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We Lost Our Ability to Mend (dieworkwear.com)
369 points by imartin2k 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 416 comments

A friend was recently complaining about having to buy a new $2000 fridge, how his old one only lasted 8 years, and how everything is junk nowadays. He described the symptoms to me [gradual loss of cooling capability, soft ice cream, then melting ice cubes] and I told him I solved the same problem 2 years ago and his was almost surely a broken defrost heater leading to a totally iced up [therefore no airflow] cooling unit, that troubleshooting would take him 15 minutes to confirm, and if that was it, it was a $20 90-minute repair (most of which is waiting for the freezer to defrost).

He looked at me like I had 3 heads to even consider a fridge repair and a week or so later sent me a pic of his new, $2000 fridge in place. I tried.

On the other hand, I had a not-too-old fridge with a broken ice maker, which I tried to repair. The replaceable part was "the whole ice maker", which was out of production and not available anywhere. With some knowledge of electronics and 3d printing, I could probably get it working again, but at the cost of multiple hours of my free time, with no guarantee of success. The best intentions can't always defeat planned obsolescence.

I've had excellent luck with several of the online repair parts vendors. I hesitate to recommend any individual one as I've only ordered about once per year, not enough to generate a meaningful recommendation and I've gotten what I've ordered from every one of the ones I've used.

Two notes on ice makers specifically: 1. There is a much smaller number of models of ice makers than refrigerators. (One model of ice maker crosses over to many fridges, though you may need to unplug and move the fridge-specific wiring harness over to the new ice maker.) Many times it's an extra half hour of googling to find the generic ice maker part number and then chase that down. 2. Some ice makers that are not OEM are painted to look non-stick and that paint will start flaking off into your ice in about 2-3 years of use (disgusting). This is a case where I'd rather take a used OE part over a new part of unknown provenance, even though they are a high failure part.

That's good to know, I still have the fridge and wouldn't mind getting the ice maker fixed eventually. I'll have to try to expand my search.

I'd just buy a few ice cube trays.

I'm loving the 2 inch ice cube tray from Tovolo. Liked it so much I bought a second, but sadly amazon sold me a knock off, thin sides and very jiggly. So, get one with thick sides, and I checked amazon, there are way more vendors now for 2 inch ice cube trays with more cube slots.

This person gets it.



It's almost my story as well.

My microwave I had for 8 years (and I got it second hand) stopped working. A quick inspection + watching a couple of YouTube videos revealed that a plastic latch inside the door got broken.

It would have been very easy to replace it if only it was still being sold. Extensive search on the internet showed it was not :( :( :(

If only I had some time (well a LOT of time) to reverse engineer the existing latch and 3D-print a new one... But I did not.

So, I had to put the microwave outside on my curb. I attached a note to it saying it works well if the latch is fixed and also attached the broken latch.

I was happy to see it was gone in a few hours. I live in a city (Montreal, Canada) so I guess it helped my microwave to not be wasted.

I wish 3D-printing technologies - or more precisely, a technology that helps to create 3D specs out of an existing object - would be more advanced. Well, I did not do an extensive search about it so I may be well mistaken :)

I often find it much faster for me to "widdle" small parts using my "art" skills. Just get a piece of plastic or metal and a dremal and carve it. In 30 min you will have a latch... making a 3d printing model takes forrrrrevvverrr

I think you mean ‘whittle’.

One advantage of 3D printers is that the part you need might already be designed, you can find all sorts of things on thingiverse. Once the design exists any number of people can use it.

Good suggestion, I did not think of search 3D printing designs. The model of my microwave is pretty common. Oh well.

https://www.youmagine.com/ is another one to check on

I’m finding Gorilla Glue works wonders for plastic parts broken from bending or shearing forces. I’ve had a few things around the house that have broken and led me to think I should 3D print replacements. I glue them to buy a few days or weeks and the glue ends up bonding so well that I have yet to print replacements yet.

Another good technique for hard plastic is plastic welding, especially for clean snaps. Basically using a soldering iron to melt the plastic back together. Seems to be as strong as before. Plenty of good YouTube videos showing the technique.

It doesn’t take a lot of time though...

The latch for my vacuum clean bin broke. I fished it out (10m), modelled a replacement in FreeCAD (2hr, I had to learn how to use FreeCAD since I’d never used it before), and printed a replacement (40m print time) - and now I don’t have to buy a new vacuum cleaner.

Similar story for my ironing board: A nylon runner wheel cracked in half, breaking the folding mechanism. Modeling a replacement in CAD (I used fusion 360), 3D printed it, little drilling to get the axle to fit, and the ironing board was back working same day. It felt great to fix a problem like that - there’s something very techno-utopian about it, like you’re living the dream of a Wired article from 1997 predicting a future where we will all effect household repairs by replicating spare parts.

But that’s happened once in the three years I’ve owned a 3D printer. Simple mechanical part failures just don’t seem to happen that often.

2h still feels a bit too much, though I thought it would take longer. Well I guess I will try the next time...

I guess it depends how to value your time. For me a couple of hours to avoid paying £400+ for a decent cordless vacuum seems worth it.

I’ve actually fixed this vacuum cleaner numerous times! Not always with 3D printer parts though.

And it can be fun to fix something. I felt very rewarded after I replaced our kitchen machines worn out gears, by designing and printing out new identical ones.

It depends, are you watching TV? If you get like 30 hours of practice at cad it's almost like doodling.

It takes me about 30 minutes to cad up most parts and I can do it while watching TV. It just takes a bit of practice. You likely didn't used to be able to whip up a simple web scraper in 10 minutes but can do it now.

You can try sculpy or similar things next time too to make plastic parts. There are several materials that are basically play-dough that hard set to plastic like materials.

I recently bought a lathe and a mill, and while that certainly isn't an option for everyone, I've found them to be quite useful for repairing random things around the house. I've got about $2,500 in the equipment and another $500 or so in tooling, but in the three months or so I've been good enough with them to make things I want, I've probably saved $500 in miscellaneous repairs.

I guess my point is "don't discount traditional processes". Someone good with a razor and file could make a new plastic latch from an old cutting board faster than someone with a 3D printer could print the part, much less design, print, and verify.

For equipment like that which you only use occasionally, they'll often have one at your local hackerspace, along with friendly people who can show you how to use it.

Or let you keep yours there where more people can get use out of it and it isn't taking up space in your garage.

My local library has a nice 3D printer. An Ultimaker.

For plastics, epoxy resin makes for a good adhesive and can even be stronger than the original material.

You can try eBay.

I was quoted 600 for a whole system part of a car (dubcomponent wasn’t sold separately), the actual necessary used sub-part was 50 on eBay.

Yeah, Ebay is great for this. I was able to replace the mainboard on an older LCD TV I was gifted years ago. $50 for a used one, exactly matching model#. 15 minute replacement job, 0 wasted televisions.

It does depend on the car part. There are a lot of low quality fakes on ebay, which won't either work, or will break quickly, and finding information with which to sort through which are good and which are not is a task in itself.

The consequences can be even more serious if you're looking for aircraft parts. A few years ago there was a discussion about Chinese made crankshafts for Corvairs on HackerNews, covering this exact issue: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18788861.

Fixing household white goods where a failure could result in a bad load of laundry or burnt toast is very different from aviation where utmost care must be taken with regard to maintenance, overhauling and repairs.

Even in cars, you gotta figure, is the part critical? (brakes, steering) or non critical (wipers, seats, heating/ac, etc).

For sure. I was pointing it out more for interest's sake than as a serious point of comparison for fixing your washing machine. Still, even there I'd probably be relatively careful, because flooding your kitchen isn't so much fun (bitter experience speaking there, although fortunately the kitchen is at ground level and has a concrete floor under the lino so no serious damage done).

> Fixing household white goods where a failure could result in a bad load of laundry or burnt toast

Those aren't the only failure modes to consider for washers, dryers, and toasters. Flooding (for the first) and fire (for the other two) are concerns.

You’re right that there is a possibility of somewhat disastrous results, but in my experience it’s not the motor or high voltage electrical that goes out but a plastic part, an on-off switchbor or a sensor.

Yes be careful, you could get an electric shock photograph before you take things apart and read instructions before putting things back together.

> broken ice maker

Don't buy a fridge with an ice maker.

The ice maker is by far the least reliable portion of a refrigerator.

Ice cube trays don't break down and need repair.

Frustrating for me to hear - I was looking forward to getting a new fridge with an ice maker. Carrying trays of ice in a wheelchair (especially in liquid form from the sink back to the freezer) is an interesting, if damp challenge.

I'd recommend something like this: https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-No-Spill-Silicone-White/dp/... The ice "slots" get completely sealed with the silicone, and I have stuck it in on it's side and it didn't leak at all.

Thank you. I've imported other OXO stuff from the US before, I'll grab one to try it out.

