Wednesday, April 29, 2015
What is the Flats and Handwashing Challenge? All the details are on Dirty Diaper Laundry's website, but basically, participants commit to using only flat cloth diapers and covers for one week, and agree to only hand wash and line-dry the diapers. Kim Rosas of Dirty Diaper Laundry was inspired to start this challenge by families that were in such dire financial straits that they were washing and reusing disposable diapers. There are cloth diaper banks, such as Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and Share the Love (which I volunteer for) that provide cloth diaper loans to families in need. However, many families don't own a washer and dryer, and the expense of washing diapers at a laundromat can be cost prohibitive. Flats, however, are very economical to purchase and easy to hand wash. They're easy to find and many other cotton items can be repurposed as flat diapers (flannel receiving blankets, t-shirts, and flour sack towels, to name a few).
Why am I doing the challenge?
As a host site for Share the Love, I want to speak from personal experience when offering solutions in cloth diapering. As a Diaper Parties consultant, I also want to be able to provide economical options for families on a tight budget, even if they aren't eligible for a cloth diaper loan. Recently, a family asked me for advice on how to handle cloth diapering when traveling or on vacation. I feel like this challenge is a great way to practice what to do when camping, on vacation, or during a power outage.
Sometimes, in the world of cloth diapers, we get super excited about cool new diapers or adorable prints. Limited releases crash websites and sometimes, cloth diapers become an investment game. There's nothing wrong with any of that, and it's great for getting people excited about modern cloth diapers. It's also great that families can make their money back in a way that's totally impossible with disposable diapers. But at the same time, it can be intimidating or off-putting for those who can't participate in that market. I want to help raise awareness that cloth diapering can truly be for everyone. Simplicity can be just as good.
I have some hand me down flats and some OsoCozy flats, and I'll be spending the next two weeks figuring out just how many flats I'm going to need. I'm planning on supplementing with some of our old receiving blankets and possibly t-shirts, to get a true idea of what I can recommend. My son will be eleven months during the challenge, and is a heavy wetter at night. My daughter is currently in the process of potty training, and may or may not be in diapers during the day but will likely be diapered at night during the challenge. We're also going to make a camp washer before the challenge starts.
This will be my first year participating, and I just can't wait!