Cloth Diapering One-Oh-One

Cloth diapering.  It’s how we do.  One of the books I read while the twins were still in utero on how to breastfeed twins, even though it gave some amazing advice and encouragement on nursing two at once, also said, and I quote “Cloth diapers – are you kidding?  Breastfeeding and caring for twins makes life busy enough!  There is no need for another job…”.  Well, I guess the joke’s on us but the money’s in our pocket too cause we’re crazy enough to try…and succeed!  I know it’s not for everyone but I will tell you that we’ve saved somewhere in the vicinity of $2000 so far by breastfeeding (up until three weeks before the girls turned 1) and cloth diapering.  Cha-ching.

This post is all about the latter though and it’s all you need to know and everything I wish I would’ve had at my fingertips while I was preparing to put cloth on our girls bums. 

>>> The Supplies <<<
1 – A diaper pail.  When you’re talking cloth diapering, a diaper pail is just a fancy word for “garbage can”.  Almost any garbage can will work but you will want one with a foot step that opens the lid so you’re not having to use hands you don’t have while holding a dirty diaper to open the lid.  We have this one from Target but my cloth-diapering sis bought a similar one from Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  You can find them almost anywhere.  Just make sure your wet bag (#6) fits inside it.  Update:  Don’t buy the Target pail.  After one year of use, the plastic ring the held the lid to the pail snapped off and let us pail-less until we bought this Simple Human one that’s still going strong.

2 – Diaper covers.  Diaper covers go over prefolds (#3), the actual absorbent material that catches all of your baby’s waste.  If you opt to use all-in-one diapers, like these by Bum Genius, you won’t need these.  However, they’re cheaper than the all-in-ones.  Our first thought was actually to use all-in-one diapers but after reading a few reviewers saying that tiny particles of poop can get stuck in between the layers, we decided to go with prefolds and covers (OCD ova here).  I’ve heard more good than bad reviews for both types though.  But back to the covers, we use Flip diaper covers and LOVE them.  They’re adjustable so that they’ll fit from newborn to potty-training (but I might mention that we did purchase some “newborn” sized covers that were smaller because our girls were so tiny and used them until the girls were three months old).  They come with either snaps (which we prefer) or velcro and you use one cover all day, unless you have a leak into it from an abnormally large load…that’s always fun.  We give them a quick wipe every time we change diapers and we’re good to go.  There are varying opinions on how many you really need but we have 12 – six for each girl – and we’ve found that that’s plenty.  Also, we made sure to purchase some “boyish” colors so in case we ever had a boy (whadda know?!…we do!), he wouldn’t have to sport the pinks.  :)  Update:  We still love our Flip covers but we’ve had an issue with the laminated lining of a couple of them ripping and therefore leaking.  I’m planning on letting Flip know and so I’ll check back after I do.    

3 – Prefolds.  As mentioned above, these go inside your diaper covers (unless you’re using all-in-ones) and do all the dirty work.  We use Bummis organic cotton prefolds but have some non-organic prefolds and some Flip Stay Dry inserts that we’re going to try when the girls move up in sizes…soon.  We also have some disposable inserts to use when the girls are a little bigger as well.  They serve the same purpose as cloth prefolds but, as the name declares, are tossed like a regular diaper when they’re dirty.  We’ll use them for travel and that’s about it.  As far as how many you’ll need, we have 30 prefolds – 15 per girl – and have to wash diapers pretty much every other day.  That number has worked perfect for us.  Update:  Unless you really want organic, we purchased several of these Chinese prefolds and have found that they work just as well as the Organic Bummis prefolds for half the price.  We also have a few Indian prefolds but have found that they don’t hold as much even though they’re a tad softer.  Also, we’re sorry to say that we’ve been really disappointed with the Flip Stay Dry inserts and the Flip disposable inserts.  The girls have wet through them in an hour or less and, because we’d rather not change diapers every hour, we’ve been exclusively using prefolds.

