I had been searching for a suitable small lamp to brighten my too-dim apartment kitchen for ages. Finally, I spotted a desk lamp at the Newton Swap Shop in just the right size, style and color. The flexible neck was perfect for aiming the light right at the cooking area from its perch across the room. The problem? When I got the light home and plugged it in with a new bulb, it didn’t work! Given the simplicity of its design, I suspected a minor repair would solve the issue.

I made an appointment with Newton At Home, the free service provided by a collective of volunteers working out of the Scandinavian Living Center. Newton At Home volunteers can fix your item for only the cost of the parts needed for the repair – the labor is free, thanks to the volunteers’ donated time and expertise.

My hunch about the lamp was correct. The fix was simple, and inexpensive: a new switch part cost $6. I enjoy my new-to-me lamp knowing its origin story involves two Newton-based, volunteer-powered programs, the Swap Shop and Newton At Home. (Submitted by Susan L.)

Newton At Home accepts items for repair at the Scandinavian Living Center, 206 Waltham St, Newton, by appointment only on Wednesdays between 1pm-2pm. To learn more about the program and which items they can accept, visit their website, newtonathome.org. To make an appointment, call 617-795-2560.


To achieve meaningful reduction in waste, we know we need to move beyond recycling to reduce and reuse. Tell us your best tips on businesses in the Newton area that have successfully repaired items. We will publish stories in future issues to help others repair and reuse.

Please include the name of the business, location, and a paragraph description of the issue and the repair done. A photo that illustrates the story (e.g., item, business, etc) is also welcome. Send to events@greennewton.org.