When you choose to cloth diaper a child it can be a large financial commitment. Unlike disposable diapers which you can buy a week or two worth at a time you are generally putting the money up front for cloth. However, there are ways to get the most bang for your buck when purchasing cloth diapers.
Make Them Yourself
This depends a few things of course like what style of diaper you are planning to make, how good your sewing skills are and how much you can purchase the materials for. As a resurgence in cloth diapers seems to be occurring the products and materials are now more readily available. My local sewing store offers an entire section with all the materials you need to make your own diapers and covers. They even sell instruction books and patterns.
Buy Second Hand
Sometimes parents buy cloth diapers but after a few days or weeks of use they decide that cloth diapering really isn’t for them. Or sometimes a particular style of cloth diaper doesn’t work on a baby or the child grows out of the diaper quickly. These all allow for you to find cloth diapers in excellent used condition for sale at a fraction of what they would be if you bought them new. Below are some of the places you can find cloth diapers for sale:
Kijiji & other internet buy and sell sites
Facebook buy & sell groups as well as local cloth diapering pages
Second hand stores
Word of mouth- ask other cloth diapering moms
Other options include contacting your local cloth diaper stores to see if they have any that were part of a trial pack and are no longer needed or ones that were stores samples. Ebay and Freecycle are other places you can sometimes find quality secondhand diapers.
When looking to purchase cloth diapers second hand you want to gather as much information about the diapers as you can. Ask the person these questions:
Why are you selling the diapers?
How long were they used for?
Are you their first owner?
What detergent have they been washed in?
What was your washing routine? (Typically it should be a rinse, a sanitizing wash and then an additional rinse)
How were they dried? (Line hung or dryer)
Have they ever been bleached?
Have they ever had to be stripped? (A process to remove excess detergent build up which prevents them from being absorbent and often makes them smell)
When looking at the cloth diapers in person have a look at the general condition of them. Check the elasticity of any elastics, make sure all snaps are there or that the velcro is still attached and in good condition. Check the diaper for wear around the tummy and legs and if it is a diaper with an insert or a piece that attaches make sure that all pieces are present. Diapers should be free from odours and while it is best if they are completely stain free that may not always be the case. Some stains occur due to inadequate washing so make sure to ask the questions above about washing routines. Putting them in direct sunlight, known as ‘sunning’ your diapers, can naturally remove many stains.
Shop The Sales
Every manufacturing process has it’s issues so sometimes things go wrong somewhere along the line and a product ends up being slightly ‘off’. These are referred to as ‘seconds’ and sometimes stores will sell them off at a reduced price. If you decide to go this route make sure you are clear ahead of time about what is the exact issue with each diaper. Most online and brick and mortar stores that sell diapers offer sales on their items. Whether it is a deal of the month or to clear out extra inventory it’s worth checking into this. Sometimes, if you are planning a large purchase there are discounts for buying packages or higher numbers of diapers. Some companies with online stores will waive shipping fees if you want to pick the items up. This can save you $10 or more dollars if you live nearby. Check the internet and even email the company before you buy asking them what deals they currently have or if any sales are planned for the near future. Typically these types of stores will offer sales on Earth Day, Black Friday and Boxing Day. Attend local cloth diapering events like the annual Great Cloth Diaper Change. Each year we have attended we have been given coupons for local cloth diapering stores. One year we even received a pocket diaper for free! If you plan to buy online be sure to check out rebate sites like ebates.ca to see if your purchase would qualify.
Try googling ‘cloth diaper giveaway’ and I bet you will come up with at least 5 different giveaways that you would be eligible to enter right away. Companies are constantly sponsoring reviews and giveaways of their items to get the word out about their products. Another place to enter giveaways are at local parenting events like trade fairs or business expos. Community events like The Great Cloth Diaper chance give you another opportunity to bring home some cloth diaper goodies for free.
Finally, keep in mind that cloth diapering doesn’t have to begin with an all or nothing jump in. When we first began cloth diapering we had a tight budget so we bought a few to try out and then slowly expanded our collection. Do whatever works for your family and your current budget. Keep in mind too that often times diapers have a resale factor to them so you will eventually recoup some of what you have spent on purchasing your cloth diapers. You can’t say that about disposables….