7.16.2018

8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge SURVEY RESULTS

Just a few short months ago we completed the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. I have been busy with a new baby, a new house and getting used to being a mama of 3. I finally found that magical spot today where everyone napped at once! Hallelujah! To celebrate I tallied up the final survey results and can't wait to share them with you!

This year we had 212 participants sign up for the Challenge. Of those, 143 completed the survey (about 67%). And then 64% of those that completed the survey said they completed the Challenge. The information presented in the graphics below represents the answers from the survey.

If you're new to the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and would like to learn more, please start here.

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Here's some feedback from this year's participants:

"Unfortunately, with graduations, baseball and work, I didn’t have time to hand wash, but I still CDed my kid. I think CDing is doable by anyone, but you have to take into account your life/work schedule. Not being a SAHM at this time makes this challenge almost impossible time wise. I need sleep and still have other household responsibilities." - Kayla
"This is my second time participating in the challenge. The first time prepared me for when our washer and dryer broke and I had to hand wash everything for a couple of months. This time I learned more about using other items, such as shirts, as diapers and how to use flats for a heavy wetter. Now I just need to learn how to make it tight enough to hold all of the poop in!" -Ashley
"It was a wonderful experience and learned a lot. I have Fibromyalgia and the washing did increase my pain some, but not as much as expected. I did all the washing except the last day my husband helped some. Using breaks and the salad spinner really helped me keep my pain from getting to bad. I’m so happy I took part in this wonderful challenge!! I look forward to doing the challenge again next year." -Jennifer
"I didn't expect the washing to be so fast and easy but I also didn't expect the rinsing and wringing to be so difficult. Overall I'm more satisfied with how clean my diapers smell, and I plan to do the washing by hand and use my machine only for the rinse and spin. My wash routine used to take close to 2 hours, and now it will be about 30 minutes. I also want to set up a nicer area outside to hang up my laundry as I really prefer the energy savings now that I've seen how easy it is." - Alexandra
Thank you for following along with this year's Challenge! If you missed the Challenge or were unable to participate, we'd love for you to join us in 2019 for the 9th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge taking place in the spring.

If flat diapers or handwashing is something you're interested in learning more about, please join our Facebook group!
 



5.20.2018

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 7 - What did I learn? How did it go? #flatschallenge



The last day of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge is here! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share about your experience. What did you learn? How did it go? Do you think this is a feasible option for families experiencing diaper need? Did you find a new love for flats or handwashing? 

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


If you read yesterday's post, you know that this year was a flop for me. The world was working against me. I knew this year would be a struggle for me with a newborn, two under two, two in diapers, and a move to a new house. I didn't anticipate a week stay in the hospital two days after my daughter was born for a serious infection, many doctor visits for said complication, my daughter getting thrush the week of the Challenge, and my toddler having high fevers this week as well. There was a lot of things not working in my favor and I failed. 

Not only did I stop using my flats and handwashing, but I switched to disposables. I just can't take anything else on and getting rid of the thrush is my top priority. I needed to bleach everything and in order to keep her from getting reinfected, I would need to bleach after every wash. So I took the easy road and grabbed the box of Pampers we were gifted. 

It's hard enough being one month postpartum. Life is a struggle and I'm trying to give myself some grace, but I do feel like I have failed everyone. As the host of the Challenge I'm supposed to be able to complete it, right? But the truth is that sometimes you have to prioritize things. And for me I learned the lesson that life dumps a lot more on you than you anticipate. 

Keeping up with handwashing and worrying about the thrush was just too much for me. I'm a stay at home mom with a husband who helps me tremendously. We are fortunate to be able to afford a box of diapers. We have a laundry room with a washer and dryer. I didn't have the added stress of worrying about where the money would come from to pay our bills or feed our family this week. 

I can't imagine what a parent who works full time outside of the home, possibly even two jobs, or a single parent would have done in my situation. It would have been really hard both physically and emotionally to keep up with all of it. I have cried many times this week from being exhausted, overwhelmed and my hormones adjusting. It's hard. 

So do I think that using a small flats stash is doable? Of course. I've proved it the other two years I completed the Challenge. But do I think it works for everyone? Not likely. I mean you do what you have to do to get by, but I can see how that would be very hard in some cases. 

And handwashing? Again, totally doable. But it would be just one more thing on your plate on top of everything else. Some people may not be able to keep up with it. 

While I wasn't successful this year, I'm glad I participated. I really did learn something new and unexpected. Once you complete the Challenge successfully you walk away thinking that it can work for everyone. But this year really threw me some unexpected curveballs and taught me that it would be really hard for some people. 

Thank you all for following along with my journey this week! I hope that those of you that participated for the first time were successful and learned something new that can be useful to someone else. And if this was your second or eighth time participating, I hope you are still learning new things year after year! Be sure to share how your week went in the comments! If you completed the Challenge, feel free to grab this graphic and share!

