Want to build a modern cloth diaper stash, but have a low income? Here’s how to build your stash on the cheap!
So, if you’ve decided to take the plunge and use cloth diapers, have convinced daddy to come on board and have determined which of the 9 diaper types perfectly suits your family. Maybe you’ve already picked up a copy of Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert! The next step in converting to cloth diapers is to build your stash!
Now comes the fun part! I will warn you, though: Building a cloth diaper stash can become quite the addiction! No, truly–there are women who literally spend hours and hours checking out cloth diaper stores online and visiting forums where they trade around their stashes. (Not that I’ve ever participated in anything of the sort. 😉 )
But here’s the thing: Although building your cloth diaper stash can be fun, you don’t want to overdo it to the point where you actually spend more money on your cloth diapers than you would have on disposables! That’s kind of defeating one of the reasons to use cloth diapers in the first place!
And modern cloth diapers, like pockets, all-in-ones and sleeve diapers–are not cheap. So how can you build a stash without breaking the bank?
Well, there are several ways. And through it all, keep in mind that once your stash is built and you are using cloth diapers full or even part-time, they WILL save you money.
Here are 10 ways you can build a modern cloth diaper stash–on the cheap:
1. If you are low income, apply for a cloth diaper loan through Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.
In this post, I wrote extensively about how my family was blessed with a loan from The Cloth Diaper Foundation. Basically, this organization sent us 24 gently-used diapers to use on our two girls for as long as we needed or until our family had the chance to build a stash of our own.
I found The Cloth Diaper Foundation through a google search because I was determined to use cloth diapers but knew my husband would only use modern cloth–and we couldn’t afford modern cloth at retail price (much less an entire stash all at once!).
Sadly, the Cloth Diaper Foundation has now closed. However, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is a similar organization that is taking applications. Applicants must meet certain income requirements.
2. Buy gently-used (or sometimes new!) cloth diapers.
Craigslist, DiaperSwappers.com, your local Mommies Network and even Facebook buy/sell/trade groups are great places to purchase cloth diapers on the cheap! As a caution, be sure the person you are buying from has good references, and if meeting in person, be sure to meet them in a public place! I prefer to seek out local sellers, so I don’t have to add in shipping costs.
Also check consignment stores and sales. I’ve found several diapers this way as well!
3. Enter cloth diaper giveaways.
If you search the web, you can always find cloth diaper giveaways going on somewhere! Cloth diaper giveaways are extremely popular and it never hurts to try winning one! I added an Oh, Katy diaper to my stash this way!
4. Volunteer to be a “tester” for new diaper brands, styles, etc.
Cloth diaper stores and companies need individuals to test out their new inventory from time to time to make sure their customers will be satisfied. If you follow your favorite stores or companies on Facebook or Twitter, you may see them giving a shout-out for testers. I acquired several diapers this way–a few free and a few for a fraction of the price I’d pay at full price.
If you don’t use social media, you could always email the store/company and ask if they are looking for testers. It never hurts to ask!
Image by simplyla
5. Sign up for cloth diaper company seconds lists.
Not all companies may offer this, but I know for a fact that Cotton Babies does. I signed up for their list and received emails when their second-quality diapers were going on sale. At the time, they sold these diapers for less than half price–and there was virtually nothing wrong with them that I could see! I think I had one out of 5 diapers that had a broken snap and the rest may have had a smudge or something on them that easily came off in the wash.
6. Ask your favorite cloth diaper store if they need any help–and if you can barter for diapers!
One of my go-to stores for cloth diapering needs used to be a local store that moved. For a time, I worked for the business doing some of their social media. I did get paid–but I also got free diapers. 🙂
The longer I blog, the more I realize how online businesses desperately need HELP–especially in the social media realm! Do you have some online skills that you can trade for diapers? It doesn’t hurt to ask!
7. Purchase an off brand.
My first friend to introduce me to cloth diapers exclusively uses Bum Genius. For a stay-at-home mom on a moderately low income, the sticker shock was, um, alarming. I simply couldn’t fork out $20/diaper–even when I knew the money I spent up front would save me money later.
So I started searching for an alternate brand. The only problem is that I wanted a brand with rave reviews. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my money on a cheap diaper that was cheaply-made and didn’t work.
I was so happy to find the Kawaii brand of diapers–which cost about half the price of name-brand diapers! Kawaiis are a pocket diaper and are very, very similar to the Bum Genius brand.
Several stores sell Kawaiis, and after two years of using an assortment of brands, I can say that my Kawaiis have held up just as well as the pricier versions.
