Shopping for Second Hand Cloth Diapers

Posted by  | Sunday, February 28, 2010  at 10:01 PM  
Welcome to our week of cloth diapering posts! To start us out, I asked my good friend Brooke to explain how she bargain shops for cloth diapers. Brooke lives in Virginia and is mom to Jack with another blessing on the way. Check out what she has to say!

I love Craigslist. Craig, wherever you are, you are a genius. I actually have Craig to thank for my very first cloth diaper purchase. I happened upon a posting for cloth diapers in my area, and was quite certain that I had hit the jackpot. This was early in my first pregnancy, and I had not conducted all (ok, any) of the research required to make an informed decision, but hey, there was a box of diapers on Craigslist! So I purchased this rare jewel with high expectations.

There were several different kinds of diapers in my box, and after struggling through huge prefolds and covers on my tiny preemie, I made my second, more informed, diaper purchase from Craigslist. At the time, I was working about two hours from my town, in a much bigger city, and I found the diapers there. Upon purchasing those wonderful dipes, I wondered if I could find diapers around the country (U.S.), and get people to ship them to me.

As it turns out, I could! I found that if I was willing to put in the time to search out good deals, I could save a ton of money, and get high quality diapers at the same time. I have bought and sold several thousand dollars worth of diapers, from all over the United States. Here's how I did it:

1. Go to Google Search and type in your favorite diaper brand.

2. Click "Advanced Search."

3. In the following six boxes, you can customize your search. For example, my favorite brand is Fuzzi Bunz, so my search looked like this: (you can click on the image below to make it bigger)

I've entered above:
all these words: bunz 2010
one or more of these words: fuzzi fuzzy fuzzie
any of these unwanted words: expired deleted

4. Change the "Results per page" box to 100 results (it just saves time).

5. Choose English in the "Language" box.

6. In the "Search within a site or domain" box, type

7. You can further refine your search by date by adding the year or numerical month or day in the first, "all these words" box. Since anything older than the past few months is likely to be an expired posting, this feature helps eliminate useless posts.

Here are a few tips and caveats.
• Since "Fuzzi" is often misspelled, I allowed the engine to search for either "fuzzi," "fuzzy," or "fuzzie."
• Sometimes adding more options reduces the results, so just play with it to get the results you desire.
• I enter “expired” and “deleted” in the “But don’t show pages that have any of these unwanted words” box to try to avoid posts that are expired or deleted.
• Now, I just searched the entire U.S. Craigslist with the words "fuzzi/fuzzy/fuzzie bunz." You can imagine that occasionally inappropriate material populates. Ignore anything that appears to be unrelated to cloth diapers. Trust me.
• Finally, bargain shopping is addictive. Cloth diapers are addictive. Together they are a very dangerous mix. Consider yourself warned.

Once I have located an appropriate target, I hone in for the kill. I never pay more than five dollars per diaper including at least one insert. Often you can get additional habiliments, such as wetbags (my personal favorite), liners, doublers, covers, snappis, etc., thrown in for free. To begin, I send an email asking if the diapers are still available. Once I receive affirmation, I send an email that says something similar to, "Oh, I am so excited that these are still available! I am committed to cloth diapering, but unfortunately, I cannot afford new diapers, and there is no market for used diapers in my area. Is there any way that you would be willing to ship them to me? I can either pay via PayPal, or I can mail you a check, which you can wait to clear, then send the diapers. Thank you so much!"

Most mamas, in my experience, are willing to ship; however, occasionally they just are not. I have both sent checks and paid via PayPal. I know it may seem scary to trust people to do the right thing, but I have found that it works wonderfully almost every time. Through numerous diaper transactions, I have only had a problem once. The way I see it, if someone is selling cloth diapers, she is probably a mother very similar to myself, and the last thing she is interested in doing is ripping off unsuspecting fellow cloth diaperers. In the vast expanse of Craigslist, the cloth diaper arena just doesn't seem like a hotbed of corruption and thievery.

That being said, if you embark upon this exploratory adventure, please be smart. Ask for pictures and descriptions (Elastic still tight?, PUL still waterproof?, Snaps all working?, Any stains?), and be specific. Once you have settled on the terms, send a confirmation email that states the quantity (both of diapers and inserts), condition, size, price, and anything else you deem important. This not only helps to avoid any miscommunications, but also provides a clear receipt of the transaction, should there be any issues.

Finally, expect to pay for shipping. The good, old United States Postal Service ( is usually the cheapest way to ship the diapers. There are several options for delivery that depend upon the size of the package and how quickly you need them. You can always try to negotiate to split the shipping costs, but I never let shipping stand in the way of a great deal. Be sure however, that it is still a great deal with shipping included.

There you have it, confessions of a curmudgeonly cloth diaperer. I am honored to be a guest blogger on this wonderful blog (thanks, Margaret!), and I sincerely hope that my ramblings will help some of you chase down some awesomely inexpensive dipes. Cloth diapering is so completely worth the time, effort, and yes, even smell, and in my opinion, the challenge of hunting down an incredible deal makes it even more exciting. So thanks, Craig, you have made my inner skinflint happy, and to all you mamas, happy hunting!


Deborah said...

I'm expecting my first child in August, and I intend to cloth diaper, but ... help, please! I don't know where to start. I'd like to buy a starter kit of some kind that includes multiple brands and types of cloth diapers, so I can figure out what works for me and my baby (once he or she arrives). All I've been able to find online are brand-specific sampler/starter packs. I'm willing to spend a little "too much" on a good, varied starter/sampler pack because I think it's worth it to know what works (I'll do more bargain shopping later). Any ideas?

Christina said...

I would recommend the trial kit from - it only costs $10!! It includes enough diapers for 12 changes and all the best brands! You'll get bumGenius, Fuzzi Bunz, Thirsties....and some more! Basically it costs 151.09 but you have 21 days to return what you don't want up to a full refund - minus $10 fee. Here are the details:

You can also use our categories on the right side bar to find older posts on cloth diapers. I think cloth diapers was one of the first things we discussed back in 2007!

Terra Jones said...

Freecycle is another great resource for cloth diapers- I've gotten a TON of diapers for FREE! You can't be picky (since it is FREE, lol) but we've got an overload of diapers for #3 ready just from that. And spreading the word - I've had quite a few friends who are done having children give us their stash (or atleast parts) just to get rid of them!

ChezDeshotels said...

As far as bargain cloth diapers my sister and I made all of our own we use AIO's all the time and fitted for night time we also made all of our inserts and wipes check this company out for the diaper making kits shipped to you

I would defintely suggest cloth dipaering it saves HUGE money and I can honestly tell you I have loved our cloth better than any brand I have found in disposable but on another side note we both use sposies when we travel and that in my opinion is te only way to go

Good luck with cloth!

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