I imagine carrying ice trays on a wheelchair should be easier than on legs. Instead, I just carry water in container and fill the ice tray on the fridge shelf.

Similarly resuscitated a washing machine twice with 10 and $20 dollar parts. Hardest thing was getting sheet metal back in place as it tends to contort and warp.

YouTube and specialized forums are very helpful in pinning the issue and parts.

Even, some years years back (10 or so?) when buying a woolen pullover you’d get a bit of mending yarn wrapped around cardboard bobbins with the exact same color as your sweater.

Nowadays they’re not included, at least where I buy.

YouTube is a modern marvel. If you can use YouTube and can get your hands on the right tools you can fix almost anything.

Strong agree. YouTube creates so much value around repairs. I can fix all sorts of things with my pool thanks to YouTube. And everyone I know has learned tiny practical skills of one sort or another from there.

I followed a youtube to take out an lcd panel from a laptop to replace. The panel is cracked in the corner and the whole picture if fuzzy. It was easy enough and that then gave me the confidence to order a new one, which is in the mail as I speak. Cost is circa 15% of the new laptop price.

To add to the anecdotes, I wanted to add a chip of ram to my laptop but was very uncomfortable with the amount of pressure that was required to take off one of the bottom edges. Watching a video of someone doing it without damaging the device gave me the confidence to go ahead.

It's possible this problem was an excuse that allowed him to mentally justify the <fancy new fridge> he really wanted. The last thing he wanted to hear is an easy fix.

It's also interesting to note changes in efficiency for things like refrigerators. I suspect at 8 years repair might be more environmentally sound, but any older... refrigerators today aren't indeed built like they were 20 years ago. They use far less energy.

I put an IoT sensor node on my fridge and freezer to catch when our shitty samsung fridge started losing cooling. ( https://hackaday.io/project/12985-multisite-homeofficehacker... )

I found that I had to chip ice out the base back panel of the fridge, where it had significant ice accumulation. No way in hell I'm treating something we paid 1.5k$ for and 'throwing it away'.

I still maintain there's 4 R's: Repair, Reduce, Reuse, and eventually Recycle.

For the less hack-inclined, I highly recommend looking at the https://SensorPush.com devices after researching a bunch of wireless remote thermometer options (including a couple marketed for cigar humidors). Bluetooth to (multiple) phones, replaceable battery that should last ~1 year, available Bluetooth-Wifi gateway to let you set up a whole monitoring system, $50.

For the Samsung fridge getting ice buildup, there are relatively few causes and likely the simplest is the same defrost timer mine had issues with. I like https://repairclinic.com for appliance parts, though they don't have any of the 3 models of Samsung defrost timers in stock right now.

Even simpler than the defrost heater, in an awful lot of fridges there's a little mechanical timer circuit that turns the heater on and off periodically. Those timers are full of plastic gears and can die, but while you wait for a new one there's likely an opening where you can use a flathead screwdriver to cycle around and manually trigger a defrost cycle.

Just remember to set a timer and turn that back off after 20 minutes or so, because the same nonfunctional timer that starts it turns it off as well.

Did he have to drop $2000 in cash to buy it, or did he finance it (either directly or indirectly)? He may have said "Huh, $65/month; I can afford that!"

I'm not picking on your friend specifically, just pointing out one factor that can reduce the immediate friction of people buying new stuff, instead of trying to fix the old.

He looked at me like I had 3 heads to even consider a fridge repair

People look at me funny when I say "corporate propaganda", but in case you needed evidence that corporate propaganada is a real thing, here it is.

Even better, I bet if you ask person if they cleaned the coils, they'd have no idea what you were talking about

This fixed mine. A 5 dollar tool.

I bet your friend recycles plastic bags to help save the environment.

I take your point: the trashed refrigerator may be a heavier environmental cost than the plastic bags.

It is best if we both recycle and fix the refrigerator. But doing either is better than doing nothing. In other words, arguing that one good is more effective than another good doesn't mean that it isn't admirable to do only the smaller good.

Many of us up here on Hacker News are good at fixing things. But some of us might be less skilled in other areas, such as organizing political campaigns or working in the medical field. It's easy to criticize someone for not doing something we find easy, but it is harder to see how they might be skilled in areas where we struggle.

>It is best if we both recycle and fix the refrigerator.

It might just be marginally better.

If "fixing the refrigerator" (and other such items in our lives, cars, etc) yields 100 e (e = a made-up token measure of environmental benefit) and not using plastic bags for a decade yields 1 e, then it's almost irrelevant.

I think abstractly in these terms too, probably too much so. Whenever my wife or I purchase something or throw it away, I ask myself how much we just debited from the earth. I wonder how one would actually go about defining this measure?

One thing is that companies don't help at all at this -- and they wont unless they are forced to (the same way companies were forced to add calorie and nutrition breakdowns).

I'd like to see a "CO2/water/etc cost" sticker

In most places I’ve lived in the US it’s takes a lot of work to get an old appliance to a landfill and out of the hands of someone who would repair or recycle it. Somebody buying a $2000 fridge probably had the old one taken away and somebody involved in that process would repair and resell it.

I think the concern is that I might get a significant warm fuzzy feeling from my actions that is disproportionate to the significance of my actual impact on the environment. Presumably (hopefully) my goal is to actually have a positive impact on the environment rather than just feel good by reusing a few plastic bags per month.

The problem with plasic bags isn’t so much that they go to landfills, but rather that they end up going into the wider environment where they pose significant dangers to many kinds of wildlife.

Something about this sounds like a really good burn. It's kind of funny. What do you even mean by it?

The idea is that one would simultaneously studiously separate and recycle plastic bags (at the cost of hours of their time over a period of a decade) to prevent a few pounds of plastic from entering a landfill while not being willing to use a Phillips screwdriver and a hair dryer for 45-90 minutes to save $1950 and 250 pounds of refrigerator from entering a landfill.

There might even be more mass of just polystyrene insulation in the fridge he's just trashed than the mass of plastics he keeps out of the landfill. There is certainly more overall plastic in there.

It varies on jurisdiction, but the depth of recycling can be a lot better for electronics and appliances. In Europe an old fridge would typically not go to the landfill but to reprocessing facility first, stripped into metals, plastics and "electronic waste".

According to the site linked below, the average American produces about 100 lbs of plastic waste a year:


To my mind, that is a significant amount of waste, and definitely worth chasing.

* Durable Plastics: 72.9 lbs

* Nodurable Plastics: 28 lbs

* Plastic Bottles and Jars: 17.7

There is more, but this gives a sense of the statistics they quote on their site. These do not seem unreasonable to me, and they suggest that recycling plastics would save a refrigerator or two in weight per household per year, depending a bit on the size of the household.

They're implying that the friend is "penny-wise and pound-foolish", by making a large effort to recycle small bits of plastic, while making no effort to avoid wasting lots of plastic/steel/coolant/electronics/motors etc.

That his friend does a token BS gesture towards being 'environmentally friendly" while participating in the same needless consumerism attitude that's responsible for 99% of the cost on the environment.

I replaced a broken cooling fan in my girlfriend's fridge. Ordered the new part but the connecter was wrong. So I cut the connectors off and spliced the old to the new and voila! Whole thing cost me $11. Quite empowering.

I talked with my GF about this. She said that "My boyfriend fixed my fridge the other day" is the ultimate boast nowadays.

Recently, on the nature strip outside my place, someone dumped what was essentially a brand new brushed stainless fridge. Why I new it was almost new was that it was lying on its back and I could look into the compressor compartment at the bottom and it was clean—totally pristine! (Just about everyone knows that refrigerators get filthy down there real quick).

Seems people were moving out and it was too much trouble to take it with them. Nevertheless, it was there for some weeks before someone collected it (I don't have room or I would have taken it pronto).

Seems many have too much money these days.

That’s very irresponsible of them. A kid could have gotten stuck in there and died.

You have a point. Our local council requests that fridges left for collection have their doors taken off.

Not in a normal fridge.


There's probably a video on youtube for whatever you need to fix.

I would only recommend people stay away from microwaves.

I was about to buy a new fridge but held off due to a lot of complaints about pieces of ice falling down the back section of samsung and other refrigerators. I've got a shitty 90s ge fridge, that has a wierd defrost drain. Basically the issue is it freezes down the drain line. A bunch of googling and one dude had a gem, take a piece of 8 ga copper wire, hang it over the defrost coils, and run it down the drain, copper conducts heat amazingly. Hasn't been a issue for 5 years since.

Many people want to buy new stuff just for the sake of it. A breakdown is just the excuse they need to do it. By the time you talked to him his wife had probably already picked out the new one.

My fridge leaks water into the vegetables, freezes where it shouldn't, and gives a loud thuuunk when the cycle ends. I disconnected the water line from the ice maker long time ago, so water must be condensation. I wonder what it might be.

