Sunday, March 31, 2013

What to do with Cloth Diapers In-between Children

My sister-in-law recently asked me, "What are some ideas about how to use cloth diapers in-between children?"  Here are some suggestions for what to do with cloth diapers during the down-time.

1. Clean your diapers really well

The first thing you'll want to do with unused diapers is to thoroughly clean them.  You should consider doing a stripping procedure intended to remove any build-up or odor from the diapers.  Although there may be no obvious problems with the diapers, you shouldn't pass up an opportunity to do a deep cleaning after two (or more) years of use.

2. Re-size diapers and repair any damages

Time between children is a good opportunity to resize your one-size diapers at your leisure.  This will also be a good opportunity to inspect your diapers and determine if any repairs are needed before the diapers can be used again.  Some styles of diapers with sewn-in elastic may need to have the elastic replaced or old aplix closures may have become less than useful.  Many of these damages can be repaired at home or by a diaper repair service.

3. Store diapers

Remember that cloth diapers can be valued at hundreds of dollars: they are an investment.  Don't store diapers in hot, or humid conditions.  If you're storing diapers for long periods of time, store them in acid-free storage containers and periodically remove them from storage so the fabric can air out.  Diapers should be laundered very well prior to storage to ensure residue doesn't cause any discoloration.

4. Lend diapers to family or friends

A great way to pass along the benefits of cloth diapering is to lend diapers to a friend when you're not using them.  This could be a good way to convert some family or friends to cloth diapering.  Be clear on how long you'll be lending the diapers (a week, a month), and offer some instructions on care for the diapers (to prevent any damage).

5. Rent diapers

If you're considering sending your diapers to a friend or family member's home for several months (or years), you may want some compensation in the event of accidental damage.  Consider renting the diapers to your friend for a fair price.  Be clear on how long the friend can expect to use the diapers before they need to be returned.  Think about how you would handle a situation where you may need the diapers back sooner than expected (such as in the event of a surprise pregnancy).

6. De-stash

Many cloth diaper users end up collecting extra diapers.  Time between children is a great opportunity to do a diaper inventory and get rid of diapers that you don't want or need anymore.  This is a wonderful time to sell, donate, or give away some used diapers.

7. Re-purpose

Cloth diapers have a lot of play value for young kids.  Diapering stuffed animals can be a great way for your child to practice care taking.  Playing with the diapers before a sibling arrives may make your child more interested in "changing puppy's diaper," instead of regressing and demanding to wear a diaper.

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