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Repair, reuse, recycle – 21 sites to help you survive the coming equipment crunch


Don’t look now, but there’s an economic thingy creeping up behind us, quietly and sneakily. But never fear, with a little bit of pre-planning it’ll all work out fine, and to that end we’ve gathered together a list of some online resources to help you keep your household equipment up and running while the money’s tight. Because you never know when that toaster is gonna pop an element, do you?

Repair. Don’t sling it, fix it. You know it makes sense.

  • The Fixit Club. Discover the fun of fixing things around your home. 175+ guides to repairing stuff, nicely categorized as well.
  • The Repair FAQ. If you’re really serious about getting your hands dirty with those appliance repairs, then this is the place to come. Really!
  • Fixya. Question/Answer forums for help with repairing appliances and general equipment. Useful place for manufacturer specific issues as well.
  • Fixitnow. Characterful forum site, complete with parts catalog and faqs and videos. Be prepared for some attitude!
  • How Stuff Works – Repair. Beautifully crafted and detailed instruction on fixing appliances of all types from the veteran site.
  • Yahoo! Answers. Yahoo! has found gold in them thar user questions. This section deals specifically with the fixing and maintenance of equipment.
  • Repair & Improve. A very young site offering guidance on a range of home repair issues. Simple but clear format, and some useful advice too.

I’d stay away from the How to Mend it, Mend My and Fixed4Free sites, as they’re all from the same publisher and look like nothing more than advertising honey traps. Lots of questions and almost no answers. If they took the content a little more seriously and removed all the ugly and hugely intrusive advertising one of them could actually provide value one day. Shame.

Reuse. Wanna resurrect that old food processor in the attic and need a manual? Hereyago!

  • User Manual & Guide. Ridiculously basic interface masks a treasure house of user manuals in different languages from around the world. Superb. 
  • Safe Manuals. Simply massive collection of freely downloadable user manuals and docs. 5000 brands, over a million manuals. For free.
  • Retrevo. Over 100,000 manuals for a diverse range of household appliances, all alphabetically sorted and available for free download from manufacturer support sites. Nice.
  • User Manuals. Literally thousands of user manuals from the manufacturers on a vast range of products available for download for a price. Not cheap, but could be a lifesaver if you’ve lost an old version.
  • Instruction Manuals. Basic looking, but useful Brit database of product manual information. No actual manuals on site, but they point you to where you can purchase them from the manufacturers.
  • User Guides. Another British site which focuses on selling service and repair guides and driver CDs for computers. All the major brands are featured and the material is supplied at reasonable prices.
  • Fixya Manuals. Worth doing a search at the Fixya Manuals section if you still can’t find what you need. 

Recycle. If the worst comes to worse. at least you can return the product to the community for others to use, eh?

  • Earth911. Young recycling site provides information on where to dispose of or recycle your old equipment in a responsible way. Nice design.
  • Freecycle. Veteran global free re-cycling community provides a massively busy sharing service via email. Over 6 million members and rising.
  • Craigslist Classifieds. If you need to find a new home for your thing, then you’ve got 550 cities and 50 million readers a month to aim at with this free classified ads giant. Big enough?
  • Kijiji. Local free classifieds service. Smaller of course than the ‘list, but perhaps more personal?
  • Gumtree. UK classified ad version of Kijiji, very popular with the natives and a good place to start with placing or finding some useful bits.
  • Recycle. Another Brit offering, offering a free service to re-home old chattels in your local area. More of a bulletin board than a website, note.
  • eBay. We couldn’t move on without mentioning the big gorilla, could we? OK, so it’s not free, but still worth keeping in mind for recycling needs.


  • There is a free re-use site called

  • Great list – for the manuals section, don't forget ManualsOnline. We have the best collection of free manuals on the web!

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