So.... the washing. Using flats and covers is really not difficult. Washing them gets a bit more tricky though. Especially when you are trying to make it work with only 12 flats and 6 covers.
This year I challenged myself to wash every evening and dry the flats indoors, as I wanted to see if it could be done when you are not home during the day and don't have a washing line outside. Because of my limited stash, this effectively meant that most of the flats and covers had to be dry the next morning so I could use them and pack them in for daycare again. Without the added help of the sun and the wind outside, this was quite a tall order.
The morning of the second day not everything was dry yet, which meant that I had to add an extra cover from the rest of my stash to be able to send enough covers to daycare. So I tried something different the second night I washed. Besides just wringing out the flats and covers per hand, I added another two steps to my process:
a) roll the covers in a towel to absorb excess moisture before placing on the drying rack
b) iron the flats after wringing and shaking out to speed up the drying process
Both these measures proved very successful and the next morning everything was dry and ready for use and I could go back to just the 6 covers I originally started with. On the third evening I washed them quite late, so they didn't have as long to dry and my flats were still a little damp on the morning of the fourth day. So I had to think on my feet and ironed them again in the morning which got them dry.
Having a very small stash and having to wash every night and the flats be ready for use again the next morning is quite challenging. While it's doable if you're doing this for a limited time, if I were doing this permanently I would definitely invest in a few more flats to ease the pressure with regards to drying time. That would mean I can just wash as normal every night and hang them up without ironing all of them. And the flats are the least expensive part of the stash (vs covers), so it would be fairly easy to add a few, even if it's over a month or two. I'm finding six covers to be enough though and the towel trick is easy and quick enough to do that I wouldn't mind doing it every day.
I've described my full wash routine using the plunger and bucket method during the previous challenges (2013 and 2015), so this year I decided to do a video showing the full process. And for those of you wondering - it's actually super quick! Washing, wringing and hanging takes me less than 15 minutes (this is for washing every day, if you wash less often it will take a bit longer with the wringing out etc).