Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Buying Used Cloth Diapers

This week, I made a very large purchase of cloth diapers. Eighteen bum genius! It looks as though we will be having two kids in diapers, at least part time, and it sounded like a good idea to have more one size pocket diapers. This way, if we ever have a baby sitter both kids can have plenty of "easy diapers" to last an entire day. And, because they are one size, rather than packing a couple of each size diaper for outings, I can just take a couple of these and adjust the size to fit whichever child needs to be changed.

And, the price couldn't be beat. $90 for the whole lot. I'll do the math for you, that is just $5 per wonderful fluffy diaper. For the same price as a footlong sub, I purchased luxurious soft convenient and practical cloth diapers that can be used over and over and over. To put this into perspective financially, when Jonah was using disposables because of that wicked staph infection, we spent $12 per pack of diapers and went through two packs a week. That's $24 per week, or $96 for the whole month. With this purchase of diapers, we can diaper both children and still maintain our wash routine of doing laundry every other day. If these were the only cloth diapers we had, they'd pay for themselves in two weeks!

The catch? Oh yeah, they're used.

Yes, used cloth diapers.

Buying used cloth, as long as it's done wisely, is a great way to help the environment, save quite a bit of money, and help out a fellow Momma who's family needs are growing. But, the key word is "wisely." Here are some tips to help you out if you are considering buying used cloth.

1. Buy from someone you know, or a community that you trust. There are a lot of great diaper selling websites out there. However, if you are new to buying used cloth, it could be hard to tell one of the handful of scammers on those sites. The majority of mothers on websites that are for the sell and trade of cloth diapers, really are honest and wonderful people. A select few, are not, and if you aren't careful then you could be scammed.

2. If you cannot purchase the diaper in person (for example if you are dealing over the internet) then ask for lots of pictures. Don't buy from someone who uses a manufacturer's picture, you ought to be looking at pictures of the very diaper you will be buying.

3. Find out how much use the diaper has gotten, and make sure it matches the amount of wear on the diaper. If the seller says it has only been used once or twice, but the velcro is worn and the inside is stained, I would look elsewhere.

4. Look at the closures and elastics. Velcro wears easily and can need replaced if the diaper was well used. a little curling around the edges is normal, but you want to make sure that the velcro still sticks, and it should be lint free, or be sure that the price reflects the amount of wear that the closures have. You don't want to pay too much for a used diaper and then find that the closures need replaced. The elastic around the legs is another part of the diaper that wears easily.

5. Ask how the diapers were washed and stored. You'll want to know what kind of detergent and harsh chemicals were used on the diaper (bleach, for example) because these things can wear the elastic and other parts of the diaper. Make sure the price reflects the treatment of the diaper.

A good summary of these five tips would be to make sure that the price reflects what you are buying. If the diaper has been well worn, but is only a few dollars, then to you it may be worth it. But you want to make sure that you know the exact condition of the diaper before you buy it. For me, this purchase of bumgenius pocket diapers was well worth it. I met with the mother, who I was connected to through a local natural parenting group, inspected all of the diapers, and honestly they were in better condition than any of the diapers we were currently using. Some of them were the older model, so I wouldn't have been willing to pay much more for those, but as far as the condition went they were like new. She told me that she used them all twice, decided she didn't like them, and boxed them up. I completely believe her.

There are also some children's consignment shops that sell used cloth diapers. Of course, you can't ask as many questions about the diaper, but you can inspect them thoroughly. I've heard of many people finding used cloth at garage sales. Many communities have parenting groups for natural parenting, and you can find mommies there that would be willing to sell or trade items such as cloth diapers.

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