Switching from Pocket Diapers to Flats

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When I first started researching cloth diapers, I was overwhelmed with all of the options, but ultimately I settled with pocket diapers because of the adjustable absorbency, the birth to potty training fit and the cute prints and colors. My dad bought me a stash of Bum Genius and I had a couple other pocket diapers as well (Kawaii, Rumparooz, WAHM).

I used fitteds, prefolds, flats and covers until Kerrigan was bigger so the one size diapers fit her. It wasn’t too bad, but since I had pockets I didn’t think much about sticking with that system. Until now!

I participated in the Flats and Handwashing challenge and I learned that I actually like flats and covers better. And the dry time is lower which saves more money. And hang drying takes no time at all. Plus the fit of the diaper is great, the option is cheap… I just love everything about flat diapers.

So it’s hard to do, but I am selling my cloth diaper stash or pockets and AIO’s and going for flats/prefolds and covers. Of course I saved a couple really cute pockets and AIO’s to show off to people and the carry in my diaper bag just in case someone asks about cloth!

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Good bye BG’s!

But now I am facing another dilema–the covers. The PUL just aren’t holding up only after 5 months of NOT that much use. I have some Flips that are wearing at the elastic already, pilling and looking pretty drab. I don’t know how these will last to potty training, honestly. I machine wash, hang dry, use the right detergent…and still they look sad.

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See? Pilling, threads coming out, the elastic encasement looks awful in person. And this is only worn about 20 times in 5 months.

This is making me consider wool. It is EXPENSIVE. but I can make my own wool soakers and buy used. And the wool seem to hold up much longer than the PUL covers. And it’s more sustainable and lets face it, cute. Especially the custom wool skirties, shorties and longies.

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See how cute?! This one is from Etsy shop lilysdreams. I don’t think I will be getting nice wool covers any time soon (maybe used…), but I do think I will be making my own soakers in the near future.

What do you think about Wool vs PUL covers?

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Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 6

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Today is Day 6 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.

I started with only 8 flats, but I had to make more for my busy weekend. For the next two days I am going to be out of the house almost all day so I want some wiggle room with my flats.

I mentioned this earlier as a flats option: buying flannel on sale at JoAnn’s and serging the edges. I am going to show you what I did to make some cute flats!

First  cut 30 inches in. Keep in folded in half how it comes off of the bolt. (fun fact, a ping pong tables center line is 30 inches from the edge!)

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cut the small rectangle in 4 pieces and keep them folded in half. You can serge the edges or turn and top stitch these for 4 cloth wipes.

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See? Pretty two-ply wipes 🙂

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Then you just serge or zigzag around your flat!

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..with a little help from this cutie pie, of course.

Here is the zigzag: try to get it as close to the edge as possible.

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I made these pink and black flats too and I love them. For this instead of making 4 wipes I serged around the edge of the small rectangle and made a single ply doubler. Just fold it in half, then tri-fold for extra absorbency.

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There you go! Cute, cheap flats ~ $1.50 each 🙂

Happy Saturday!

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 5

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Today is day 5 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. I have been dutifully handwashing my flats, but have run into a couple of problems.

My flats are serged around the edges, and the flannel is pretty thin…so THIS is happening:

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I need to re-serge them so they don’t fray and come apart all over everything.

I must say it is something I didn’t think would happen while handwashing–I thought this was more of a washing machine problem. But it IS a quick fix because I have a serger. If you don’t you can always sew a zigzag stitch around the edges to keep it from fraying further.

My hands are getting to be pretty dry as well, but I have altered my method of wringing. My hands were sliding and chaffing against the fabric, so now I squeeze the water out first (with the fabric in a ball), and then I hold it tight and twist very tight. I don’t let the fabric slip at all because that makes my skin raw. Then I whip and snap the excess water.

I also need more flats. 8 is not enough. I sometimes want to take a nap, or go somewhere in the morning. And with only 8 flats I need to wash every day and it becomes first priority. I was planning on visiting my mom for early lunch, but then I realized I had to wash diaper laundry first. And have it dry so I had diapers just in case while I was there. I am going to make some more tonight because I plan on visiting a friend tomorrow, have a wedding on Saturday and a party on Sunday. I don’t want to risk running out or having damp diapers!

