May 23, 2011

Flats Challenge: Day 1

#FlatsChallenge A few weeks ago I heard about the Flats Challenge, over at Dirty Diaper Laundry. The general gist of this, is for one week we are to use flats, which are a single layer of material, usually cotton, limiting ourselves to only 5 covers, and then hand washing and air drying these diapers for one week. The point of this challenge is to prove on a small budget, you can cloth diaper. I will break down some prices:

For the diapers, my ideal flat stash would include:
1 dozen size large birdseye flats from Green Mountain Diaper (GMD) - $27.
1 dozen small birdseye flats from GMD - $25
1 dozen Target Flour Sack towels in the kitchen towel section, (I have 20) and they are 4/$4, so a dozen would be $12.
I would also splurge on a dozen preemie prefolds from Little Lions, $10. They help you get through the skinny chicken leg stage and work great to make a flat extra absorbent for overnight.

Total for diapers: $74, however, you can get away with only half these, either the Target Flats and newborn prefolds ($22), or newborn prefolds and small flats ($35).

Next, you would need a few covers, 5 size 1 and 5 size 2. I love Thirsties Duos, because the size 1 really does fit from birth until 16/18 lbs. Again, you only need half in the beginning.
5 size 1 @ 12.25ea - $61.25
5 size 2 @ 12.25ea - $61.25

Total for covers: $122.50

For baby wipes, you can either get cheapie washcloths for about $6 for a dozen and it looks like $6 at the dollar store would get you 24, or if you have rags or old receiving blankets you can rip those up for free. I also would get a triple pack of snappi's for $8.

Total cost of accessories: $14

Finally, the diaper washer. I found a tutorial here for a camp washer. After taxes, I paid $17 for the bucket and lid, plunger, and drill bits. Borrow a drill with a 1" and 1/4" bit, and your total would be closer to $8. Use it to store dirty diapers and then on wash day just add hot water and detergent, agitate, rinse and hang to dry.

Total cost of "washer" & pail: $7

So for $217.50 you could comfortably diaper your baby for life. Only $104.25 would be needed when the baby is born. And really, if the flour sack kitchen towels work out well for you (they are fine for us) you could even get away with spending $28 less on diapers. If you figure your baby is in diapers to age 2 1/2, the breakdown is about $6.32 - $7.25 a month! Compare that to the the $2671 Babyworks estimates you will spend the first 2 1/2 years on Huggies. Can you think of a better use for $2,450? Would an extra $74.50 come in handy each month? This doesn't even take into consideration for baby wipes, or if your baby doesn't potty learn at 2 1/2. What if they wet the bed? I know many children who use disposable training pants long after they turn 4.

Today I started day one, and it is a lot easier than I anticipated. I have not had to wash any diapers, but tomorrow it will be in the mid 60's and sun is predicted, so I might do a small load in my camp washer just to get them out on the clothesline. The rest of the week I will probably be hanging them over shower rods overnight to dry. I took pictures today, and hopefully tomorrow I can set some of those up here to share with you.

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