So you’ve been suckered into the cloth diapering world. Congratulations, and say good bye to your money. But wait! Before you have a small heart attack at the cost of a single all-in-one name brand diaper, you might want to ask the question: Will I be buying my cloth diapers new, or used?
While you may assume you’ll be buying your cloth diapers new—after all, especially if this is your first child, you’re probably buying or being gifted mostly new baby items—there is actually a very large secondhand cloth diaper market (hint – the For Sale or Trade Forum here on DiaperSwappers is the best place to start!), if you know where to look. Used diapers can sound kind of icky at first, but let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
Used stuff sounds icky! Tell me about new cloth diapers.
The biggest advantage to a new cloth diaper is this: They are new. Well, DUH, you may be thinking, but it can be quite the advantage. You don’t have to wonder how old the diaper really is. You know it’s in perfect condition. If you plan to cloth diaper multiple children over several years, a new cloth diaper will usually last several years, while a used cloth diaper of unknown age might only last a few months before the elastic wears out or a snap breaks off. You will know exactly how all the stains on your diapers got there and why they’re weird colors. If your diaper has a defect, you should be able to either return it to the retailer you bought it from, or contact the manufacturer if it’s under warranty (and sometimes if it’s not!) and get a replacement. Basically, you know your diaper’s history! For people who might already be a little squeamish at the thought of using cloth diapers as opposed to disposables, knowing exactly what your cloth diapers have been through can make those people feel a little better.
New cloth diapers, however, can cost a pretty penny. This cost is mitigated over time—your cloth diaper stash may have cost $400, but buying disposables over several years might have cost $1500. However, that upfront cost of $400 may sound extreme and may not even be affordable for many people. Even a stash of cheap flat diapers and covers can cost around $100, and that can be a lot to spend all at once.
Another disadvantage, if you are just starting out with cloth diapers, is that you may not even like them! For many, many reasons, people often stop cloth diapering while their child is still in diapers, or end up only using cloth part time instead of full time like they’d planned. If you end up not using cloth diapers for whatever personal reason, you’ve just spent a good chunk of money learning that you don’t like cloth diapers. You can sell them to get some of your money back, but that takes effort and time that some busy parents simply don’t have. You may feel disappointed or even cheated.
My mortgage costs less than some of these diapers! Tell me about used cloth diapers.
Used cloth diapers? Why yes, there’s actually a sizeable used cloth diaper market on the internet, which you might have guessed as you are reading this article on the site called Diaperswappers.com.
Newborn diapers are often bought used. Since they are generally only used for a few weeks as newborns grow quickly, parents can often buy a gently used newborn stash for perhaps three-quarters the price of a new stash. This is a great advantage—you can buy diapers in excellent condition for a little cheaper than buying them new, AND they hold their resell value well so you will likely get a good portion of your money back by reselling them once your baby outgrows them.
Many used diapers go for fifty to maybe eighty percent of their retail value on the secondary market. For the same price as buying four new diapers, you might be able to get six instead. Those six might be lightly stained or have odd stitching, but if you care more about functionality than looks, you can often scoop up a great deal.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people list their very worn diapers for sale. These diapers may have many holes, rips, missing snaps or Velcro, etc. At first, you may wonder who would buy such diapers—but if you’re handy with a sewing machine, you may be able to repair those diapers and end up getting an amazing deal! If you are able to fix someone’s tattered diapers being sold for $3 each that were originally $20 retail with a little bit of work, you may feel as if you have hit the cloth diaper lottery!
Do you prefer to buy new or used cloth diapers?