When something stops working, do you replace it immediately?

This week was a good reminder not to rush out and buy a new item to replace something that doesn’t appear to work. Oftentimes, when an item stops working I write it down on a list to pick-up next time I’m at the store or research purchasing a replacement if it’s a larger ticketed item. Though, after I’ve purchased the new item, there have been times I’ve found the old item wasn’t broken, but it just malfunctioned.

We had two such incidents recently.

Monkey received a simple red Dirt Devil vacuum last year from Santa. It was the best gift ever, as he loves to vacuum and I borrow it often to clean quickly around the house. He had plugged it in to use it one day and it didn’t turn on.

“Oh, no!” we both thought. I immediately started thinking, I guess Santa needs to bring him another one. Then when I took a moment to think further I told him, “You know what, let’s unplug it and replug it back in. It looks like it’s correct, but maybe something is just loose.” Low and behold, it worked fine and has ever since. Taking a moment meant a new purchase avoided.

The second incident: this week my bathroom scale stopped working. I was disappointed, as I don’t weigh myself other than 1-2 times per month, and I wanted to check my progress. I went downstairs and returned to replace the batteries. Still, nothing.

So, I wrote down to pick-up a new scale, but left the old scale sitting on the table. I let it sit for a few days, and then this morning I wiggled the batteries around a bit more, and it turned on. Thankfully, new purchase avoided.

Sometimes you might be tempted to just throw an item away that doesn’t appear to be working, but technology malfunctions all the time. In the past few years, I’ve learned to write the item down and then give it another shot or look into how I might be able to repair it.

Freecycle is also a great place to search or post for items you want to replace. I bet there are a lot of bathroom scales out there no one really wants!

When sometimes stops working, walk away from it for a day, two, or a week. Then revisit it with fresh ideas or eyes on the problem. We’ve managed to repair or not replace many items over the years that have proven to malfunction or cause us a headache after using this strategy.

What do you do when something breaks? Do you go out to replace it immediately or do you consider ways to repair or get it working again?