We’ve reached the final day of the 6th Annual Flats & Handwashing Challenge, and on our seventh day we discuss our overall experience with the challenge. This is a great opportunity to go into what you’ve learned (about diapering and about yourself/your family), what you’d do differently, and if this is something you could see yourself committing to full time.
Many of our participants have announced already they are selling off their stashes to simplify and use flats and covers full time. Others have said they are thrilled to have a workable stash of flats and covers available for emergency preparedness, camping trips, and travel. And other families have said flats have saved them as an affordable way to round out their small starter stash. I love seeing how everyone is making flats work for them.
While some of you have bowed out, it seems in many cases it is a situation resulting from the experience being new and you’ve not yet found your ideal laundry routine. Some of you are using plungers and buckets, others have mobile washers, others have washboards, and some are even just scrubbing their diapers by (gloved) hand. All are viable solutions, I’ve tried it each way and had success, it just requires a little troubleshooting to figure out the right amount of time/detergent/water/size of laundry load to hit your sweet spot of sparkling clean diapers.
This year was my easiest yet, likely because I have so much experience with the challenge. Having handwashed for four years for at least a week during the challenge and sporadically while traveling, reorganizing the girls’ stash, dealing with washer issues, etc I have figured out exactly how much and how often I should wash for my baby and what methods work best for me. This gives me a great deal of confidence that a family without a washer and dryer and with extremely limited funds can still cloth diaper even while working two jobs, going to school, and managing a household. The hardest part is beginning, and once you get through that trying period of figuring out what works best for you, it’s not much more work than regular cloth diaper laundry, you’re just churning or scrubbing while listening to some music or watching a show which can make for some eagerly anticipated quiet time. If you have a partner in your life who tends to shy away from supervising the littles when you’re around, this is an easy win as when presented with the option to play with the kids or scrub dirty diapers, it’s an easy guess what most folks would choose. But I actually like washing the diapers. I like the quiet, the routine, the link I feel to women in history who did this job day in and day out. I like the feeling of control it gives me, knowing even if something happened that left me with almost no control whatsoever, I could likely control this, I could still cloth diaper my baby and keep her clean and comfortable.
I love my girls’ diaper stash and it is nice having the luxury of different diaper styles to accommodate different situations and needs, so I won’t be switching to flats full time. But I do use flats part time, and keep some ready for emergencies (even if that emergency is just an overdue laundry day) and love knowing they are available when I need them.
I am so impressed with how many of you are finishing the challenge today, you are all so extraordinary for taking the time in your wild and lovely lives to test this experiment and see if normal families can sustainably cloth diaper. I’ll be reading through your posts today, and if you’ve fallen behind on the link ups this is a great time to go through the posts and play catch up. The topics for this year were:
Blog Prompts 2016
Monday: Why Are You Taking The Challenge?
Tuesday: Show Us Your “Stash” and Tell Us What Did It Cost? (if the items were free or were purchased before the event just let us know what they WOULD have cost, essentially letting everyone know the value of the items if they were to buy them or make them)
Wednesday: Open Topic
Thursday: What is your washing routine?
Friday: Techniques: Performance: How You Make Flats Work For You
Saturday: Open Topic
Sunday: Overall Experience; What did you learn? Would you do it?
Even if you don’t have a blog we encourage you to share on social media with the #flatschallenge hashtag. If you give permission for DDL to share or re-post any images or videos shared on social media please include#flatschallengeforDDL. I’d love to share these through the Dirty Diaper Laundry IG account!
Note from Kim Rosas: I’m releasing the survey now, you can take after the challenge ends and give information about your experience. Sadly last year was INSANE this time of year for me and I wasn’t able to compile the results. This year things aren’t as crazy and I abbreviated the survey a bit to only ask what I typically include in the results. I feel terrible that I couldn’t compile them last year but things do happen. Thanks for understanding.