Stay tuned, I will post up the tutorial on Saturday for making flats from flannel, both with a serger and sewing machine. 🙂

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 4

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Day 4 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge by Dirty Diaper Laundry, and things are still going well. My husband and I are actually talking about selling our diaper stash and just using flats/prefolds/fitteds exclusively.

We just got an HE washer and it voids the warranty to put waterproof items in it. I called the company to make sure, and they confirmed that NO waterproof items are to be washed in the washing machine because it can cause the washer to become unbalanced. So we may switch diapering styles and just handwash the covers.

To my knowledge, many top loading HE machines do not allow waterproof items. We have an LG WT4870C for anyone interested. I know some people wash diapers in it anyways, but we are renting out of my in laws basement and it is their washing machine. They want the warranty and don’t want to return it. This makes me so sad because I love my pockets and cute AIO’s. *sigh* And it’s a rainy day too. bum bum 😦

I love that this challenge is giving me perspective. It was easier last week when I was excited to start (I wash handwashing a week early because of the broken washer). Now I find I really have to plan and prepare for diapering my child. It is a lot of work and I know why people would not want to do it. But it is doable, very cheap.

AND it is giving me a workout. Hopefully my arms flaps will go away (the jiggly ones that take over when you wave).

I am learning a lot and altering my wash routine a little bit each day. I will sum everything up in the last post of the week, but the biggest thing I’ve learned to pay attention to is the weather. If I wash in the morning I need a sunny day, if it’s going to rain I should wash at night so they can dry while I sleep.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 3

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Today is Day 3 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. It’s going pretty smoothly, but I did have to iron-dry some diapers today. I should have checked the weather. It was rainy and I have been counting on the sun to speed dry my diapers.

Last weekend I got a double baby jogger for free! I want to share with you what I did so hopefully you can keep an eye out for a great deal.

This past weekend I volunteered at a Church rummage sale. We were raising money for our missions teams and asked people to donate saleable items. We got so many things and they were priced SO cheap. A perk of volunteering is you can buy stuff before the sale starts! I was eyeing and old dirty looking double jogger, but didn’t want to spend money if it was broken.

It ended up not selling so my pastor said I could take it for free! I figured I could try to clean and fix it up and see what would come of it. I didn’t take a before shot, but it basically looked like it had sit in someone’s garage for 5 years.

First I had to take the fabric off. It was so dirty and stained. I unscrewed the seat, awning and bottom panel and labeled where I got each screw from (I wish I would have been more detailed though or drawn a chart or something…I am getting too old to remember and it took a while to figure out how to get everything back on.) Somewhere along the line I lost a screw. (I left of the screw that holds on the bottom panel with the logo on it…) I have a tendency to walk away holding things and putting them down somewhere weird.

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I handwashed the fabric in the tub with a half of a cap of detergent. I used some Fels Naptha on the more difficult stains and scrubbed them with a hand brush.

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Then I hung to dry in the sun. I rinsed off the frame with a hose to get rid of all the spider webs.

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I did find a piece to be broken that controls the awning… When I looked closer I saw the screw that held the awning to the wheel bar was bent! So I just replaced it with one from the garage and stuck a plastic cap on the back for a protective covering. The awning was held on by a zip tie. It works so…I am just going to leave it for now.

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Filled up the tires and it’s ready to go! The brakes work, no leaks in the tires and even though it’s a little sun faded, it looks pretty good.

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It will be perfect for disc golf this summer over the grassy hills and bumpy forests.

I am planning on redoing the straps and adding pads and a different adjustment system. Maybe down the line when I get a heavy duty sewing machine I will re-cover it! But that’s for another time.

Don’t discount old, beat up looking baby gear! With a little time and effort (and of course safety testing and recall checks) you can score a big ticket item for very cheap or free.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 2

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Today is Day 2 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry.

I had most of the supplies on hand to participate in the challenge, and most were gifted to me. If I had to buy it all it comes out to just under $150 for the diapers, covers, detergent, bucket and drying rack/clothes line. You don’t need a wash bucket or a drying rack, and one of my covers was pretty expensive.