Your fridge also makes water from its auto-defrost cycle (often 15 minutes every 12 or 24 hours). This will typically defrost behind the freezer compartment, drain down to a catch tray that drains to a tray underneath the fridge [where it will then evaporate back into the kitchen]. If that drain line is plugged or frozen, it could leak somewhere else. If the defrost has failed, you can get uneven (and eventually little/no) cooling.

That is surprisingly useful information to acquire while browsing HN. Thanks!


I had this exact problem on mine. I took a panel off from back of inside freezer compartment, and there was a solid block of ice below coils. I didnt own a hairdryer, so used a turkey baster and hot water to melt it. Spray hot water in, wait 30 sec, suck it back out, get fresh hot water, repeat till you get drainage.

Probably the cooling fan not running. The cold air doesn't circulate so the drain line freezes up and overflows into the refrigerator. It's not hard to replace yourself or a repair guy can probably do it for around $200 parts and labor.


This was your queue to buy the "broken" fridge off him for I'll-take-it-off-your-hands-probably-free, fix it and sell it for $$$.

s/queue/cue/ :)

If fridges cost 2000, there should be some money in the repair business.

Even professional house cleaners could do some checks as add on sales.

I had an analogous issue with a washing machine. One problem is I don't have real estate to open and (try to) fix it.

If you were confident about the solution, you could have offered to do it for a fee or ask him to gift it to you. That could have been an easy sale.

Also, a lot of people complain to generate conversation, not for the 2nd opinion they get.

I've a standing offer out to friends of mine. They can drive their car over to my place (pre-arranged, of course) and we'll change their brakes together and all they have to pay is the cost of the parts (which is usually much less than they expect).

A few of my mechanically inclined but lacking confidence friends and a few of my other broke as a joke friends have taken me up on it over the years. Most can't believe how cheap, fast, and easy to do/hard to screw up it is. Very few repeat "customers" though. :(

In the fridge case, it turns out he had already ordered one for delivery in a few days and had already mentally parted with the money, so didn't want to fix his and call to cancel the order...

I'd expect "few repeat customers" to be a good thing - after pairing on DIY repair the one time, they have the confidence to do it on their own the next time.

The ones that I know well, including a mechanical engineer, are back to dealerships (ack!) or independent mechanics.

>Also, a lot of people complain to generate conversation, not for the 2nd opinion they get.

Doesn't make his friend look any better...

Five years ago, a friend convinced me to start buying $250+ raw denim jeans instead of $30 regular jeans (which would wear out every 6 months).

I thought it was crazy but he swore by them so I tried it. They were thick, stiff and uncomfortable at first, but after a couple months had transformed themselves into my favorite thing ever as they "wore in".

After a year of everyday wear they start developing holes. But they're far too expensive to throw away, so first I took them to the local "denim surgeon", but then realized I could learn to darn them myself.

I bought myself the cheapest Singer sewing machine, a darning attachment, and specialty denim thread, and in the past 4 years have probably darned 30 holes across 3 pair, also reinforcing button holes and pocket edges. They look great and unique and are completely "me". I have no doubt the jeans will last me for another 10 years at least, and will turn out to have saved me money in the long run (crazy!).

It's very satisfying to have things you care for, that aren't disposable, and are worth the effort of maintaining. But really, the only clothing items for men that seem to be constructed with enough quality in the first place to be worth maintaining are things like raw denim jeans, leather boots (e.g. Red Wings) and quality leather jackets.

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

― Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms: The Play

That's the nth time I read that citation here. It's appealing but does not match my experience. I can afford to buy good and expensive stuff, but it is really difficult to tell good and bad stuff apart especially outside ones domain. And you can buy a lot of crap for much money. The main problem is information asymmetry and I'd wish regulation would take this out of the equation (like a mandatory sticker "Must last at least until...", although this doesn't solve all problems).

Speaking of sewing machines, while you can always get an inexpensive Brother, sewing machines today have a lot of plastic gears and other parts that do not last.

Some of the best and affordable machines out there are the Singer 301s, which were made back in the 50s. They're bullet proof and repairable. You can do a lot with a straight stitch machine, and a single use machine like that will outperform any multi-stitch machine by a long way.

It's a shame that a lot of people come across these and think they're junk because they're not computerized.

I have two old sewing machines, I picked both up at the local refuse transfer station. One is a 1920s Singer. It’s super basic, doesn’t even have a reverse, but it’s bullet proof. It’s cast iron but a portable model, so it’s built in to a carry case and weighs ‘only’ 20ish kg.

The second is a Toyota Jigline. It’s from the 70s and is mostly stainless steel. It has multiple stitch patterns but the pattern selector has the only plastic gear in the entire machine and it’s cracked. It still works fine but I’ll have to replace it at some point. At least I can see and understand the entire mechanism.

The Toyota was cheap but the Singer was around market price. The Toyota was marked as not worked but with a liberal application of machine oil it came free. There are plenty of guides online for fixing up machines.

> "One is a 1920s Singer. It’s super basic, doesn’t even have a reverse, but it’s bullet proof."

That goes for much earlier models too. Recently, during a factory clean-up, I came across a Singer that predates yours by some 50 years—it was made in the early 1870s—1874 to be precise—and it too was built out of cast iron and made to last seemingly for ever (it was still quite functional).

Incidentally, you can tell the date of your Singer easily by by checking the many Singer serial number databases on the Web. Here's a couple to start with:



> sewing machines today have a lot of plastic gears and other parts that do not last.

Singer hobbymatic machines from the late 70s and later also have plastic gears, but for some reason these last no problem. They also mostly use bushings for bearings (I mean obviously it would make the mechanism much larger if you had to fit roller bearings everywhere), and they also last, provided you oil it every couple years.

Petroleum oil/grease can make plastics brittle, IIRC they need fully synthetic grease, some manufacturers sell their own but the right type should be ok...

Just troll craigslist till you find a 80s or so bernina. It'll be more than worth the $300 you spend on it. Mine sounds like a new porsche engine running and destroys singers.

I got it because the plastic gears in my wife's singer self destructed when I was using it to sew camping gear. About the same size, 2x the price, just insanely better.

If you're not going to do anything heavy than then the parent's recommendation is fine. And it won't have a motor short like some of the old singers where the insulation is wearing out, but that's an easy fix.


I’ve bought APC jeans (French, raw denim) for the last 10 years. I wear them for 1-2 years nearly everyday, getting them patched at my local tailor shop as needed for $5-10 while I wait. After 6 months or so they take on an amazing patina and fit like a glove.

Not only do I get compliments on them constantly (they are an authentic version of the faux fade and wear pattern many companies sell) APC will actually purchase them back from you for 50% of original price and sell your worn versions in the store for $400.

Even more mindblowing is you can get $250+ selling them yourself on eBay (search APC Butler) effectively getting paid for wearing your pants.

I'd probably add sweaters to the list. They can develop holes, pulled threads, etc. that can be darned or, for casual use, patched. I've also had dress jackets repaired--usually because the lining has torn or something along those lines.

I also repaired or had repaired outdoor gear of various types. That's mostly about functionality so the repairs don't need to look great.

I have 2 pairs of the same Nudie Jeans, in the exact size and cut I like. They offer free repairs for life and are not exactly that expensive.

Highly recommend, wasting clothes is a serious problem.

Yeah, but $50 Levi’s will last ten years too.

The Levi’s I’ve bought in the past few years tend to wear out in between the legs. The fabric gets thin and weak and frays/rips near the seam, but the seam itself is fine. Is thst repairable?

It is, repairing it is what's called darning.

But the reason I find it worth it to repair my raw denim jeans is that they're so much thicker than regular jeans (e.g. Levi's), which means:

- It takes a lot longer to develop holes

- Once you finish darning a hole, the darned part is the same thickness as the rest of the jean (on "thin" normal jeans it would stand out as much thicker)

- A separate issue is entire sections "wearing out", particularly crotch and knees, just a 4x4 inch area getting so thin it essentially disappears, and you can't really darn that. That doesn't really happen with raw denim because it's so thick to begin with

(I'm pretty sure you can also buy raw denim that is thin, I've seen $100 raw denim jeans like that, but for me that defeats the whole purpose.)

I've had similar experiences with Levi's. I think they're symptomatic of the fit not being great around the thighs. (Or maybe planned obsolescence, who knows?) I've switched to Urban Star jeans from Costco -- they're much more comfortable (2-4% Lycra), arguably look nicer, cost less than $20, and also last me longer than Levi's.

PS: For those worried about Costco membership costs, just buying a couple of these jeans every year (compared to Levi's) is kind of breaking even on a Costco membership ;-)

Are you saying the jeans from Costco only last you a season?


Exact same thing happens to every pair of jeans I've ever owned after about 6 months of heavy use.

Are you wearing loose jeans or skinny jeans?

The nice fabric ones that I've had from tommy bahama, levis, etc that were "soft" wear out quickly. The rough ones I have like dickies and some levis are fine. My dickies last longer.

I think the distressed denim really weakens it.

