Tuesday, January 19, 2016

So Long and Thanks For All The Wash

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Anneliese wearing a prefold cloth diaper, in a bikini twist fold and secured with a Snappi, at a few days old.

The end of an era is here.
Today, all my cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories are leaving my house.

Those cloth diapers were one of my first things I blogged about on this blog, 6 years ago when I first started PennilessParenting.com, my 8th post on this blog actually was about cloth diapers. It's the theme that continued throughout all the different changes my family has gone through over the past 6 years, growing from a family of 4 to a family of 6, from living in a 950 square foot house to downsizing to a 484 square foot place to buying a 1850 square foot place, of which we will be living in 925 of them. From being sort of natural minded to going full on crunchy, into homebirthing, extended breastfeeding, and unschooling. From being very into my legume based meals and seitan to going gluten free and then into Paleo.
Throughout it all, cloth diapers have been a constant in my life. More or less constant, that is. They've taken up a large amount of room on my shelves this entire time, but depending on how crazy hectic my life got, I used them more or less, but always had them there as a back up, staring me in my face, a reminder that if I really wanted to be frugal and green, I should just use those cloth diapers instead of buying expensive landfill filling disposable diapers.

The thing is, though, that I haven't used my cloth diapers in many months. Make that many, many, many. They were literally just there, wasting space, a constant reminder of my shortcomings, that I wasn't as frugal as I wanted to be, simply because my life is a bit too crazy with homeschooling 4 kids, the youngest of whom is the smartest and most challenging of my kids, who gets up to so many antics that I get tired simply keeping up with her. Since she was born, my life has changed and I've needed to take more short cuts for my sanity, including buying disposable dishes sometimes even, and relying on cereal and milk for breakfast for my kids, and store bought gluten free buns and hot dogs. Even I have my limits.
Cloth diapering was beyond my limits.

I've been having a hard time keeping up with laundry in general- of all housework, laundry is the bane of my existence. Even now that I'm not cloth diapering, it is rare that laundry isn't overflowing out of my laundry baskets, unfortunately. Add cloth diapering to the mix and I'd have an even bigger issue.

So now I've been trying to get my house better looking, giving it a makeover, making it more streamlined so I can get it to actually look as pretty as I want and in the style that I want, and a big part of that is decluttering. And those cloth diapers were just staring me in the face, and I knew I should get rid of them, since they aren't being used and I know I won't be using them in the near or even somewhat distant future, but didn't have the push to do it, didn't want to have to deal with the hassle of selling them and certainly didn't want to throw them out.

The other day, my friend Cara, pregnant with her first, stumbled across a discussion of which diaper brands were cheapest per diaper, and when she saw just how expensive each diaper is, even for the "cheap" diapers, she was shocked, and asked me about cloth diapering, what brands and styles I recommended, etc... and then it hit me!
Give Cara all my cloth diapers!

Cara gets the benefit of my diapers, without needing to go spend a bunch of money on a big enough cloth diapering stash, and I get my diapers out of the house, and know they're going to a good cause.
And I did give them to Cara with the caveat that I MAY want them back one day. So it might be a loan, might be a present. I don't expect her to keep them in pristine condition, only to wash them regularly, and not forget about them leave them to get destroyed like I needed to do in the past... And that way if, one day, down the line, I want them back, they'll be in ok condition.

But I doubt I'll want or need them in the next while, because...

Rose is fully potty trained!!! (She's 22 months.) She has been pretty much accident free already for a few weeks, even when we go out of the house on trips, even when she is at a babysitter without me, so she is completely diaper free during the day, even during naps. At night I still put a diaper on her but I'm considering stopping to do that, as she wakes up with a completely dry diaper almost every single morning. So I have no need for cloth diapers for Rose...

And if I get pregnant in the next little while, well, then it would be at least 9 months until I would have any need for any diapers, but even if I do have another kid, I can't see myself cloth diapering at this point in my life...

So now that they are leaving my house, a part of me is a bit nostalgic, since cloth diapering has been such a big part of my identity as a frugal and crunchy mama, but now I pass on the baton to Cara, and hopefully she'll be able to benefit from them tremendously and save a lot of money, with the added benefit that now I have more room in my too small house.

