When to Repair Your Stuff and when to Replace It

If it isn't broken, don't throw it out!If it isn't broken, don't throw it out!We've become a throwaway society: When something isn't working right, our first instinct is to replace it altogether. But there are a lot of things around the house that could be repaired just as easily -- and for a lot less money. The decision to repair or replace depends on several factors -- your personal finances at the time, the difficulty level or cost of a repair, the age of the item, and how often you actually use it in the first place. Find out how to make a "Repair or replace?" decision about 5 everyday items.

Furniture Furniture 1. Furniture
If the structure of your furniture is still intact, you can probably make minor repairs to bring it back up to par. Reupholster are repainting are inexpensive and fairly easy to do yourself. Consider the cost of a minor repair on a high-quality piece of furniture, compared to what you would spend on replacing lower-quality pieces more often. Usually it's better to do the repair!
How to reupholster a couch

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LaptopsLaptops2. Laptops
Back in the day, desktop computers were fairly simple -- and cost-effective -- to repair. But laptops are more challenging. It depends on the brand and year. It's easier on the wallet to make a $200 to $300 screen repair or hardware upgrade on your $1,500 MacBook. It makes more sense to retire an older laptop and buy a lower-end new model than to have yours repaired. If you're good with computers, though, home repairs will save you money and can extend the life of your computer.

Cracked iPhone Cracked iPhone 3. Cracked iPhone
This is one that people instantly think means you need a new phone, but it's not true! We actually replaced this cracked iPhone before I learned that the DIY repair wasn't that difficult. A replacement screen costs less than $30, and you'll find several how-to videos on YouTube.

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Dishwasher Dishwasher 4. Dishwasher
Sometimes when it seems like the dishwasher is broken, it really just needs a good cleaning. Try cleaning the filter, spray arm and float, or replacing the inlet valve before calling a repairman or replacing the dishwasher. With proper maintenance, a dishwasher should last up to 10 years.
How to repair a dishwasher

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Shoes Shoes 5. Shoes
I have this amazing pair of purple shoes -- silly or not, wearing them makes me feel strong and confident. Then the heel snapped. My husband replaced them for me, but it just wasn't the same. I love, love, love my new purple shoes, so I was thrilled to find out that the cobbler in our city can repair the heel for just $10.
How to repair TOMS

Broken Zipper Broken Zipper 6. Broken Zipper
It's so frustrating when the zipper breaks on an otherwise perfectly good bag, purse, or your favorite pair of jeans. Luckily, you can fix it at home with a few simple tools. If you're feeling frustrated with at-home repairs, don't toss it yet! Try taking it to your dry cleaners or local leather repair shop and seeing how much it would cost to fix - it could be worth it for a classic purse or quality pair of jeans.
How to repair a zipper

Related: 14 amazing ideas for repurposing old furniture

Dryer Dryer 7. Dryer
My family's replaced belts, heating elements, and cleared the ducts of bird nests to get the dryer working again. Once the problems became electrical, we had to replace it altogether. You can find a lot of decent appliance repair videos on YouTube. When should you get a new dryer? According to AOL's Daily Finance, washers and dryers typically last 10 to 15 years, so if you're facing a significant repair on an old machine, consider the upgrade.

- By Heather Sokol
Follow Heather on Babble

For more "Repair or Replace?" advice, visit Babble!


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