There seem to be real difference in how Jeans are made. I wish I understood the specifics. Wrangler Jeans tend to be pretty durable. Many other brands struggle to make it 6 months. Does anyone have any idea what the difference is here?

are you wearing distressed jeans, or really soft denim?

I've had the same exact problem with Levis, I don't buy them anymore for that reason.

I wonder what you do with your jeans that they can get holes.

I've had a variety of jeans under 100€, none ever got any hole. The buttons or the pockets break though.

Fashionable jeans tend to be tighter (nothing like skin-tight, just straight cut), and people who wear raw denim tend to wear the same pair every day or every other day. The amount of stretching in the crotch and knees, and the corners of your phone in your pockets, inevitably wear holes starting at about a year in.

If you wear looser-fitting jeans that aren't subject to stretching forces, or only wear a given pair once every week or two, then of course you won't develop holes for a long time.

If your thighs rub, any pair of pants will wear out there, no matter how expensive they are.

And it's one of the harder places to fix apparently.

I went to a place that repairs jeans and they quoted me the purchase price of the jeans to fix it.

The saddle of my bike eventually eats through my jeans.

If only denim didn't rub the hair right off leaving neverending folliculitis.

I mean I do this with regular clothes. Tho I bought a $700 bernina 930 record cause I wanted to do kevlar and denim and other stuff.

I've got several sets of dickies I re-sewed with stronger thread, kevlar, and soaked with beeswax as works pants. They're running strong.

I've 4x-7x'd the life of a lot of clothes with this tactic.

What about stains and raw denim? Does raw denim just get tattooed over time with various impossible stains?

It's a good question -- stains are a reason I assume shirts will be disposable in the end, but it's never been an issue with my jeans, at least not yet over 5 years.

I think it's because my black jeans and dark indigo jeans are dark enough that stains won't show, and my first pair that have turned lighter indigo have so much variation in color and texture across them that yeah, anything you can't wash out just kind of blends in? They basically wind up looking like this (which also shows what they look like after a bunch of darning):


But ultimately, it's been a complete non-issue.

Stains add personality to your jeans. These stains may reflect your work, or your passions, or just unfortunate coffee placement. Whatever it is, it's part of life, your life.

See Heddels Fade of the Day for how denim-heads love and mistreat their pants. Example: https://www.heddels.com/2018/02/fade-day-naked-famous-elepha...

I have had issues with stains while wearing jeans while doing greasy work (particularly on engines) or when I got spray foam on my favorite pair. As long as I avoid grease and chemicals though, my jeans have never displayed any staining.

I just wear unisuits when I'm in the garage. They're like $30 and magic.

I don’t fully agree, I bought some thick, expensive raw denim jeans too, and although I really appreciate the quality of the material and the comfort of wearing them, I doubt they’ll last long as I tend to break the crotch area which is much harder to fix.

Holes are a consequence of tight clothing. Wear loose pants and you’ll never get holes - even with thin fabric. My last pair of slacks I bought at a thrift store for $5 and they were still good 5 years later.

I once got a pair of stretchy jeans from Uniqlo for $20 that I wore roughly every other day for 2 years until I gained weight and they stopped fitting.

The other side of the coin is seeing someone identify an "easy fix," have to spend hours reading about it, buying tools to accomplish it and having to do it several times and maybe never get it quite right.

I've seen this many times.

Sometimes the right answer is: get an expert to look at it. You don't need a $2000 fridge, but you may need a $200 repair job to get it done fast and right.

Tools have an upfront cost, but they pay for themselves down the line. The first time you start fixing things it might take longer, but as time goes on you get better.

You can learn so much by reading repair manuals & books, watching youtube videos, and being able to recognize patterns in other things you have repaired.

Doing this will save you tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Furnace, A/C, House appliances, Home repairs, Furnitures, Cars, computers, even clothes & shoes...

Spending that time on my career will net me more than worrying about or learning about something so infrequent and boring as fridge repair.

A 20min job is 20mins often because it took hundreds - or in the case of professionals, thousands - of hours of learning, practicing, and experimenting.

Of course everyone’s utility function is different, but my free time is at a heavy heavy premium. I’m happy to spend money where it gets me time in return.

Other things outside of your career can teach you much and help you get better in your career.

My growth today in IT has very little to do with IT, I'm taking much lessons from other industries. Want to learn to build reliable systems, serious study the airline industry, how do they build such reliable systems? Want to learn how to troubleshoot and solve problems fast? How does your typical ER work?

There's much to learn from cross pollinating ideas from other fields. Most of us in IT are not just lovers of computers, but just builders. We are lucky to be born in this time in history, 100 yrs ago, we might be building cars or other sort of mechanical devices.

Sure but I choose my hobbies based on my interests.

I truly do not care about repairing fridges. Not even a little bit. Yes I’m an engineer. Still don’t care. Don’t care about repairing my car either.

Some people feel so righteous about repair for some reason and it just doesn’t make sense to me. Why would someone want to impose how they spend their time on other people? If you enjoy it, that’s great keep doing it! Doesn’t mean I have to spend my time that way.

I’m just going to get the thing fixed (even if it costs more money) and just move on with my life.

To you point though, if I was really into something then I might be up for it! But fridges? Low on my list.

I get your point, but have to say I interpreted your previous post as "why would I do something that doesn't maximise profits?" I like messing with electronical/mechanical devices of all kinds, so I'll try to repair most things myself. If you dislike that kind of work, fine, but only caring about money is going to rub many people up the wrong way.

> I interpreted your previous post as "why would I do something that doesn't maximise profits?"

And then people wonder why they are miserable.

There comes a point where the time and energy I'd have to spend on troubleshooting, tool selection/purchase, part ordering, and temporarily learning the skill become more important to me than saving a few hundred bucks. I just could not care less. I used to be a very avid DIY'er, but eventually I passed a point where most of the time I'd rather pay someone else to solve a problem.

I agree with the points you made. However, the trend society appears to be heading is non-ownership of things and specialization.

People are not owning cars, they're Ubering. People are not buying movies, they're using Netflix. People are not owning homes, they're renting and using Airbnb. People are not cleaning their spaces, they're using Task Rabbit. etc etc.. The uptick in nomad lifestyle also means not being able to carry all the tools around. People are becoming mobile and specialists; being really good at something that pays decently well but knowing less of how to do a little bit of everything because it doesn't further their career. Jack of all trades are the minority and generally curious people that love learning new things which isn't for everyone.

What you're describing is not the norm, especially once people get beyond their 20s or so.

Yes definitely not the norm but it's heading in that general direction, particularly with younger generations that are postponing marriage and family until then they'll have a reason to settle down and have the space to acquire tools to fix things like fridges.

Of course on the other hand the time you spent learning will come back to you the next time you have a problem. You only have to learn how to solder pipe once.

For me I've found once I accumulated the skill, just doing it myself was often faster and easier.

I understand the value of free time and all that, but I bet even in your day job you gradually cultivate side skills that are not your core work function, you just use them every now and again in the process of your work.

One of the most valuable things my dad taught me was that it's hard to break something so badly that it can't be repaired. That's not true of everything any more (I have a decent electronics bench, but I won't even try any but the most basic cell phone repairs), but for your list (Furnace, A/C, House appliances, Home repairs, Furnitures, Cars, computers, even clothes & shoes), I'd rather repair than replace.

It is harder to teach kids this attitude now. So many things that interest them are seam-welded or potted or otherwise inaccessible. It's still possible though. My daughter and I disassembled old DVD drives and made laser pointers from the diodes that still worked. She was excited to take things apart after school.

I think my comment to the parent post also applies here. I love to learn things and home repair is no exception. A lot of it is a skill that requires practice, though. Even if I don't end up doing the work (and I try to), at least I'll be less likely to get ripped off.

I recently discovered my local tool library -- seems like a really great idea. For a small annual (suggested) donation, you can borrow just about any tool a homeowner could reasonably expect to use (except heavy machinery, of course). I live in a townhouse with no garage and limited storage space, so I simply can't justify keeping a lot of tools around that I might need again someday. The tool library solves that problem and will definitely save me money vs. buying new or renting at Home Depot.

If you can't borrow a tool or need it semi-regularly, I'd recommend checking out Harbor Freight if there's one nearby instead of going to the local hardware or big box store. Their tools are not the highest quality, but unless you're a contractor or serious craftsperson, they'll probably work just fine at a much lower price point.

While this is true, it assumes that you not only have enough disposable income to waste on tools, but also that you are free enough from stress and have enough time to be able to do these things.

"waste" seems a bit dismissive. When I was a poor student the only way I could keep my old cheap things working was to fix them myself.

Often a tool can cost less than getting it repaired, paying for itself in one go. And there's many things that are straightforward to fix (bikes for example).

It also takes time to arrange a repair, go there, drop it off, pick it up, realize they didn't fix the problem, do it again, etc. I often find doing this stuff myself can actually save time, and if things break on a weekend/holiday you can still salvage your plans.

