Save Money by Buying Secondhand Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering saves a heap of cash (and garbage) over the years, but the up-front cost of using cloth is a barrier for some families. If you are willing to buy preowned diapers for your tot, you’ll save packaging, shipping, and about half the cost of a new cloth diaper layette.

How much did I spend on used diapers? Rebecca took me to her favorite consignment shop with her baby in tow when I was six months pregnant. I bought about eight diaper covers for a dollar each. Then I paid 30 dollars for 45 used prefolds at a local diaper service. Total cost: $38. Not bad! I did spend money later on as my son grew into a different size, but my overall diapering cost was well under 300 dollars. With my second baby I had virtually no cloth diapering costs as we just reused what we already had.
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What “Diaper System” Do You Use?

I was a pretty hardcore prefold diaper enthusiast in my diaper-changing days, while Joy swore her allegiance to pocket diapers. Here is a basic list of the supplies I needed in the 2.5 years my daughter wore diapers:

About three dozen regular size Chinese prefolds. These were very large at first, but she grew into them. And, because she was a skinny baby, she never grew out of them.

A set of three to six cloth diaper covers, first in the newborn size, then in small, then medium. I don’t think she ever graduated to large. I bought them as I needed them.

I loved Imse Vimse diaper covers. I tried to find them secondhand.
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Infant Potty Training with Cloth Diapers

My husband perched our baby daughter on the toilet at about six months when he realized that she had bowel movements at specific times of the day. We had never read a book on infant potty training or ever known anyone who had done it successfully, but we were excited to try anything that would help us avoid poopy diapers.

At first it was just an entertaining event. We found it hilarious that she made the sign for poop to let us know she had to go, happily pooped on the toilet and then sighed in victory every time she finished. But within a few weeks we realized that we had stumbled upon a glorious system.
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Diaper Origami: What’s Your Favorite Diaper Fold?

I used to think I lacked diaper origami skills. All I did was fold a prefold into thirds lengthwise, stick it in a Velcro or snap cover like this Thirsties diaper cover or this Bummis super snap diaper cover (ooh, or this Thirsties duo wrap snap hoot cover) and put it on the baby. It turns out, as a reader informed me, that I was actually employing the newspaper fold.

This is a Babykicks fleece prefold. But don’t ask me what the name of this fold is. Newspaper?

Good old diaper pins. Never used them myself.

I just folded a prefold in thirds (newspaper style–yeah!) and placed it in a diaper cover like this one.
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Poopy Cloth Diapers Solutions: Avoiding the Toilet Dunk

The concept of cloth diapers is glorious and hip, until you start thinking of solid waste. Many people can’t make it past the mental hurdle of the toilet dunk and give up on cloth before they ever start.

Here’s a shocking revelation: did you know that ALL poo-laden diapers, even disposables are supposed to be dunked in water? There is actually a written note on every box of disposables recommending that solid waste be rinsed off before disposal. After all, who wants human waste to be sitting in a landfill? (Even greener disposables like Seventh Generation recommend a toilet dunk with solid waste.)
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Cloth Diapering Trial Program at Jillian’s Drawers: Try Cloth Diapering With No Risk!

What if you could try cloth diapers for 21 days, with lots of support, and a money back guarantee if it didn’t work out? Jillian’s Drawers Changing Diapers, Changing Minds program allows you to order $145 worth of diapers and use them for three weeks, risk free. At the end, even if the diapers are stained, you can return hem for their full value, minus the cost of shipping.

Many of our readers have recommended the Jillian’s Drawers cloth diaper trial program and and have kept the diapers at the end of the three weeks and continued with their cloth diapering efforts. Did you try a few cloth diapers at first or did you just take the leap and invest in a cloth diaper collection right from the start?

Are You a Cloth Diaper Aficionado /Fanatic? Take Our Cloth Diapering Quiz!

It’s difficult to maintain new hobbies in the early days of parenting, but cloth diapering can become pleasantly addictive. Do you love the cloth diapering experience, toilet dunking and all? We did.

For us, the thrill of experimenting with different styles, brands and laundering techniques was fascinating enough to begin this blog and devote a significant portion of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to cloth diapering. Have you crossed into the cloth-diapering-as-a-hobby phase yet? Take our short Cloth Diapering Quiz to find out.

1. You discuss cloth diapers

a. Rarely and only with people who ask about them.
b. With people who are obviously new parents.
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Simplifying Your Baby Nursery: What Don’t You Need?

In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide,we share that we felt pressured to purchase baby-oriented gizmos to be “prepared” for the transition to motherhood. When our babies actually arrived, we realized that no amount of gear could compensate for grueling work of caring for a newborn. Life wasn’t a hardship because we didn’t own wipe warmers, it was hard because living without sleep and showers for extended periods of time was an absolute shock.

In the months before my baby arrived, Rebecca’s input helped me bypass the baby aisle and look to consignment stores and craigslist. My husband and I also repurposed what we already had to outfit the nursery. In the end we purchased only one new piece of new furniture–a combination dresser and changing table from Ikea—and ended up with a beautiful nursery. It was outfitted with a used rocking chair with homemade seat covers, (which honestly turned out to creak annoyingly every night from 3-5am….) homemade curtains, a solid maple secondhand crib, a used boppy with a new cover, and art given to us at our baby shower. Stacks of gently used pre-folds purchased from a diaper service and a dozen secondhand diaper covers filled the shelves as we waited for baby.
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Baby Gear I Wish I’d Splurged On After All

If you’ve read The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, you know I got pretty hardcore about baby gear. That is, if it wasn’t going to last a long time or perform five functions at once, I didn’t want it. The pleasant side effects of this policy was that I didn’t have mountains of blinking plastic toys to wade through on my way to the kitchen. I saved money and the environment. Great!

But . . . in retrospect I have to wonder if I might have eased my restrictions just a bit to make my life with a new baby a little easier. In Baby Gear I Lived Without, I go over some of the common baby items I didn’t buy. Here are a few things I might have liked after all:
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Make room for baby by reducing, recycling, and reusing

January is a great month for reorganizing your bathroom or decluttering the kitchen counters but I remember that both my pregnancies spurred my (limited) organizational tendencies into overdrive. At the time, our house was a thousand square feet and we wanted to evaluate how we used every inch in the days before our babies arrived.

But instead of rushing out to buy hundreds of dollars of bins, shelves, and baskets to hold our stuff, we started with what we had. (This is mostly due to our green ideals, but our tightwad tendencies were a factor as well.) So where do you start if you are overwhelmed, without an organizational system, and pregnant? With tiny, tiny steps.
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