goals: refuse & move

It is a new year, and with that comes the obligatory list of resolutions, though I think of it more as goal-setting, which is something everyone can benefit from.  Setting goals is a great way to get organized, prioritize what is important, self-reflect, and manage your progress.

Here is my self-reflection: since having our first baby, I have become zero-lazy.  Gah, this is more like a confession!  Not that I completely neglected my plastic-free, zero-waste priorities, but I definitely could have done better.  I made the excuse that, with a new baby, I did not have the time to fully commit to the lifestyle.  This is a great time to re-focus myself because of two reasons:

  1. When I return to work it is going to be even more challenging, so I need to lay the groundwork now.
  2. I want to teach my child to be waste-less, and not wasteful.  I want her to understand environmental responsibility, and love every piece of the natural world.  If I don’t model these things, what will she learn?  And I need to own my passions, to show her how she can do the same.

Goals, ladies and gentlemen!  Measurable goals!  It was clear to me what my focus should be because, my friends, sometimes we have to acknowledge our own weaknesses.  As poopy as that may feel sometimes, it is the best way to grow.  My goals are based on my weaknesses in the last months:

REFUSE

Mhm!  I need to refuse more!  By that I mean refuse excess packaging, namely PLASTIC packaging #yourplasticsucks:

Do not accept freebies just to be polite (Canada, what have you taught me?!).  If your friends are doing it, it doesn’t mean you have to (who knew this could still apply at 30); i.e. no, thanks, I don’t want a coffee because I don’t have my mug with me (and yes, it does matter if it’s just the one time).  Refuse to backpack on other people’s garbage; i.e. my husband is not zero-waste, so I shouldn’t use his yogurt and pretend that is a waste-free act (cuz it ain’t!).

Refusing requires some discipline because it is so tempting to have that extra latte or if you see a tasty treat or some impulse-buy so attractively arranged on a shelf.  I stand by the fact that companies will not change their packaging ways until more of us say NAY NAY #leaveitontheshelf.  Practice your nay nay!

I need to measure this in some way, so starting in February, I will set weekly goals to forego plastic packaging.  If I plainly say “Refuse all packaging”, I would set myself up to fail.

So let’s say February 1 – 7: refuse any new plastic packaging (exception: medication, though I do not foresee myself needing any).

MOVE

And not indoor exercise, but move in nature.  Nature is a dear friend, and I do not visit her enough, even though she is very close by.  I want my child to have a relationship and connection with nature so she is more likely to make choices that will benefit the natural world instead of damage it.  I want her to see a flower and stop to look at it, but not feel the need to pick and take it.  I want her to understand the wrong when she sees garbage on the forest floor, or plastic waste on a beach.  So I need to model these things and involve her.

So let’s say January 22 – 29: spend time outside every day for at least ten minutes (exception: if it’s colder than -10, I’d rather not expose baby skin to harsh temperatures.  Also, if we are still ill, pick and choose days based on weather conditions, as we are just experiencing our first seasonal illness).  Bonus: take a bag with you and pick up garbage.

Those are my starting blocks!  Updates to follow…

My fellow eco-warriors, have you set any goals for this year?  Share them!

And here pictures of trash where it shouldn’t be – in nature.

 

Advertisements

I need to talk about cloth diapers just ONE more time…

IMG_0044

And not just about the detrimental environmental effects of our obsessive overuse of plastic diapers!  I want to talk simply use and economic stand point and I’d honestly like to know…what is keeping consumers attached to these things?!

Why am I bringing this up again?  Because I just spent three weeks overseas for the holidays with my little one, introducing her to her German roots, and during this time I had to use disposables.  And boy, oh, boy, am I happy to be going back to the land of fluffybuttness!

Why I hate plastic diapers so much (just this once disregarding the environmental impacts…but before I do…omg they’re so bad for the environment…OK done, now to my outrage):

Price:

HELLO!  Plastic diapers and wipes are expensive!  Let’s say you are buying a pack of 80 diapers, which costs approximately $25.  You will need 6 or more diapers per day, so one pack will last you approximately 14 days.  You will have to buy about two packs a month, 24 packs a year, which costs approximately $600.  I am guessing one would diaper for about two years, so that’s $1200 roughly for over 4000 plastic crap bags…for ONE baby.

