Generally, it is best to wash your cloth diapers every other day to prevent things from becoming stinky. I keep an open pail, rather than a lidded pail which also cuts down on stinkies.
In order to wash ever other day, you need 24 diaper changes. You can get to this number in any combination of styles. You could have 24 AIO (all-in-one), or 12 AIO and 12 pockets. For Hybrids and prefolds with covers, you only need 24 of the absorbent part and about 6 covers/shells.
Persoanlly, I have 10 AIO, 8 pockets, 3 hybrid snap ins with 1 shell, 3 prefolds with 2 covers, and 9 fitteds with 1 pair of wool pants. Generally, I alternate between the AIO and Fitteds with wool pants. John generally grabs the hybrids or pockets as he prefers velcro. The three prefolds and 2 covers almost never get used. However, the covers are sized to fit up to 40(!!!) pounds, so I am hanging on to them.
Having a larger 'stash' keeps things in rotation and reduces wear, which extends the life of Paisley's diapers.
HOW TO WASH???
Our washing routine is quite simple. We keep the diaper pail in the hallway between the door to Paisley's room and the laundry room. We use a pail liner from Blueberry in our diaper pail to keep things clean. When it is about 3/4 full, or every other day, I simply dump in the washer and start over!
Now that Paisley eats solids, we plunk the poop into the toilet, but when she was EBF (exclusively breast fed) her poop was water soluble and went straight into the pail and then to the washer.
So, what does our wash routine look like? Cold rinse, hot wash, cold rinse, cold rinse, dry. Confused? Don't be! First, we run everything through a cold rinse cycle to get most of the pee out of the diapers so that you aren't washing in dirty pee water. Then, once things have rinsed and spun, I start a hot wash, add soap, and hit the button for 'extra rinse'. The extra rinse makes sure all of the soap residue is gone. I do this for her clothing laundry too.
We use Charlie's Soap for all of our laundry. If is free of fragrance, optical brighteners, and other yucky stuff. We really like it!
HOW TO LEAVE THE HOUSE???
Leaving the house with cloth diapers is easy! We keep a 'wet bag' in our diaper bag and stuff in as may diapers as we think we will need. We always over pack. When we change a diaper, we just put the soiled diaper into the wet bag and empty it into the diaper pail when we get home.
HOW MUCH DOES ALL OF THIS COST???
Cloth diapering does take a bit of up-front investing, but it will save big time in the long run!
Prefolds are about $24/dozen
Waterproof covers are $10-$15 each
Hybrids are about $15 per shell and $8 per insert
Pockets run about $18-20 each
AIO diapers are about $24 each
Fitteds are about $25 each
and Wool can range from $25 to $100 or more for custom knitted long pants
So, you can reasonably diaper a baby from birth to potty training for around $100 on the low range to several hundred dollars on the high range.