Plus you can resell the tools when you're done. When I finished my basement, I bought a drywall lift that was around $100. Doing any sort of drywall without a lift is not easy, especially if you don't have a helper. When I was done with drywall, I was able to sell it on Craigslist for the original purchase price. I could have rented one, but that would have put time constraints on its use.

The thing is, once you own a house, the number of things that need an hour here or there increases quite dramatically.

In the last year I’ve done maintenance work on the dishwasher (twice), ice maker, furnace (fuse), duct work (baffle), two clogged drains (love those air-pump drain cleaners!), sliding door (leveling adjustment), vacuum (broken plastic part), doorbell (new button), several light switches (new dimmers), stopping drafts (new weatherstripping), sump pump (burned out wiring cap), painting and spackling, 2 toilet flappers, dryer thermostat and humidistat, and hanging a new flat screen.

That’s just top of my head. And there was plenty of bigger stuff I outsourced but could have potentially taken on like installing a new front door, and seal coating the driveway.

If I hired an “expert” for all of that it would have been nearly $10,000. And next year it’ll just be another list the same length of all different stuff.

Now add the time tidying up or correcting after the "expert".

As a house owner it is far easier to build a list of trades people you won't use again, than the one to hang on to.

My favorite contractor went and retired on me :-/ Last major job I had done (major bathroom redo well beyond what I was ready to tackle) took about a year to find someone and then they did an OK job but just horrible communications, etc. In other words, par for the course.

The problem is that the experts have been priced out of the market and have been replaced with salespeople.

I'm not sure "priced out" is the right description. If you own a white goods store you can employ more sales people and grab more profit, or employ expensive engineers and reduce your profit (but help save the Earth).

Its simple self-centred greed really.

For a scrupulous 'expert', there's more money to be made by selling you a new product. Or if there's likely to be recurring repairs. One way I think, to safeguard against this is to have maintenance contracts. But i know no expert who's williing to take me up on that.

Maintenance contracts are also quite popular since they can charge more for them and amortize the cost over lots of sales. Extended warranties are just one part of this, and often result in the customer paying for something they don't need (how many people have warranties and choose to replace instead of use the warranty?).

The best bet, IMO, is to get advice from someone who doesn't directly benefit from a bad product, but is still an expert. For example, don't take the advice of a salesman, but instead a repair guy friend.

I think you mean "unscrupulous".

HVAC repair shops are especially bad in this area.

They will sell complete new systems, when you just need a new compressor, or even a capacitor.

I think everyone should stock their start/run capacitor for each of their compressors. That's pretty literally a plug and play blind change-out item before even calling a tech out.

I spent £150 getting a new screen on an iPhone 3g when they were around 6 months old. It was a decent job and I was happy enough with the fix. But then I cracked it again, so I did the fix/replacement myself, it wasn't as good as the £150 job, but then I knew how to do it. I subsequently started repairing other people's phones and most of them were as good as the £150 repair job I had done. So yes a professional fix can be faster but it depends how often you may need to fox something.

So a fridge I may expect to need to repair once a decade is perhaps best for the professionals, but I have e stated fixing my own washing machine and tumble dryers because they cost maybe £200 new and a fix can be in the region of £60-£120. So 2 or 3 repairs and I may as well have bought a new one, fixing it myself usually means a quicker job and always means a cheaper job. Plus now I am pretty certain that if I could call someone to fix it then I could do it myself.

The issue is that a regular new fridge is around $500 and the $200 repair may or may not resolve the problem.

It's not every day my worlds collide like this, so I'll plug https://freesewing.org/ for those of you who have an interest in making clothes and are looking for a place to start that is a good match for the hackernews crowd.

Full disclosure: I'm the freesewing maintainer

That's a cool site!

You might want to redirect http:// to https:// right now if I type "freesewing.org" into my browser it heads to a "Apache2 Debian Default Page".

Thanks for the heads-up, I had no idea. I'll fix it ASAP.

Looking through the website... is there a link to the Patreon account?

All of the Patreon links so far just seem to be hugely overboard "sign up" ones, with nothing linking to the actual account.

Guessing I didn't spot something obvious? :)

We don't use patreon. Patrons can subscribe directly through PayPal. We don't need the Patreon approach because everything on the site is available for free. Being a patron is completely optional.

The reason why you need an account is explained in the FAQ on our new beta site: https://beta.freesewing.org/en/docs/faq

It boils down to the fact that all are patterns are made-to-measure. So we need your measurements, thus we need a way to store them. That's why a (free) account is needed.

There's no catch.

The article talks about clothing, but there's so much more that we've lost the ability to fix.

A trick I picked up at my last job was to use Rubber Renue[0] (one bottle will last virtually forever since you need so little) on the pickup rollers on laser printers when they started having paper pickup problems. Works like a charm, but that stuff is nasty. I also learned the delicate art of using a screwdriver to scrape toner deposits off of the fuser. In both cases, these are parts that are easily replaceable because the printers were designed to be maintained, but tight budgets made repairing the parts necessary. Ironically, the deposits on the fuser were due to budgets that necessitated buying cheap knockoff toner.

I still use the Rubber Renue on my 12-year-old printer at home. My girlfriend's reaction to my printer jamming was "It's time to buy a new printer!", which horrified me because the problem is so minor and so easy to fix. We do want a colour printer though, so I've been researching to find one that's maintainable instead of disposable. So far the laser printers from the usual suspects (Brother, HP) look like they haven't been affected by the same disposable mentality that inkjet printers have.

[0] https://www.mgchemicals.com/products/cleaning-products-for-e...

For printers I've learned to look beyond the known brands. OKI seems to be focused on the professional market but has some very great value home printers. Big & clunky but can do a lot and look very solid.

OKI showed up during my research, but I didn't mention them since they're a relative unknown to me. They have some printers that tick all the boxes though, so they're certainly in the running.

I had an OKI printer in the late 80s and that thing was bulletproof. I dropped it down a flight of stairs while moving it once and it just needed some minor alignment adjustment to work again. Glad to hear they still make good stuff.

My solution: don't print. I find very few reasons to print anything. I get kinda irritated when I have to. I donated blood recently and was miffed that the RapidPass required printing out. Why? I have a phone.

I print very little. The half-capacity starter cartridge in my Lexmark lasted a decade (literally - I bought the printer in late-2005 and had to track down a new cartridge in 2016) before I finally needed to replace it. I guess I averaged something like 20-30 pages per year over that time.

My girlfriend, on the other hand, prints a lot more (still, probably under 20 pages per month). Most of it is things that actually need to be printed, like paper-piecing quilting[0] patterns where you need to cut pieces out in order to use them as a guide for sewing. Colour is helpful for these too.

The nice thing about a laser printer is it can go months without printing and when I click print it just wakes up and does its job and goes back to sleep after a bit.

[0] https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/learn-how-to-paper-piece-a-q...

I'm old enough to know how to mend, but surely even younger people could just watch one of countless Youtube tutorials if they suddenly decided they'd like to learn this? Knowledge is more accessible than ever before, nowadays we just "know where to look" whereas previous generations knew what they were taught (or, sometimes, learnt from books).

The real issue seems to be that people are helpless without the Internet - and that our consumerism has brought a throwaway mentality with it.

You're right that YouTube has a lot of helpful videos for repair / disassembly that make it a lot easier than it used to be. I don't know why "being helpless without the internet" would be "the real problem" though, given that we ... have the internet..?

The real problem is that today's technology is generally much more complicated than it used to be. Also manufacturers don't expect things to be repaired (because it isn't cost effective unless you do it yourself) so they don't make things easy to disassemble.

>The real problem is that today's technology is generally much more complicated than it used to be.

I broadly disagree - the proportion of people who can fix a TV is probably no lower now than it was in the 1970s; a modern TV might be more complex, but the accessibility of information, tools and parts is far better.

The wider issue is the broadly positive fact that automation has drastically reduced the cost of goods relative to labour. The range of products and failure modes that are economically repairable is much narrower, because repair is relatively more expensive and replacement is relatively cheaper. Generally speaking, the most expensive part of repairing a TV is simply the labour cost of dismantling and reassembling it. As mentioned in the article, paying a seamstress to patch a jacket or darn a sweater is often more expensive than just buying a new one. There are worse problems in the world than "we've got so good at making stuff cheaply that it isn't worth the effort to fix it".

Modern flat screens are much more likely to be glued together in ways that make it nearly impossible to repair them, too.

Exactly. Had part of the bottom LED backlighting strip go bad on a monitor recently. I'm no stranger to electronics work, but repairing it proved impossible due to the way the monitor was manufactured, even if I had been able to source proper replacements. Compare that to old CRTs I used to repair in high school by swapping out parts you could often find at radio shack and get to with just a screwdriver.

Much higher risk of death with a CRT though.

