From the hamper, to the washer, to the sock drawer, there are several places that socks can lose their match. The mystery of missing socks will likely never be solved, but there are ways to increase the probability of being able to find two socks that go together, even in a large household. This is a guide about organizing socks.
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A great tip that I have found that works very well is to place a small basket on the top of the dryer, one for each family member and when the clothes are dry you can throw each members socks in the basket. It helps when it comes time to match them, or the kids can help match their own socks. Works great!
Buy socks that are all alike. I store them without folding them into each other also. They stretch out faster if you fold them into a ball. The advantages to this practice: no matching-up socks and when one wears out, gets a hole or gets lost you have automatic replacements.
You can still buy socks of different kinds. I have white socks for tennis shoes and dress socks, but the whites are all alike and the dress socks are all black and alike. I think this saves money in the long run.
By thriftyvicki from Dallas, TX
I keep a cork board hung up in the laundry room. Each time I fold socks I take the strays and pin them up to the board. Next time I have strays, I check the board which usually has the match.
I use the dividers in glass bottle beer cases (they are used to prevent the bottles from knocking into each other) as sock dividers in my drawers. These dividers work just as well as the commercially sold ones in the organizational stores, but they are free (if someone in your family buys beer).
In order to limit my frustration in matching socks, I ONLY buy the same brand over and over again. I have it written down in my wallet so I have the name and style with me when I shop. The same thing goes for my husband who is only allowed the same style white socks and black socks. We allow a few special socks to go with suits and slacks, but these are also of the same brand and can be easily matched by color.
No more problems with having 7 different types of white socks or black socks that mix with blue... and if one gets lost, there is always another to replace it!
With three kids in elementary school at the same time, keeping up with socks was not working, I got three packs (6 pair each) of white socks on sale that fit everyone. All the socks for the kids matched. I just got the same kind and stashed them for later. If we got a hole, or lost one, we had replacements. We still have a few pairs after five years.
By motiva8 from Canton, NC
If you place the socks at the bottom of the wash load, they are less likely to be thrown over the top of the washer and pumped out with the water. I read this tip somewhere years ago, and I have raised three kids and a husband using it with very few lost socks!
By rose from Black Hills of SD
I keep sock pairs matched so they are worn the same number of times, by numbering them when I take them out of a package. Starting with #1 on a pair, after washing simply match up the numbers.
By Herman from Midland, MI
We're constantly losing one sock in a pair. I started keeping unmatched socks in a bag as I put laundry away. Every time I'm putting a load of laundry away, I check the unmatched sock bag in case I can find a sock to match the "new" unmatched socks. Sure enough, I'll be able to match up one or two pairs while two or three pairs of unmatched socks go into the bag. Don't ask me why the bag is growing but at least I'm matching some socks instead of throwing them out before I find their partner.
By Denise from Whitby, ON
When doing laundry, often we get socks that have gone bad and need to be tossed. Yet, it seems like they always wind up back in laundry. So, when I come across a sock that needs to be thrown out, I tie a knot in it. No more worries; see a knot toss it away, it is matchless or bad.
By Lori from Ephrata, WA
In 44 years of being a wife and mother I can honestly say I have never lost socks in the wash. I taught husband and kids to fold socks together when they took them off. I only put pairs in the machine and always at the bottom of the machine. If I ever found an odd sock I would look for it's mate or get the owner to find it. If it couldn't be found the mate would go into the rag bag. Socks are soft and make good polishing rags.
By katesnanna from Brisbane, Australia
I bought the net type washing bags for lingerie and delicate things. Each person in the family has a sock bag. The dirty socks are put in each person's bag, then I wash them and dry them in the bag. Then the bags are given to each person, so they can put up their socks. If a sock is missing, then you know the person it belongs to needs to look under the bed, etc., until they find the sock. It has kept most all those wild socks corralled, and we don't have as many strange pairs as we used to have!
By Elaine from OK
Each family member has a different color sock; 4 boys, my husband, and myself. Makes it easy to sort. Black, gray, white, gray with a stripe, and gray with a colored heel. It is so difficult to keep their socks white, so my husband and myself are the only ones with white socks.
By S Duffy from Canada
Instead of using those plastic over-the-door shoe organizers for shoes, I use mine to organize our socks! After taking the socks out of the dryer, I just roll them up and place a pair in each pocket of the shoe organizer (I do this with pantyhose and knee-highs too).
No scrambling to match socks on a busy morning! When my son gets older and starts to dress himself, I'll probably do the same for his room so that he has easy access to matching socks.
