Week 1's theme is 'Useful Information from when YOU started using cloth' and for me this topic encompasses some valuable lessons I learned from starting my cloth diaper journey with JUST gently used cloth diapers.
Things to consider when starting with gently used cloth diapers
Ask questions! Buying used can seem super easy, after all, there's a BIG market for buying, selling and swapping used cloth diapers. As a beginner, I encourage you to bite the bullet and own at least one new diaper and some new inserts!
Why NEW? By starting with exclusively used cloth diapers I realized, after lots of trial and error, that I had well worn micro inserts, and that while they were white, they had lost much of their absorbency. Without having seen what new microfiber inserts looked like and without trying new inserts I had nothing to compare to, so I didn't know what I was missing. My diapers leaked, I had constant issues and often found myself needing to stuff each diaper with 2-3 inserts just to get a few hours of use out of them.
One owner? As with a car, you need to buy diapers from someone who knows that diaper's history, hopefully someone you can trust. If the person you're buying from also bought the diapers used than you have no way of knowing how old they are, how they were cared for and technically neither does the person selling to you.
Sometimes diapers are sold as seconds due to a variety of reasons and some of those reasons can be actual defects or second quality materials. You NEED to know this, and if a diaper has changed hands too many times, there's no telling if this is the case.
Condition? Your idea of gently used may be different than someone else's idea. I've seen diapers I would consider well worn being sold as excellent and vice versa. Ask detailed questions about the elastic, look closely at the diapers you intend to buy compared with pictures of the diapers new in order to help you determine their age, version and working condition.
Care? How the previous owner washed and cared for the diapers is also important. Did they bleach frequently, did they have hard water, what kind of detergent did they use, how often did they strip the diapers, etc. are all valid points. The last thing you want is to take on other peoples problem diapers.
Overall I think buying gently used can save you a TON of money and can help you get to know various styles of diapers. But I encourage you to also buy some new cloth diapers so you can compare function, performance and absorbency.
I hope you find these tips for starting with used cloth diapers helpful. I certainly had learned a lesson or two when I was getting my start with cloth diapers!