trades-people out there who excel at fixing things. I’m not writing for them. I’m writing for us normies - regular folks who dream about changing our own brake pads, installing a new faucet in the bathroom, or putting up shelves in the living room, but are hesitant to move forward. I’m here to tell you that you can do it and Idea Exchange can help. Who knows? You might even have fun.
In my experience, regular folks avoid doing their own repair work because they are either too busy, don’t have the financial resources, or are intimidated and don’t know where to start. While I can’t presume to speak to your finances, especially in these uncertain times, I can say it is usually cheaper to fix things on your own than replace them. And I think it goes without saying we have more free-time on our hands now than ever before. That just leaves the intimidation factor to deal with.
That brings us to home improvement shows – a major influence on peoples’ perception of home improvement, and a minor annoyance of mine. On the one hand, they introduce people to new concepts, ideas, and techniques which a lot of people find inspiring. However, they often mis-represent the time, labour, and costs involved in even minor projects. They usually have a large crew of experienced trades-people working in the background taking care of the less exciting tasks and making things seem faster and easier than they really are. They also tend to operate on larger budgets than most people can afford. No wonder us newbies get intimidated. Without a huge budget, lots of time, and a team of experts to rely on, a first-time fixer can easily be overwhelmed.
My advice is to ignore what you see on TV. Start small, go slow, and check in with experts if you have questions. Over time you’ll get the hang of it, even if you struggle at first, I promise. Even if you make mistakes, you still learn from them. I’m not a natural at this kind of thing. To be honest, I’d say I’m pretty average, I’ve just slowly, through much trial and error, built up a set of skills that makes me (mostly) competent. If I can do it, so can you. Seriously. If you have ever met me, you’d understand. I’ve got more in common with the McKenzie Brothers than the Property Brothers.
This is where Idea Exchange becomes a handy resource. We are all about life-long learning here. We have staff dedicated to helping people better themselves no matter what their skill or confidence level, judgement free. Also, we’re really quite nice. If you think you might want to learn more about fixing things, come and see us. We offer a number of excellent resources for the would-be handyperson:
- We offer a large variety of books on fixing things, like this one on How to Fix Anything
- We also offer access to digital copies many popular magazines such as Family Handyman through our RBdigital collection.
- If you are interested in auto repair, check out the Automotive Topic Guide. I’d recommend checking out one of my favourite databases: Auto Repair Source.
- We even have some tools you can borrow available at our Preston Branch
- We have an excellent database of journals and expert magazines available. Why databases and not just Google? Databases are information-focussed. You don’t have to sift through a bunch of junk to get a reliable information.
- In addition to a number of print and digital resources, Idea Exchange continues to offer many repair and maker-based programs, when you can learn new skills from experts and connect with like-minded folks, including Preston’s popular Repair Café. COVID has put many of them on hold for now, but keep checking in with us, when this is all over you can bet we will be back with better programs than ever.