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How to cloth diaper on the cheap

Are you hoping to cloth diaper your baby, but the upfront costs are making you hesitate? Fortunately, there are ways to build a cloth diaper stash creatively — and without breaking the bank.

Pile of fresh cloth diapers |

Overall, the costs to cloth diaper a baby are far less than when you use their disposable counterparts — it can actually be to the tune of thousands of dollars less. However, when you think of the money that you have to spend just to get started, it can seem overwhelming. Happily, building an adequate and serviceable cloth diaper stash can be easier than you might imagine.

Start small

If you’re still pregnant, plan to buy diapers at regular intervals. For example, buy a diaper or two of a more expensive kind every payday, or a dozen of a less expensive kind every two months. Even if your baby is here, you can successfully employ this method of building a stash. Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing, and you can gradually work in cloth diapering part-time until you have enough to last you a couple of days.

Go inexpensive

As you’ve probably discovered as you’ve bought other things for your baby, there is a huge variety in prices of baby items. Diapers are no exception. There are cheaper diapering options, and there are expensive diapering options. Some diapers that require a separate cover, such as flats or prefolds, are usually purchased by the dozen, sometimes for around the same cost as a single pocket diaper. Many moms have found that the flour sack towels, available in stores like Target, can be easily used as a flat diaper, and these are quite inexpensive. Spool of thread and needle |

Make your own

If you have sewing skills, you can make your own diapers using patterns like the Rita’s Rump Pocket. Need a cover? Try the Katrina pattern for fleece. No sewing? No problem. Kim from Dirty Diaper Laundry whipped up an excellent tutorial for T-shirt diapers that is not only budget friendly, but sewing is optional.

Go used

Buying a used cloth diaper may sound like something you’d never do, but you can get quality diapers for far less than you’d spend buying new. Check your local Craigslist or join Facebook groups for your local area. You can find amazing deals from moms who are more than happy to make some bucks off their child’s diapers. You’ll probably want to thoroughly clean what you buy to eliminate any bacteria and detergent left behind by the diaper’s prior owner — check the Thirsties blog to find out how.

Attend diaper swaps

Diaper swaps are like a flea market, but just for diapers and other natural parenting products. Check around your area, or in the nearest larger city, to see if there are any natural parenting or cloth diapering stores. These are the types of businesses that will host a diaper swap. You can often find both new and used items at diaper swaps — and again, you can find diapers for a steal from moms who are selling off diapers they don’t need. Diaper swaps usually have a nice bonus — you can often talk with the moms selling and get valuable tips, which can be priceless. It’s also fun to hang out with other like-minded moms.

Starting small, going inexpensive, making your own and buying used are all great ways to start a cloth diaper stash. And once you’re fully equipped, you don’t have to worry about buying diapers anymore — which will add up to a happier mom as well as a happier baby.

More on cloth diapers

Cloth diaper tips from the pros
Cloth diapers you’re sure to love
Why moms choose to cloth diaper

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