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A Diaper Pail Tale

Posted by Becca on 1/27/2011 to Frugal Cloth Diapering

When I started cloth diapering, I didn’t have enough money to buy all my diapers at once.  I had to save the money and add to my stash quite gradually.  Because my focus at the time was simply getting enough diapers to last my daughter between washes, I didn’t even think about cloth diapering accessories for a long time.  As you can guess, my dirty diaper storage was interesting, at best.

We started with three bumGenius! One Size Pocket Diapers that were a gift from a friend which I used and washed twice a day.

I waited til my newborn’s umbilical chord fell off at a week before starting to use them. Immediately falling in love with them, I ordered three more diapers right away.

Of course, the moment I replaced a soiled diaper with a clean one, I realized that my Diaper Genie wasn’t going to do the trick for the dirty cloth diaper I held in my hand.

Still freshly home from the hospital, I had a lovely conglomeration of pink basins given to me during labor, so I grabbed the largest, stuck it on the floor next to my daughter’s changing table, and it held her dirty diapers for the next couple of weeks.

Soon, I had eleven cloth diapers. For me, that was a lot!  My little hospital basin just wasn’t cutting it anymore, but there was no way I was going to dish out the money I could use on another cloth diaper for diaper storage.  At this point, I was just beginning to toy with the idea of using cloth diapers outside of the house.  I’d successfully used them on a short trip to church to join my husband with his youth group and I’d brought along a large Ziploc bag with me for the dirty diapers. I wasn’t pleased with the idea of doing this frequently, so I found a small, inexpensive wet bag from The Natural Baby Company and bought it along with my next diaper purchase.

This wet bag was not intended for anything other than a couple of diapers, but I had nothing else and my basin was just too small, so I hung the little guy to my changing table, and used it.  I found at this point that if I did my diaper laundry after my daughter had soiled only five or six diapers, I only had to use one or two disposables a day.  The travel wet bag was really meant for holding only three to four diapers, but it was stretchy so I used it anyway.

Eventually, I had about 14 diapers.  This may seem like a good number to you if you’re diapering a toddler or even an older infant, but keep in mind that my daughter was still only about one or two months old, so she was going through eight to 10 diaper changes a day.  I decided I wanted 24 to 36 diapers because I was so tired of doing diaper laundry once or twice every day.  With that in mind, I still wasn’t willing to shell out a lot of dough on dirty diaper storage.  I found a medium Bummis wet bag on sale and bought it, hoping that it would be large enough.  Since I was still only washing half of my stash at a time, it was fine.  The small, wet bag, however, no longer was.  So I bought yet another smallish wet bag, this time from Mommy’s Touch.  I grew up to about 20 to 24 diapers with this wet bag and was still able to survive.

Then one day, the newborn marathon seemed to end (basically, my daughter’s colic went away) and suddenly  I had more time.  So I broke out my sewing machine and experimented with making my own diapers and drafting my own pattern.  At this point, my diaper stash just exploded with diapers—some that were usable, and some that were discarded. In any case, I realized that I no longer needed to spend my hard-earned money on buying the diapers I so craved.  This made me sad since it had become somewhat of an obsession at this point.  I also decided that it was time to get some of the cloth diapering accessories that I so needed.

First of all, I bought a diaper sprayer.  We’d been spraying our diapers off in the shower, which is just fine for breast milk poop, but I didn’t imagine it would cut it once our daughter started on solids.

After that, I didn’t want to admit that exchanging between my medium Bummis wet bag and my small Mommy’s Touchwet bag weren’t cutting it because I was still obsessed with buying adorable cloth diapers in every color of the rainbow, though I’d toned down my expenditures considerably.  A month or so passed (where my diaper stash continued to grow) before I thought of my wet bag situation again.  I suddenly realized that with such small wet bags, I was still doing laundry every single day because I did laundry once they were full (well, bursting at the seams, really).  I found a large wet bag—diaper pail sized—from The Natural Baby Company for cheaper than any other wet bag I’d seen.  I decided it was a good deal, and I bought it.  When it came, I was thrilled because it was HUGE! I could fit my daughter’s entire cloth diaper stash in there if I wanted to! Woo hooo!!!

I immediately retired the smaller wet bag and went back and forth between the Bummis and my diaper pail sized wet bag.  I loved it so much that I didn’t wait to get another one.  The next week I had TWO large wet bags and finally I was able to do laundry every two days instead of every day.

I’ve been using only these two wet bags ever since.  They take turns hanging off the end of my changing table and holding the dirty diapers.  But there’s one problem—they don’t zip, and I like them to stay a little bit opened so I can put a dirty diaper in there one-handed so my daughter’s room occasionally stinks.  Mostly, I don’t notice it.  I’ll catch a whiff here and there and pull the drawstring tight to keep the smell inside.  I was in denial about the fact that my dirty diaper storage method just wasn’t working.

After writing a post here about dirty diaper storage, I decided I should follow my own advice.  My husband and I resolved to buy a diaper pail.  But it was Christmas time and we were buying so many other things that we just forgot as we became swept up in the holidays.  So, our daughter’s room continued to stink.

Last weekend, we remembered.  While doing our regular grocery shopping at the Super Walmart down the street, we stopped by the garbage pail section, and grabbed one—the kind that you can step on to make the lid pop up.  We brought it home and put the wet bags inside, pulling the elastic drawstring tightly around the top, and closing the lid securely.

My daughter is now 16 months old.  That is how long it took for us to resolve our dirty diaper storage.  Finally, a pristine, white diaper pail with just a bit of orange or green wet bag peeking out sits proudly next to her changing table.  Not only does it look lovely and more organized than our previous methods, but her room no longer smells when it’s time to do laundry.  I’m so pleased with this arrangement that I’m kicking myself for taking so long to find this perfect solution. If only I’d just registered for a normal diaper pail instead of a useless Diaper Genie!