One day several years ago, I emptied out all the clothes (malaabis) and to my dismay, I saw several articles of my infant daughter’s clothing (mostly purples and pinks) stained with mold. I had three other older children and they had mostly of browns, blues, etc. and these were always the clothes that I concentrated on first. At that point, I knew I needed a better system for my laundry (ghaseel). I couldn’t afford to have all my baby daughter’s clothing ruined. We had just moved to a little village (qaryah) in Egypt (Masr) and at that time I didn’t know where to find quality clothes for babies (atfaal).
The first thing I noticed about laundry was that it was time consuming sorting through the clothes each time I wanted to wash. So the first step was to permanently sort the clothes. At the time I only had grocery bags to use (Alhamdulillah I eventually upgraded to clothes baskets) for each color. Eventually I made up some laundry tags to designate the different clothes baskets. I found that these could be helpful for learning color words as well. The tags have the English color word, plus the Arabic and the English transliteration. I only have about 5 or 6 different color piles (some like colors are combined) but there are twelve labels. So at that point, whenever I went to wash clothes, I just picked up the basket of the colors I was going to wash for that day. I didn’t have to sort through the clothes every time I wanted to wash.
At this point, I had begun to start saving time just by already having the clothes sorted out. But I was still falling into the habit of washing the browns, blues, etc. So I set up a weekly (usbuwiyyah) schedule so that I could cycle more effectively through the different colors. I have a household schedule form on TJ where I can put my washing schedule, housecleaning schedule, hygiene and other household tasks. For the laundry, I basically assigned each group of colors a day. I have about five color groups so the extra two days of the week are for catching up in case I didn’t wash on a particular day or just rest from the laundry.
I have been on this system for about five years Alhamdulillah and it has taken some of the uggh out of laundry. I stay on top of the laundry now with 8 kids better than I did with 4, masha Allah. There have even been many times when I looked at the clothes baskets to find that there was not a single article of clothing in any of the baskets (ok it was short lived, maybe till the end of the day or till someone had an accident, but still a wonderful sight). And of course the schedule kind of gets off when we move, but masha Allah, it’s usually relatively easy to get back on track.