Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Flats Challenge Day 2: How did I prepare?

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

Well, I've already told you a little about how I got ready for this challenge, but I'll give you a few more details.

Camp-style washer and clothes line

This is my camp washer without the lid on the first wash of
the challenge yesterday.  Doing well so far.
I made my camp-style washer about a year ago.  We are of the "prepper" mind-set, so we like to have back up options for catastrophes.  I got my bucket and lid for free from Walmart bakery.  I know some of them still give them free.  Others charge $1-3.  Either way, it's still cheaper than buying one from Lowe's or wherever.  I drilled a 1 1/2" hole in
the lid for my new, clean plunger handle to go through.  That was a year ago, so I don't recall the price, but I believe it was about $5.  I drilled 1/2" holes in the plunger to let the water flow more easily through it. I use the same laundry soap I've been making for a while.  You'll use a LOT less in this camp washer.  Start with about a teaspoon and see if you need more or less. Start of my preparations was testing out the washing and drying time, as well as the effectiveness of the washer.  It's pretty awesome. My clothes line came with my house.  It's just a simple line, but it works.  The clothespins were about $1.
Total cost: about $5
One of my t-shirt flats. One layer of fabric.
This is the back of the flat.

Flat diaper supply

I already had one cotton hemp flat that came with some pocket diapers I bought and a few Gerber bird's eye flats I bought before I knew anything about cloth.  I went through a pile of shirts I was going to donate or throw away and decided I could get great use out of it.  Simply cut the shirt along the sides so you have a front piece and a back piece.  You can remove the sleeves if you want, but I find they add absorbency right where Ms. K needs it.  Plus they make the wings extra long, so you can actually just tie them on instead of using a Snappi or Boingo.  So I now have 20 flats. A friend gave me 2 Snappis.  Another is loaning me a couple Boingos. Total cost: about $2


I already had my one-size Econobum covers I've been
using for years.  I dug out my pocket diapers for the baby sitter.  I decided not to use wool for this challenge.  I just love my Econobums! I bought them from Cotton Babies for about $4 per cover.  The pocket diapers I got used for $3 (including the insert).  I also have an Alva pocket diaper I got through a co-op for about $4. I saw no reason to limit my cover supply for this challenge.  I'm sure I could get away with using 5 or less, but I didn't reduce my current supply. Total cost: $30

Total cost of my supplies: $37 including what I purchased in the past
Total cost to do this challenge: FREE!

Can you see now how this would be completely doable for someone in diaper need?  For about the cost of a month's supply of diapers (or LESS), you could have more than enough flats, covers, and washer to get by.

Day 1: Why I took the Challenge

Day 3: Dealing with Overnights
Day 4: How am I doing with hand washing?
Day 5: What's working? What's not?
Day 6: Babysitter/Outings
Day 7: What did I learn?


  1. I think the diaper problem for a low-income family is as bad as it is because people don't know what we're doing this week is an option! This post conveys the difference! (So glad I'm not buying sposies all the time!) =)

    1. Thank you! I hope to help locals see that with my friends at the Cover Your Bum diaper bank. I see good things going on here. And I'm glad we're not always buying disposables, too! This challenge has shown me that it's totally possible and low stress to use flats and wash them by hand.