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Second Life For Cloth Diapers

Sep07

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Advice Smackdown ArchivesHi Amy, my cloth-diapering inspiration,

I promise I’ve looked through the archives and I either I missed this entirely or I have a new! exciting! cloth diaper question….

What the heck am I supposed to do with them now that my preshus babe has up and potty trained?  He’s the only one who has ever used them, and I imagine they’ve got a lot of life left in them than the 20 months they were used (they’re the FuzziBunz one size adjustable ones).  I feel like tossing them would negate that crunchy-hippie- goodness I’d envisioned with my CD use, but is it weird to donate cloth diapers somewhere?  Can you even do that, for sanitary reasons?

I’m in the DC-ish area, if that helps at all.

Thanks!
Potty Trained, HOORAY

One of the awesome — or completely weird, depending on your opinion of it — things about cloth diapers is that yes, there is life for them after their original owner potty trains. There’s a huuuuuge market and community out there for used cloth diapers. Some people are just trying to be as frugal as possible. Some want to try out a bunch of different systems without laying out a ton of cash, particularly for the more “high-end” diapers like FuzziBunz or bumGenius. And some, like you, just want to make sure that perfectly usable, cared-for garments don’t end up in the landfill prematurely.

Now, obviously, I have not personally come to that point in my cloth diapering career, because I am still using (or plan to use) every diaper in our stash, save for a small handful of newborn/preemie-sized PUL covers. I had Ezra’s bumGenius refurbished, replacing the velcro with snaps. (Run a search on Etsy for “cloth diaper conversion” and there’s usually a handful of shops that offer the service. I personally used Marion Hill.) And I might replace some of the elastic myself in a few of the hand-me-down diapers. So, I figure our pocket diapers will probably need to be completely retired after Ike potty trains, and our prefolds will be used as rags, but we will end up with a bunch of perfectly usable, perfectly awesome fitteds, covers and soakers that I’ll either selfishly hoard “just in case”…or pass along to someone else.

A bunch of my online friends are actively involved at DiaperSwappers.com, where you can buy, sell or trade cloth diapers. Or give them away for free, provided the recipient pays for the shipping costs. There’s also MyUsedDiapers.com, which is an auction site. (eBay used to allow you to sell diapers, but not anymore, so a lot of former eBay sellers list there instead.)

Personally, I’ll probably opt for DiaperSwappers since I “know” people who have had good experiences there, both trading and buying. I do NOT recommend just donating the diapers anywhere unless you confirm ahead of time that they’ll be used — most places will probably have a knee-jerk EW GROSS WHAT IS THIS reaction and toss them. (Likewise, none of the local maternity/kids clothing consignment stores I know of accept diapers.) Best to find another cloth-diapering mama online who genuinely wants them and understands that cared-for (i.e. proper detergent), gently-used diapers are not disgusting rags of ick. If you’ve ever used hand-me-down baby clothing, chances are it was also peed, pooped and barfed on. You give it a good wash and no big deal, right? Diapers really aren’t that different, and passing them on while there’s still life in them, instead of sending them to the landfill to decompose next to all the disposables you didn’t use, just makes good Earth sense.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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29 Responses to “Second Life For Cloth Diapers”

  1. Karen Sep 07 at 11:25 am Reply Reply

    Oh totally certified pre-owned goodness. I use DiaperSwappers though if you will just be unloading diapers once, as in for your babe’s stash, then I’d used Craigslist as the DiaperSwapper system and lingo takes a little getting used to and it’s probably not worth the learning curve. To broaden your audience on Craigslist, you can include in the ad that you can ship for some additional price because people from other cites will check all over the place looking for good diapers that people will ship (not that I’ve done that). Heck, you’ll probably get a million takers just from this post. I’m so tempted to buy them myself but I have plenty and.must.stop.buying.diapers.

  2. Olivia Sep 07 at 11:29 am Reply Reply

    When I was pregnant with my first an acquaintance sent out an email offering up the diaper stash used by her brother’s two babies. I got a full stet of 25 fuzzi bunz for free, it was awesome. They are still in good enough condition for my second baby on the way. Once the covers wear out I guess they would need to be tossed, but I’d imagine the inserts could be used for rags for a long time after that. 

