Fix it at our Repair Cafe

Repair cafes challenge our linear ‘throw-away culture’ by fixing perfectly good items that would otherwise be sent to landfill before their time.

At Boroondara’s North Balwyn Repair Cafe, based at Greythorn Community Hub, volunteers can show you how to fix your broken, faulty or damaged items free, including tools, furniture, jewellery, electrical appliances, toys and clothing. They also have repaired and rescued items to give away.

“Whether the item is functional or nostalgic, we love helping to give these items a second life – or an extended one at least,” said organiser Andrew Tynan.

We love seeing the joy of the visitors leaving with a repaired item and hopefully a new skill – or at least an increased awareness of the types of repairs that are possible if you try.

The Repair Cafe’s ‘Bring, Learn and Mend’ sessions have been held for almost three years and in that time they have saved more than half a tonne of ‘waste’ from being sent to landfill. Volunteers teach tips, tricks and techniques to repair items, help the community understand safe repair practices, and give visitors confidence to fix things themselves.

Join a Learn and Mend session


Greythorn Community Hub, 2 Centre Way, Balwyn North.


The third Sunday of each month from 10am to 12:30pm.

The next date is Sunday 19 September.

More information

For more information, visit the North Balwyn Repair Cafe Facebook page.

Try these 10 simple fixes

Tempted to throw out that ‘broken’ toaster, vacuum cleaner or necklace?

Before you do, try these fixes from the team at the North Balwyn Repair Cafe:

  • Vacuum cleaner turning off while you’re using it? Often the filter is blocked and needs a good clean.
  • If your toaster won’t heat up or the lever refuses to stay down, it might be because crumbs are covering the sensor or catch mechanism.
  • Got a hard-to-budge screw or nut? Sometimes you can break the bond by tightening it slightly before you try to loosen it.
  • If you have a broken beaded necklace but no tools to repair it, restring it with elastic or thread.
  • Patch small holes in clothing by hand, with decorative stitching and fabric to make a feature.
  • Flatscreen TV stopped working? Sell it cheaply or give it away for parts that can be reused.
  • When changing batteries, always check and clean the metal contacts with a cotton bud and rubbing alcohol if you have it.

  • Sewing machine not working properly? Check for a bent needle, or lint in the bobbin carrier. Keep it lubricated too.

  • When tightening screws, use a screwdriver that fits the screwhead well. Using the wrong size can damage the screw and make it hard to remove.

  • Excellent resources on the internet can help with almost any fault. Enter the product name and ‘problem’ or ‘not working’ into a search engine.

A woman wearing an orange top is sitting in front of a sewing machine with some fabric ready to go