Monday, November 22, 2010

The Gateway Drug to Cloth Everything

A load of diaper laundry and the dude who kept me company while I folded it.
 
It all started with cloth diapers.  We started cloth diapering for the money savings.  I always love saving money.  I also loved not having to go to the store and get more diapers, or seek out deals.  I didn't love the laundry, of course, but I discovered that I didn't mind doing it and I wasn't grossed out by it.  In fact, the actual laundry part was not ever any more gross than the wiping of poopy butts I have to do any way (ironically, I'm writing this after changing my clothes and Squeak's, and then requiring a change of sheets on the bed all because of spit-up and poop.  Babies are gross.).  And the stink around the house was less than with disposables because a) breastmilk poop doesn't really stink much and b) the eventual solids poops were getting flushed immediately down the toilet - not going in a pail of any sort and c) I washed every couple of days, so nothing was ever sitting around long.

So then quickly followed cloth wipes.  I also found them easier  than disposables because I could just throw them in with the diaper laundry.  Plus more money savings.  Cha-ching!

As Bean got a little older and started getting colds and had the Toddler's Everlasting Snotty Nose, I started grabbing wipes instead of tissues.  They were always in my bag, I never ran out (at this point he was pooping less frequently, so I had more wipes than I needed for diapering), and it didn't make me nuts to have Bean grabbing handfuls of them like he he did with tissues (wastefulness like that is a pet peeve...).  So I stopped buying tissues and everyone started using wipes.  The lack of extra clutter in the form of garbage or packaging started to add up for me, mentally.

At some point in all this, during one of my de-cluttering sprees, I came across a bunch of t-shirts that weren't seeing any use.  They were freebies that were not our sizes, or old shirts too beat up to wear anymore.  So I cut them up and we use them as dish and cleaning rags (a note:  they're MUCH more sanitary than sponges because they are washed frequently instead of growing molds and fungi while they are perpetually wet!).

Recently, we purchased some simple but nice cloth napkins from Etsy to use when we have company for dinner, but we usually use the rags if it's just us.  We have a ridiculous number of rags in a huge bag under the kitchen sink.

The longer I've been a mom, the less grossed out I have gotten.  I still have a thing about the thought of parasitic worms (who doesn't?!?),  but other than that I don't think I'd be able to get through the day if much disgusted me.  I've eaten food out of someone else's mouth, wiped butts, worn puke, worn poop (twice.  And both times there was a disposable diaper involved!!!), and even figured out how to deal with someone peeing down a heat vent.  And, from what I can gather from other toddler moms, I've been lucky not to deal with "poop painting."  (That one might still gross me out...)

So, when my periods returned (a long time) after Bean was born, I started thinking about the cloth option there, too.  It had previously seemed odd and maybe a little icky to me.  But the more I researched "mama cloth"  (I actually kind of hate that term because their use and usefulness has nothing to do with being a mom), the more sense it made.  So, near the end of my pregnancy with Squeak, I finally invested in reusable cloth pads.

And as I was increasingly pregnant, my shrinking bladder grew my toilet paper habit to about a roll a day.  So I kept running out.  And there were cloth wipes within reach.  "Family cloth"  (again a term that seems strange to me) seems to be the next step.  Don't worry, I haven't really gone there.  Yet?

Looking forward, I'm starting to get excited for Squeak to outgrow his little cloth pre-folds, because they are going to make the most awesome "unpaper towels."  They're so absorbent, and they've got an awful lot of life left in them!

I obviously have a cloth habit here.  I need to learn to sew...

Unfortunately, that endeavor is at least a few years off!

I'm thinking I'll make this into a little series.  I'll elaborate in some future posts on each of these - what products I've tried, what has worked, laundry, problem-solving, etc.  I know that many of my friends do a lot of these things as well (and have found different solutions/products that work better for them), so I'm sure you'll be able to get answers to questions if you have them - or just get some ideas!

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