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


Stay tuned for the Flats and Handwashing Survey that will be sent out to everyone that signed up. Results will be posted on this blog this summer.

Bloggers, Youtubers, and other influencers, link up your experience below!


5.19.2018

8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 6 - What's working and what's not! #flatschallenge



It's the last two days of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share what's working for you and what's not working. If this is your first Challenge, you may be surprised by how easy (or maybe hard!) this is. Maybe you've had to change things up half way through the Challenge. Share your expectations vs. your reality!

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


This is my third year doing the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. The first year I had no issues and really thought this was totally doable for everyone. The second year I even debated doing it because "I've done it. I know I can do it." But this year really changed my thinking.

I knew when I scheduled the Challenge for this year that May would be a busy month for me. We sold our house and we're moving to a new house this month. I also knew I'd have a newborn and would be adjusting to life as a mom of 3 with 2 under 2. But there's a lot of other things working against me that I didn't anticipate. Call them excuses if you want, but here they are.

My daughter is 5 weeks old. The day after being discharged from the hospital I was readmitted with a very serious infection. I spent a week separated from my newborn and my other kiddos trying to heal. It's been a month since that week in the hospital and I'm still dealing with the infection I had. We're talking lots of doctor appointments, lots of tests, and lots of medicine.

The medicine has brought on thrush for my daughter. A few days into the Challenge I saw the symptoms and went into panic mood. I needed to bleach everything.

I was worried that 2 under 2 would be hard and it is. My toddler is insanely busy and my newborn is, well, a newborn! Those two things alone are stressful enough. But add in the move, my illness, and now my daughter's thrush and I had my hands full.

Then the day after the thrush started, my toddler spiked a high fever. When it rains it pours!

So. What's working and what's not? The Flats and Handwashing Challenge is not working for me. I'll discuss tomorrow about how I feel about that. But honestly I can't handle one more thing on my plate. I needed to switch to disposables. I can't keep up with the laundry of bleaching everything daily and I can't risk not getting rid of the thrush. Even these daily blog posts were hard to fit in!

As the host I feel like such a failure. Like if anyone can do it, it should be me. But that's what I love about the Challenge. Is the Flats and Handwashing Challenge doable? Yes. I've done it twice successfully. Many of you have completed it more than that. Many of you make a month out of it instead of a week!

In a perfect world, I would have been successful. But this year the cards were stacked against me. Be sure to come back tomorrow to find out what I learned and my final thoughts on whether I still think using flats full time and handwashing them when there's no access to a washer and dryer is doable.


5.18.2018

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Day 5 - Diaper need and how you can help #flatschallenge


It's Day 4 of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is open for the bloggers following to choose. I'll be focusing on diaper need and how you can help with a spotlight on Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. But many bloggers, Youtubers, etc. are focusing on topics related to handwashing or flat diapers. So be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post.

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started 8 years ago by Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry as a way to show that flat cloth diapers and hand washing are real solutions for families that struggle with diaper need. Many families are unable to provide diapers for their baby due to financial constraints. 

One in three families struggle to provide diapers for their babies. Often times these families may not change a diaper as often as needed or may try to reuse a dirty diaper. It's hard enough to be a parent. I can't imagine having the added stress of not being able to provide the necessary basics for a child. This is a real problem and there are ways you can help!

There are diaper banks all over the country. Many provide disposable diapers to families in need. And while this is a very helpful solution, it is short term. Disposable diapers must be thrown away and the need is still very much a problem. With cloth diapers, a family can receive a one time donation that solves the problem of diaper need in their home. 


Diaper Need Cloth Diaper Revival


The mission of Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is "to provide free cloth diapers to low income families to help alleviate the cost of diapering their children which will help them use their money for other essentials." They are a non-profit organization that accepts donations of cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories, as well as monetary donations, to help with shipping fees and to purchase cloth diapers for the organization as needed.


How you can help!

Currently, Giving Diapers Giving Hope has stopped accepting applications for families in need. They do not have enough diapers to provide what is necessary for these families. You can help by donating any diapers that are in good working condition (no repairs needed), diapering accessories, or by making a monetary donation to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. To donate, please visit Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.

Be sure to follow Giving Diapers, Giving Hope on Facebook as they are planning a charity auction in the near future. 


5.17.2018

8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 4 - Handwashing Flat Diapers #flatschallenge



It's Day 4 of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share your wash routine. The easy part of the Challenge is actually using flat diapers. But washing them with no machine is the harder part. Participants are not allowed to use their electric washer and dryer and instead must handwash their diapers. 

