Sock drawer, ten minutes, victory is mine...

celticmoonAugust 22, 2006

This is a little, really little, thing. Beyond little, but...sometimes it's those little things...

I manage laundry here (fair trade IMHO) and have been stymied by DH's socks - too many pairs, too many shades too close in color, e.g. navy and black. Hard for DH too, as he often has to dress in a hurry well before daylight. Rolling them, stacking them, pairing them - nothing worked well. Any drawer organization deteriorated over time.

Putting up laundry today (have beeen trying to be better on that since reading the other recent thread) I hit on a use for the bunch of produce rubber bands - you know, from broccoli and asparagus, etc - I've been tossing in a kithen drawer forever. I popped a band around each rolled pair, using bright blue for those elusive navy ones.

Now he can forage all he wants. Pairs will stay paired, rolls stay rolled, navy is ID'd. Makes me happy.

Got tons of rubber bands now repositioned to a drawer next to the dryer. Hope springs eternal.

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you are wrong--just plain wrong.

I mean, you're a nice lady, and you mean well. But you are woefully mistaken.

Sock drawers are NOT NOT NOT small things. They are NOT NOT NOT "little, really little" things.

They are HUGE, and big whoops and cheers for you!

Seriously, you use them every day, and they're just not willing to cooperate, are they?

I have contemplated using one of those "honeycomb" things w/the little compartments to keep them from sliding around. (I do use one in DD's t-shirt drawer to stand her rolled t-shirts on end so she can just pull out one w/o disturbing an entire stack. But of course you can't squish an extra pair in there, sometimes.

I esp. like that color-coding technique.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 6:32PM
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This is how I handle the socks: I line each pair up next to each other and fold one opening over the other sock. I pull it down far enough to hold the pair in place. The person who taught me this made each pair into a ball by just pulling the opening all the way down.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 8:19PM
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I also roll the socks one inside the other so that there is no possibility of separating once put in the drawer.

But I do use the "produce" rubber bands with my daughter's knee-high (size men's 12) soccer socks. I don't fold these one inside the other because they then stretch too much at the knee-end. (Slouching socks would be a distraction during game time!) I roll these socks together and band them with the strong produce bands. Sometimes I then tuck them into sandwich bags so she can toss a few pairs into her gym bag. And if they don't get used, at least they don't get washed unnecessarily (which tends to loosen the fibers and cause more stretching.

Celtic, WTG for discovering a solution that works for you. Sometimes the littlest things, or the slightest adjustment, can make a BIG difference :-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 9:04PM
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LOL, Talley Sue!! Truly. You are right, it is a big thing - and yet so clearly a little thing.

Maura, your socks stay rolled "with no possibility of separating once put in the drawer"? Can I please move to the planet you live on? Or did you maybe mean you stuff one whole sock inside another and then roll?

I'd considered those expandable honeycomb things... ah, but then I'd have to find one, purchase one... and be structured by the size - And what about the extra sox? And what about the half bits all around the edges? (And why aren't they square, anyway?) (oh, to fit) And what about the navy/black discrimination? Plus DH would never adapt to tucking pairs back into the litle diamonds - I can see the drawer jamming now.

It is all so exhausting and hurts my head.

I'm banking on the rubber banded rolls.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 9:42PM
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I don't think I stuff a whole sock into another; they are sort of turned inside-out, but together. Very hard to describe -- but I have a pair in front of me now:

Holding them, I match them so they are lined up, side-by-side so that I can see the openings and the toes are pointed toward the floor. I place both thumbs in one opening, then the remaining fingers on both hands push the two socks, together, through the one opening but from the inside. The result is that the toes part is still exposed.

I sure hope that made sense!

I think I do it sort of how Marie described it. My mother makes them into "balls" too. I prefer the "inside-out-yet-together" method (less stretching, I think).

Too many socks in this household for the rubber band method (with the exception of those bulky soccer socks) -- but it's great that it will work for you!

(Extra socks is another mystery altogether!)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:26PM
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Thanks, Maura. I get it now. And I use that technique for regular gym sox. And my sox too, come to think of it. But DH's dress socks look so different inside out due to weird weaving and patterns. And it didn't seem worth it for us both to be turning one sock inside out - him to put them on and me to get the outside to be outside when I turn the inside outside. LOL. Heck, I can't even write that in a way that makes sense!

I'm going with the rolling (like a jelly roll, no turning down at the cuff) and the rubber bands. DH shares my optimism. We'll see.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 11:34PM
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Celticmoon, If it sounded like I was trying to convince you to do otherwise, I really wasn't.

I like your method, probably even better than how I do it, especially since there is no stretching involved, the socks stay right-side-in (???), and they stay together.