If one uses plastic diapers, one probably uses wipes, and believe you me – with those flimsy things you are going to use more than one wipe in one diaper change, namely when there is a poopsplosion.  So let’s say you buy a pack of 100 wipes that costs approximately $3.  You will need roughly 12 wipes a day, so one pack will last you about 8 days.  You will have to buy about 4 packs a month, 48 packs a year, which would cost approximately $140.  I am guessing one would use wipes as long as they use diapers, so let’s say two years, which would be $280 roughly for over 8000 flimsy butt wipes.

Wipe warmers (a useless invention) can cost upwards of $20.

You are looking at at least $1500 for diapers, wipes, and maybe a wipe warmer, for about two years of baby’s start in life.

Let’s compare, shall we:

Cost for my set of cloth diapers: $72.  Cost for extra inserts? $12.  Wet-bag for storing and washing: upwards of $20.  Total cost for diapers for at least two years: approximately $100 (with possible purchases of extra diapers or elastic changes, which could still keep you under $150).  Reuse for next baby.

For my wipes I use washcloths and a diy solution of Castile soap, coconut oil, and water. Washcloths: $12.  Castile soap: $18.  Coconut oil: ~ $12.  Wipes cost: approximately $100 for two years.  I mostly use one washcloth per change, sometimes two depending on the catastrophe.  Reuse washcloths for next baby.  My “biggest” cost here is to continue to use Castile soap and coconut oil for the wipe solution, which go a long way since you are using a minimal amount.

Approximate cost to cloth diaper for two years: $200.  Kind of a no-brainer…?

Ease of use:

Now that our little one is becoming more mobile, she is getting squirmy on the change table.  It can be very tricky to place a diaper on such a squirmy wormy!  I have to say, having used both plastic and cloth, that cloth diapers are way easier to put on.  They don’t slide as much with baby wiggles, do not get crinkled up, and are quicker to snap or stick into place.

Not just for my ease of use, but also for baby to use these was not great.  Whatever was in the wipes I tried (also tried different brands here), gave her skin a rash, and the lack of airflow in plastic diapers did not help.

Reliability:

I am writing this post mostly because of the amount of poopsplosions I have had with plastic diapers over the last three weeks.  So frustrating!  I used multiple brands (Huggies, Pampers Baby Dry, Pampers Swaddlers, and a generic brand) and they all had the same problem: either it would blow out the leg, or blow out the back, which gets to be pretty upsetting when you are on an airplane and go through THREE outfits and one blanket (and you know how tiny those bathrooms and change “tables” – it’s a LEDGE – are).

These things are pretty foolproof to put on as well, but no matter how the diaper sat or how I adjusted it, it was just one mess after another.  Stress comes with traveling with a child or children, so not being able to rely on these diapers really made it worse.  I will note that I would not use cloth diapers during air travel just because of the lack of storing and washing capabilities.  However, the messes did not just occur during the air travel – it was just more stressful then.

I will not say that cloth diapers NEVER leak.  We had pee leaks when baby’s legs were still quite skinny because we did not purchase cloth for newborns.  However, the messes were rare.

So finally I am at home again, back in the land of cloth diapers where everything makes sense.

Conclusion:

CLOTH DIAPERS FOR THE WIN!

a diy or zero holiday season

Christmas is on the way; some of my Facebook friends have been reminding me of this fact since, oh, I don’t know, JUNE.  It is a special time of year for my family (though I really don’t like to think about it until it’s actually close…like December…23rd..).

Twenty two years ago we immigrated to Canada, and every year for Christmas we have returned home to Germany to celebrate with our family.  There are certain traditions that we follow each year too; I’m not sure if they are so much traditions as they are that my family feels the need to do the same thing over and over again.  But it has become part of Christmas and it wouldn’t feel right without it.

When we arrive at my grandparents’ house, it is already mostly decorated.  There is a candle pyramid in the window, Poinsettias on the window sills, and window stencils in the shapes of stars and snowmen.  There is a lit-up shooting star in the dining room window, and a lit-up paper star in the living room.  There is a beautiful glass ornament hanging from a glass stand.  The Advent wreath is on the dining room table, with some of the candles already shrinking depending on what day we arrive.

We go buy a Christmas tree.  We never chop down our own because we have always just gone to purchase one with our grandparents, and if they aren’t going to wield an axe, then neither are we!  For many years we would carry the tree home, our Opa on one end, directing us where to go, and my sister and I complaining about the pokey needles at the other end.

