WebsiteCompass 3 When to Leave Repairs to the Professionals Learning to fix things yourself can save you money and be fun and rewarding. But there are times when repairs are best left to the professionals. These situations include: • It needs to be done fast. Plumbing issues are a great example. You’ll only incur more damage if you let that malfunctioning toilet continue to overflow. • The project is complex. Maybe you could fix your bike if just one thing was wrong with it. But last week’s fall left you with chain, frame, and wheel issues. • Bad things will happen if the repair goes wrong. You could get seriously injured if you try some types of repair, such as anything electrical. • You tried the repair yourself and it didn’t work out. You watched the YouTube video and followed all the instructions exactly, but your car still won’t start. Pat yourself on the back for trying and call a mechanic. • You have more money than time. Sometimes you’d just rather spend your leisure time doing other things. Even if you’ve never thought of yourself as handy, that can change in the future. Remember, every great handyperson started out with no knowledge or skills. They gained them over time through the following sources. What You Need to Find Your Inner Fixer Confidence To get certainty in your fix-it skills, start with an easy project. It could be something as simple as replacing a screw that has come loose on a cabinet. Then work your way up to others that might require buying a new tool or learning from a YouTube video. The organization Girls Garage (girlsgarage.org) helps girls gain skills and confidence through carpentry, welding, architecture, and more. Resources The internet is filled with websites, videos, discussion boards, and other resources to help you do the job right. A project that might seem beyond your ability could appear more doable as you watch or read about others’ success. The DoItYourself website (doityourself.com) offers tips for repairing vehicles, electronics, home areas, and more. The Right Tools If you’ve ever tried to use a butter knife as a hammer, you know the importance of the phrase “the right tool for the job.” Before starting any fix-it project, make sure in advance that you have the right tools, such as the proper type of wrench. A good place to get safety advice is the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s website, including this guide to hand and power tools: osha.gov/hand-power-tools. Support Learning a new skill is always easier with others. See if you can get involved in a bike fixing class or similar club in your area. You’ll get ideas, additional resources, and encouragement from others who are just learning. A repair café (repaircafe.org/en/about) is a place where people meet and repair things together.