Dearest diapers, it was a great journey, but for now, so long, and thanks for all the wash.

Those of my readers who have cloth diapered, how long did you cloth diaper for? Were you consistent about it or did you sometimes use disposables? If at some point you completely switched out of cloth diapers and over to disposables, what was the impetus? What did you do with your cloth diaper stash?


  1. Cloth weren't on my radar for my oldest. My 2nd was cloth diapered from the day he came home from the hospital until the daycare refused to use them (he was almost 2), then we used them at home and coughed up the money for disposables for daycare. Same with the 3rd, though he was 2-1/2 by then. The 4th was in disposables for about 8 weeks at the beginning (he was too small for the cloth and then we were out of the country for 2 weeks and my parents refused to have me using the cloth while we were there), but after that he was in cloth until the time he trained, a few months before his 3rd birthday. My stash is still here...

  2. I was given a full supply of cloth diapers as a baby shower gift. I was also given cases of paper diapers in varying sizes. I cloth diapered for 3 months, then we moved overseas. Cloth diapers were too much for me then. I gave up completely and used paper. I found a charity to give the cloth diapers to that would pass them on. If I were to have another, I might try again. Cloth has changed in the last 12 years, they seem much more convenient than they were then.

  3. Congratulations on having all your kids out of diapers!

    My first child was cloth-diapered almost exclusively for 2 1/2 years before toilet-training. My second is 20 months old and was in cloth all the time until I was injured in a car accident when she was 15 months. Since then we have switched to disposables whenever we travel and at other stressful points, and will be switching for the two weeks after my upcoming surgery when I won't be allowed to lift a laundry basket. It's nice to have something that can "give" when we need to make life easier for a while! But I prefer cloth aesthetically and enjoy the lower cost.

    We thought our first would be an only child (they're 9 years apart) so after he was out of diapers, we sold the entire stash for $100 to friends who were expecting a baby. They told us only one diaper wore out, and when their kid was done with the rest they gave them to yet another family.

  4. Congrats on potty training Rose. Fully potty trained at 22 months, wow she's really something!

    I am so so excited to hear the Cara is expecting. It's a good feeling to know your cloth diapers will be getting good use.

  5. Hubby wanted to use clothes diapers, the old stash his mom gave us. This lasted... one messy change! And we've been going with disposals ever since. Yes it's expensive and yes it's bad for the environment.... but it's so much more convenient.

  6. I have cloth diapered off and on for the 4 years that I have had kids. I almost always use disposables at night, but right now my 2 year old is in cloth during the day. I have a daughter with CP who will probably always be diapered and right now she is in disposables because I haven't had time to sew diapers that would fit her. I am too busy sewing a newborn sized stash for baby #4 who will make an appearance soon... So I am a huge cloth diaper backer and have the laundry to show for it, but we go through plenty of disposables as well.

  7. My daughter is 23 months and we have cloth diapered about 60-70% of the time. Basically we don't pressure ourselves. We figure every cloth diaper we use is money saved, but I find such good disposable deals that it's ok if we want to use disposables occasionally. We tend to use disposables at night and when we're out, and cloth at home. Every once in while we'll go on a cloth diaper vacation and use disposables for a week, usually when my mom gifts us a pack of diapers. I don't mind cloth diapering at all, but I'm also not head over heels for it. We plan to do the same with our baby due in March.

  8. I used cloth for my daughter (now 31) as disposables were new, expensive, and didn't fit her tiny behind. It wasn't so unusual back then anyway, and with liners there wasn't much mess to deal with. When she started walking we switched to disposables, and started potty training pretty early as she indicated that she was ready. When I had my second child I used only disposables, mainly to save on laundry as I was also babysitting in my home.
    Congrats on getting Rose potty trained!

  9. I used both depending on the situation (at home, not at home). Later I used them as cleaning clothes. Some people frown at that, but I'm a firm believe that bleach, vinegar and baking soda can cure just about any mess (along with 3 washes before retiring the diaper to the cleaning duty.)


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