To me, the hardest part about handwashing is talking yourself into doing it at the end of a long day. It's best to handwash daily because the more diapers you have to wash, the more of a chore it is! Especially with two in diapers! My two kiddos (Samuel is almost 2 years old and Frances is 1 month old) go through about 18-20 diapers a day! That's a lot to handwash compared to the previous years I've taken the Challenge with one baby in cloth and only using a handful of diapers a day! 




There are many ways to hand wash and if you follow the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media you will see what other parents are doing. Here's my preferred method.  


Diaper Storage
I'm storing my diapers in a diaper pail with no liner or wet bag. It's just easiest to be able to rinse out my pail at the end of the day with the diaper sprayer and not have one more thing to wash. As far as the actual pail goes, it's just a small kitchen trash can from Walmart. Nothing fancy here!


Handwashing

I'm choosing to handwash my cloth diapers once or twice a day. I like the idea of washing once, but if I can make it happen to do it twice it feels like less of a burden than washing them all at once. My kiddos take late morning naps which is great because it gives me time to get them outside to dry. However the weather is really working against me this week!



I'm using my sink to physically handwash my diapers. In the past I've used the bath tub, but the sink is easier on my back. 

One key feature for me is being able to use my diaper sprayer. Many people are taking the Challenge without using one, but for me it really helps. I'm able to spray out all diapers before throwing them in the pail which helps cut down on some of the hand rinsing and helps me to get them clean. 


Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

Step 1 - Rinse
I run warm/hot water (warm enough to get them rinsed well, but not so hot that my hands can't stand the heat). Each flat is individually unfolded and rinsed/wrung out under the faucet. 

Step 2 - Wash
I fill my sink with the warm/hot water and add a splash of detergent. I have found that I don't need a ton of detergent to get 5-6 diapers clean in a small sink full of water. In fact, using too much detergent can be such a handful when handwashing because it takes so many rinses to get the soap out. I'm using my regular detergent, I believe it's Arm and Hammer. 

I put half a dozen flats, my covers (2-3) and any cloth wipes I have used in the sink. Using both hands I massaged and squeeze the pile of laundry quite a few times. Then I work individually on each item, squeezing, scrubbing together, working the water in and out of the item. Once I have done this with each item, I squeeze out all of the water and drain the sink.

Step 3 - Rinse
I turn my faucet on with warm/hot water and individually rinse out each item, wringing and squeezing out any soapy water that's left. 

Step 4 - Wringing
Individually, I squeeze and wring out as much of the water as I can by hand. This can take a little muscle and is a great workout!


Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


Step 5 - Drying
Line drying outside is my absolute favorite way to dry flat cloth diapers. It's fast and diapers look so pretty on a line! Plus the sun is awesome gor getting out any stains that may be left behind. I use a retractable clothesline (affiliate link) in my backyard for outside drying. On rainy days or days that I'm unable to handwash until nighttime, I use my indoor drying rack from Ikea. It's large and folds up so nicely. Definitely a great investment!

If I can line dry them outside, I individually snap the water out of each flat. You'd be surprised how much water is left in them even after wringing them out by hand. After snapping, I pin them to the line. If I need to dry them inside, wrapping them in a towel and squeezing the excess water out helps a ton! 

On a bright, sunny day, my flats can be dry in less than an hour! If I wait until later in the day when the sun is going down and there's more shade they take a few more hours. Inside drying takes longer, but they are always dry by the morning. 

Overall, the whole process takes 45 minutes or so for one load. It's totally doable and a great option for anyone that doesn't have access to a washing machine. It's work and it is one more thing on my to-do list. I definitely think it's doable, but I can see how it could be a burden (both time wise and emotionally/mentally) for someone that is overwhelmed by everything already on their plate.

This is just one way to handwash your diapers! Some families are using a camp style washer, a wash board, and more! Check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on Facebook and Instagram to see what's working for other families and be sure to hop around on the links below.


5.16.2018

8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 3 - Favorite Folds for Flats! #flatschallenge



Welcome to Day 3 of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is to share your favorite flat fold! What folds are working for you in the Challenge?

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival


One of my favorite things about flat diapers is how versatile they are. There are tons of folds out there you can try to make them work for your baby and we all know every baby is different! And while I love fancy folds, I'm not going to lie, this year I'm all about simplicity!

For my toddler, the pad fold is my saving grace. He doesn't want to sit still for diaper changes 99% of the time. And I don't have time to fight him on it! So we're going simple with pad folds. I love that I can just have a cover with a pad folded flat ready to go at each change. Text instructions for the pad fold can be found here.

Flat Diapers Cloth Diaper Revival

My 1 month old is still pretty tiny and under 10 lbs so for her I'm relying on the Mini Kite Fold. I can get the flat folded small enough and it provides enough coverage to keep the poo off of the diaper cover. It helps that she isn't really mobile and doesn't fight me on diaper changes! Text instructions can be found here.

