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Bailey: Learn to fix things yourself

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. 

It’s important to be self-reliant, and a big part of self-reliance is being able to do simple fixes on the things that you use every day. Despite this, there are many of us who don’t know how to change a tire, how to sew our clothes back together or how to fix our computers.


Everyone should know how to do the basic versions of car or bike repair, depending on what they use. Since we all wear clothes, we should all know how to sew. And since it’s a safe bet that there is a computer in most of our homes and a phone in most of our pockets, we should know how to fix those as well. 

There are a few reasons why people don’t know how to do these things. One big reason relates to gender roles and what society thinks are male and female skills.

Traditionally, cars have been seen as masculine, even though there is extensive history of women drivers, mechanics and engineers. That stereotype leads to women being pushed away from pursuing these skills they could often use. Similarly, sewing has been presented as a feminine skill, and men can be made fun of for enjoying it. 

In the long run, knowing how to do easy fixes can save you so much money.

These barriers created by gender roles are stopping people from gaining the skills they need to fix things in their own lives. It shouldn’t be the case that women don’t learn car skills — that would save them lots of repair costs — because someone decided 90 years ago that those were manly skills. Men shouldn’t have to run home to the woman in their house to put a patch on their jacket; sewing is not that hard.

Another reason why people don’t seem to learn basic repair skills is that they’re lazy, which is OK. We’re all lazy.

But for the betterment of your life and your wallet, it will benefit you to learn how to fix anything you deal with on a daily basis.

HomeGuide shows this concept wonderfully when they tell us that “Many times, simple repairs, such as unclogging a toilet or a drain, will have a fixed price of about $220 unless there are extenuating circumstances. The cost to snake a drain is from $3-$13.” 

Most of the time, when your toilet stops working, it’s a simple fix in the tank. Even if you have to put in a completely new toilet and redo the seal at the base, that can be around $150 to do it yourself. A plumber will cost about $65 an hour, and they will charge you extra for all the parts, for taking the old toilet away and for telling you that you need a new toilet in the first place, which can all land you near the $500 mark.

Further, fixing a simple issue with your computer is not that hard, and if the easy fixes don’t work, what did you lose? You can then take it in for the experts to solve the problem with better knowledge of what the problem isn’t.


For cars, an air filter for your engine costs around $20; if you have the mechanic put it in for you, it’s an extra $20-$50.

In the long run, knowing how to do easy fixes can save you a lot of money.

Get over traditional gender roles and the general desire to be lazy and learn how to do things yourself — it will make your life much easier and much cheaper. 

Fynn Bailey can be reached at or on Twitter @FynnBailey.

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