Let’s Talk About Socks, Baby!
Based on the amount of memes and hacks on social media for corralling, matching, and managing socks (of all things!), it’s clearly something most of us struggle with. In fact, every time I email out tips and tricks related to sock organization and “management,” I ALWAYS get responses back! So today, I am rounding up all the easy sock hacks that work great in our household, as well as a bunch of other ideas you all have sent me over the years!
Matching Up Socks
Match AS You Fold…Not After
When folding laundry, I used to toss all the socks into a big ol’ “sock pile” to be matched up at the end. But then I always dreaded that final task; and the pile would often just sit around…waiting for someone to deal with it. Sometimes the socks got paired up and put away, sometimes they didn’t.
So a few yers back, I started matching up socks AS I fold everything else, and I’ve been amazed at how much better this works. I’m no longer touching/sorting each sock twice (once into the pile, once to be matched up), and there’s no big pile to be dealt with (or ignored!) at the end.
This trick is simple enough: as you come across socks while you’re folding, pair them right up. But I’m telling you it’s a major game changer, and so many of you have written to me saying the same!
Buy All Matching Socks
Want to skip matching all together? Buy socks that are 100% the same. Not socks that are the same pattern but different colors, or socks that have different colored toes, seams, etc. Look for sets where all the socks are exactly the same. Then, every sock matches each other!
All my exercise socks are the same, so there is no need to match at all. I simply stack them together inside my drawer and grab two every morning. When single socks get holes or go missing, there’s no match to discard since they all can go together.
Dedicate a Sock “Style” to Each Family Member
Extend the “all one sock” idea to each family member, so it’s not only quick and easy to put likes together but you also know who each group belongs to.
My youngest has all white socks, my middle son has all black socks, and my oldest has two-toned socks. When doing laundry, I don’t need to analyze sizes at all; I can just sort by style!
If your kids happen to like the exact same socks and you have trouble telling sizes apart, consider labeling the bottoms of each sock with a Sharpie, fabric pen, or iron-on letters/symbols.
Sock Storage Ideas
Fold Socks, Don’t Wad
When I first read Marie Kondo’s famous “Konmari” organizing book , I (like so many) rolled my eyes when she makes the case for folding socks instead of wadding them up.
Then lo and behold, I went to organize my dresser drawers and discovered that I could actually fit MORE socks in a tighter space with them folded neatly (instead of round little balls). PLUS, when file folded in a drawer, they are really easy to see and get in and out.
- For long socks, I recommend folding into thirds.
- For short or no-show socks, I like stacking flat or folding in half.
This really only works when placing socks in a drawer. If you (or your kids) use baskets, “balling” them up is likely still a better way to go!
Skip the Fancy Sock Storage Solutions
If you get into the habit of folding your socks (instead of balling them up), I also suggest skipping the fancy sock drawer organizers or closet organizers. You know…the ones with all the little compartments?
These organizers tend to hold a single pair of socks in each hole; but what happens if the socks don’t fit or you buy more socks and all your slots are already filled up? It doesn’t take long for compartments to overfill and your drawer organization to fall apart.
Instead, file your socks (standing upright) from the front of the drawer to the back (in columns). You’ll be able to fit many more pairs in a single storage space, and you will always have easy access to each and every pair.
If you really like having your socks “corralled” a bit more, I like using old skinny shoe boxes, cardboard boxes (like from phones, electronics, or ironically – fancy socks!), or storage boxes to keep socks upright instead.
Or, consider making some budget-friendly DIY drawer dividers (the same depth of your drawers) to create vertical compartments for socks, underwear, lingerie, belts, and other accessories.
Keep Socks By the Shoes
How many times have your kids come down all dressed for school or an outing, only to have to head back upstairs to grab socks? Make getting out the door easier for everyone by storing socks in a basket right by the shoes!
My two younger boys have their shoe baskets right on a shelf in the foyer.
Each week, we toss their clean-and-matched socks directly into their basket (yep, right along with the shoes) so everything is ready and waiting for them.
If you don’t want socks in with the shoes, consider having a dedicated sock basket or clipping a bag inside the basket to hold clean socks.
Preventing Sock Orphans
Single/lost socks are a problem for MANY of us! Here are some ideas for preventing them or dealing with singles when they (inevitably) happen!
Several readers wrote to me with this suggestion: use clothespins or diaper pins to join matching socks before they go into the washing machine. The pins keep pairs together (yes, apparently even through washing and drying) and come out still matched up!
To make this successful, here are some things to also try:
- Teach and reinforce this process with kids until it becomes habit. (An added bonus is that it forces kids not to “wad” up their socks as they take them off!)
- Attach a bag of clothes pins to the hamper with hooks so they are easy to grab as socks are taken off.
- If you have multiple kids or are washing “team” socks, consider putting names or jersey numbers right on the pins themselves.
Use a Mesh Bag
If pinning socks together seems like a bit too much work, you can also easily keep socks together by hanging a mesh bag on the hamper for dirty socks to go into. When doing laundry, just zip up the fabric bag(s), toss in with your regular laundry, and the bag will come back out with all the socks still together.
This tip is especially great for baby and little kid socks that easily get lost or stuck in the washer and dryer; and if you have multiple kids or family members, consider giving each person their own colored mesh bag.
Hang Pairs Together
If you don’t have/use a dryer, you can still save yourself some time. As you pull socks from the wash, hang each sock on the line next to its mate. Once dry, it’s quick and simple to pull off the matching socks at once.
Collect Single Socks
It’s amazing how easily socks not only go missing but also reappear! So you can easily match socks back up over time, consider collecting all your missing socks in a dedicated place. Each time you fold a new load of laundry, check your orphan stash to see if any can be paired up.
We’ve significantly reduced our single sock collection once we added our “lost sock” bin to our new laundry room and started checking it regularly.
What Other Tips Do You Have?!?
Of all the sock organization tricks I’ve tried (and mastered!) over the years, the one problem I still haven’t solved is how to stop dirty socks from being strewn about the entire house. Little socks seem to be evvvvvverywhere…all the time! On laundry day, I usually make my rounds throughout the house and collect them all up; but I’ve got to figure out a way to get my kids to take them off, turn them right-side-out, AND put them in a bin/basket/bag so they are off the floor. Who has a solution I can try?!?!
For some reason, socks seem to be something many of us have a trick for. If you have a sock tip I haven’t covered here, be sure to chime in below. I’m always looking for ways to refine our sock system even more!