True, but not too much higher if you're careful to ground out the HV circuitry before you touch anything. It's also not nearly as high a risk as people tend to think [1].

[1] http://lowendmac.com/2007/the-truth-about-crts-and-shock-dan...

The primary failure mode of a TV in the 70s was a tube that went bad. Easy fix: open TV, pop out old tube, pop in old tube, done.

If a TV breaks now, it's some component that's either glued in or soldered in, so good luck replacing that. Modern TVs are not designed to have replaceable parts.

>The primary failure mode of a TV in the 70s was a tube that went bad. Easy fix: open TV, pop out old tube, pop in old tube, done.

I'm not sure reseating a broken component would help, I think you might mean "new" :)

lol yes, thank you.

It's both. Things are so much cheaper to buy because the marginal cost of a factory assembling parts (on hundreds of widgets a minute) is ridiculously cheap.

But also, a set of tools was once a necessity, because things were built to be repaired. Now it's a luxury item for most people. Simple things like changing oil are, in most cars, way more complicated and difficult than they used to be, because the market has spoken. Easy DIY maintenance is not the priority.

Agreed with everything but the last sentence. It is certainly a problem, as it ends up in using up more resources, more energy and creates trash.

The waste and pollution of mass production are kind of a problem,if you believe in anthropogenic climate change, for example.

>broadly positive fact that automation has drastically reduced the cost of goods relative to labour

Only because the huge negative external costs of a new appliance aren't priced in - pollution created in manufacture, environment disposal of the old one, long-term exhaustion of raw materials.

I grew up in a way that didn’t involve learning traditional skills from my parents. That seems almost antiquated although I’m sure some people my age did have it like that. Divorced parents, not so much time spent with grandparents. Mom didn’t have a lot of need for mending, etc. There was no war, affordable stuff was plentiful enough. Many people my age describe this kind of rupture in the passing down of skills. But we are also quite resourceful and it’s like we are teaching ourselves to be different as we grow up into parental age. We also have a sense that life might be getting more difficult when we project decades ahead, so we want to resurrect some of this lost knowledge.

> Mom didn’t have a lot of need for mending, etc. There was no war, affordable stuff was plentiful enough. Many people my age describe this kind of rupture in the passing down of skills.

My mother made our Halloween costumes by hand. We didn't (and don't) really mend clothes, but the skill set is the same. And when I had a shirt fail by coming apart at a seam, rather than having a hole worn through the fabric, my reaction was that I should sew it back together.

Mending a seam is invisible. Mending a hole will give you a visible patch; I think there are good reasons people don't do that. And far and away the most common failure in my clothes is wearing a hole in the knee of a pair of pants.

> And far and away the most common failure in my clothes is wearing a hole in the knee of a pair of pants.

Which might be considered stylish and left alone as it is.

Some people buy pants with manufactured holes, as I'm sure we all know.

What's bizarre is when you see two people wearing the same brand/pair of pants with the same manufactured holes. All the holes/rips/tears in the pants are identical, a marvel of mass-production.

I'm young enough that i'm part of the generation that the article is complaining about, but my first thought was also youtube. The amount of knowledge available there is amazing. Yes, it's full of stupid videos and conspiracies too, but if you ever want to learn how to do anything, it's a simple youtube search away. There must be thousands of excellent, clear tutorial videos for every point the author raises.

Additionally, availability of replacement parts is excellent. Whatever you need is only a $2 package with free shipping from amazon or aliexpress.

I don't see being helpless without the internet as a problem. I know how to find the information i need, and barring some apocalypse knocking out the internet that's probably just as good as actually knowing it.

I have a good paying job, yet I 100% will pick up major appliances or lawn mowers from the garbage if they are somewhat recent with no shame. It is very rare that they have some issue that is worth discarding over. I get tons of junk mail and behind a doctor's office they threw out a $1700 heavy duty paper shredder. It turned out to be a dead hall field sensor to detect when it jams. $25 from fellowes.

That's cool but watch out for hoarding. While I agree with picking up discarded fixable or like new appliances, there are so many of them out there that one may end up hoarding.

My wife learned that youth shelters/foster parenting agencies need suitcases to help the children move their clothing and stuff around. The usual alternative children get: garbage bags.

We collected up suitcases off the curb that in theory need minor mending (no smells, certain problems left behind), and over time the backlog has built up. Time is also an ingredient, here; in the best case it takes fifteen minutes to prep a curb suitcase, in the worst (cleaning stains, etc.) the suitcase might need to sit around in a ventilated area for days over the course of treatment.

Do you never wonder about stuff like bed bugs when you pick up stuff like suitcases off the street? I feel like I'm overly paranoid about that.

Have a friend who had a habit of picking up furniture etc from the side of the road, and (perhaps related) got bedbugs. I am very very hesitant to do the same.

Even I would hesitate to pick up upholstered furniture from the side of the road.

Definitely, but I would use a similar amount of caution with used luggage. Luggage is used for visiting many places, left in hotel rooms and overhead bins (high traffic areas), hold clothes, lots of seams and nooks and crannies ... pretty ideal bedbug territory.

Right? That's like inviting someone else's home into your home. Not even that but their trash. Way to risky for me and I love finding free stuff.

There are a few strategies you can use, dependent on the time of year -- they don't like it cold (assuming you don't give them a chance to adapt), nor overly hot, and the suitcases can also be quarantined. I wouldn't drag them into core living areas of your space, right off.

One addition I'll make: locally there is a bulk pickup day twice a year that people hold things for; if it was a suitcase wrapped in plastic or out on a non-bulk pickup day, I likely would steer clear.

Put the clothes in a garbage bag, tie it. Use suitcase for structure.

That's fantastic, I hadn't thought of this. I'm going to keep an eye out for curb suitcases now. Thanks for sharing

Yes this is true. I don't pick up lawnmowers anymore because mine is fine. But I have given some of my old ones to people that just moved into a home and stuff. And yes I am selective about appliances unless I know a friend needs one. Currently everything I own is plugged in and being used, no yard full of junk :).

As for the Hall field sensor yeah I know I probably could have found an equivalent on Digikey and saved $15 or so when you factor in the shipping, but the convenience factor and knowing that I just fixed an otherwise fine $1700 commercial shredder for $25 is fine.

Dave from EEVblog does that a lot, found a new fancy 4k TV in the trash, managed to fix it by reflowing a single chip, works like a charm now.

no he didnt, he managed to destroy the mainboard by doing his _first reflow ever_ without any kind of preparation, and later fixed that TV by replacing all the electronics inside

I'd say we got good content out of it so it was a bigger win than getting a tv.

Entertainer, definitely not a fixer. Here is a good list of people actually repairing stuff:


Unless there's been an update since EEVBlog #1154, he identified that the faulty part was bad solder on a single chip, but he screwed up the reflow. Presuming nothing else was damaged in the process (such as via a hypothetical power pin short), the chip would need to be re-balled and replaced.

Sounds like a business opportunity

lol yes that's called "local junk man"

A Hall sensor is 10¢, you’ve overpaid 100x for a brand name part :)

To buy anything at 10c you have to order a huge quantity of them which usually ends up costing more than the expensive single item cost.

When I was studying, I used to turn my round neck shirts into V neck by cutting the middle and stitching. Just for fun and it thought me how to stitch, at least to a point.

Today it is not about knowing, it is about time. I can't spend 30 minutes fixing my clothes because my 30 minutes is more valuable than a tshirt's cost. Or I don't want to deal with ordering glue for my shoe and work on fixing it, I take it to a shoe repair and get it fixed for $10.

Things got more convenient than war times. We don't need to turn potato sack burlap into clothing anymore. Although, I also believe a man should know how to stitch a button if they need to. I want people to repair electronics rather than clothing.

Those 30 minutes of your time are only more 'valuable' if the only thing of value which counts is monetary value. This is, of course, not the case. Money is nothing but a means to an end, it should never be the end itself. Assuming the end to be a sense of personal satisfaction over a task well accomplished - whether that task be feeding yourself and possibly your family, raising any children to be a boon instead of a burden to society or just enabling you to be lazing on a beach somewhere - it is not inconceivable for time spent mending something to have more total value than time spent earning money so you can buy a new something.

When people talk about how much their time is worth; they're not talking about it from a strictly financial point of view but from a personal satisfaction point of view. ie if I spend an hour fixing this; this is an hour less I spend with my kids or an hour I miss chatting to my wife.

So it's not about counting pennies but about justifying outsourcing jobs you don't enjoy so you can spend more time on the stuff that really matters.

This point of view is particularly important to those of us who have really busy lives and thus are often juggling our time between different responsibilities (family, work, household chores, etc).

if I spend an hour fixing this; this is an hour less I spend with my kids or an hour I miss chatting to my wife.

Doing chores and fixing stuff can be an interesting activity for a kid, depending on the age. Granted, I'm not good at mending either.