We spend an afternoon struggling with the tangled lights, and then decorating the tree with ornaments that my Oma has saved for decades.  It always seems mega stressful, but when the tree is finished it really looks and feels like Christmas.  In the new year, we take the ornaments off carefully and put them back in their boxes for next time.

We visit Christmas markets.  Not to buy things, but just to get that festive feel, take in the lights, sounds, smells, and walk the golden decorated city while hearing Christmas music from street performers or ringing out of speakers.  There are mountain-cabin like huts set up all around the city, and we always stop at one that serves all the wonderful hot beverages of the season: hot chocolate (plain or with various shots), and mulled wine.  These are served in REAL mugs; there is a deposit on them, which you get back so they can be washed and used again.

The radio stations never stop playing Wham!’s “Last Christmas”.  Ever.  And at home, we play Christmas records on my grandparents’ old record player to get us into the festive spirit.

Christmas Eve we get dressed up and eat a meal together.

That is what Christmas has been about for decades.  Yes, it is on repeat every year, but it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without all of these things, but mostly the time we get to spend with our family; since an ocean separates us, we cherish those days.

It was never about presents.  Presents were always a by-product of our Christmas traditions.  But since my lifestyle has changed, so has my view on material gifts.  I have tried to convince my family on a no-gift Christmas, but some members have been relatively reluctant (AHEMsiblingAHEM).  I understand the feeling of giving a gift to someone, watching them open it, and living their reaction.  It is a special moment, yes, but it is not exclusive to Christmas.  Christmas, to me, is all those other things.

Now a lot of my family members have agreed that presents are relatively redundant, so our agreement has been to go and do something special, or to simply enjoy each other.  Last year instead of gifts with my aunt and her family, we watched “Rock The Ballet”.  Instead of things, my mom made us some really yummy treats.  I gave some DIY gifts that were really well received, like a mint sugar scrub, and lip balm.

So instead of material gifts, make Christmas into what it should be about: being together, and creating lasting memories and traditions.  Or think deeper about your gifts; make something for someone, or give them an experience gift:

  • spice mixes in little jars that can be reused
  • “Gifts in a Jar”; there are also endless cookie versions on Pinterest
  • something knitted or sewn or crafted by you
  • diy bath products, like lotion, lip balm, or scrubs
  • food gifts
  • any experience gifts: yoga classes, movie or theater tickets, spa certificates, or get cheesy and old school and make your own COUPONS so the person you are gifting gets to spend time doing something awesome with one of their favourite people: YOU!  Or offer to clean their bathroom or something… My sister totally did that once and I LOVED IT.  Acts of Service can be a gift!

Happy Winter to all, no matter what your traditions.  Feel free to share some of your favourite traditions, or ways you gift or non-gift!

it’s not a minimalist wardrobe, BUT…

IMG_0388

No, I did not tidy it for you!

Throughout my life my father has bragged about owning, and still wearing, most of the same clothes he wore thirty plus years ago.  When he told us this as teenagers, my sister and I would roll our eyes and suggest he buy new ones.  Sure, they may not be the most fashionable items (at least they’re not bell-bottoms), but he has made them last and I never really appreciated that until changing my own mind about the fashion industry and consumerism in general.

About ten years ago I had a true shopping problem.  I’m sure it was related to other stresses I was experiencing, but either way, I took “retail therapy” to a clinical degree!  I don’t think I ever realized how bad it was until I moved out of the big city and out of my little apartment on the 9th floor.  My dad was there to pick me up with his truck, and all I could take with me was whatever fit into the box of his truck.  So I had to narrow down the essentials.  Do I keep my furniture?  Or do I keep my X number of shoes?

I ended up donating at least four large garbage bags full of clothes and shoes.  All that money spent on supporting such a wasteful industry, and I don’t even remember the items I gave away.  Fast fashion.  I supported that for sure.

I look at my closet now and it certainly is no minimalist wardrobe.  I do not do the “capsule wardrobe”.  But I can say with certainty that I wear every single piece of clothing in my closet.  I wear the shit out of my clothes!  There is no point to narrow down my clothes to a minimalist wardrobe now and send the rest off to second hand stores where they land in a mountain of clothing (I’ve seen the mountain!), never to be worn by anyone ever and probably eventually being shipped off to *GASP* the landfill?!
*or perhaps even getting burned in Sweden?