4 – Snappis.  Out with the big, dangerous safety pins and in with the Snappis!  They hold the prefold on with claws of sort, that grip each side of the diaper and the middle.  They’re super easy to use and semi-elastic so they stretch with growing baby and you use them until they wear out (the package says to switch out the old for a new one at least every six months but we’ve been using the same ones for a year now.)

5 – A diaper sprayer.  This is optional but for us it was a surefire way to remove runny newborn poop but as the girls started eating solids, which as you might know, come out as “solids”, it’s not in as much use.  We  have this bumGenius Diaper Sprayer.  It attaches to your toilet and is similar to the sprayer on a sink.  I’ve heard a few reviewers quoting their dislike for these due to the fact that they spray poop everywhere.  We, however, love it and don’t have poop sprayed everywhere.    The keys to not adorning surrounding areas with excrement is 1) spraying down and into the diaper (duh?), 2) setting the water pressure high enough so that it gets the poop off and low enough that it doesn’t hit the stuff and fly in every direction, 3) having your toilet water level low which allows you to… 4) hold the diaper as deep as possible into the toilet bowl.  The diaper might be soaking wet once you’re finished cleaning it so you can either do the Anthony – wring it out with your bare hands (one of the reasons I know he REALLY loves our girls) and carry it damp to the diaper can, hold it over the nearby bathroom trash can, letting it drip into there while you carry it to the can (my preferred mode), or you can buy a small wet bag just for getting it from toilet to can.  This is probably the worst part of cloth diapering buutttt, did you know that it’s illegal to dispose of human excrement into your trash…a.k.a. you’re supposed to empty disposable diapers of solids before throwing them out.  Read your diaper box, I swear it’s true!  Who does it though?  I wouldn’t know…

6 – Two large wet bags/diaper pail liners.  These fit into your diaper pail and hold all dirty/wet diapers until laundry time.  They’re lined with a flexible plastic sort of material (technical term…I have no clue) so they’re water-proof.  You’ll need two because while one is in the wash with your diapers, you’ll need the other in your diaper pail.  We have these by Planet Wise. 

7 – A medium (or small) wet bag for travel.  This is similar to the large wet bags you’ll need only a lot smaller and usually they zipper shut so you can stash it in your diaper bag for outside-the-home excursions…not that we mothers get a ton of those.  ;)  You really only need one.  We have one similar to this one from Planet Wise.

Not pictured – Wipes.  We use disposable Target brand wipes but I know lots of cloth-diapering parents who use cloth wipes and homemade cleaning solution as well.  Click here for a great tutorial on those from Simple Homemade.  Last, when I sent my must-have list to my sis so she could double check me to make sure I my supposed “pregnancy brain” wasn’t forgetting anything, she told me to add a hazmat suit.  ;)  Disposable or cloth, I’m sure we’ve all had those diaper changes in which we wish we had one of those close by, am I right or am I right?!

>Nighttime<  We don’t cloth diaper at night.  We use Target disposables.  There are overnight cloth diapers you can get that we haven’t tried but we had a run-in with some bad smelling diapers after being left on all night in the beginning of our cloth diaper journey and opted for disposables instead.

There are links to all the products mentioned above within their individual explanations but I didn’t do any research and find where each product is the cheapest at the moment.  We purchased or were gifted most of our cloth diaper paraphernalia by family from  You can register with them which is awesome and they often have some sort of sale going on.  They also have diapers for sale that are marked down due to slight imperfections in construction but perfectly usable.  Most if not all of the stuff can be purchased on Amazon too and a few of the links above are affiliate links that will lead you there!  If you have any secrets on where to purchase cloth-diapering loot, let us know in the comments section!  :)

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>>> Folding & Clothing <<<

It took us two diaper changes (hence the different outfits and lack of a changing pad cover in a few) to get all the shots we needed to explain without photo-bombing baby extremities but I think we got every step.  And just an FYI, I’m going to be really thorough with this part of cloth diapering because it’s the one that intimidated me the most and that which I couldn’t find enough info on when I was seeking it.  Sorry in advance if it’s annoying…I’m happy if it’s helpful!

There are a few different ways to fold a prefold diaper.  Our favorite is the angel/angel wing fold; the one you’ll see below.  You can see some other ways here.