8. Watch out for sales!
Holidays are a key time that cloth diaper stores will often run specials. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up in a few weeks, and I can guarantee you that there will be a cloth diaper store somewhere running a sale!
9. “Share” diapers with a friend.
Do you have diapers that your baby has outgrown that a friend could use and vice versa? If you hand down clothes, why not hand down diapers? You can switch back and forth with each new baby.
10. Make your own.
I’ve tried to sew. Really, I have. (And my poor hubby bought me a nice machine for my 28th birthday 4 years ago…and it’s been gathering dust for about, oh, 3 1/2 years now!) But sewing simply does not come naturally to me.
But for others, sewing is a piece of cake! Maybe that’s you. You can make a hobby out of sewing cloth diapers for yourself–and maybe even for your friends! Here’s a cloth diaper tutorial from my friend Kate over at Modern Alternative Mama.
Lastly, if you want to build a cloth diaper stash on the cheap, once your stash is built, stop looking. Seriously–if you continue to peruse the sales and don’t unsubscribe from the various store newsletters, you will be tempted to buy more. And if you buy more you’re defeating the purpose of saving money by using cloth–unless, of course, this is just your hobby and you’ve built “fun” money into your budget. In that case, browse away!
What are some of your suggestions for building a modern cloth diaper stash on the cheap?
My eBook, Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert, is a 200+-page handbook that will tell you all you need to know to have a successful cloth diapering journey! To read more about this book, click here.
Stacy @Stacy Makes Cents
I’ve found a lot of mine at consignment sales, like you mentioned above….and I bought almost all of mine used.
And I’m one of those ladies you were referring to with the Butt Fluff fetish – can’t get enough!!!!
Hehe–I used to be like that, too…and then I started blogging. 😉
Craigslist like you mentioned above… I scored $145 worth of newborn prefolds(30) and prowrap covers (9) for only $45!!! Score!!!
Woo hoo! That’s a great deal!!
Great advice and perfect timing! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for doing this series. A friend of mine is sending me some that she made as a gift for the new baby — assuming we like them and they work for us, your blog will have literally changed daily my family life for the better!
New baby’s due date is next Thursday, but hoping he’s born sooner! 🙂
Oh wow, Aine!! Congrats on the baby! I’ll be running the series on every Friday through the end of the year most likely! 😀
p.s. My last baby (baby #3) was almost 2 weeks late…so keep hanging on! You’ll do great!
Where is the Jack Be Natural? I live about an hour away from Charlotte. And you’re right, their prices are great! Thanks!!
Megan, they are in South Charlotte!
jill - addingaburden.com
Great post! I’ve been building my stash for cheap by buying seconds and buying different kinds! My husband will probably only use pockets but I am fine with prefolds with are very cheap. Half my stash is econobuns and the rest are flips and various pockets for my husband. My tip: your whole stadh doesn’t have to be the same diaper!
Debra @ Sweet Kisses and Dirty Dishes
A lot of cities that are big enough have groups of people who get together for sales and swaps. Check if there is a cloth diapering community near you. 😀
Elizabeth - The Messy Organic Mum
I LOVE my seconds. We paid full price for our diapers originally but bought them as a set. That saved us a bunch of money, then we supplemented with seconds. The thing is seconds just mean they aren’t “perfect”! They are still just as usable and usually you cannot even tell the difference.
I just ordered a bunch of seconds cloth wipes and am so excited.
We have a huge local consignment sale around my area twice a year and they often have great deals on the cloth diapers.
Thanks for the other tips. Personally, I never found another brand that I liked as much as my GroVia diapers. Also, I never wanted to mix and match because I never wanted to have to search for the matching pairs. (In this house, our socks rarely match, even when I buy 3 or 4 pairs of the exact same ones! Although my 23 month’s recent interest in using socks as gloves might have something to do with it…)
I’m one of those who sewed my own cloth diapers. I’m not gifted at sewing but I’ve finally forced myself to learn enough to not be intimidated by my sewing machine. I’m glad I did, too, because I now have a quality, cute stash of reusable diapers that work for our family.
You can read about my cloth diaper sewing progress on my blog: http://freckleface78.wordpress.com/tag/cloth-diapering/
My best piece of advice is to use quality materials for your diapers! If you use junk materials your diapers will leak and be useless. Don’t use polyester soakers! (i.e. Gerber prefold diapers) They don’t hold much of anything! Use cotton, bamboo or hemp – and a mixture of all three is awesome! (That’s what I finally ended up with and am thrilled that I did!) I bought my materials from DiaperSewingSupplies and I’m very happy with the products.