I respect my clothes and the environment too much to send them to the ‘fill.  Someone made those clothes.  Resources went into making those clothes.  I honestly can’t even believe that some people buy a top, wear it once, and then get rid of it!

So, perhaps like my dad, I will wear my clothes until I can no longer.  I’m no seamstress, but I have friends that are adept at sewing and mending, so I look to them when my clothes need a little TLC or altering.  I want to make the clothes I have last as long as possible; maybe not like my dad for more than 30 years, but as long as possible!

So what do you do when your sweater has a tear?  I can fix small holes by myself, but there were two items that had been sitting in my closet forever that I never wore; one a tunic that I didn’t like the shape of as a tunic, and the other a beautiful long floral skirt that left me gasping for air because it was so tight.  I contacted my adept sewing friend and she transformed the tunic into a cute skirt, and altered the long one so I could breathe.  Two pieces that can now function for me again.

And if there are things I do not wear anymore that just take up space and that I do not want to chance their fate at second hand shops…then I can:

  • give them to friends
  • give them to a women’s resource center
  • take part in a clothing swap
  • mend or alter them to make them into something I will wear again
  • take the piece apart and use the fabric for something else
  • if all else fails… here’s a new rag!

Let’s love our clothes and shop consciously.  Let’s opt for timeless pieces vs. fast fashion.

How do you love your clothes?

Blogger Recognition Award

blogger-recognition-award-badge

Recently The Zero Journey was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award, which is not only AWESOME, but it is also a great way to recognize other people’s written work, validate their passions, and share their journey.  I love the online community that I am a part of because global eco-warriors not only inspire me, but also let me know that there is hope!  We give a shit!

A big smile and thank you to Yen-Van Tran from Design Life Hacks for the nomination!

How my blog started:

In 2013 I was given the opportunity to take on a project with the non-profit environmental organization, Wildsight.  As part of their waste reduction efforts, I came across the Clean Bin Project documentary.  One simple film based on a couple living in Vancouver (fellow ginger – what up!) who challenged themselves to create less waste created a snowball effect for me.

I began analyzing my waste habits and thought about where I could start to create less waste.  I started with my kitchen bin because organic waste made up so much of my weekly garbage!  Along came my soulmate: the compost bin.  That was my first big change and then I just kept on changing things along the way.

Cloth bags at the store, reusable water bottles and coffee mugs, buying bulk with my own containers, and all sorts of DIY projects… it just kept going.  I kept wanting to challenge myself to do better.  I knew there was still more I could do.

I also love to write.  It has been my passion from a young age.  Since I was inspired by a couple in Vancouver through film, I wanted to inspire others to change through writing.  So that’s basically it.  I started a blog to reach a bigger community, to spread environmental awareness, to share my writing and my journey, and to seek further inspiration because the educator in me knows there is always room for improvement!

Two pieces of advice for starting your blog:

  1. Find your online tribe.  There are thousands, if not millions, of people out there who share your passions and your vision for the world.  Find them!  This has been such a huge motivation for me, and also gives me ideas for content and other helpful hints.  Like I said – they let me know there is hope!  Support each other.  My tribe?  The Zero Waste Bloggers Network.
  2. Write in your own voice.  I like reading work that has personality.  When I can hear the blogger’s voice as I read their work, I connect much more with what I am reading and it makes me want to continue to follow their work.

My nominees and favourite bloggers:

When you are nominated, there are a few steps that you need to take to accept the award nomination.  These are the guidelines:

  1. Write a post about your award

  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started

  4. Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers

  5. Select up to 15 other bloggers to nominate

  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

Nadine

The Zero Journey

A Plastic Ocean

The sky is a hazy gray outside and the sun is still at least an hour away from rising, so the world has not found its colour yet.  The houses are covered in a blanket of snow, the trees are frosted, and if I could see the mountains I’m sure they would have white, speckled peaks.  I’m sitting at the desk in my office with a thick knitted sweater on and the hood pulled over my head.  It’s cold in here.  My cat has just come in and is scratching at the carpet while the baby sleeps in the next room.  The furnace has finally just kicked on and is blowing hot air at my feet.  My coffee is still hot.

Last night as I fed the baby I watched the documentary A Plastic Ocean.

This morning as I fed the baby I read a post by Lindsay from Treading my Own Path about Plastic-Free Living.

