I recently had a generous offer from a skilled woodworker I know - he offered to repair any damaged guitars belonging to my young guitar students, without charge. The children usually buy a cheap instrument to learn on and I don't blame them. Most of them drop lessons after a few months and their parents don't want to invest in a quality instrument without being sure the child is committed. But these poor-quality instruments often end up breaking even without rough handling (although undoubtedly some of them do receive rough handling), and the cost of repairing them far outstrips the cost of replacing them.
I can do minor guitar surgery myself, and frequently do. But there were several instruments that were beyond my skills to repair. I took a variety of busted guitars to my friend's house, and he returned them all amazingly fast, and better than new. He wouldn't accept any payment, and said he enjoyed doing it. As well as a skilled craftsman he is also a keen musician - he has a beautiful tenor voice and I know he enjoys attending concerts as much as he enjoys performing music. So it gave him a buzz to help encourage a new generation of musicians. The children and their parents were delighted, too. And I was over the moon to see the new motivation my students had once their instruments were repaired - many of them had had their enthusiasm dented by having to use a damaged or borrowed instrument.
Repairing something is much better than replacing it, and not just for the obvious reasons of saving money and saving the planet's resources. When we repair things we start to see ourselves as competent and skilled. Consumerism takes that away from us. When we repair things we build up a relationship with the item we repair, it has a history for us and we respect it more than something we "just bought". When we have repaired a few things and we start to become good at it, we have a skill we can share with other people, whether for money or just for love and friendship. We can earn good will and respect from people by sharing our skill with them.
Repair something this month, and tell me how it makes you feel differently about your belongings and the world around you. Don't forget to vote in the poll in the right-hand-sidebar when you've done it.