Lastly, learn to care for your cloth diapers will help them have a long life. With my first round I used cheaper PUL from Babyville and put them through the washer and drier. After a few months the PUL wore out and *all* of them leaked. In the second (current) round of diapers I have used some of this material again. I still wash them in hot water but I allow them to air dry and I’ve not had any problems after four months and I believe they still have plenty of life in them to go! 🙂
I was using more expensive cloth diapers, but recently discovered Alva Baby diapers. www.alvababy.com They are shipped from China, but many American brands slap their label on Alva diapers and sell them for $20/diaper, rather than the $6 direct from the Alva Baby website. Also, if you can join a Co-op group on Facebook (I am a part of Co op Mamas based in Vancouver but ships to North America), you can receive wholesale discounts on diapers and other baby items 🙂
I really want to start using cloth diapers, but want to start the “easy” way with all-in-ones. BUT, do not want to pay the hefty price tag. It looks like Kawaii doesn’t make all-in-ones. Is there another off-brand that works well but is much cheaper?
Hi Colleen! To be honest, I don’t currently know of an AIO that is really affordable. At first, I thought the AIOs would be the way to go as well, but the pocket diapers are really just as easy (and, in my experience, easier because they don’t take long to dry). If I were you, I’d probably just get one Kawaii pocket diaper and see if you like it or not. The velcro/aplix heavy duty kind would be the most like a disposable diaper. Let me know if you have any questions/need help! I posted my wash routine today!
I LOVE Kawaii Baby as well! Even better than BG, I think. And I love Jack Be Natural, as well. They are awesome! Do you have any advice on dealing with stink issues? I’m not sure if I have build-up on the diapers (and they need to be stripped), or if I just need to change my wash routine. Thanks for the post! 🙂
I was wondering about how much one should expect a business to pay for online help. If you look up those services online, they’re ridiculously expensive. I don’t think my time is worth anywhere near that much, but I do want to make it worth it. Could you give me a reasonable range before I talk to a local shop-owner?
Most virtual assistants get paid anywhere from $10-$45/hour. It seems those who do it as a wahm for other wahms (whether it be wahms who are bloggers or small shop owners), the amount is on the lower end because it also involves a lot of flexibility/understanding that the worker’s children come first. You could offer to work so many hours at a $10-$15 rate in exchange for the equal amount in diapers? Worth a shot! I hope you get the opportunity!! 🙂
Thank you so much for this post! I am getting ready for the arrival of my first baby and still trying to figure out exactly how I’m going to buy cloth diapers without spending an arm and a leg. I’m thinking about buying used at least to get started. I imagine that if I buy used, I will want to strip/disinfect them good and proper before using them, right? What would be the best way to do that? Can anybody help me out?
Great tips!!! I’ve won 12+ diapers and have tested at least 1-2 brands.
The link for make-your-own diapers doesn’t seem to work. Could you check that link?
The link for make-your-own doesn’t seem to work. Could you re-check, please? Thanks for posting this info.
I’m looking to start building a stash, however my second child was born 10 lbs 2 oz and at 1 yr old was almost 29 lbs. Does anyone have advice for buying cloth diapers for bigger children?
I made the diapers we’ve used–fitted diapers with wool (recycled sweater, mostly) covers. I have found that T-shirt fabrics are easiest to work with for the outside of the diaper, them or knit terry or velour or French terry next to baby’s skin, and the super absorbent microfiber shop towels Costco sells in bulk rock as the absorbent layer.
Diapers are a GREAT project for a novice sewist. They are fairly easy, you need a bunch, so you get lots of practice, and it is going on a baby’s butt to catch what comes out. Not perfect but still functional is awesome.
I bought my diapers through Sun Baby and got a whole stash for $100 (maybe 24 diapers and 48 inserts). 4 years on and they are still good.
Wow!!That’s a great idea and best deal. But in my point buying new cloth diapers is the best option.
Lots of great ideas! My sister in law loaned me diapers because we had to start suddenly when we realized the chemicals in disposables were causing my daughters constant rash. It was a blessing because we couldn’t afford to purchase an entire stash as once. She also added me to her cloth diaper swap groups. The groups are amazing, that is where I have purchased all of my daughters diapers. They were all used and a fraction of the cost of new. I truly don’t mind having used diapers. They just need to be stripped, do a bleach soak, and then washed. Yes it’s a little work initially, but very much worth it to save us alot of money. Also we use flour sack towels as inserts…love them! They work well for us and our needs. Added bonus, they are less than 1.00 each.
There’s also Cloth Diaper Trader (http://clothdiapertrader.com) if you’re looking for secondhand cloth diapers and accessories.
Thanks for this tip!