I just have too many socks, not enough rubber bands, or time, to do it that way. And I don't know if I could realistically get the kids to deposit the rubber bands into a little bin in their sock drawer and then returned to the laundry room (where I don't fold clothes anyway, so they'd need to be returned to my room or else I'd have to fetch them). And in the likely event of a stray rubber band ending up on their floor, the cats like to chew on them, and that's not a good thing.

But, honestly, I like your rubber band method, and may employ it someday, if the conditions are right :-)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 8:46AM
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Maura, your description is exactly what I do. I just think that you pull the inside-out part further down than I do. I have the cuff part pulled over the other sock about 3" when I fold DH's socks.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:09AM
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I used rubber bands for years -DH and DD were taught to drop the band into the sock drawers once they chose which pair to wear. Then I switched to the fold-the-cuff-over method. I've now found something I like even better... the local 'container store' has transparent drawer-boxes meant to store shoes: the regular size is just right for regular sox [match a pair toe-to-toe and zig-zag-fold into thirds, put into the drawer on edge]. Nylons are sorted into other drawers by color/style with the knee-highs being tri-folded and one edge flipped to form a ball. The regular shoe box/drawers also hold thin sweatshirts -one to a box, and t-shirts [2-4 to a box]; and the 'jumbo' shoe drawer is perfect for thick sweatshirts and heavy sweaters. The best part is that the items are dust-free yet visible, so that choosing can be done in a glance.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 1:36PM
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Sorry to boast, but....I've got a "system" that is even BETTER!! I'm the one who purchases DH's socks, so I buy "Gold Toe" brand for black socks and some other brand (without logo) for navy blue socks. That way, I can easily tell them apart and match up the pairs, even in the dim light of the bedroom lamp. The gold logo is composed of gold-colored yarn woven into the toe of the sock, so it doesn't fade, even with many washings.

When DS lived at home, he had athletic socks that were white or gray with trim of different colors, so that was also easy to match up.

I've never had a problem with sock rolls coming undone (taking a bow...thank you, thank you!).

However, I've been unable to solve the mystery of the ages: socks that disappear in the laundry.:-(


    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 3:56PM
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I forget all this navy blue and black -- About 10 years ago I chose black for both me and DH and never waivered. I don't care what outfit is on sale and gorgeous in navy -- I skip it. Then I don't have to have a system for navy/black.

My system is "winter and summer". The out of season box is clear-- from the container store-- and it lives on a high shelf in the closet -- at least that is the plan. I actually labelled the box "winter" about two months ago. We'll see if it lasts.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 6:01PM
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The missing sock mystery. I haven't had a sock go missing for several years. Talking with my wonderful washing machine fix-it guy, he said it happens more often with large loads. Takes a hike over the edge of the tub. Now, I don't know if that holds true for the front loader, but since they work in similar ways on the spin cycle so it would make sense to me.

Since I have had the clothing purged, my wash loads are smaller. I also make sure when I do my sorting every few days that matching pairs are in the same basket. No misplaced socks waiting around. I also just fold over the top couple of inches. Works fine for me. DH buys his dark socks at Costco and they seem to have patterns. I don't have a problem matching them up, but with my laundry system and everything washed every four days I rarely have more than 3-4 pair of dress socks to deal with at a time. He rarely wears navy, so they always end up at the back of the drawer. At least he knows where to find them quickly.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 2:14AM
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So Glo, do you think maybe there's a bunch of escaped socks between my washer tub and the washer frame?? Weird. And can they get retrieved?? Or do they just get sucked out with the drain water... I'm curious, but I m restraining myself from dismantling the washer to find those renegade sox.

BTW, so far so good on the rubber banded dress sox. Those little rolls just happily bob around - by the washer, in the basket, in DH's drawer. Smells like victory...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 10:18PM
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Socks and sock organiztion is a BIG thing -- and many many congratulations and kudos for figuring out a system that just may work for you!!!

Yep -- I just roll them together -- and stuff the larger white socks in one drawer -- and the colored socks in a smaller separate drawer. And woe Betide!!! to anyone who messes with the system ....

Heeeeeyyyyyyyyy ---- now I'm too curious about the fate of the missing sock ------ just think of those little socks stuck in the sides or bottom of washers ....... hmmmmmmmm ......Or being sucked down the drain ......

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 11:06AM
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SOCKS! I hate socks!!!

I have a DH and two DS's. For awhile, my son's socks were about the same size, but not quite. It totally confused me. Then my white socks looked sort of like my older son's. At first, I gave everyone a lingerie bag and told everyone to put their socks in their own bag and washed them. It worked for awhile, but everyone was still not good about getting them in the bag.

