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Sock it to laundry clutter

By on March 14, 2008

photo by Erin
Anyone with more than one child knows that it can be a real headache to organize socks if you let them pile up. I’d love to say that life’s too short to pair and fold socks, but I have a large family. If I put off sock duty for any length of time, one entire day would be dedicated to playing the sock version of Concentration.

I could do the bare minimum: Share white socks with my husband and just toss them loose into a drawer, but I’d rather not. While it certainly seems wasted time to fold them, I try my best to keep areas that affect others well organized. Socks seem insignificant, but organizing them is one of those small things that, with minimal effort, I can do to make life more pleasant. Plus, I don’t really want to share my socks.

If you’ve been meaning to tackle your socks, these tips will help you keep up with a system so they don’t end up in the “hosezone” layer.

If you have a great tip for socks, let me know.

DOOR ORGANIZER: Free up space in your dresser drawers by using over-the-door pocket shoe organizers for socks. You can fold them if you want to, but you don’t have to. Because it’s made of clear vinyl, you can see them easily.

BUY A LOT: Have each person in your family wear their own individual kind of sock. This reduces the amount of time playing the sock-matching game. This works well when a sock disappears or gets a hole in it. Simply pair up any two socks.

FRUGAL DIVIDER: Use Velveeta boxes, shoe boxes or egg cartons to organize kids’ socks. Have a leftover wooden bottle crate? The bottle dividers are perfect for holding socks, and it is a great trash-to-treasure conversation piece.

If you have family members with socks that are similar, but different sizes, fold them differently. You can lay them flat one on top of the other and fold in half or roll them up from bottom to the top.

Save the plastic rings on milk jugs to help you pair socks before laundering.

USE TOTES: Use small totes for socks, and store them on closet shelves.

Put a basket in the laundry room for each family member. Place their socks in them and let them match and fold their own.

Pin odd socks to a corkboard so they’re easily accessible to match. You can use a pillowcase or bin for each member in your family for strays, too. Set a deadline for purging odd socks. You can only use so many for cleaning, sock monkeys and crafts. Only you can decide whether three socks is one missing or one extra. Consider helping homeless cats. Visit Operation Happy Socks (

MESH LAUNDRY BAGS: Consider washing socks in mesh bags made for delicates so you don’t lose any. You can hang them in each bedroom, so socks go into the bag once removed.

SOCK CLIPS: Clip together as you place them into the washer so you don’t lose any.

Hanes EZ-Sort socks are color-coded for boys and girls and make matching socks a breeze.


  1. Pingback: Saturday Roundup-Getting Organized Edition |

  2. DixieJ

    3/15/2008 at 1:03 pm

    Missing socks are a real problem around here–I just know somehow they have got to be going though the hose on the washer–ha! I does help that hubby’s everyday socks are now the same brand and color–at least I don’t end up with dozen different socks with no mates in the pile. Thanks for the tips!!

  3. Daisygirl

    3/16/2008 at 8:21 am

    I have an entire laundry hamper of socks that are patiently waiting to be sorted and put in their proper homes. Often we end up wasting valuable time digging through this basket to find a semi-matching pair in the mornings. I will use some of your great ideas~

  4. Arlene

    7/22/2009 at 7:36 pm

    I safety pin pairs before putting them in washer. They are ready to put away when you take them out of the dryer. Thanks for your many useful ideas in your column.

    Arlene Hartman
    North Canton, Ohio

  5. Tori

    9/14/2012 at 7:19 pm

    I wash my toddlers socks in a mesh zip laundry bag. Hubby has tube style socks for work & ankle ones for play. Mine are white or black or fuzzy to keep my feet warm 🙂 Easy enough to pair and keep track! Helps that hubby has big feet and mine look like child socks to his to keep them separated 😀

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