Plastic free living…  I think it is probably impossible, but our habits need to change.  A Plastic Ocean left me far from hopeful.  Our plastic obsession is far worse than you can imagine or than you let yourself believe.  In the farthest reaches of the ocean, you will find plastic.  On the most remote islands, you will find plastic.  The smallest creatures in the ocean have plastic in their system.  Seabirds have stomachs full of microplastics.  Whales have ingested plastic that block their digestive system and kills them.

The images of nature being consumed by plastic is disturbing.  What have we done?  This is our fault.  And why was I so late to see it?  I only started living consciously four years ago after watching the Clean Bin Project.  But that was 2013.  What about all the years before that?  I have accumulated my share of plastic and put my fair share of plastic into our waterways and the earth.  For some reason I was never fully aware of the problem.

And now…?  Well, we have been obsessed with plastic since single-use plastics were championed like crazy in the 40s.  We see how detrimental plastic is to our natural world and our own health; do some research into remote villages on islands that began importing food goods.  Where are they to go with all the packaging?  They literally have built their houses on piles of plastic trash.  Then listen to their health stories.

We know plastic is unhealthy for us.  It’s made from oil and chemicals and all sorts of unpronounceable components.  Yet it is the main material for wrapping our food?  Packaging and distributing our water?  We have put convenience ahead of health.

Even sitting in this office right now I know that I am not living plastic-free as much as I wish.  The gray sky I see?  I see it through a plastic framed window.  The houses across the street?  Plastic is a major construction material; what do you think the material comes packaged in?  The chair I sit on?  Is leather, but the arms and legs are plastic.  The sweater I am wearing?  It’s only 60% cotton and 40% acrylic.  The carpet my cat is scratching?  It is probably synthetic and if I peeled it off the ground, what kind of plastics do you think I would find?

The scissors are plastic.  The marker is plastic.  My printer is plastic.  This laptop is plastic.  I just got a text from a friend who got a new phone – that’s plastic.

My point is our plastic use may not ever stop completely, but we can halt our single-use plastics.  We can do a lot to just REFUSE single-use plastics, DEMAND that other material be used, and PUSH our government to classify plastic as hazardous.  Because it is.  And guaranteed it is in our waterways.  Guaranteed it is in our earth.  Guaranteed you are ingesting it.  Guaranteed it is causing health problems.

Practice disciplining yourself to REFUSE.  Plastic drink bottles, straws, bags at the store, to-go cups, Styrofoam take-out containers, cling-wrap, quick snacks in plastic packaging.  You don’t need any of those things.  Refuse them.  And tell the company who makes them that you will no longer purchase from them until they change.  If more of us would say NO, companies will have to change.  If more of us would stop treating plastic like a disposable item, less would damage our natural world.  What is stopping you?

Fortunately, we have activists.  Fortunately, we have people that care.  Fortunately, these people create awareness campaigns that may inspire others to take action, or at least to change their own habits; i.e. Take 3 for the Sea, All At Once, Plastic Oceans, Surfrider, and 5Gyres to name a few.  Thank you to them!  Thank you to you if you have changed even one plastic habit this year!

A Plastic Ocean showed us the severity of the problem.

So what are you going to do about it?  Will you choose to help or to harm?

cloth diapering

IMG_0044

My pre-pregnancy self thought, “I will cloth diaper!  Most def!”  The reality was that we were far too overwhelmed becoming new parents and did not pre-prep a diaper system to start with our newborn.  It was easier, and yes, more convenient to use disposables until about week 2 or 3.  I did not feel good about it, but as I said before, that was what we needed to do at that time to bump our mental well-being.

I was excited to start cloth diapering though.  I had done so much research about different types of covers, brands, and types of inserts.  I had viewed videos on reviews and fitting and fixing elastics.  I had read FB articles on how to strip and blah blah blah BLAH.  Turns out… it is really not as difficult as I started to believe.  There is just an overwhelming amount of information and opinions out there on cloth diapering… oh, and look at me just adding one more blip!

I stand by the fact that YOU, the parent, need to do what is best for YOU and YOUR baby.  What works for me may not work for you.  I think most of the time the best thing to do is just stop and slowly back away from all that information!  Figure it out on your own.  Although I have to say Anna from made right (here) gave me some awesome tips on cloth diapering.  Momma friends are also a great resource.

