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Thursday, May 23, 2013 1 comments

Day 4: 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

I am participating in the 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. Today's blogger topic is "How's the Handwashing Going?"

Since this is the first F&HWing Challenge that I'm participating in, this is also the first time I've really hand washed diapers! I was a little nervous going into it, but I've found it to be pretty easy. Since I'm washing each day, I'm just storing the dirty diapers (once solids are removed) in my dry washing bucket rather than my diaper pail. This means my pail liner is staying clean (yay, one less thing to wash!). Each day we have dirty diapers coming home in a wetbag from daycare. I clean them off and put them in the bucket right away.   Normally I wash my wetbag each time I was diapers, but this challenge has made me realize I could probably go every other wash day, it's not getting stinky at all! This will also prolong the life of it I'm sure!

I've been doing my washing in the evening. I fill the bucket with water and place it in my slop sink. Then I just do some good hand agitation to really flush everything out. I drain the water and squeeze it out of the flats by pushing them down with the bucket on it's side. Then I fill the bucket with hot wash and a tablespoon or so of Tide Original. In just these few days, I quickly learned that a little detergent goes a LONG way! I was doing a LOT of rinsing the first day when I used way too much! I do another few minutes of hand agitation then let them soak for a bit and go do something upstairs. Then I come and just rinse them in warm water till the water runs clean.

I hang my covers up right away and squeeze as much water out of the flats as I can. Then I hang those up as well. I have a folding rack (pictured on Day 1) that I use outside, and when we have less than ideal weather, I use my Duo Drying Rack hanging on our shower bar. It takes a little longer to dry inside, but still only a few hours.

I never would have imagined just how easy handwashing is. We have several camping trips planned this summer and I'm excited to try hand washing in the great outdoors!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 0 comments

Day 3: 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

I'm participating in the 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. Today  was Day 3 in the challenge and it's an open topic day for blogging. My original plan was to talk about my new favorite flat and cover combination and show off some adorable action shots of 18 month old Emmett in his flats. Unfortunately Emmett wanted nothing to do with the camera, so we're postponing that till later in the week :)

I want to talk about perhaps a more important topic. Something that's kept millions of Americans glued to their TVs and news feeds for the last couple days: severe weather. I will be the first to admit I'm slightly over-paranoid when it comes to the threat of severe weather. When the air gets humid and the trees get still, I starting breathing hard. While we're not in the middle of tornado alley here in Wisconsin, they are certainly still a threat and there are several tornado touchdowns in our state each year. Last year we decided to put together a severe weather kit and keep it in our "safe spot" in our basement. When it came to the choice of what kind of diapers to put in the kit, we chose flats and inexpensive covers.

We chose flats and covers for many of the same reasons that one who is on a restricted budget with limited or no access to a washer and dryer would. Here's why:

*Flats and one-size covers truly are one-size fits all. Just change your fold to change the size of your flat. This  means you're not sizing up to buy more diapers down the road (saving $$), and it means we don't have to worry about Emmett outgrowing the diapers in our kit.
*Flats are incredibly forgiving when it comes to washing. Whether you're hand-washing, or washing in non-ideal conditions, the natural fibers and single layer makes it very easy for flats to come clean. If we were to be without power, we'd still be able to hand wash our flats and not worry about stink.
*Flats air dry very quickly. Because their just a single layer of material (usually cotton), flats can air dry very quickly. If we didn't have access to an electric dryer, these could be draped just about anywhere to dry in a short period of time.
*Flats are multi-functional. Beyond the cloth diaper years, flats can be used for cleaning, washing your car, and much more. In a severe weather situation, they could be used for first aid, a lightweight blanket, or to provide a clean surface.

