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Organizing Socks

A picture of a pair of socks.

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.


Solutions: Organizing Socks

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Tip: Buy Matching Socks

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

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Tip: Make Matching Socks Into a Game

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

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Tip: Bag Those Socks!

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

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Tip: Keep a Sock Bag for Mismatched Socks

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

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Tip: Sorting Children's Socks

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

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Tip: Safety Pin Socks Together

To prevent losing socks in washer and dryer, pin the pair together with safety pins.

Source: Mother

By Virginia from Columbus, OH

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Tip: Sorting Socks into Pairs

socks on folding drying rack

The one item I never put into a dryer is socks, because they always seem to shrink in there. So instead they get hung on the washing line on good days, or indoors on a foldaway airer on rainy days. Either way, this makes for a good opportunity to sort socks into pairs at an optimum time.

It's a job I am sure that most of us hate, but if you do it as you hang them up it is an absolute breeze to sort out which matches what. Then very simply bunch the pairs together as you take them down once they are dry. Have a shoe box or something similar for odd socks and keep them in there for a few weeks in case their partners turn up on a subsequent washday.

    Sorting Socks into Pairs

    By ShirleyE [53]

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    Tip: Organizing Socks

    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).

    By MaryME

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    Tip: Sock Drawer Organizers

    A sock drawer organizer filled with socks.

    One of the best ways I've found to organize my socks is using these sock drawer organizer boxes from HomePro Goods. You can use them in several ways depending on the thickness of your socks and season.

    Before you start, sort your socks so you keep "like with like". Work socks go in one pile, gym socks in another and dress socks in a third. You can also organize by color - this comes in handy when you need to match your socks to an outfit.

    To use the drawer organizer boxes, choose the method that works best for your room:

    • Lay them flat and stack them in piles before placing in your drawers so you can easily flip through the colors/designs.

    • Pair your gym sock and roll them together before sliding them into the divider.

    • For out of season socks, you can store them in the boxes, close the lid then stack them in the closet.
    Getting your socks organized can save you those extra precious few minutes in the morning as you get read for each day!


      By Sherri P [1]

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      Tip: Basket For Socks

      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.

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      Tip: Organizing Socks for the Family

      Organizing socks with an over the door shoe organizer.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

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      Tip: Don't Lose Socks In The Wash

      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

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      Tip: Number Socks to Match

      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

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      Tip: Organizing Stray Socks

      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.

      By Amy

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      Tip: Individual Sock Baskets

      This is a great tip that I have found works very well. Place a small basket on the top of the dryer, one for each family member. When the clothes are dry, you can throw each member's socks in the basket. It helps when it comes time to match them, or the kids can help match their own socks. Works great!


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      Tip: Keep Socks Together in the Wash

      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

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      Tip: Organizing Socks

      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

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      Tip: Buy Family Members Different Socks

      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

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      Tip: Tie A Knot In "Bad" Socks

      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

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      Tip: Different Colored Socks For Each Person

      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

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      Tip: Organizer for Kids Socks

      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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      Tip: Sock Matching Made Easy

      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!

      By Danielle

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      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

      Archive: Buy Each Family Member A Different Brand Of Socks

      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


      RE: Buy Each Family Member A Different Brand Of Socks

      This is one great tip! I've always had a habit of loosing socks in the wash (we all know how they sometimes get "eaten" by our washing machines!) So I started buying my socks in packages of 8 and I'll usually buy at least 2 packages (all in black or all in white). So, this way I end up with 16 pairs that ALL match each other, so if I lose one sock, it's no problem because I still have a whole bunch more. I also did this with my kids when they were growing up. But in the rare instances that my kids had the same brand of white socks, I simply took a black permanent marker & would put 1, 2 or 3 dots (depending on which child they belonged to) or the child's first initial of their name on the toe. You have to do this right when you open the package or you'll never be able to figure it out!

      * 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)

      By Cyinda

      RE: Buy Each Family Member A Different Brand Of Socks

      I hear ya! My husband went as far as to buy a different color of socks and underwear. When it comes to shoes they both wear the same size and bought the same size tennies so they just kept their tennies in different places. (08/22/2008)

      By DEBRADJ.

      RE: Buy Each Family Member A Different Brand Of Socks

      I have each kid do his own laundry, so the socks are always separate, and it is not my problem. Each kid has his own laundry basket in his room. They share the blue jean wash, and I wash all the whites (but not socks!).

      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)

      By louel53

      RE: Buy Each Family Member A Different Brand Of Socks

      Buy the whole family the same socks and you'll always have a match. (12/04/2008)

      By melmarr

      Archive: Buy Matching Men's Socks

      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.

      By Cathi/Cait


      RE: Buy Matching Men's Socks

      Great tip! As an old bachelor I learned years ago to buy a dozen or two each white cotton tube socks and black cotton socks. You don't have to match them up and you won't ruin the elastic by rolling them in pairs.

      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)

      By Alph

      Archive: Sorting Children's Socks

      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


      RE: Sorting Children's Socks

      Same in my family, one person have size 6 anklet while others have size 8 low cut. I solve this problem by washing the same types in one load and different in others (06/11/2006)

      By Edgar

      RE: Sorting Children's Socks

      We have 8 people in our family and seven are male. I have tried everything with the sock problem. I do them all now, kids just won't and can't do it well. I make piles of similar socks, by size or style or color or brand. Then I treat it like a game and match them. In a way, it is calming, and I can always think and plan things in my mind while doing this. When interrupted I rubber band each pile together and put in a sock basket. The basket is never empty, I am always waiting for a few empty mates to show up. (12/04/2008)

      By kibby

      Archive: Buy Matching Men's Socks

      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.

      By Judy


      RE: Buy Matching Men's Socks

      I do the same thing for myself. Every winter I buy about 10 pairs of the same black sock and then I don't have to worry about matching up. (10/25/2009)

      By mulberry204

      Archive: Buy Matching Socks

      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