First, lay your prefold out flat >>
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Then fold it into thirds >>
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Holding it down around the halfway mark, fold one corner out >>
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And then the other >>
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Then slip the side with the open corners under baby’s bottom >>
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Now pull the other end up over baby >>
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Then grab the top corners and pull them around toward baby’s sides >>
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(Side note:  If the prefold is a little big, like ours were when the girls were newborns, you can just fold the front down a little bit at this point.  I meant to take a picture to show this step but forgot…)

Grab the corners at the back and pull them up and over the front of the diaper >>
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Then grab your snappi and attach it to each side and, while holding the middle-top of the prefold, pull it down and attach it at the bottom >>
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Snap on a cover and you’re…errr, baby…is good to go!
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At this point you’ll either be making a fun trip to the diaper sprayer…
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or with one little press of the foot, you’ll be done.
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Easy.  A few diaper changes and you’ll be able to slap on a cloth diaper faster than you can put on your own pants.

Here’s a little cheat sheet/image you can right-click save in case you want all the folding in one place:
 angel fold

I know some people fold differently for boys but I haven’t yet had time to research that.  I’ll get back to you on it in T-minus four months though!  :)

Update:  So, turns out there’s not much of a difference between diapering boys vs. girls.  We use the same folding process only we make sure that our little man’s you-know is nice and tucked.  After a couple of inquiries, I whipped up this little pictorial to explain:

Another thing worth mentioning, you CANNOT use Desitin/regular diaper cream with cloth diapers.  Apparently the wax they’re made with will never come out of your cloths.  I know there are cloth diaper approved diaper rash creams out there (anybody have specifics?) and I’ve also heard maybe coconut oil works (?) but we take the lazy way out and put the rash victim (usually from a reaction to a certain food) in a disposable after slathering on some Desitin.  Update:  Thanks to some awesome readers I can now tell you that Burt’s Bees rash cream and GroVia diaper sticks are cloth diaper and mother/father approved!  

.           .           .

>>> Washing & Drying <<<

Like I mentioned above, having 12 covers and 15 prefolds, we wash diapers once every other day at least.  It’s as simple as removing the entire diaper pail liner/wet bag full of diapers and emptying it into the washer, throwing the liner in empty and inside-out too. 

clothdipes 031 We follow the washing instructions on a pamphlet that came with our diapers.  First we run them through a cold cycle without any detergent.  Then we add a half capful of detergent (we use Seventh Generation from Target) and set the washer on a hot cycle with an extra rinse.  You don’t need to use as much detergent on cloth diapers as you would in a normal load of clothes.  Remember that if you’re diapering one baby, you’d use even less than we do diapering two.  Using fabric softener and/or dryer sheets isn’t recommended.  To strip the diapers lest they start smelling from detergent/waste build-up, we add about a 1/8-1/4 cup of white vinegar in every four or five loads. 

After the diapers are clean, we hang-dry the covers and pail liner and throw the prefolds into the dryer. clothdipes 033

Once in awhile, if we think of it or have some time on our hands, we’ll hang the diapers outside to dry, letting the sun bleach out any stains.  Works like a charm!

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>>> Storage <<<

To keep the diapers close at hand, we have a little “changing station” next to the changing pad in the girls’ room.  It’s just a decorative tray I found at Dirt Cheap (originally from Target) that I load their clean prefolds on, a pack of wipes, and a little vase filled with various creams/teething gel/whatever.clothdipes 034

Extra covers, the spare pail liner, and our trusty overnight disposables are stored in a drawer underneath… clothdipes 029

And the next-size-up prefolds, some Flip Stay-Dry inserts, and a couple of all-in-ones we were given and are going to try are stored in a basket on a shelf below. clothdipes 030

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Whew!!  Did I miss anything?  Longest post ever!  :)

