We’re living in a time when all our stuff seems so disposable — we replace cell phones when a new version comes out, we place chairs with busted legs at the curb without a thought, and we toss a shirt when it loses yet another button. But Pop Up Repair, an itinerant repair service that will be setting up shop at Film Biz Recycling for a short run starting next week, believes we can turn our thinking around and fix those things instead.
“Part of the project is to open a conversation about what we buy, what we value, and what we discard — and how much!” says Sandra Goldmark, one of the founders of Pop Up Repair. “So we want to fix what people value — to give their objects a longer life, and a richer history.”
A group of theater artists started Pop Up Repair last year to apply their prop fixing know-how to household items from members of their community. They’re hoping that by bringing their repair services to different spots in the city, it won’t just challenge the cycle of use-and-discard consumer goods, but also get people thinking about what they buy in the first place.
“Another part of our project is talking about design and stuff (I am a theatrical set designer, so I think about this a lot),” Sandra says. “How are the things we buy today designed and built? Would we be willing to spend a little more if we knew our stuff would have a longer life?”
As theater artists, they have experience working with a wide range of items and will tackle anything that they can, including chairs, lamps, phones, toys, appliances, knick knacks, jewelry, and more.
“People bring us an amazing range of stuff, from appliances and jewelry to a stuffed lobster with a broken claw,” she says. “Some objects have monetary value, and some have none, but are priceless to their owners. Each object has a life, and a story.”
The only things they won’t repair are shoes and software, but they’ll take a shot at everything else. You can drop off your item to pick up later, and they’ll provide an estimate of the cost at drop-off, and will call if that changes — to give an idea of prices, they range from between $30-$45 for lamps, $20 for minor repairs to chairs and $100 and up for bigger jobs on them, toys can be between $8-$25, and clothing is about $10 and up depending on complexity (though they don’t do alterations).
If you’re in need of a quick, minor repair — button replacement, or a loose belt buckle, for instance — Pop Up Repair will be at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket this Saturday, March 8, offering free work that can be done by hand.
There, just as during their time at Film Biz, you should feel free to ask questions about what they’re doing, in case you want to give it a shot at some point yourself.
“If people are interested in learning, we love to share our methods,” Sandra says.
Pop Up Repair will be at Film Biz Recycling, 540 President Street, from March 12-30, Wednesdays through Sundays, 12-7pm. If you’d like to drop off an item to be repaired, it’s best to bring it in early during that period — people tend to wait until the end, and then they might run out of time to fix things. For more information, contact email@example.com.