Example: The Flats and Handwashing Challenge. (Thank you to One Rich Mother for the heads up!) I have purchased 20 flour sack towels (about 27"x28") for a grand total of ~$20, and I'm gearing up to do this challenge, May 23rd-30th. The goal of the experiment is to prove that poor families who struggle to afford disposable diapers for their babies can save money (and help the earth!) by using cloth diapers, even if they have no washing machine. And as I have proven above, a modest stash of flat diapers can be purchase new for about the same cost as 2 weeks worth of name-brand disposables. Covers are a different story, though...
The reason behind using flats is that they are the easiest to handwash, being only one layer of fabric (requiring less agitation than multi-layer diapers). Also, they are the easiest form of cloth diaper to come across, since all they are is a big square of cotton fabric, and anything from dish towels to t-shirts to receiving blankets can be used as such. Flannel receiving blankets, in fact, are typically 30"x30", which is the perfect size for a flat diaper, and such blankets are popular baby shower gifts that are practically useless after the first month or two of a baby's life. Therefore, they are cheap and easy to come by in thrift shops and garage sales (or a friend's attic ;)).
I am choosing to participate in this challenge to help contribute to the data collected to prove that cloth diapers are doable even on the tightest budget. Being poor is near and dear to my heart; I have been dirt broke multiple times in my adulthood, right now being one of those times (hubby is a full-time student, so our income consists of grants, loans, and other types of government assistance). I am thankful to already own a decent stash of CDs, and was even able to squeeze out the funds to purchase supplies for this challenge (and they weren't that much! I spent $30!).
I want to go to our local flea market and buy a washboard (~$10) to use during the challenge. I plan on using lye soap, too (which I already own). That way, I'm not only participating in the challenge, but I'm also getting to experience what it was like to wash diapers back in the pioneer days (an age with which I am thoroughly obsessed). :D I will be washing the dipes in my double kitchen sink with said washboard and lye soap. I'd originally planned to buy a washtub as well, in order to get the full pioneer experience, but then I realized that that would require hauling water, and...well...no thanks. :)
And now, I am going to go throw all my new "flats" into the washer (gasp!) for a prepping. :)