8.28.2019

It's Time To Say Goodbye



In 2012 I started this blog out of passion for cloth diapers and boredom as a stay at home mom of one. I needed a project, some way to use my brain and share my love for all things cloth diapers. Almost 8 years and two kids later, I still yearn for a way to utilize my brain, but unfortunately the time I once had to devote to this site just isn't there.

I am so thankful for this blog. It served me in a season of my life that I needed it, as a mental exercise, a way to find community, and monetarily to my family. I met so many of you through Twitter parties, the Kelly's Closet support group, fellow bloggers, and the Flats Challenge. Many of you have been here since day one. You watched my oldest, Noah, grow from a baby to an 8 year old. You followed along and supported me as we were desperate to get pregnant. And when all the infertility treatments failed, you prayed for my family as we waited to adopt. You cried with me when we adopted Sam. And I loved sharing the surprise of Frances' birth with you!

For the past three years I have been pretty overwhelmed with parenting. I have only blogged to host the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. If you missed the announcement on that, Bailey of Cloth Diaper Podcast will be taking over for 2020.

I plan to keep renewing this domain and keeping the content available. There are many links that are broken on these pages. With the closure of Kelly's Closet earlier this year, those links went down. But you should be able to Google any of the products I talk about if you are interested.

I'm not saying goodbye to my cloth diapers just yet. Frances still has at least a few months left in diapers, if not a year or two. But I did want to say goodbye to anyone that has been wondering where I've been.

Thank you for following along over the years!

Jenny

8.27.2019

2019 Flats and Handwashing Challenge Final Survey RESULTS!

It's been a while since we completed the 9th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Months! I wanted so much to get this info to you sooner, but summer break happened. Three kids at home stole all of my time. I'm happy to report that school is back in session and I had some much needed quiet time to compile the results for you!

This year we had 168 participants sign up for the Challenge. Of those, 112 completed the survey (about 67% - same as last year). And then 67% of those that completed the survey said they completed the Challenge, which is slightly higher than last year! The information presented in the graphics below represents the results from the survey. And be sure to read this entire post as their's a big announcement about next year's Challenge!

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

Flats and Handwashing Challenge cloth diapers

Flats and Handwashing Challenge cloth diapers

Flats and Handwashing Challenge cloth diapers

Flats and Handwashing Challenge cloth diapers

Thank you for following along with this year's challenge! If you missed the challenge or were unable to participate, I encourage you to join in next year! Speaking of next year, there's one big change I'd like to share! I'm happy to report that Bailey of Cloth Diaper Podcast will be taking over the Flats and Handwashing Challenge for 2020, the TENTH year of the challenge! Bailey is a wonderful resource and advocate for cloth diapers. Hopefully this change will bring more exposure and interaction to the event as Bailey is currently very active in the cloth diapering community.

I have loved hosting you for the past three years and I appreciate your patience each year!

Oh! And one last thing! Pam, a participant and wonderful cloth diapering mama has created these bracelets! If you'd like to get your hands on one, you can shop here. They are only $1 and all sales benefit Jake's Diapers!

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



5.19.2019

Flats and Handwashing Challenge Survivor | #flatschallenge Day 7



The last day of the 2019 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? 

I'm happy to report that this year was much more successful for me! If you're interested in reading about what a disaster was for me last year, check out this post. Spoiler alert, I switched to disposable!

So do I think that using a small flats stash is doable? Of course. I've proved it to myself the three out of four 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. 

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 9th 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 and Handwashing 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.

Be sure to check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media to see what others are saying. 


5.18.2019

Flats Challenge Update | #flatschallenge Day 6



Only two more days to go in the 2019 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 fourth 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 last year really changed my thinking behind the whole process.

Last year I had a lot on my plate. I had a newborn, 2 kids under 2, I was adjusting to being a mom of three, recovering from a traumatic birth experience, and a week away from moving into a new home. It was a lot to take on without adding the challenge into the mix. Last year was a total flop for me.

BUT! I won't call it a total failure. Because honestly, it was a wonderful learning experience! I learned that maybe it isn't as easy as it has seemed in the past. In fact, this has been my entire experience with parenting in general. The more kids I have, the more I learn that maybe things aren't so simple.

