Switching to Family Cloth (aka reusable cloth wipes)

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I’ve been using family cloth for about a year now. If you told me two years ago that future me would go full blown hippy and start using cloth wipes instead of toilet paper I wouldn’t have believed you. The truth is, I didn’t make the switch for the reasons you would think. I didn’t do it because it’s more environmental friendly (sorry), I didn’t do it prove anything to anyone or to fit into a particular stereotype, and I didn’t do it to because other cool bloggers said I should. Hah. I did it almost out of necessity. Almost.

Because of my IBS, I would find myself running to the restroom 5-10 times a day, depending on how reactive my stomach was. This led to the problem of going through crazy amounts of toilet paper. Buying toilet paper for the house became my particular responsibility since I was the reason we were out all the time. And let me tell you, buying a large bundle of toilet paper every other week was getting expensive and really really annoying. Along with the expense, I was also having issues with really irritated skin. I decided to switch to wet wipes to which my husband immediately got on my case about due to the damage it makes to the plumbing. I knew this of course but I honestly didn’t really care. Sorry, not sorry, I was desperate. I jumped on google to try to find biodegradable wet wipes which would be much better for plumbing (I think) when I came across the term “family cloth”.

Family cloth are essentially cloth wipes that you use instead of toilet paper. You wash/dry them and they will last for years. 

What do I need to get started?

Clean Storage: I use a discrete wicker box with a lid that sits next to my toilet. I store 24 wipes in there at a time which lasts through the week. Your storage can be anything; it can be a drawer in your bathroom or you can even just leave a stack on the toilets tank. It’s up to you. 

Dirty Storage: You need a place to store your dirty wipes. I use a wet bag that hangs on my toilet roll hanger. It has a waterproof layer so you won’t get any leakage. The soiled wipes are in the bag for no longer then a week so I’ve never had any issues with odor. If you wait longer to wash them then you might have a problem with your bathroom stinking up. Etsy has some really cute wetbags but if you don’t want to use a wetbag then your other option is a small trashcan with a reusable liner. 

Wipes: You can either buy your wipes or make them. I personally use flannel and birdseye cotton wipes but your fabric choice is 100% up to you. I would recommend trying an assortment of fabrics to see which you like better. My other suggestion is that you use a thin fabric. I’ve found that my birdseye cotton wipes are just too thick and rough so I don’t recommend them. I bought my wipes at Green Mountain Diapers and I suggest you try out their sampler pack. It should give you a good idea of which fabric will work best for you. 

For my Lichen Sclerosus peeps, I recommend you use a soft, non-dyed, natural fabric (like flannel) and blot instead of wipe when going #1 to reduce the friction/damage to your skin.

So how do I use them?

You use them like you would use toilet paper except instead of throwing the wipes in the toilet, you put them in the wetbag. My wet bag, pictured here, can fit all my wet wipes if needed. Everyone is different but I like to use my flannel wipes as wet wipes (I just run it under the faucet) and my birdseye cotton wipes as dry wipes.   

How do I clean them?

Cleaning your cloth wipes is simple. I run my 24 wipes through the wash, twice, on my lowest capacity setting. I wash twice because my washer only uses cold water at the moment (it’s a long story) and I want to make sure the washer really gets them clean. You only need to run them through once if you use hot water. You don’t need to use a special detergent. I use Tide free and clear for both washes and it gets the job done. You can either dry them in the dryer or hang dry. I like to hang dry because it dries faster outside here in San Diego and the sun dulls the stains.

I wash my wetbag with my wipes every other week. The wetbag must be hung up to dry becuase the dryer might melt the waterproof PUL fabric. 

How do I get rid of the stains?

Run them through the wash like you always do, then soak them in oxiclean or super washing soda until the stains are gone. I like to use super washing soda because it simply uses less chemicals. Once the stains are gone you can either run the wipes through the wash again or rinse them out by hand. I personally don’t bother with the stains since I’m the only one who ever sees them.

