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Donate to your local diaper bank

By on May 28, 2012


Dear Sara:

I have a few disposable baby diapers leftover and was wondering if you had any ideas on a frugal way to use them. — Kathy P., West Virginia

Dear Kathy:

Rather than finding a second use for them, I’d donate them. Diapers are expensive, and donating them for their intended use would be far more beneficial to a struggling family than to find ways to reuse them around your home. You can give them to places such as a shelter, church nursery or childcare center. Also, please consider checking for a diaper bank in your area. They accept diapers and distribute them to families in need. For more information, visit

Dear Sara:

I have 30 minutes for a shower and breakfast before I have to be out the door in the morning. I don’t like eggs. Any suggestions for something else I can fix quickly? — Brenda, Midwest

Dear Brenda:

I’d make breakfast more of a priority. Wake up earlier or shower the night before. A few quick breakfast ideas are cereal, oatmeal, toast, bagel, English muffin, rice cake, smoothie, quick bread/muffins (only occasionally), yogurt with granola or fruit. You can make pancakes, waffles or French toast ahead of time and reheat them, too.

Dear Sara:

I have been thinking of switching to washing my laundry by hand for a while now and was wondering if you have any tips or advice. For the past year, we have been using homemade detergent and have been hanging our clothes to dry. Over the last few months, I have been downsizing all of our clothes and getting everyone to wear their clothes again if the clothes are still clean. They used to wear it once and then wanted it washed, even if it didn’t need it or if they had worn it for a short period of time. Also wondering if you have any ideas to keep the clothes from getting stiff when they are line dried. I heard that if you hit them with a stick a few times while they are drying that is supposed to help, but I haven’t tried it yet. — Danni, Canada

Dear Danni:

I would use a 5-gallon bucket (or even your bath tub) and a plunger (cut three holes in the plunger to avoid messes) to wash by hand. To help soften the clothes, you can switch to Charlie’s Soap, which leaves less residue on clothing, or add vinegar to your wash water to work as a fabric softener. Most clothing softens if there’s a good breeze, if you give them a good snap when they come off the line, or after an hour of wear. You can hand-smooth clothes by spritzing them with a fine mist of water and smoothing out the wrinkles with your hands. You can also use wrinkle release to get wrinkles out before you hang them or after they’re dry. Make your own wrinkle release by combining a tablespoon of liquid fabric softener and a cup of distilled water in a spray bottle. To see photos of a homemade bucket-and-plunger washing system, visit If you are looking to spend more money, there are options such as a washboard, wringer/spinner or tabletop hand-crank washers such as Wonder Wash ( A mop bucket with a roller wringer might work, too.

photo by alberth2

One Comment

  1. Saule

    5/29/2012 at 6:00 pm

    Oh I really second the idea of donating the diapers to a diaper bank. Our company did that during a charitable campaign earlier this year – we collected diapers for all ages, from infant to adult. Many daycares will not take a child who does not have disposable diapers and some families have had to wash the disposables in order to have enough to use. They are such a convenience, especially with an incontinent adult – my late mother needed them the last couple of years of her life – but they are not normally provided to families in need. If you cannot find a diaper bank check with local food pantries – they can often identify families that could really use them.

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