I discussed this in my other post but to expand on that, we do a lot of household chores together (tidying, cleaning, washing car, gardening, etc). However I wouldn't trust a a toddler and 5 year old with a sewing needle.

A 5yo can certainly be trusted with a blunt sewing needle, the type used to mend holes in socks etc ('stopnaald' in Dutch, darning-needle in English). A toddler can not but might find it interesting to toddle around while you show the 5yo to mend that hole in that sock - or something similar.

He can't. We have actually tried before with a sowing-craft set he got for Christmas (which my wife ended up making with him watching).

To be honest I shouldn't have to defend what chores I choose to spend time doing with the kids. I'd be interested to know how many on here have kids, do all of the aforementioned chores and still find time to teach 5 year olds to mend socks, shirts and jumpers? There seems to be an inordinate amount of "high-roading" happening today.

I do. We live on a farm where they also get to do other interesting things, e.g. two days ago I was splitting firewood with my 7yo daughter - that is she did the splitting with a hydraulic press, I watched and helped where necessary while showing her where danger lies and how to avoid problems. Both daughters (7yo and 14yo) know how to sew - the 14yo got a sewing machine when she was 11. They can do many other practical things as well since we involve them in many tasks around the house and farm.

...and that is the 'secret' to raising self-reliant children: involve them in common tasks when those tasks are performed anyway. This does not take any "high-roading" as you imply, it just takes a little bit of forethought and might make things go a bit slower than they normally would.

> I do.

Good for you. However not all kids are the same so what activities worked well for you might not work well for other families - despite their best efforts.

Like I said - we have tried doing needlework with my son with a kit that was specifically designed for kids. So my comments are not without precedence.

> ...and that is the 'secret' to raising self-reliant children: involve them in common tasks when those tasks are performed anyway. This does not take any "high-roading" as you imply, it just takes a little bit of forethought and might make things go a bit slower than they normally would.

Geez, I wish I thought of that. So all those years I've spent playing number and word games with them; teaching them to cook, handle scissors, knives, gas cookers and even open fires responsibly; how to do a great many DIY projects with power tools safely and engage in their curiosity for the natural world was all just a waste of time because I didn't happen to do that one thing you do. /s

Dude. Everyone acts like this. For the guy teaching his kid robotics, you're missing out by not teaching your kid robotics. But he isn't teaching his kid chemistry. And the chem guy isn't teaching his kid carpentry.

Each of them doesn't realize what they aren't doing. Only that they're very busy and somehow manage to fit in this one thing. So why can't you?

Don't take advice on parenting from HN. It's the essential oil mommy blog of the programmer community.

It's a pity you're getting downvoted because I think this is the most sensible comment made in this entire thread. :-/

> I shouldn't have to defend what chores I choose to spend time doing with the kids.

Of course you shouldn't, but you presented a false dichotomy with "if I spend an hour fixing this; this is an hour less I spend with my kids."

There is nothing a parent can take apart or put together without any curious child immediately having a deeply rooted interest in- and a thousand questions about the matter.

It's okay not to be able or want to fix something, but don't blame it on your kids.

As an aside, I believe it's the best way to parent. It teaches kids that no matter what happens in life, they always have themselves to rely on.

> Of course you shouldn't, but you presented a false dichotomy with "if I spend an hour fixing this; this is an hour less I spend with my kids."

Given you know precisely zero about me, my family, nor our routines; you are in no position to assume what is a "false dichotomy".

> It's okay not to be able or want to fix something, but don't blame it on your kids.

If you're takeaway was that I'm blaming it on the kids then you've clearly not been reading my posts properly. My stance from the very start was that I don't want to do it.

> As an aside, I believe it's the best way to parent. It teaches kids that no matter what happens in life, they always have themselves to rely on.

Thank you for that titbit of advice. I'd never considered teaching my kids basic life skills. /s

"False dichotomy" being a general concept means I don't have to be in any sort of position of knowing any specifics. It's generally applicable. I have no idea why you're defensive about this.

> I don't want to do it.

which is different from "if I spend an hour fixing this; this is an hour less I spend with my kids". "I don't want to do it" or "I can't do it" is a perfectly fine reason by itself.

> Thank you for that titbit of advice.

You're welcome.

> "False dichotomy" being a general concept means I don't have to be in any sort of position of knowing any specifics. It's generally applicable.

Specifics do matter when they're critical to the conclusion being made. In this case my daughter it too young to do needlework and my son isn't interested in it either (as I've said before, we have tried). So ultimately I would end up -- and previously have ended up -- doing it by myself despite any best efforts to incorporate the kids.

I do get at some point he'll have to learn that not all chores are fun but he's only 5 and there are a lot of chores he does love doing (including stuff "normal" people hate) so I'm willing to let him stick to the ones he finds enjoyable while he's still young enough to get away with it. After all, he has a whole lifetime of work ahead of him.

> I have no idea why you're defensive about this.

Wouldn't you get a little defensive if I started telling you how I think you should raise your family when I've never met you? I see it time and time again where HN posters pretend to be experts on the weirdest of subjects and this is no exception. I swear this place was never like that when I first joined...

In any case, comments about ones family are a deeply personal topic so you should expect one might take those comments personally. ;)

> a deeply personal topic so you should expect one might take those comments personally.

I see, and I agree. My apologies.

shrug I sewed when I was 5. I also cross stitched and used a basic loom.

If you can have as much work as you want then your free time is worth exactly as much per hour as your hourly work rate.

The point is, you shouldn't be alarmed. You can afford your free time. Just know how pointless it is to suffer through some of your time to save a bit of money that is much less than the value of the time you spent suffering.

I'm still fixing things, but not because I want to save anything. I just like to tinker and figure stuff out so I'm geeting my money's worth out of every attempted repair.

Also I hate shoping so shopping time saved is often worth for me more then time used for repairs.

it's only of more value if that 30mins is doing something that earns money. or you could just Netflix and chill

>I can't spend 30 minutes fixing my clothes because my 30 minutes is more valuable than a tshirt's cost.

I think it's a mistake that we value our own time like this. There's satisfaction that can be derived from spending time mending some of your own clothing, and that contributes to wellbeing. That wellbeing is not something that you can put a dollar value on.

Platitudes like that often don't work out in practice. Take my life for example; what do you suggest I substitute in return for time spent mending clothes?

* Time spent with the family / kids? That contributes far more to my wellbeing (and theirs). Sure I could mend my clothes with the kids but that isn't something they'd enjoy (nor me to be quite honest) and there are already enough chores I make them do as a family.

* How about time spent cooking and cleaning? But unfortunately I already pay different people to wash the windows, clean the house, mow the lawn... there isn't much less responsibility I can hand off there.

* I guess I could spend less time tinkering with my own hobby projects - but that amounts to very few hours a week and given it's my own personal time, I think I should do what I find more rewarding and relaxing and that isn't mending old clothes.

I barely get time in the week to do fun things as it is. I mean stuff like going on bike rides with my eldest son (who's 5) and I certainly don't get any time to look after my own personal health (I used to run 5k several times a week - it's not much but it made a difference. These days I'm lucky if I get one 5k run in a week). So if I can outsource stuff I don't enjoy to someone else for a reasonable fee then my time is most certainly worth it.

Time on social media? That's what we adults really do most of the time anyway.

Speak for yourself. I'm rarely on Facebook, don't do Twitter / Reddit / Instagram / whatever else. HN is my one social media vice and even that isn't something I generally visit on a weekend (usually just during the week if I need to take a mental break from coding). However today is the exception but my family are out of town and I'm in bed with a head cold so don't feel much up to being productive anyway.

This is also true for most adults I'm friends with - in that a couple might occasionally go on Facebook but most of them aren't heavy users of social media.

For context: on average we're late 30s and most of us have young kids. We didn't grow up with social media and we've have better things to fill our adult time with since social media become a "thing". So it's not something we spend a great amount of time on.

I'm sure yours (and a many other peoples) experience will differ but my point is you shouldn't generalise that adults spend a lot of time on social media because that isn't always true.

Well I'm 41 and have kids, so your age card is poorly played. Most people of my generation spend their life on social media, I know that for a fact.

Speaking of the milage, I took the liberty to glance at your HN account stats. You appear to be a more prolific poster than I am, even though my account is couple years older.

Not judging mind you. I have my hobbies too, including a nice metalworking shop. But the proportion of time I stand at the lathe to me watching YouTube videos of people machining is tiny.

People in 21st century first world have a lot of disposable time. They also complain most about lack of it.

> Well I'm 41 and have kids, so your age card is poorly played. Most people of my generation spend their life on social media, I know that for a fact.

I wasn't playing an "age card" - I was adding context to why I don't use social media. Also I think you missed the part where I said:

I'm sure yours (and a many other peoples) experience will differ but my point is you shouldn't generalise that adults spend a lot of time on social media because that isn't always true.

> Speaking of the milage, I took the liberty to glance at your HN account stats. You appear to be a more prolific poster than I am, even though my account is couple years older.