Mini Kite Fold Cloth Diaper Revival


How are you using your flats? What's your favorite fold? If you need some ideas, you can find more flat cloth diaper folds here.


5.15.2018

8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 2 - What's in your flats stash? How much did it cost? #flatschallenge



Welcome to Day 2 of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is "What's in your flats stash and how much did it cost?" Participants were able to use commercially purchased flat diapers or flour sack towels, homemade flats, basically any material that is made with a single layer of fabric. In addition to flats, they can use diaper covers, diaper closures (Snappis, pins, etc), and a doubler if necessary. 

For the Challenge, I'm using the same flats that I have from my first born. I've added many new diapers over the years, but flats isn't something I've purchased since my son who is almost 7! 


The links below are affiliate links.





6 Blueberry flats $16 (discontinued) 

These are the old printed Blueberry flats and my absolute favorite! These are now discontinued which is a bummer because I love them so much!

12 Osocozy flats $24

These are great basic flats. There's nothing really special about them. They are a bit smaller than the Blueberry flats, but the size is perfect for my newborn.

3 Various PUL Diaper Covers $84 (about $14 each for 3 covers for each baby)

I have a lot of covers in my regular cloth diapers stash. I don't anticipate that I'll need to use them all for the Challenge, especially since I can get multiple uses out of each one. I think I could definitely get away with 2-3 covers for the whole Challenge. My favorite brands for covers are Bambino Mio, Thirsties, and Rumparooz

Snappis $10 (3-pack)

I have 3 Snappis that I'm using with my 1 month old. For my toddler, I've mostly been padfolding so I haven't needed any type of fastener. 

Since I'm handwashing daily I don't really need a bigger stash. It is a bit tight with 2 in cloth though. I'm mostly using the Blueberry flats on my toddler and the Osocozy for my newborn. 

For handwashing, I use my sink or bathtub and detergent. So I'm not adding in the cost of any materials for that. I do use cloth wipes but I also haven't calculated that here. 

Actual cost of my stash $134 (for 2 babies in cloth)


Check out what others are using in their stash by reading the links below or searching for #flatschallenge on social media. 

5.14.2018

8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge - Day 1 - Why are you taking the challenge? #flatschallenge




Welcome to Day 1 of the 8th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! If you're new to the Challenge, please read more about what's going on this week as families all over the world will be diapering their babies with flat diapers and handwashing for a whole week. Today's topic is "Why?"Why would anyone choose to use old school flat diapers when things like all-in-ones and pockets are available? Why would we subject ourselves to handwashing our diapers when we have perfectly good electric washing machines that can do that job for us?



This year is my 3rd year taking the Challenge. My first year I was a mom of my first baby and really into cloth diapering. I loved my modern cloth diapers and was curious if I could master flats, something I was initially intimidated by. Last year was my second year taking the Challenge (and my first year hosting). I had another baby in cloth and was excited to challenge myself again after a few years break from flat diapers between kids.

This year will be a bit of a different challenge for me as I'll have two in cloth. My toddler is almost 2 and I have a one month old. I'm not going to lie when I say I'm a little worried that I'll be able to keep up! I'm having a hard enough time keeping up with my 2 under 2 during the day and to top that we are in the process of closing on house, moving, and I have many doctor appointments on the calendar all in the next two weeks! I'm a little overwhelmed by life.

But I think that's the beauty of the Challenge. What if my modern cloth diaper stash wasn't available to me? What if I didn't have the funds to just buy a package of disposables? What if I didn't have access to a washing machine? Everyone has times in life where they are struggling and overwhelmed. So my busy month is something many parents face and to top if off they don't have the luxuries that I may have.

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started 8 years ago by Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry as a way to raise awareness about diaper need. Did you know that 1 in 3 families struggles to afford diapers for their baby? Often they must choose between diapers or other necessities. And while cloth diapers are reusable and a great solution for these families, the start up cost of modern cloth diapering can be a hinderence to these families as well.

But a small stack of flat diapers are inexpensive and can even be DIYed for free using old t-shirts or other materials. Access to a washing machine may not be easily available for these families, but handwashing flat diapers is quick and easy. Flat diapers dry quickly due to their single layer, allowing for a smaller stash needed.

Flats Challenge Cloth Diaper Revival

I'm thankful for you all joining me to help raise awareness about diaper need and to show that we can make this work! You can take this knowledge that you will gain this week and help someone in need one day.

If you're not taking part in the Challenge and just following along, I urge you, if you are able to help families in need. You can donate new and gently used cloth diapers to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and help provide diapers for a family that is in a tough spot. No parent should have to worry about wrapping her baby in clean diaperes each day. Can you help?

This is just my thoughts on the Flats and Handwashing Challenge! Why are you taking the Challenge? Bloggers, Vloggers, and Influencers, link up your thoughts on Day 1 below and don't forget to tag your posts with #flatschallenge.

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