So that’s everything that I can think of when it comes to family cloth. I will update this post as I continue using my cloth wipes and if I find a brand that I LOVE I will be sure to share it with you. Please post any questions you have in the comment section!!!    

 

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How to Install a Raised Garden Irrigation System (with pictures)

I probably wouldn’t be able to keep a single plant alive if I didn’t have an irrigation system that automatically watered them. I’m awful at remembering to water plants, everything would just die. I set out a day on the weekend to buy supplies and install my system at home. Being pregnant, it took much longer than it has in the past but I was still able to get it done in a day…with a bunch of breaks and a nice little mid-day nap.

When you head to your local home improvement store to pick up your supplies don’t bother looking through your garden section. I spent a good amount of time wandering until an employee directed me in the right direction.  The things things you need will be in the plumbing section. 

What you need


  • Drip irrigation timer of your choice that attaches to your outdoor water faucet  
  • 5/8-in Polyethylene Drip Irrigation Male Adapter
  • 5/8-in Polypropylene Drip Irrigation tubing- not the one with pre-drilled holes
  • 5/8-in Polypropylene Drip Irrigation End Cap
  • 5/8-in elbows- get as many as your set up needs and then get a few extra
  • 5/8-in tubing stakes
  • 1/4-in Polypropylene Drip Irrigation tubing
  • Scissors that can cut the tubing 
  • 1/4-in Drip irrigation connectors- you should have a good idea of the design of your system before you know which ones to buy
  • Drippers or soaker hose-which ones you get depend on the set up of your garden
  • Tube Hole punch

OPTIONAL:

  • Raindrip Drip Irrigation Repair Kit
    • This is a great option if you really have no idea what you need. It comes with all sorts or drippers and connectors plus it comes with a hole punch. 

NOTE:

  • The kind of dripper you need depends on what plants are in your garden. I chose generic adjustable-spray drip irrigation multi-stream dripper with stakes because they were cheapest.  They are basically mini sprinklers on stakes. Any extra drippers I needed came in the repair kit above.
  • Now that my system is set up I wish I had bought at least one short soaker hose. I’m not a huge fan of the soaker hose because you end up watering places that don’t need watering but I have a row of onions that aren’t liking being sprayed with water. 
  • I recommend buying supplies in-store. Most of the things online come in bulk and, for the most part, you only need one of each item.  

Assembly


From the Faucet to the Garden Bed:

  1. Start with the timer. Attach it to the outdoor faucet and make sure it clears the ground. My house is an old house so I had some issues with this. If you need to, dig a hole so that you have enough room for the male adapter, and the elbow, to be attached. You may not need the elbow if your faucet is high off the ground but otherwise your hose will kink and weaken if you don’t use it.  
  2. Attach the male adapter to one end of the 5/8-in tubing. It will take some muscle. I found that a back and forth motion is more efficient than a twisting motion. Then, attach the adapter to the timer and measure how much tubing you need for it to reach the ground. If you want to bury the tubing for aesthetic reasons make sure to give yourself some extra tubing.
  3. Now that you know how much tubing you need for it to reach the ground, go ahead and cut the tube at the desired location. Unscrew the male adapter from the timer and then attach the 5/8-in elbow. Notice, I cut my tubing very short because my timer is very close to the ground. 
  4. Attach 5/8-in tubing to the other side of the elbow and re-screw the male adapter to the timer. Now, run the tubing all the way to your garden bed.
  5. You have a few options here:
    1. You can simply have you tubing hang off the side of the garden bed
    2. You can attach elbows to the tubing so instead of the tubing hanging off the side of the garden bed, it sits a little bit neater. This is the method I chose.    
    3. You can drill a hole into the side of your garden bed and fish the tubing through that.

From One End of the Garden Bed to the Other:

The irrigation system in your actual garden bed is going to vary from garden to garden. It is entirely based on preference, the shape of you garden bed, and the orientation of your plants. 

