Best Place to Fix Your Broken Stuff for Free

Community Glue Workshop

Critics' Picks

"Everyone has a broken lamp. Everyone in the world," says Carla Bruni. It's by far the most common item brought in for repair at the "Fix-Ups" that Bruni organizes with her friend Ally Brisbin, owner of Kitchen Sink Cafe (where most of the events take place). A historic preservationist, Bruni read an article about the "repair cafes" taking place in Amsterdam, and decided it was something Chicago needed; last summer, she and Brisbin launched the monthly event, where anyone who's got something that needs fixing can bring it in for attention. A team of volunteers knowledgeable about a variety of subjects (woodworking, electronics, sewing, bike repair) helps people fix their stuff—they've even got a 3-D printer that allows them to print out small replacement parts in simple shapes. Everything from a cat tree to squirt guns to a steam cleaner to decapitated ceramic figurines have been brought in, Bruni says, adding, "Also, we fixed a bra a couple of months ago—that made me really happy."