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1. Flat Diapers

5 flannel receiving blankets – 11.00

1 Gerber Thermal Blanket – 7.00

2 pk thermal receiving blankets – 7.00

If you are handy, you can make your flannel diapers. JoAnn’s usually has sales on their flannel for about 1.50-3.00/yd. 1.66 yards will make two diapers. On Black Friday weekend, I got an 8 yard bolt of flannel for $12.00. That’s enough for 9 diapers and quite a few wipes/doublers. You will just have to cut out 30 x 30 inch pieces and serge or zigzag stitch around the edges. There will be scraps left over which you can use to boost absorbency or make cloth wipes.

I am only using 8 flats and hand-washing every morning as soon as I wake up. I am cutting it VERY close. My baby is in the last (or second to last) clean diaper while I wash all the others each morning. I know her schedule so that helps a bit… I recommend about 15 to comfortably wash each day (wiggle room for sick days).

With the T-shirt diapers, that’s under $5.00 for all the diapers you need for one baby!

2. Diaper Covers

3 Flips – $12/ea, ( I got 2 $10/ea on sale, 1 $7/ea on seconds sale thru Cotton Babies)

1 Thirsties – $11.50

1 Bumpkins – $11

1 gDiaper – $24 (expensive…cute…)

If you want the cheapest option you can get the old fashioned Gerber pull-on plastic pants. They aren’t cute and don’t have the nice Velcro or snap closure, but they get the job done: 4/$6.00 (Walmart, Target).

I am using 6 covers, but only go through about 2-3 per day. I think 6 is a good number, especially for sick days.

3. Detergent

There are all kinds of opinions for cloth safe detergent. Personally, I prefer the Bum Genius detergent. It’s $12.00 for a package. With one in cloth, the 70 load bag has lasted me about 4.5 months washing every 2-3 days.

4. The Wash Tub

Dirty Diaper Laundry has a great tutorial on making a camp style washer with a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger. I was going to make this, but I found a plastic bin from Target ($4 clearance) in my truck that I meant to donate to Salvation Army. It works perfectly. You could use a storage bin for your wash…be creative with what you have lying around the house (or your trunk…).

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You can use your wash tub or a sink, but I like the bin. I throw dirty diapers in there instead of a wetbag or a diaper pail and I use less water than filling up my tub. I do not use a plunger, I just use my hands (I would use a plunger if my baby was mobile).

5. Drying Rack/ Clothes line.

The drying rack I had purchased already for my cloth laundry. It was about $30.00 from Target after coupons. It’s expandable and collapses very small. I love it for covers and shells, but flats take up too much room. So I made a mini clothes line with some extra shoe laces I had in a drawer.

SO there you have it, all the things I have. And if you get the cheapest flats and covers, you can have 16 flats and 8 covers and Bum Genius detergent for $30.

Flats and Handwashing Challenge: Day 1

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Today is Day 1 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry! This is the third annual challenge to show that cloth diapering your baby can be done no matter what your circumstances are. Hundreds of people will be hand washing and hang drying their flat diapers and covers for one week.

For those who don’t know, a flat diaper is a big square of fabric, about 30X30  inches. You can buy flat diapers at most stores (Target, WalMart, etc.,) or at cloth diaper retailers like Kelly’s Closet. You can also use a T-Shirt as a flat, like this video shows, or you can use receiving blankets or even flour sack cloth towels

So WHY am I taking this challenge? I would love to show low income or frugal families how they can save money using cloth diapers. No matter what circumstances. If you think you can’t afford cloth, you can! I will post with more details tomorrow, but if you can save up an extra 30 – 40 dollars you can have enough cloth diapers to get your baby from birth to potty training. No washer or dryer? That’s just fine! If hundreds of women can hand wash for a week and find it manageable, you can do it as well. Trust me, it seems much more daunting than it actually is.

I want to be a part of any event that will draw attention to this smart and cheap way to get a clean diaper on a baby and be green while doing it. That is why I am taking this challenge.

I already washed a load of diapers this morning and it took me about one hour because I had to entertain my 4 month old during washing AND the flat I used for last nights diaper took a long time to wring out. I used a Gerber blanket that looks like this:

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It’s very big, almost 40 x 40. I think this will work great for any heavy wetters out there. I also threw in my mama cloth and a couple pockets from yesterday:

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Shoe lace clothes line! The down side is I have to keep tightening it every use because it sags so low…I don’t mind though because it was free.

Stay tuned, tomorrow I will let you know where I got everything and how much it would cost to get started.