But after all that let me type it again, we love cloth diapers!  Not only because we’ve saved enough to equal a nice down payment on a minivan (yes…yes we are going there) but because they’re good for the environment and we can count the number of leaks we’ve had on two hands.  In the span of one year, diapering two babies, that’s pretty darn good.  However, I can’t even tell you how many leaks we’ve had using disposables – on trips in car seats usually.  Fun. Fun.  A huge plus is that we’re set for baby #3 and following because we won’t need to buy more!  And, on a totally superficial level, they’re cute!  Who needs bloomers when you have cute diaper covers?  I love pairing them with coordinating dresses and baby legwarmers in the cooler months to make changing a snap.  :) 

I know the thought of cloth diapering can be really intimidating but I promise it’s really not!  It takes maybe 30 seconds longer for me to change a cloth diaper vs. a disposable, but in this case time is not money but just the opposite!  Plus, once you give it a try and stick with it, it becomes normal and just another part of daily life.

If you have any questions or have anything at all to add, leave a comment or shoot me an email at!  I’d love to hear more tricks of the dirty trade!  :)

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P.S.  I’m sorry if I’m a little delayed in getting back to your comments/emails this week/weekend!  My sister is flying in from Dallas tomorrow and we’re driving with the girls over to St. Augustine, Florida to see my mom and other sister!  On Saturday we’re heading to Disney World for Night of Joy and letting the twins get their first taste of the Princesses, Mickey and Minnie, and everybody else who’s there.  Chances are they’ll have no clue what’s going on but it’s okay because all I really care about is taking them on “It’s a Small World”.  Aaaah!  Can’t wait!!  :)

Have a Magical rest of the week!  :)


  1. Thank you thank you thank you for this! We have gone back and forth on cloth diapering and every time I try to research it I get so overwhelmed! This is an awesome tutorial! I feel much more confident at giving it a shot! :)

    Enjoy your sister time and your trip! There is really nothin better than those two things! :)

  2. I actually never even bother snappi-ing anymore... We did it religiously with our first, but once we had our second it just took too long! And once the twins were big enough for their flip covers, I just started doing the trifold (or quad-fold with the bigger prefolds!) thing and that works great! Much less work than snappis because you can stuff the covers in advance.

    We use burt's bees rash cream in the event that we have a rash (which is VERY rare). It comes off prefolds with no problem but does leave a little residue on pockets, so if we need to use any overnight we put a fleece liner in and it works great!

  3. I love this post! We used cloth for Grace for about a year (then had a crazy long series of diaper rash) and I keep meaning to get started with Sophie. I remember reading a ton of posts like this one to figure out what I was getting into! We used bumgenius, and I loved the cute little diaper colors. :) Now that we had to switch Sophie to formula, I REALLY should go back to cloth... maybe it will help balance the cost of expensive formula!!
    We went the minivan route, and I love it! There's so much more room! Welcome to the club. ;)
    Have a great trip!!

  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I'm due with our first in three months and really want to try cloth diapering, but this is the first really helpful how-to I've seen.

  5. Weird. Was just hoping someone would talk about cloth diapering. I'm thinking about it simply to save mula. Hmmmm. I am still scared though, b/c changing with "normal" diapers can be hard enough with a newborn...

    Cleaning them isn't a big deal? Honestly, that's what's holding me back. I imagine sitting in the bathroom, scooping poo out of cloth diapers every day...... haha.


    1. a diaper sprayer solves that problem easy!

    2. We were gifted tons of disposables when Sebastian was born, and they lasted us for about six weeks. When we have a second (Lord willing), I will probably use disposables for the first week or so just to give recovering-self a break. Anyway, regarding cleaning then, I was spraying them out at first ... yes, at first. But since we're still exclusively breastfeeding (and I want to keep it up for as long as possible), the waste is so easy to clean that ... you don't even need to rinse. I think that might freak some people out. For a while I did a short, detergent-free cold cycle then would do a hot cycle with detergent. However, now that we've moved and don't have our own washer-dryer (YES! You can do it when you don't have them), I just use the hot cycle at the laundry room and they come out just fine (and the washing machine is squeaky clean and isn't left gross). Once we move up to solid food that story will change a little, but ultimately, it's baby poo and it's so much easier than I expected.