  3. Kim Sep 07 at 11:51 am Reply Reply

    I sold my Fuzzi Bunz on Craig’s list with no problems at all.  I posted photos, got a few calls, and ended up selling them in a week. I posted a photo, and stated that I was willing to break up the set, so it ended up that one person bought my mediums and another person bought the smalls.  

  4. gemma Sep 07 at 12:09 pm Reply Reply

    we are still using the nappies (diapers) my sister and I wore as emergency towels to keep in the car, rags, padding, you name it. I’m 34. Those things are indestructible. Recycle away.

  5. Thank you!!! Sep 07 at 12:14 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you!  Off to diaper swappers it is! I just knew you’d know the answer!!!

  6. Dawn K. Sep 07 at 12:33 pm Reply Reply

    You may also check with local boutiques that sell cloth diapers. I know the one in the KC Metro area hosts a few diaper swaps a year. Same thing as online, really, but buyers are able to see and feel the merchandise.

  7. Laurie Sep 07 at 12:47 pm Reply Reply

    I was able to sell my cloth diapers at a local children’s consignment store.

  8. andrea Sep 07 at 1:19 pm Reply Reply

    http://sproutsoup.com/
    This store is in Columbus, OH, but offers cloth diaper and carrier swaps twice a year.  I bet if you call them they might be able to lead you to a store in your area that  does the same.

  9. Leigh Sep 07 at 1:22 pm Reply Reply

    Diaper Banks help families who can not afford the start up costs get their babies into cloth and are a great place to donate your diapers. I love Giving Diapers Giving Hope.
    http://www.givingdiapersgivinghope.org/

    If you are looking to sell, the best place is a local cloth diaper listserve. DC has one hosted by Yahoo groups.

  10. Zoë Sep 07 at 1:26 pm Reply Reply

    Our cloth diapering experiment did not last as long as I had hoped (no diaper service and going back to work full time gave me no time to do extra laundry). I sold my stash on ebay and got about 75% of my initial investment back.

  11. JCF Sep 07 at 2:44 pm Reply Reply

    Yes, I’ve also sold my stash on Craigslist, when I realized that something just wasn’t working out for us. I’ve bought on Craigslist as well, as I found Diaper Swappers to be really intimidating!

  12. Carrie Sep 07 at 3:17 pm Reply Reply

    If you live in a decent sized place, you might want to try Craigslist. I’ve had much, much better luck there. I find there is way too much BS on diaperswappers for my liking.

    There is also the Cloth Diaper Foundation if you are looking to just be rid of your stash and not mess with selling.http://www.clothdiaperfoundation.org/ They take used diapers and loan them out to needy families. I believe the families have to go through an application process. I am not sure of all the details. I know there was a big kerfuffle a few months ago because it came out that they lent diapers to one of their volunteers.

  13. Anna Sep 07 at 3:34 pm Reply Reply

    I would definitely go with Craigslist at first – you won’t lose money on shipping!  But take a look at the diaperswappers descriptions – the good ones include details that cloth diaper buyers like to see, and the details will help you get more money for them.  

  14. Sara Sep 07 at 3:46 pm Reply Reply

    I bought 3 gently used fuzzibuns for $25 from a woman who posted her stash for sale on my local La Leche League list serve. I was stoked!

    If any of our dipes are still in good condition after our 2nd kid is done with them, I’ll resell them. If they end up a bit too worn for that, I’ll pass them along to a friend.

  15. tasterspoon Sep 07 at 4:39 pm Reply Reply

    My local moms’ club (an e-mail list) has classified postings and used cloth diapers go like hotcakes. I’ve more than made up the $30 annual membership fee from finding good deals on used kid stuff (not to mention I’ve met some great moms).

  16. Jen Sep 07 at 4:58 pm Reply Reply

    I got all my cloth diapers from cotton babies (the company that makes Bum Genius.) and they actually have a buy-back program called growing up in cloth that allows you to sell them back. You only get store credit, but they have lots of cool toys and other goodies besides diapers. My understanding is they sell some used and donate cloth diapers to families who can’t afford them. I sold back about 1/2 of the newborn fitted diapers we had and while I got nowhere near what I paid for them, I got enough to outfit my kids’ play kitchen in Green Toys recycled milk jug pots and pans and plates. They buy all sorts of diapers and I don’t think you have to have bought them there.