My blee blah pieces of advice:

  1. buy second hand cloth diapers; save sooo many dollars
  2. get a collection of various brands to see which fit your bubbah best
  3. also get a collection of various inserts
  4. make peace with doing diaper laundry every other day, depending on your system
  5. once done laundering, pre-stuff your diapers for ease at change time

Second hand cloth diapers:

I found all of my cloth diapers (but one) on mom buy & swap pages on Facebook in my local region.  I got one lot for very cheap, and the other lot generously given to me for free.  I feel fine having my baby reuse another baby’s diapers.  Most of the inserts were in good condition – those that weren’t got tossed.  Ask around.  Share them diapers!

Various brands:

I was fortunate with my diaper lots because they included a variety of brands: bumGenius, SwaddleBees, Beilesen, AMP, Charlie Banana, Applecheeks, gDiaper, and a generic brand called Sweet Doll Baby.  I also bought myself one new cover and inserts from Kawaii.

bumGenius: I have both snaps and Velcro.  We had a few leaks with them in the beginning because baby was just not big enough (we did not get newborn sized diapers), but we doubled up on inserts and it mostly fixed the problem.  Now they fit well.  Do not use diaper rash cream with this brand.  It says so right on the tag, which I read after the fact.  I’m not sure what exactly it does, but the fabric did get a little ruined.

SwaddleBees: There was only one of these in the lot, so I am not sure if they are all made the same.  I found the fabric on the inside to stain very easily and it does not fully come out in the wash like the others.  I would not pass this diaper on to another person.  Fit was OK, but I had to use the thin liners to double, as it did not fit the others.

Beilesen: One size my butt!  They fit well in the beginning, but now are too small, no matter which snap adjustments I make.  And my baby is only three months old and is an average sized baby.  Not sure what’s up with that.

AMP: Again, one size my butt!  Opposite of Beilesen, this diaper was way too big in the beginning and is still too large now.  The Velcro strips also do not cross over to stick to each other, so there is no way to get a snug enough fit until baby is older/bigger.

Charlie Banana: Fits nicely and snuggly and is not bulky like others.  I like the diaper, though I have to use thinner liners because it is too small to fit the bigger ones.

Applecheeks: Oh, these are cute prints, but I was disappointed with these ones despite having heard great things from friends.  They fit okay, but we had leaks every single time.  I tried various combinations of liners, or just single liners, and still we had leaks.  I gave up with these ones *sad face*.

gDiaper: Okay, these are supposed to be a hybrid between a disposable and a cloth diaper.  They have biodegradable inserts that you stick inside a cloth cover.  Sorry, but I have to say…NAH.  These diapers did NOT work for me at all.  Leaks, explosions everywhere.  Liners bunched, blah blah, NEXT.

Sweet Doll Baby: This is a generic brand, and have been my favourite.  They wash well, fit nicely, and I have had the least amount of nighttime leaks with them.

Kawaii: I decided to try this brand because I had not heard of it and it’s Canadian.  This is the only one I bought new – fun print too!  It fits nicely, washes well, and is not that bulky.

IMG_0221

Pictured: SwaddleBees, bumGenius, Sweet Doll Baby, Beilesen, AMP, AppleCheeks

Various inserts:

I have collected inserts of various materials and sizes.  I have cotton, bamboo, hemp, and microfiber.  I also have long ones, short ones, some as big as your head!  I mean long, short, trifolds, and snap adjustable ones that can be long or short.  I combine these in different ways.  I would say the short cotton ones are my favourite, and the microfibers my least favourite.  I like the bamboo ones, but they sometimes bunch, versus the others keeping their shape.

IMG_0220

Pictured: adjustable, bamboo long, snap-ins, cotton long, cotton short

Laundry:

Special detergent?  Unnecessary.  Diaper stripping?  Didn’t do it.  Extra special stain remover?  I have only used once on the SwaddleBees, which didn’t do what I needed it to anyway.  I wash on hot with a pre-soak and use my normal detergent without perfumes, etc.  Seems to be working so far.

Pre-stuff your diapers:

Yeah, do this.  Watch a show on TV or something and stuff them diapers.

I also do not use single-use wipes unless we are out for a longer period of time and need to change baby on the go.  These are wasteful things and are super easy to make.  I found this recipe and use a stack of normal washcloths with them.  Baby’s skin likes it and it is far less wasteful than the normal store-bought wipes.

What’s your diaper system like?  What worked and what did not?  Do you swear by a brand?