Our thoughts and hearts are with all of those affected by the tornado in Oklahoma. It's important that we make sure we're prepared for any situation in our own homes. So if you're participating in the challenge with me, it's worth considering putting your flats and covers somewhere with easy access if you were to need them in an emergency after the challenge is over. If you don't own flats, there is no better reason to add them to your stash than piece of mind.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013 1 comments

Day 2: The 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

Today is Day 2 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. For 7 days and nights, we're using only flats with covers and handwashing/air drying. Today I'm going to tell you about the supplies I'm using during the challenge. I actually didn't purchase any of it new for this specifically, but I will break down the cost of all the items I'm using to give you an idea of just how inexpensively this can be done!

*Two 6-packs of Imagine Printed Flats (1 Rawr, 1 Tree Friends) $14.95 each, $29.90 total

*Two Imagine One-Size All-in-Two Diaper Covers $11.95 each, $23.90 total
*Two Imagine One-Size Diaper Covers, $8.95 each but one was free with a Nicki's Diapers Special of Buy two 6-packs and get a free cover! 
*One Bummis Pull-On (this is specifically for my overnight diaper) $6.50

Total- $101.45, all purchased at Nicki's Diapers

Realistically, this could be done on even less! You could get basic cotton flats rather than printed or bamboo flats and save $10-$15, and you could even get away with 12 flats if you're planning to wash every day. I have 5 day time covers since we're using them with our childcare provider and they're not re-using the cover each time, so here is another place you could reduce your costs but using 3-4 covers. 

I'm handwashing in a bucket I found in our laundry room, so my washing system was free :) 

Pictured below is my FAVORITE combination so far... an Imagine Printed Flat padfolded in an Imagine All-in-Two Cover. More on that tomorrow... including some action shots! 

Monday, May 20, 2013 1 comments

Day 1: The 3rd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge

I've been cloth diapering for almost 6 years now. It was only after 4 year that I decided to find out what the fuss was about flats. They had never appealed to me before because they seemed to "old fashion" but it seemed that more and more people were buying them and raving about them. I started by just laying the flats pad folded in any diaper cover. Then I realized that they also worked great for stuffing my pocket diapers with. After a few weeks of using and washing them, I came to realize not only are they a great option, but I think they may be an essential to any cloth diaper stash! They wash and dry SO quickly, they truly are one-size, and because they are a natural fiber rather than a synthetic I didn't have to worry about stinkies or compression leaks.

When I heard about The Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun! When I learned more about the reasoning behind the challenge, I jumped on board. One in three families with children struggle to pay for diapers. Sadly, many of these families have resorted to re-using disposable diapers. They feel that cloth diapers are too expensive, too much work, require a fancy washing machine and electric dryer, or just aren't familiar with their options. Each year this challenge gets larger and larger. More and more people find out this very affordable and legitimate option for a family on any budget.

But handwashing you say? It might be more work than just tossing them in the washing machine, it will probably take more elbow grease, MAYBE I'll even touch some poop. I could come up with every excuse in the book... I'm a busy mom of 3 kids 5 years old and younger. My daily commute to and from work takes just under 2 hours/day. I have to make dinner. I have to clean my house. I'm peaking in my half marathon training this week and need to gets my runs in. How does anyone possibly have time for this? The reality is for many people, this is their only option. This isn't a temporary 1-week challenge where they learn about all the fun folds, take pics on their i-phones of their little one running around in the cutest flat, and go to discussion boards on facebook talking about the day's challenge. These are real people who work full-times jobs (or two!), have children to take care of, dinner to make, houses to clean and yet, they somehow manage. So why wouldn't I give it a try?

Today was Day 1! I pad folded a bunch of flats, packed them up in our wetbag with a handful of covers and sent them off to my in-laws with my 18 month old. The report I got was great! No leaks, and they were able to use each cover over again. As soon as I got home, I rinsed all the diapers out with cold water and put them in a bucket of hot water and detergent to soak while we ate dinner. After dinner I put a little muscle behind it and did a handwash, then rinsed them out and put them on the rack to dry outside. It was just before 7pm when I got them out. By 8:30, they were dry! I pad folded them and packed them up for tomorrow. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Friday, May 3, 2013 17 comments

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