    3. We didn't start cloth with the girls until we ran out of all of the gifted disposables (around 2-3 months) and I think it was a good interim period before we started since cloth diapering at first can be a little overwhelming. However, now that we're "pros", we'll probably start right away with baby boy...
      And I laughed at your "sitting in the bathroom scooping poop all day" thought Camille! Gosh, it's nothing like that...thank God!!!!

  6. Great post! I have a collection of AIO and pocket diapers that we weren't able to use for the twins. DD's skin is too sensitive and she would break out in a terrible rash any time we used cloth. It didn't matter what detergent, how many rinses, cloth vs microfiber. Bright red rash every time. I think maybe just the extra wetness? Thankfully we're all set for any future babies, assuming they don't have skin like hers.

    We discovered the GroVia diaper sticks while using cloth, and we still use them. I can't say enough about them. They're easy, work well, and smell great. We use Seventh Generation diapers, which aren't cheap but are better for the environment. We spend $150 per month on diapers. Oh how I wish cloth could have worked.

    1. Hmm...crazy. She must just have sensitive skin. :(

      What are diaper sticks?


  7. Oh goodness me. I commend you for writing this post! I've thought about typing up something similar, but basically I'm too lazy. :) We love our cloth diapers over here and plan to use them with numero dos.

  8. Thanks for this post!! We have Flip diapers for Henry, but have just started using them. He was too small for them for a while, so we used disposables and then once he was big enough, we had a ton of diapers left. I REFUSE to let those disposables go to waste. We almost through them so then we will switch to clothe full-time. Thanks for the info about washing. I have heard nightmares about detergent causing all kinds of problems, but I hate the idea of buying expensive detergent. It's good to know that the Target stuff will work. But I am so excited to use clothe because we have leaks EVERY DAY with disposables. The more I think about it, I should just switch over now.

  9. Love our cloth diapers too! We use bumgenius 4.0 (the pocket kind) because I'm at work and these were easier to convince the babysitter to use since I work full time. I've not tried a prefold but have used the flips before too. As for at night I use thirsties fab fitted under a flip cover. it works great! and recently well maybe 6 months ago now switched to cloth wipes. love not buying those too! I always get happy seeing blog posts about cloth diapers. :) I want everyone to switch! I can't imagine buying disposables every week..and I have on occasion...well let me rephrase this with my first we did disposables until she was 9 months (until I discovered cloth diapers)..but with her brother we did it for the first week is all. :) It just saves so much money!

  10. Great Post! We did cloth diapers all the way up until... now. Therese is two and I just got burnt out, do the pre-folds leak? We were having problems with Fuzzy Bunz brand leaking. I think for next baby we will try pre-folds, have heard great things about them. Impressed you breastfed that long and cloth diapered twins!

    1. I'm making a second comment -- Sheana, good post. I use the flip covers (love them) and I opted for prefolds. They are f.a.n.t.a.s.t.i.c. I found your folding method interesting, since I just do the tri fold and stick the ends under the lips of the cover and voila. I do have those stretchy diaper holders though. Anyway, Michelle, I use the prefolds and have had more blowouts with the disposables we used for the first few weeks than I have with the cloth. The number of blowouts/leaks we've had with the cloth are so few that they're next to none. I know some other mommas who use the prefolds and they say the same thing. I don't like the idea of the pocket cloth diapers because then you need a new cover every time and I've heard more and more that they don't hold as well. Anyway, I hope you try out the prefolds because I can't say enough how happy I've been with them.

    2. Ah Michelle! I'm so sorry I never responded but I'm glad Martha did (thanks Martha!) :) Hopefully you'll be back to check!
      I second Martha, leaks are few and far between and usually only happen because mommy here let's baby run around too long in a dirty diaper. :)
      We actually just tried the Fuzzy Bunz brand because a friend gave them too us and prefer our prefolds hands down over them. I don't think they leaked on us but after only a few uses, we put them away so I'm not sure what would've happened. You definitely should try prefolds! I think you'll be much happier with them!

