Okay, okay. I already admitted that I’m addicted to cloth diapers. They’re just so darn cute. And soft. And fuzzy. And–oh, I know it’s ridiculous. They’re supposed to be for holding poop. Blame it on elimination communication that I can’t think of them as anything but the cutest styles of baby clothes.
But back to my stash problem. Because I know I’m not alone here. In fact, I read that the average cloth diapering family has at least 30-60 diapers. Now, I realize that may not seem like a lot if you’re buying a box of 150 disposable diapers. But when you’re talking about 60 to 100 cloth diapers, it presents an entirely different organizational problem, for several reasons.
First, the vast majority of cloth diapers (with the possible exception of flats) take up more space to store than disposables. The absorbent chemicals in disposable diapers mean that less material can hold more liquid, so cloth diapers need more bulk for sufficient absorbency. Even one-wet trainers (which I love for EC) need a little more storage space than disposables, since they don’t fold up as small.
Second, most cloth diapering families–at least the ones who are addicted, like me–have a variety of diaper styles. Many families try different styles before they find the perfect one for their baby, and others discover that what works perfectly at one stage doesn’t work as well at a different age. So although I know plenty of families who have only one type of cloth diapers, it’s more common to have a variety. Which makes for more confusion in the organization department.
The result (for me, anyway) is a diapering storage area that looks something like this:
(That’s actually not the half of it–but it gives you an idea of how disorganized my diapers are right now.)
And the result of a storage system like that is a husband who freaks out every time he has to change a diaper. We have morning conversations like this:
Husband: Which diaper should I use?
Me: The prefold with the green stitching, and pair it with an orange cover.
Husband: (digging through basket) The green diaper? These are all white!
Me: No, the green stitching. It’s a prefold.
Husband: I found one with blue and green spots. But I don’t know how to use it.
Me: That’s a flat fold; you have to fold it. The prefolds are to the left of that one.
Husband: Left from which side of the basket?
Husband: I can’t do this, you’re going to have to do it.
Me: Just leave him diaperless; he’ll tell you if he needs to pee.
Five minutes later:
Husband: Aaaah! He peed on my face!
Me: That’s why he was fussing a second ago, because he needed to pee…
Husband: Please can we get some diapers that *I* can use?!?
And so, with great reluctance, I’ve agreed to downsize my stash. Only on the condition that I got to buy more of my absolute favorite diapers (Fuzzi Bunz perfect size), which (fortunately) just happen to be ones that my husband can manage to use too. (He prefers Bum Genius, because they use velcro, but I think they’re too bulky. So Fuzzi Bunz it is–at least for now.)
I haven’t finished my organizational project yet, but I’ve mapped out my plan. So for all of my readers who are also struggling with a cloth diaper addiction, here are some tips for taming your beautiful, fluffy, and wild mountain of diapers into something that your significant other can also use.
1. Choose your top two or three favorite types of diapers. I chose Fuzzi Bunz perfect size pockets (for when we’re out and about), EC store trainers (mostly for when he’s older and we have fewer misses), and flat folds with covers (for traveling and nighttime). I’m also going to keep prefolds, but I’ll use them as rags and lap pads, not as diapers. And maybe as inserts later. We’ll see.
2. Buy enough of your favorite diapers to use full-time. This is, obviously, the best part of the project! I found a set of 14 brand-new small Fuzzi Bunz on DiaperSwappers for a mere $12.50 each. Score. They arrived yesterday, and I prepped them last night, so I’m using them today. I kid you not when I say I dreamed about them last night. They are so fuzzy and soft and cute and colorful and…whoops, sorry, getting off track here.
3. Sell the diapers you don’t need. This is going to be the hardest part of the project. But I will do it. I will. I’m selling all my fitteds (not too painful–I never used them much anyway), my all-in-twos (more difficult, because I really liked these with Anastasia, but they leak for Teddy, so out they go), and probably some covers as well. I haven’t decided yet whether to sell my one-size Fuzzi Bunz, my Bum Genius, or my Happy Heinys. Since they’re pocket diapers with velcro, I feel like I should keep them for husband. But the inserts are different sizes, and I love the idea of having only one size insert. Then my husband could actually stuff the diapers too.
I will, however, probably keep my two Thirsties all-in-one diapers, since they don’t require stuffing.
4. Decide on an organizational system for your remaining diapers. You need something with separate compartments for each type of diaper, so there’s never any confusion when you go to grab a diaper. For me, that means at least 7 compartments: one for pockets/all-in-ones, one for trainers, one for flat folds, one for covers, one for prefold rags, one for extra inserts, and one for wipes.
5. Buy or build your organizational system. If you only have a few types of diapers, a dresser/changing table will work perfectly (you can put clothes in the top two drawers and diapers in the bottom two, or vice versa). I’m temporarily keeping my pockets and all-in-ones in a “daddy diaper drawer” until I get my full system organized. You can see it looks a lot more inviting for a reluctant diaper changer:
(Doesn’t that just make you want to change a diaper?)
But if you have a lot of types of diapers, you may need something more extensive. And if you love them as much as I do, you may want not want to hide them in a drawer. I’d love to do something like this:
–but because of our current space needs, and in the interest of creating an organizational tool we can keep using after our diapering days, we’ll probably go with something like this:
(although ours will probably be built-in, not standalone, because we finally bought a house and therefore we can do built-in shelving.)
But at least the diapers will no longer be in piles on the floor. I will miss rolling around in them shouting “Fluffy! Soft! Fuzzy!” (Just kidding. I would never do that. I’m not that addicted. I swear.) But it’ll be nice when my husband no longer has a panic attack every time I ask him to change a diaper.
Other addicts: I know you’re out there. What’s your cloth diaper organizing solution?