The Five Rs – Number three: Repair

Now, disinfection you might think repairing and reusing are the same thing but trust me, they’re not. It took my love for shoes to figure this one out. And I’m not talking about my sister’s I-have-normal-feet-and-therefore-I-have-a-closet-full-of-shoes-from-Payless-whether-I-need-them-or-not love for shoes. No. I’m talking about my Triple A narrow please-god-don’t-ever-let-these-shoes-die-and-make-me-have-to-find-another-pair love for shoes kind of love. The kind where when I actually find a pair of shoes that fits me AND doesn’t look like old-lady shoes I immediately start getting paranoid about what might happen to them.

Exhibit A: The pair of Audley’s that I can walk for miles in and still look like a lady:

I bought these in 2000 when living in Scotland. I wore them to work everyday for years. They may not look like much in this picture but they are actually very attractive on – especially with skirts. I think these shoes must be the reason I found a good shoe repair shop. They have an interestingly shaped toe and that, combined with my inability to walk in my own feet, means that the toe area can look rather chewed up after too many stumbles (although I have never fallen). I’ve taken them in to be cared for twice since my constant walking in them wore down the heel area.

Exhibit B: Flat, comfortable & RED knee high boots:

I had a thing with wanting red, knee-high boots for years when there weren’t any to be found (I had made myself a Wonder Woman costume as well but had to *gasp* wear black boots with them). And then, once red boots came back in fashion they all had ghastly heels. My Mum, sister & I were at a shoe store together one day and as soon as we saw these we gravitated towards them and I was afraid to try them on because cool shoes – sexy shoes – never fit me. But they did, and they didn’t cost the earth either. Now I take them in every two years for a clean-up to keep them looking their best. They look a little loved but what well-used pair of shoes doesn’t? I would guess that these ones are six years old.

Exhibit C: The hippy sandals I spend all summer in:

The problem with sandals like Birkenstocks is that their made for hippies with wide, Hobbit feet. But what about us wanna-be hippies of the long but dainty-feet variety? Well, I found the brand Naot for my feet and after wearing one pair into the ground was saddened to buy another pair. The more A’s you get in your width the higher the price goes.  However, now that I have discovered the joys of shoe repair I can make sure I get my sandals re-stitched when needed and the cork inside replaced once it gets too worn.

My desire to repair things doesn’t end with shoes of course, but since I hate shopping for shoes it’s a good example for me to use. Another thing I hate shopping for is jeans. Which is why I was able to wear the same two pairs of jeans for 5 years just by not putting them in the dryer – ever. And this wasn’t an occasional wear either – this was almost-daily use. Now they are on my repair pile because they are getting slightly threadbare and are in need of patching up. I’ve also been known to sew-up holes in $3 socks even though my toes are determined to make there way through them – just because I like how the socks look and am not ready to part with them yet. It only takes me a couple minutes while watching a movie anyway.

The sad thing is, most things are made to be disposed of these days – we, as consumers, live in a disposable society and have a disposable mentality. If you toaster breaks you just toss it and buy a new one, or your iron, or any other reasonably affordable appliance. This just leads to more stuff in our landfills that might have had a chance to keep working if someone just took the time to figure out what was wrong. Of course, that sounds like a commentary on our society in general and a whole other topic for discussion.

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