Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Strategies for Avoiding the Heartbreak of the Single Socks

a floor full of single socks
Photo by Suzba / xyla barraclough, found on Flickr, licensed through Creative Commons

Last night I sat in the hallway and counted the single socks that have collected in our little pink sock basket. There were 72 single socks and nary a match!!! — unknown writer on Fredericksburg Parent and Family

I've seen many a household with dozens of single socks taking up precious drawer space. Sound familiar? Want to avoid the problem? Try one of these approaches.

1. Buy many pairs of the same sock.
Find a sock you like, and buy it in bulk: five pairs, ten pairs, whatever makes sense depending on how much you wear that type of sock. This lets you toss socks in a drawer without pairing them up, and means that if one goes missing or gets a hole, it's no big deal. As Philip Kaplan says, "Life is so much easier when you have an entire drawer of identical white socks, and a drawer of identical black socks."

two mismatched but color-coordinated socks

2. Decide to wear mismatched socks on purpose.
This won't work for everyone, of course. But it's worked for Patrick Wensick, who might wear "a blue argyle matched with a red wool." Wensick writes:
I gave up matching my socks almost 10 years ago. One day I just stopped seeing the point. There was never any intended fashion statement. Though, I guess, people could see it that way.
You can even buy mismatched socks. LittleMissMatched, used by Seth Godin, sells socks in sets of three; those are some of the company's shown above. Socklady, also known as Marianne's Solmate Socks, just sells pairs; the socks are "knit in the USA at a family owned knitting mill, hand finished and then 'mismatched with care.'" Both of these sites sell socks that are color coordinated, although not matches. You could buy multiples of the same set, or go further afield and mix-and-match across sets.

pairs of socks, clipped together

3. Clip the socks together when you put them in the laundry bin.

A fellow organizer, Maria White, pointed me to the Sock Clip, shown above. Book of Joe mentioned the Sock Cop clips.

socks in a mesh bag, ready to be washed

4. Launder the socks together in some sort of bag.
Parent Hacks suggests using lingerie bags for baby socks. No Odd Socks, an Australian company, sells a mesh bag intended specifically for socks. [via Lissanne Oliver]

lost socks clip rack

5. Use some sort of lost socks rack or bin to help singles find their match.
I found the rack shown above a number of places: here, here and here. But you can also take the do-it-yourself approach. For inspiration, take a look at the ideas I found on these sites: Rambling As Usual, Sew What's New, Danielle's Place,  The Painted Parsonage, Decor-ganize Crafts, Blissful Bucket List and Apartment Therapy.

6. But don't keep those single socks around forever.
At some predetermined point — Erin Doland on Unclutterer suggests three months — consign the socks to the rag bag, or just get rid of them. As Manhattan Mini Storage says:
Get tough on your single socks. Signing them up for an online dating website won’t work. We know it hurts, but you have to banish them to the dust rag bin.

Sock insurance for lost socks

7. Get sock insurance.
OK, I know it sounds crazy. But Betabrand does indeed offer socks that come with sock insurance, for up to one year, specifically for lost socks. See the Betabrand website for all the details. [via Swissmiss and Laughing Squid]


Angelica Joy said...

Jeri the problem with this is that no matter what there is some kind of "sorting" going on, apart from the clips I suppose.

For example, they're sorted when it's clean laundry, it's worn and thrown into the laundry basket, once it's thrown into the laundry basket there will be some kind of sorting, depends on what stage. It could be after its dried, which is normal procedure anyway, or for one of your recommended clips/wash bags it's just before it's washed, either way there's sorting still.

TinaAtHome said...

I try and buy multiples of the same sock, but it's not easy. Many socks come in packs of 2 or 3 that are different. When I try and buy 6 packs, the store doesn't have that many available. I find it difficult to find packs of socks that are all the same color.

Anonymous said...

This is the bane of my life, my 9 year old son has embraced the wear whatever socks I pick out the drawer attitude, so much so that people comment only when he wears a matching pair. I however am way too anal about wearing matching socks and would rather go without than wear odd socks.