Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fluffy tush and how it started

I don't know that I've shared here that I started using cloth diapers for Speedy last year. It started on Ash Wednesday, as part of my Lenten Penance. It need not be abstaining from something. Sometimes, it can mean adding something, especially it has value, merit, or conserves resources, or it increases one's spiritual connection to God. I needed to find a way to save money since the merchandising job went away with the company shuttering shortly after my maternity leave ended, and my Thirty-One business was not yet consistent. I had a literal handful of pocket diapers that a couple friends gave me. I liked them, but didn't have enough of them to make it fully feasible. So, I started out with using cloth while at home, and disposables while we were out of the house. At that time, we were leaving home to go to a lot of places, so it was about a 50/50 split. As we used up the disposable diapers, and I gained confidence in using cloth diapers, I found myself leaving the house without changing the fluff butt to paper butt. Plus, I was growing fond of the cute prints some of my covers have.

Fast forward to this year, and I've scored a couple ninja deals on a couple bundles of second-hand diapers that I have shared with a friend. She expressed interest in trying cloth for her youngest, and got hooked on it, to the point that she decided to start cloth diapering her 3 year old triplets who have shown no interest in using the potty. She bought more diapers, costing as much as 3 months' worth of disposables. The diapers have already paid for themselves, and the family is using that money to pay off debt. I know some people look at me sideways when I tell them that we use cloth diapers. But these are not the ones I had when my 22 year old was born. If I'd had the diapers I have now when he was a baby, all of my kids would have been in cloth. These do not require pinning a moving target. It doesn't mean I touch poop. Besides, if you actually read the instructions on a package of disposable diapers, it tells you to knock solids into the commode. Nobody does that, and there is a lot of unfiltered biohazardous poop in landfills as you read this. I am guilty of putting a share of it there. 

It does mean that we save easily $30+ each month, going on low estimates of using store brand diapers, or the big case of Luvs at BJ's. It does mean that I can't remember the last time we had a poosplosive diaper. It does mean 2 extra loads of laundry a week. Since I don't wash my husband's laundry, or the older kids' stuff, I have room in my repertoire. This goes back to other posts where I explain why I don't do the family laundry, among other oddities my household practices. I can guarantee you that my electric and water bills have not increased $30 each month since we've started cloth diapering. The human ovens in my household playing dial-down-the-AC causes more havoc to the bill than washing 2 loads of diapers a week does. So, if you want to say it's too expensive, your argument is invalid.

Personally, I have spent $95 between the 2 lots I purchased second-hand, and the diapers gifted to me from friends. There are lending programs in many places that loan out diapers for families to try, or to help them avoid having to decide between diapers and something else that is needed. I *might* spend $10 a month in electricity, water, and detergent to wash the diapers, and that is a high estimate. When I am done with the diapers, I can sell them and make back what I have paid for them. You can't resell used disposable diapers. And when we do some math, based on the history of my older kids finally potty training at age three and a half, we're looking at three years of using cloth, which means a savings of $1080, based on a $30 per month expenditure on disposables. Those numbers can be higher if national brands are used and couponing deals not utilized. Even subtracting the cost of laundry, my savings is $720. This is for one child. When I resell the diapers, I am going to recoup the initial investment. So, even if I break even and sell them for what I paid, we're looking at $815 saved on one child. There is a chance I could sell them for more than I paid, but since I'm still using them, we won't know that till later. Again, all of these figures are personal to my household, and if a child can't tolerate store brands and must use a national brand disposable diaper, these numbers will be very different.

Yes, time is money, and my time has value. When you think about it though, the time spent going to the store and arranging the trek around kids, naps, meals, other errands, and payday takes longer than throwing a load of laundry into the machine between other tasks, refereeing kids, and keeping the toddler safe from himself. Plus, I don't have to be publicly presentable to do it. I also do not have to deal with the challenges of taking my very active children to the store to procure the butt covers. Some days it is just not worth leaving the house.

So, all that said, it isn't for everybody. It works for me. It works for a lot of other people. There are just as many brands and types of cloth diapers as there are disposable diapers. Pockets, flats, fitteds, covers, PUL, aplix, velcro, snaps, .... yea, I've been acquiring the language. As I learn more, I will share, including products that I have used and what I think of them. In the meantime, on other social media venues, you can search for the hashtag, #makeclothmainstream so you can see some of the cute fluffbutts that make mamas like me happy to see.

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