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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What exactly is the Repair Café?

    Five Cities Repair Café is a volunteer-driven organization patterned after the Repair Café movement that started in the Netherlands in 2009 and now is flourishing worldwide with over 2,000 Repair Cafés operating. The aim of the Repair Café movement is to reduce the amount of “stuff” that ends up in landfill by helping you fix items that you might otherwise throw away.


  2. What have been your experiences so far?

    Our first Repair Café was October 6, 2019.  Typically visitors and volunteers at Repair Cafés work on bicycles; sewing projects; lamps; jewelry & crafts; small household appliances like toasters, irons and vacuum cleaners; luggage; small mechanical items like weed whackers; electrical appliances like blenders, clocks, fans; and phones, computers and computer-related items. To date our success rate of partially or fully fixed items is about 70%. Most folks leave with their item fixed or with information how to order a needed spare part and complete the repair at home.


  3. How much do you charge for this service?

    The events and the repairs are FREE. If the purchase of repair parts is required, and they are available, you will be asked to pay for them at cost. Of course, we encourage donations to help cover other expenses, like food for our volunteers, miscellaneous supplies, and various spare parts that we keep on hand.


  4. Can you tell me in advance if you can fix my broken item?

    Unfortunately, it is impossible for us to know whether we can fix your broken item unless you bring it to the Repair Café to have one of our volunteers diagnose it.


  5. Where and when is the next Repair Café?

    See our "Home Page" for the current schedule. Events run from 1:00-4:30 pm. Please arrive before 3:30 pm, as this increases the likelihood of our having enough time to fix your item.


  6. What should I expect if I come to the Repair Café?

    If demand is high, do expect a wait; come equipped with reading material and be ready to enjoy the community spirit of the Repair Café.  


  7. What if you cannot help me fix my broken item?

    Often, if our volunteers can’t fix your item, they can offer advice on what you might need to fix it yourself. If an item is beyond repair, check with San Luis Obispo Waste Management  or your city's utilities department to see what to do with broken items.


  8. How can I support the Repair Café movement?

    Volunteer - Use the "Contact" menu item at the top of our page or email us at  Besides fixers we also need greeters, intake or reception staff and help with marketing, refreshments, and set up/take down.

    Donate - Five Cities Repair Café is a non-profit that has been taken under the wing of Ecologistics 501(c)(3). We operate on the energy of our volunteers, but some of what we do costs money. Contributions of any size would be greatly appreciated and will help us expand our efforts to fulfill our mission. Donations are accepted at events, or go to, or contact us at

    You can also start a Repair Café in your own community.  We would love to see more Repair Cafés operating and will gladly help you get started.

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