It's really not as bad as it seems. I wish I had used cloth diapers with all of my children, oh the money I would have saved!
Often I'm asked, "Where do I start?", "What brands and styles do you recommend?", "How do you keep them clean?"
I am no expert, but I can give you my personal experience and recommendations.
To start, you kind of just have to jump in. Decide how many diapers you think you'll need, or if you can only buy a little at a time, then do just that. There is a great website that I LOVE called http://www.jackbenatural.com/. You can find information on getting started, how to care for your diapers, and they have awesome customer service. Plus, always free shipping!
As for the brands and styles I prefer, just remember everyone's preference is different, I like the one size fits all diapers, with adjustable snaps, and pocket diapers. The pocket diapers clean easier, I think, and you can double line them for night time use. BumGenius and Kawaii are two of my favorite brands. The BumGenius seem to fit more snugly around the legs and the Kawaii are a little wider, which is great for a little thicker baby or toddler.
Cleaning is simple, I usually rinse the urine diapers, and try to rinse off the poo diapers as best as I can, and throw them in a basket or bucket. Then I put them through a cold rinse cycle and then a warm/cold wash. Sometimes I will put them in cold water in the washer overnight and then start the cycle in the morning. It helps if the poo diapers can soak awhile. As for detergent, this brand is my favorite. (shameless plug!) It does come pretty highly recommended! ;D They come out pretty clean and then I like to line dry them so the sun naturally bleaches them. Many times if there is a stain on one of the diapers or liners, it will come out after a couple of washes, even if I am using them over and over. Typically, I wash every other day, but depending on the amount of soiled clothing, I might have to throw an extra washing in!
Don't freak out! Remember, I have TWO babies!
I have about 25 diapers and about 30 liners. A handful of my diapers are already lined, even though I do prefer the pocket diapers.
WHY do I cloth diaper?
Most importantly, it's much safer and cleaner for my babies! The diapers contain no toxic chemicals or harmful moisture-absorbing products, and they're so much softer and comfortable for baby.
They're economical. Sure, the initial expense can be a bit much, but you will save in the long run. Especially with each baby you have after you begin the cloth diapering lifestyle.
Not that I'm a big granola freak, BUT they are safe for the environment. You reuse cloth diapers, and there are always mommies looking for used diapers once you may be done with them. Reduce, reuse, recycle......Isn't that how it goes? At any rate, your diapers aren't ending up in a land fill adding more to the waste of the nation.
Hope that helps, and feel free to ask questions!