  1. First orient how you want your 5/8-in tubing to sit in your garden bed. I chose to have mine run down the middle and I used elbows to make clean 90 degree turns when I needed it. You don’t have to use elbows but you will find that it is hard to make a stiff 5/8-in tube do what you want. 
  2. Stake down your tubing with the 5/8-in tubing stakes. You may need to use rocks or a few heavy objects for a few days while the tube straightens out. 
  3. Once you have everything staked, cut the end of the tubing where you want your irrigation to end. Attach the 5/8-in end cap.
  4. Take your hole punch and make a hole in the 5/8-in tubing where you want to insert a dripper. TIP: Don’t make my mistake; don’t try to hole punch the tube after it has been sitting in the hot sun for a few hours. The heat will make the tube too malleable and it will be really difficult to make a hole. Instead, do this when the tube is cool and stiff. It also helps to place a rock under the tube for a hard surface to work on. 
  5. Attach a 1/4-in coupling into your new hole and attach the 1/4-in tube to the coupling. Note: In the photo I use barbed Tees.
  6. Attach your chosen dripper to the 1/4-in tubing and place it in your desired location.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 throughout your garden bed.
  8. Once everything is attached, set your timer system to water the plants manually and then adjust the drippers as needed. And your done!

Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions, or it you need me to further explain a particular step! My system is and always will be a work in progress. Since writing this post I have already replaced a few of the drippers, added a couple extra lines, and this weekend I’ll be buying a few soaker hoses for the sunflower, leek, and carrot seeds that I recently planted.   

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Green Mountain Diapers Unboxing

I have known I wanted to cloth diaper my children way before I even began seriously thinking about actually having kids. I had used cloth menstrual pads for some time so it seemed like a logical step forward. Once I hit 12 weeks in my pregnancy I gave myself the go ahead to purchase my very first baby related item; cloth diapers! Let’s start with the unboxing!

The package. 

I ordered my diapers from Green Mountain Diapers. I’ve heard only good things about the company so I felt confident that the products were going to be high quality and I wasn’t disappointed. 

My package came in over the weekend and I just got around to opening it this morning. I was really surprised that they were able to get so much in such a small bag. Kudos to them for reducing packaging materials.  

Here we go. The contents!

I ordered:

  • a dozen,”newborn”, non-bleached Cloth-eez prefold  diapers
  • Thirsties duo wrap cover with snaps, size 1
  • an organic Cloth-eez workhorse fitted diaper, newborn size
  • Snappi diaper fasteners
  • a free set of diaper safety pins

I also got a quick start guide that I admittedly didn’t read and is now 100% lost. So I really can’t tell you what was on it. My bad. 

First out of the bag are the prefolds. 

With the GMD, the size of the prefolds determines the color of the stitching and because this is a newborn size, the stitching here is orange. A quick note about the stitching: it’s solid. I imagine these prefolds last a long time. 

Here’s a view if the flip side of the tag. 

Alright. The rest of the contents came in a separate plastic bag. 

The closures; one set of snappis, by snappi baby and a set of pins, which came free. 

The workhorse diaper is so. freaking. cute. The fabric is so soft. They use the same concept with the stitching as with the prefolds; orange stitching to differentiate the size, this one being a newborn size. It comes with multiple snaps to better fit baby. 

Better view of the snaps. Don’t ask me what the one backwards snap is all about, I have no idea. Maybe for a tighter fit? 

Here a a view of the inside. 

And a back view. 

Ekkk! I love these. They are adorable. These are the Thirsties dup wrap cover with snaps…the cactus print, of course. 

Here is a better view of all the snaps. This is a size 1 so it should fit baby from birth until 15-18lbs. 

Ok, that’s everything. I say it was a success for my very first baby purchase! I happy with all the items that I bought. Everything seems to be top notch quality but only time will tell!! 

Have you used Green Mountain Diapers? How do you like them?

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