  11. Diaper Sprayers a few facts: No Diaper Sprayer on the market was manufactured for that purpose; they are all originally Hand Held Bidet Sprayers. That is why so many people are complaining about their sprayers breaking, because they were not made to handle the abuse. You can save money and buy a cheap plastic sprayer and then need to buy another one soon or you can get a Stainless Steel Sprayer at for a little more that will last, it comes with a 5 year warranty. And don't forget, using it as a Hand Bidet means you will save money on toilet paper, everyday....forever....Just a thought

  12. Great, great post! We love our bumgenius 4.0s. I bought a bunch of them when Cotton Babies was having a great sale on two colors (I think it was buy three get five or something? It was around Christmas) and then most of our stock comes from one of Cotton Babies' seconds sales. I think I got them for $10 each, and they all looked brand new! Pretty sure they were all never used and just returned.

    My biggest mistake happened almost a year ago when we moved from our apartment, and I forgot to grab our diaper sprayer from the toilet. I miss it so much yet I haven't bought a new one! Must do that since it's not like I'm going to stop using cloth soon.

  13. We also do cloth. I literally had to let myself run out of disposables at 8 weeks because I was so intimidated. I love my flips. We use the flip inserts for night time with a thirsties insert. I use thirsties hemp prefolds during the day. The only other thing I use is a kushies changing pad ( for on the go and the living room floor.

    1. I'm so glad you commented Beth! We really should be using cloth at night... Where did you get your thirsties insert and are they specifically for night time or just extra absorbent or just that awesome that they get everything?

  14. I can't seem to reply to your response. in any case, I believe we ordered them from amazon They are just super absorbant and will be literally dripping wet in the morning while he is dry. Also, they go directly on the cover and not against the skin as they act to pull the moisture away. There have been a few mornings where he soaks through, but he is a belly baby and that is typically after a 13 hour night. I usually swap my covers out in the morning to combat the smell. I have also heard good things about wool too, but I am trying to keep the costs down and use what I have. The flips inserts work better with them than the prefolds. Hope that helps!

    1. Thanks Beth! We already have some flip inserts so I might grab a couple of these and tread the overnight-cloth-diapering waters! :)

  15. We use the Thirsties covers right now, but once she outgrows them I'll have to look into the FLIP covers.

    You mentioned that the twins were exclusively breastfed until about a year - when did they start solids?

  16. Ok. Really late to the party. But just wanted to add my 2¢. Try flushable poop catching inserts - you will love them! Which is weird to say, but true:)

    I actually included them in my "five favorites" once! In case you have no idea what I am talking about you can read my little description here:

    1. Liners. I mean liners. Not inserts:) They are like a paper towel that you put inside the diaper along with your regular diaper insert.

  17. Great info! I'm expecting in August and someone is giving me some prefolds. I'm scared of them but this is helpful. Any tips for use with a boy?

    1. Hi Dana!! Congratulations! Only the thought of cloth diapering is scary! A few practices and you'll be great at it! I added a little update to the post above on boys!

  18. Thanks for the info! I have 2 girls and have only used disposables. I'm hoping next time to try out cloth and make my own wipes to save money.

    1. You are welcome Laura! I hope it all works out for you with #3! It's definitely worth the cash saved! :)

  19. This is the most helpful cloth diapering article I have found so far, thank you!!!!

  20. Awesome post, Sheena! I was just looking at CD stuff on Pinterest. Clicked on a tutorial for the angel fold, and it's your blog! Was telling Blaze that you're basically famous ;) We love prefolds and Flips too! And I love that we can sell them when we're done!

    1. Ha! Thanks Sarah! This post is my top performer thanks to that angel fold pictorial so famous? No. Just spent a ton of time making a graphic that happens to help a lot of peeps! :)

  21. You. Are. A. Saint.
    Thank you for this blog!! I'm being blessed with twins coming in June and I've been so overwhelmed with the information all over the internet on what I need, or should get.. You've reduced my budget and made me confident I can do it! Now I can't wait to shop for cute covers!!

    1. Ha! How exciting Carrie!!!! Congrats! I'm so glad I could help! Please let me know if you have any questions! You CAN do it! It only gets easier as you go!

  22. You are my new favorite person!!! Thanks for doing this!!!


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