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$50 Diaper Stash: Buying Materials

If you need to build a really cheap diaper stash- the first thing you need to do is source your materials. I highly recommend starting with your local thrift store. Bonus points if you can find one that gives back to the community you live in.

If you have a local thrift store, shop the sales. Check their Facebook page (if they have one) ahead of time, look for special sales that might be coming up and plan your visit accordingly. If you arrive at your local thrift store and see that there's a sale focused on a particular category of items (example: 50% off clothing), then you might want to put more emphasis on finding useful items in that category to help save some money.

Here's how I sourced my materials:

Late Saturday morning I had some time to run to the store while my husband watched the kids. I made a shopping list, and started for our community thrift store here in Craig.

I'm glad I made a list, because my mind immediately goes blank when I go in a thrift store. This was the list I made for myself:

Budget Center

- Fleece blankets or material

- Wool sweaters

- 100% cotton shirts

- 100% cotton pillowcases

- receiving blankets

- flannel material (?) for wipes

- flour sack towels

- towels for boosters(?)


- Fleece material

- Flour sack towels

I also made a second list next to the first one of how many inserts I would need material to make, what each material would be for, etc. in case I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for and needed to substitute something else.

Of course, these were just general guidelines. But, they helped keep me focused and stay on track with my budget.

Here are some tips for finding thrifted materials for your diaper stash:

Look for items that are 100% cotton - (for absorbency)

This is a really important one. Always look for 100% cotton if the material is going to be used as absorbency. Cotton is going to wash easier, and can be relied upon to absorb well.

Look for items in the same colors (either all dark or all light colors)

In the interests of washing your diaper stash in one load, it might be best to keep your materials in the same color category so nothing will end up looking dingy. If you end up with colors on both ends of the spectrum, you will likely need to do two separate loads of diaper laundry to keep everything looking nice.

Show appropriate "upcycling etiquette"

Try to find items for your stash that have either been there a long time (that usually means the discount tags) or are not likely to be a sought-after item for someone else. (Example: an expensive brand or beautiful shirt someone is likely to buy and wear.)

I personally look for items that are stained, have holes, etc. Things that thrift stores want gone and that no one else is likely to want.

Think outside the box

Cloth diapers are essentially just fabric like anything else. So, we're looking for items made of fabric. That's easy. Now we look for items that have the qualities we're looking for- cotton for absorbency, fleece for covers, etc. Lots of items fit that description. So don't box yourself in to just one type of item.

Hunt for ready-made cloth diapers

I never thought in a million years that I would find actual cloth diapers in my little community thrift store. I had been in there many times and never seen any. Then- I looked through a little wire basket partially hidden under a clothing rack- and I found quite a few cloth diapers mixed in with the underwear and socks! So, make sure you don't forget to at least try searching for some ready-made cloth diapers hiding out in a forgotten bin in your local thrift store.

What I bought

So after about an hour of searching, this is what I bought:

3 fleece blankets

3 cotton shirts

1 cotton-blend tablecloth

4 cotton placemats

6 pillowcases

3 fitted diapers

2 diaper covers

2 small receiving blankets

Next, it was on to Wal-Mart. Since I was able to find the majority of my stash materials at the thrift store, I didn't need much. Here's what I bought there:

1/2 yard of flannel material

2 yards of fleece material

10 pack of flour sack towels

Tip for buying fabric from Wal-Mart

Although it's definitely more convenient to buy the precut rolls of fleece fabric (or any fabric), you will actually save yourself quite a bit of money by just having an associate cut fabric for you from the bolt. In my case, I paid less for two yards of fleece cut in the store than one and a half yards cost precut. So if you have a fabric center in your local Wal-Mart, that's definitely the way to go.


So that brings us to the end of my material shopping adventure. Next, I'll be making some diapers from these items. I'll be updating the blog in a few days with more information about how I cleaned what I bought, what I'm making with it, and how.

Please leave a comment and share with someone that could use an affordable cloth diaper stash. It's my hope that this experience will give someone the help they need.

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