  17. heather Sep 07 at 5:21 pm Reply Reply

    I bought my diapers on craigslist – they were great! The good diapers are meant to be used by several children. I asked specific questions about how the diapers were laundered, how long they were owned by the owner, etc. I plan on selling the diapers on craigslist when I’m done with them (well discounted).

  18. Margie Sep 07 at 8:47 pm Reply Reply

    I used diaperswappers for my newborn stash (I was so worried about her umbilical cord, but didn’t want to use sposies, and I had small Fuzzi Bunz for that next step all ready to go), and it was awesome. I got a couple here and there of the rare kind I wanted (Muttaquin newborns – so cute and wonderful!!), and all for a very reasonable used price. I also got a nursing tank, and I’ve gotten lots of good advice. The learning curve is a bit steep, but then it’s a very handy resource.

  19. elizabeth Sep 07 at 11:32 pm Reply Reply

    if you feel like driving to columbia you can try to consign with greenberries (i think they take them) and if you are feeling really brave you can drive to Baltimore and consign with soft and cozy baby!

  20. Amy J Sep 08 at 8:00 am Reply Reply

    There is also a cloth diaper swap board on the BabyCenter Community. http://community.babycenter.com/

  21. Kim Sep 08 at 10:36 am Reply Reply

    Our consignment stores take them, too. I’ve looked on Craigslist for pricing, but am selling to a friend.

  22. Heather Sep 08 at 1:38 pm Reply Reply

    Some local consignment shops in the Pittsburgh area also takes diapers. Pittsburgh’s craigslist has a lot on the board as well as shops asking for them. As a previous commenter said, “recycle away!”

  23. annabelvita Sep 09 at 10:45 am Reply Reply

    If you’re a cloth diaper evangelist, you could keep a few around to give to friends as a cost-free trial of cloth nappies… If not, everyone else’s ideas sound great.

    The flat diapers that my mum used on us are still going strong around her house for cleaning stuff. She loves them!

  24. CatM Sep 09 at 12:12 pm Reply Reply

    I had a set of one size diapers that I used for both my boys and I sold them on Craigslist with no problems at all.

  25. Francesca Sep 12 at 5:47 am Reply Reply

    Can anyone recommend a similar website based in the UK? Will be cloth diapering my first next April and would like to know some reputable sites for getting them second hand.

  26. Nicole Sep 12 at 1:48 pm Reply Reply

    Don’t underestimate your own Facebook page. I posted several BumGenius diapers and they were snatched up locally by my mom friends before I had to post on Craigslist or Diaper Swappers.

  27. Kate Sep 15 at 5:02 pm Reply Reply

    Yes, greenberries in Columbia does consign used diapers (I’ve actually bought some from there). There are also more than a few charities that donate/loan cloth diapers to needy families.

  28. Angel Feb 06 at 2:33 am Reply Reply

    My son was born premature and I was in a tight bind a girl I met on Facebook did a one man crusade and got me stuff I needed then come to find out he developed an allergy to disposable diapers she did cloth diapering and asked her cloth diaper mommas to donate any they didn’t need anymore and I got enough to diaper my son (laundry almost every other diaper lol) my son is now 7 months old and I just got my stash up by buying used diapers as I could none of my diapers are new cause i couldn’t afford then new and they still work great donating is a great idea because I know I’m not the only one who had this problem but from experience used diapers go quick if they are proceed right. Have a great day :-)

  29. Robyn Hodge Aug 08 at 11:25 pm Reply Reply

    I’m looking at a different problem – I have a bunch of covers that are dead (due to incorrect washing practises and the UV in Australia) – PUL is no longer waterproof, elastic is dead. Is anybody upcycling cloth nappies that can no longer be used as nappies? I’ve thought that the covers I have could be stitched together to make a ball that could be stuffed – the shapes of the covers remind me of the way a tennis ball fits together? But I’m not really a sewer. Thoughts?

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