By Lisa from WI
When my children were home we could never match socks for each person. So I decided for my husband and son that one person got the solid white crews/tube sock and the other person got socks with stripes. With the girls, one would get bobby socks and the other would get crews, or one would get low cut footies and the other got ankle cut. Then the style of socks determined who owned each sock. This made laundry folding day much easier.
By Kimberly from Lakeland, FL
I was tired of losing socks in the wash so I came up with an easy idea to keep them together. I safety pin together my sock pairs! Most households have safety pins lying around, so put them to good use! If you don't have any safety pins or not enough pins, they can be bought cheaply at a store like WalMart or a craft store like JoAnn's or Michael's, and it doesn't matter which size is used. A lot of Sunday papers have circulars for these craft stores, so if you get the paper (or a friend does) you could even use a coupon! Hey, it's your money, so who cares if the checkout girl looks at you funny for using a coupon on such an inexpensive item!
I have a pretty glass mug full of safety pins on my bedroom bookshelf and usually pin my socks together when I take them off, before I toss them in the hamper. There are also safety pins in the laundry room, so if I find unmatched socks when I am sorting the laundry, I can pin them then and prevent losing them to the dryer!
By SuzyQ82 from Willoughby, OH
To prevent losing socks in washer and dryer, pin the pair together with safety pins.
By Virginia from Columbus, OH
I bought one of those mini square plastic baskets that look like a small laundry basket and placed it on the closet shelves above our hanging clothes. I use it for socks instead of a drawer, it frees up drawer space. If you want, you could use it for underwear or have a few for different items.
My three year old loves to play matching games. So when I am sorting and folding the laundry, I plop a large pile of socks in front of her to match up. She thinks it is a game and I get my laundry chore done faster!
By Janet T. from Carmel, IN
I have recently discovered that there actually is a solution for mismatched baby and kid socks! No more lonely socks hanging out at the back of enormous dresser drawers. Now I take an empty cereal box (the largest size works best!) and cut it into three pieces.
I close the top back up and seal with tape. The bottom is of course already sealed. Then with my scissors I make new flaps for the middle piece and crease then tape them down like the top and bottom. Voila! - three perfectly sized drawer organizers for those teeny little adorable socks!
It works well for toddler and bigger kid socks too. Just cut the box pieces to the size you need. Recycling, thriftiness and one less headache when it is time to dress the kids!
By BoobertAndWeenie from Belmont, MA
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Here is a tip which my husband provided for me. Before my son moved on his own, I was having difficulty matching socks to the correct person. Since they both like crew and ankle socks, my husband made a suggestion. He started buying one brand for himself and another brand for my son. We extended the practice to tee shirts and underwear. No more confusion
By Georgetta from Waterloo, IA
* The only problem I have with this method is that if you like to wear black socks like I do... after a while some will be faded and some will be as bright as new. When this happens you'll have to sort them according to darkness or you'll end up with a black sock & a nearly gray sock.
Another thing that helps is, if you try to always buy your socks at the same store. This way they will continue to match. For example, I always bought my oldest sons socks at Fred Meyers and my youngest son's at Walmart. When I needed to buy them more socks I'd try to go back to the same store so I could get them the same brand. This way, they would always have socks that matched. Another thing that helps to sort socks is that one of my daughters liked the low "tennis shoe" type of sock & the other one like knee socks. If you are fortunate to have 2 kids that like different styles of socks this also helps to sort them (like tube socks Vs, toe socks etc). (08/21/2008)
I have also purchased several packages of the same color and brand of sock, and I agree that that is a good tip. My sons solved the matching sock problem by deliberately wearing socks that did not match. I think a little creativity and independence go a long way to make mom's job easier. (08/22/2008)
Always buy mens and boys' socks in quantities of a dozen or more of matching pairs. This reduces the need to pair-up the socks before washing and greatly reduces the length of time playing the sock matching game.
Cotton socks may not be fashionable, and this may have concerned me forty years ago. Now I'm much more into comfort, and you can't beat cotton socks for comfort. White for boots, black for shoes... only two kinds of socks in the house. Handy. (10/14/2004)
I have two small boys and while sorting socks, I find that although they wear different sizes when rolled they all look like the same size. I roll one boy's toes tucked in and my other boy's socks toes out of the "ball". I can put them in the correct drawer without much thought and each knows at a glance if they have the right socks.
By Leigh Ann Stephens
I often buy several pairs of the same color of socks so that if one sock of the pair wears out, there will still be several mates.
Socks! The washing machine must eat them. Buy several pair of the same make, model, and color and not only do you save time sorting laundry, but if one goes bad or missing, you still have back-ups and an extra.
When they get a hole, cut off the top part and sew on as knitted cuffs on long-sleeve shirts or sweats when the sleeves are too short.
By kemperjl from Gilbertsville, NY