I'd already addressed that point in my post: Yes I do spend a lot of time on HN. But only 5 minutes here and there during the week when I need a proverbial cigarette break. I don't generally use HN during the weekend. The fact I post a lot is really more a symptom of how opinionated I am rather than how much time I spend on HN.

> People in 21st century first world have a lot of disposable time. They also complain most about lack of it.

You cannot generalise like that. Some people need to work multiple jobs just to keep their family fed and housed. Others - like me - have long commutes and busy homes to manage. You want to know my weekly schedule?

    06:00 get up and showered for work
    06:45 drive to train station
    07:00 catch train
    08:15 arrive in office
    16:15 leave for the evening
    18:45 get home, bath kids, read them a story then put them to bed
    20:00 do house work
    20:30 cook dinner
    21:00 eat while chatting to wife or watching some crap on TV
    21:30 down time
    22:00 bed
Granted that 30 minute downtime can be longer and shorter some days depending on how late I go to bed or how much housework we need to do. But I still wouldn't call that "lots of disposable time". The train to work is my disposable time and that's limited by what I can do on the train - which is usually sleeping because my youngest still wakes up multiple times a night (aghhh!)

I wouldn't say I'm unique either nor that I don't have a lucky life (I have a family who love me, a good job, nice house in a good area and enough disposable income to afford a few luxuries). However I don't take kindly to people who assume that I have lots of disposable time. My kids or catching up on sleep is my disposable time and I get very little left after that.

So I suggest you don't make assumptions about other peoples lifestyles based off your own. It's a diverse world out there ;)

You could move closer to where you work, so you have a 15 minute bike ride to and from there every day, saving you two and a half hours. Use that time to mend things so that you save money, which you can use to pay for the more expensive house! Problem solved, you can thank me later...

I had decided I wasn't going to entertain this conversation anymore (on scarejunba's advice) but you do raise a good point there and that is something my wife and I have considered.

The problem is that would mean we'd either end up in a less desirable area (less greenery, higher crime rates, etc) or have much less disposable income. The closer you move towards London the sharper the rise in house prices - and it's quite significant too. Plus as I'm just 10 minutes drive from a direct fast line into central London so moving closer wouldn't actually save myself that much in commute time (maybe half an hour each way if I'm lucky). So there just isn't the intensive to do so.

In fact my wife and I actually did the maths and the money we'd save on my season ticket (which is very expensive) wouldn't even come remotely close to the increased cost in housing. So spending that extra hour mending things wouldn't even scratch the surface. And to be honest, I quite like having that hour of relaxation time on the train ride home as it's uninterrupted me time - which means by the time I get home I've recharged my own proverbial batteries a little so are more energized with the kids. So the time with them is of a better quality.

I'm not suggesting this would work for everyone but there's a few other guys in my office that have the same routine and find it works for them too. In fact it's quite common for people who work in London to live a county or two away from the city and thus have long commutes.

Maybe when the kids are older and want to live in more urban areas, my wife and I might reconsider living this far out from the city. But personally I quite like the contrast of quiet village life after spending the day in the noisy capital.

Understood - I wasn't really serious! However, when I worked in the City back in the late nineties/early two thousands I lived in Islington (20ish minute walk, one stop on the tube) first, and then EC1 (10 minutes or less walking) and although you're right about paying more, as a contractor for a bank, it was still affordable. Plus, I never needed a season ticket, I could pop home for lunch, and it was an interesting area (near Hoxton, Shoreditch, and so on) to live. Admittedly I was much younger and not married, which would definitely change your priorities...

You're getting suckered into a stupid argument. Get out now.

As far as working out, first I realized that taking time out for my own health is worth sacrificing time with my wife and my son. I’m no good to my family if I’m not healthy or dead.

I’m not an outdoors person for a lot of reasons, but I do have a bedroom set aside in our house for a home gym. My wife and I will spend time together talking, watching TV, etc while we are working out together. Also having a gym at home means I can be at home with my wife until she goes to sleep and then work out.

I've got to agree on the personal health side of things but I'm not really a gym kind of person and neither is my wife (we'd both rather go running, cycling, swimming, etc) so any home gym equipment would just gather dust.

What I really need to do is set myself personal goals. At one point I used to train for running longer distances or to get my 5k personal best down to a certain time. But I'd reached those goals around the same time my daughter was born and never really got motivated to do any proper training again since.

So I just need to set myself motivated with some personal goals again.

Being able to turn 30 minutes into longer-wearing clothes means you don’t have to be able to get paid the way you currently are for those 30 minutes forever. Along with various clothing repair activities and normal cooking, I bake bread and can jam from seasonal fruit surplus. If I just look at my hourly take-home, that is some expensive bread and jam.

However, if I think about when I won’t be earning like that anymore, it shifts a bit. That “when” is hopefully 20 years from now (when I’d like to retire), but could be next year and for awhile if the economy goes south. It also helps that I enjoy those things enough to consider them hobbbies.

We also remodeled our own kitchen, doing everything but electricals ourselves (including knocking through a new entrance and closing the old one). From an immediate cost perspective, I should have hired someone to lay the tiles instead of doing it myself. That experience, though, means that I can now easily do my own tile repairs and can better assess the quality of work I might pay others to do. It ended up being fun enough that I’m looking for another tiling project!

What if there are other activities that OP considers more valuable and rewarding? Spending time with friends or family? Starting a new business? Working on that programming project? Learning how to play an instrument? Exercising? Meditating? Cooking?

I'm not sure such a blanket statement is helpful. This isn't just about money, it's about opportunity cost. The time that he sinks into mending that Tshirt is time he could have put into any other potentially more worthy endeavor.

I rather use my free 30 minutes playing with my 3d printer or laser engraver. As others stated, we only have limited free time and I really don't want to use it to fix my ripped tshirt or shirt and make it look barely okay. I agree with you, but I also think there are more satisfying and educational things than fixing cheap stuff. (Also clothing is not as expensive as 100 years ago, we don't buy tailored anymore so no need fixing as much.)

There's that, and there's mistaking. GP assumes three things:

1) that it takes 30 minutes to mend, which is high in my experience.

2) That a t-shirt costs less than a half-hour's income. Less than a half-hour's after-tax income, even. Some t-shirts do: The t-shirts I got for free at conferences cost less. But my favourites, the ones I might wear out, aren't the cheap ones.

3) That purchasing new clothes takes no time.

Valuing our own time is okay, but it has to be done correctly. Not bent to produce a particular outcome.

(Yes, I mend. Not t-shirts, because I hardly ever wear those. But I mend shirts.)

How are you planning to fix a ripped t-shirt without making it look terrible? This era, we are wearing very simple clothing which is disposable, also very durable (jeans). I mostly wear shirts/tshirt and jeans. I don't even remember needing to fix any and still have my old jeans for over 15 years.

I don't wear t-shirts often, and don't think any of mine have needed mending. I do wear thin long-sleeved sweaters, so if you don't mind I'll answer for those: The most common problem starts with a small hole somewhere, frequently just next to a seam, and is mended in a minute or two if caught early. Disastrous tears are a different matter, but happily also a rare one.

What brand of jeans lasts 15 years? My Levis' jeans don't seem to last more than about 5 years. After that I have to patch them.

I don't think I've ever had a pair of Levis last even a year.

I buy $12 synthetic fabric shirts that last for 100+ wear/wash cycles without needing mending.

I think it's a mistake for you to value your own mending time over my particular hobby, which contributes to a sense of well-being.

satisfaction that can be derived from spending time mending some of your own clothing

Perhaps for some people. I've tried mending my own clothes, but it always ends up looking kind of crap and so I don't end up wearing it anyway.

> I can't spend 30 minutes fixing my clothes because my 30 minutes is more valuable than a tshirt's cost.

I've got a dollar that says you watch TV while looking at a social network or something on your phone. You could fix a shirt instead.

Still, he paid (in lost profits) for his tv watching and social browsing. He's t-shirt mending would cost the same but he would additionally lost pleasure and gained t-shirt which value is neglible when compared to all other vslues involved.

"my 30 minutes is more valuable than a tshirt's cost"

Of course, I know what you mean. But consider, at least for a moment, that the cost of that t-shirt to you includes the wages paid to the cotton pickers, thread makers, cloth makers, cutters, stitchers, packers, transport and warehouse workers, and the amazon delivery driver, who will contribute to making that t-shirt and getting it to your door. So in a way, you're saying your 30 minutes is more valuable than however many minutes of all those people's lives that would have to be spent to get you a new t-shirt.

There's some profound insight into how economics works to be had when you truly consider what it means to trade off your time and the value of your labor output, against the time and labor of countless people, all put into supplying you with stuff.

I think looking at opportunity costs is important. still, different chores make different demands. the value of my time at, say 10pm after a long day at work is less than at 10am. mrend at night, code during the day.

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