This year is a lot easier. I still have my hands full with three kids. I regularly feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe! But recently my middle child potty trained and now I'm down to one in diapers. Plus, he goes to preschool two mornings a week which opens up some free time for me. The weather also isn't working against me quite as much this year either. Fingers crossed nothing goes wrong the last two days!

Want to see how it's going for everyone else? Check out the #flatschallenge discussion on social media!

5.17.2019

Diaper Need and How you can help | #flatschallenge Day 5


It's Day 5 of the 2019 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 participants to choose whatever they'd like to discuss. I'll be focusing on diaper need and how you can help (or get help!). Many other participants are focusing on topics related to handwashing or flat diapers. So be sure to check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media today. 

The Flats and Handwashing Challenge was started 9 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. 

Jake's Diapers has a great way you can help right now with the Great CoverUp Diaper Drive!





The Great CoverUp Diaper Drive is being organized by the Eastern Wisconsin Diaper Bank, which is a program of Jake’s Diapers, in conjunction with dozens of businesses and organizations in Brown and Winnebago counties.

Why a diaper drive? The need for a reliable, low cost or free diaper supply is very real for thousands of local families living in poverty or who are considered ALICE (Asset‐limited, income constrained, employed). According to the National Diaper Bank, one in three U.S. moms report suffering from diaper need. Diapers can cost $70 to $80 per month; babies need 6‐10 diapers per day.


Diaper need impacts the physical, mental and economic well‐being of children and parents. Most child care centers require parents to provide a day's supply of disposable diapers. If parents don’t have access to an adequate diaper supply, it impacts a child’s health and well‐being as well as a parent’s ability to work or go to school. No federal safety net programs (WIC, food stamps, etc.) cover the cost of diapers. Imagine needing diapers for your child, but not being able to afford them. What would you do? With a focus on families during the time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s a perfect opportunity to help those in need of diapers.




If you'd like to help in your area, I encourage you to seek out a local diaper bank (or start one yourself!). There are many Share the Love locations throughout the US and GroVia Gives provides diapers on a national level as well.




5.16.2019

Handwashing flat diapers | #flatschallenge Day 4



It's Day 4 of the 2019 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 (to me) 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! Some days washing at naptime is easier for me than at bedtime. I can usually muster up some energy in the middle of the day. But once they are asleep, I'm exhausted too! 

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. 

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 and Handwashing 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 laundry detergent. 

I put half a dozen flats (less if that's all I have dirty at the moment), my covers (2-3) and any cloth wipes I have used in the sink. Using both hands I massage 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
Picture from last year's challenge. I really miss that clothesline!

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 for getting out any stains that may be left behind. In the past I have used a retractable clothesline (affiliate link) in my backyard for outside drying. But we moved into a new house and our clothesline was left behind. So this year I'm relying on my drying rack from Ikea. It's large and folds up so nicely. Definitely a great investment! 



If I can 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 hang them to dry. 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 social media to see what's working for other families.


5.15.2019

Favorite folds for flat diapers | #flatschallenge Day 3



Welcome to Day 3 of the 2019 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!

The pic above is my daughter during last year's Challenge. I was going to share a new pic but with a one year old that doesn't want to sit still, this was the best I can do! Plus, I love seeing her tiny newborn pic!

The pad fold is my saving grace this year. 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

If I'm feeling fancy or she is distracted during a diaper change, I will use the Happy Anteater fold which is my go to "fancy" fold. Text instructions can be found here. 



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. Be sure to check out the #flatschallenge hashtag on social media to find what others are saying!


5.14.2019

What's in your flats stash? | #flatschallenge Day 2



Welcome to Day 2 of the 2019 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 8! I'm also excited to add two Geffen Baby flats this year that were passed on to me from a friend.




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!

2 Geffen Baby flats $25

These flats are made jersey hemp, fleece and cotton so they are quite a bit more absorbent than cotton flats. This is my plan for nighttime diapering.

4 Various PUL Diaper Covers $68

 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, Rumparooz and Blueberry

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 $109 if purchased new

This total is a little misleading since I've been using the same flats for three babies. If I would to divide this cost out by all three of my kids it would only be about $36 per child! 

Check out what others are using in their stash searching for #flatschallenge on social media. 

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