So I tried this. My one son wear Haines with blue or red lettering on the. My other wear FOTL with gold around the elastic. I wear Peds with pink heels (for girls). and the rest are my DH's. Things are so much better now. And if I don't feel like organizing, I can easily pick mine out and let the others fend for themselves from the laundry basket!!!

I'm not THAT organized! Oh yeah, I roll them too.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 10:48PM
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Son and DH both wear white sock, - i buy two different brands so that i can tell which is which. i twin and half ball the socks after wach wash - but i STILL am left with odd socks. Every three months i throw them out - and never do find what has happened to the other sock. Almost as if the sock fairy decends on the washer when it is on and magics one of the socks away!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 8:38AM
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We put a big N on the bottom of dh's white socks.

I have an unmatched sock place in a drawer for odd socks after the wash. I go through them now and then to reunite pairs. I toss holey socks (My home is a no darning zone!), but if it was part of a multi-pair package I figure the odd sock will be useful again soon when another one gets a hole. And with kids you never know when you'll find a single sock somewhere like under a sofa cushion.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 3:55PM
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My best friend's brother is fanatic about matching his socks, she tells me. When he gets a new bag of socks, he sits down w/ three or four different Sharpie markers, and marks different designs ont he bottoms of them (black square, red square, black single line, green double line, and all the permutations of them).

Then, if he steps in the mud w/ one pair, he doesn't end up combining one of those extra-stained socks w/ one from a pair that's not quite as dark.....

More work than *I* am willing to do, though now and then I have a similar urge, when I grab that "pair" w/ one darker than the other.

I agree w/ Susanjn about the odd sock being useful again--but I don't have a SEPARATE place to keep them until they're needed. No "summer homes" in my house! The stray socks go back in the drawer, and then if its buddy shows up, it's right there!

That's actually a serious philosophy for me--"no summer homes." If you found half a toy, or half a tool, you put it away where it belongs. then when the other half shows up, and you put IT away, they'll be together.

DH decided enough of his socks had worn out that he needed new ones, so I talked him into throwing ALL the old socks out, so he's got only the new brand & style. His have a black "W" on them, so that's a good way to sort, too!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 5:16PM
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I bought the 6 yo all new socks yesterday. It was really hard for me to pitch those dirty, stained socks. They didn't have holes and it's not like his new ones won't look just as bad in a couple of months. I think it's that "bad mom" syndrome we all experience. They have to change shoes at school for PE and next month we will be entering boot season, so again, the whole world will see his dirty socks. Maybe I should have just tucked them into the washing machine!


    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 6:22PM
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Gloria, just remember that the "whole world" that sees his socks is just a bunch of other kids. They couldn't care less, even if they notice, which they probably don't. And the teacher is thinking, "Oh, good. I'm not the only one who can't keep my kids' socks all bright and shiny."

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 10:00PM
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We had three girls in less than four years, so their sox (and everything else) were really hard to sort. I let each girl choose a color and then kept permanent markers handy to put a dot of color on each new item. That way I knew everything with a yellow dot went to DD#1, red dot to DD#2, blue dot DD#3. If there was a hand-me-down, the younger one's dot was just added and I knew it had been passed on to her. Only took a few seconds to mark new clothes and saved a lot of trouble.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 9:57PM
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we have the sock basket. we wash the clothes, we fold the clothes. the socks go into the sock basket. when the children are bad, punishment is matching and folding the socks. this works well at keeping the children disciplined. unfortunately the children are so well behaved that socks are rarely done. then the dilemma is: to buy or to fold??


    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 8:06AM
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I do not sort socks... it is the privilage given to me upon the birth of our 6th child and I hold onto it like a drowning man on a floating log!.

The kids have to dive for their own socks that are thrown into a basket on the dryer.. the Dh's socks and washed and driend in a mesh bag. I have 3 or 4 of the mesh bags that way they just circulate and I never have to be the matcher of the socks!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 6:53PM
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five months later...a follow up:

System still works! Rubber bands rule!! DH has learned blue bands are the navy socks, not the black. I'm not sure which part I like better: that the solution did not require buying any (trial and error) drawer insert products, or that I found a use for all those produce rubber bands I'd accumulated. Or that no matter how violently DH paws through the drawer, the socks stay paired in their tidy little banded balls.

Whatever shall I do with the time and serenity granted me solving this 25 year old annoyance...?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 11:43PM
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celticmoon, how TERRIFIC!

What a great feeling it must be, to have that system STILL working. That's proof that it's a system that works for you. (I often think we blame ourselves when our new system doesn't work, instead of realizing that maybe the problem is the system doesn't match for us!)

What is it w/ DH's and pawing through drawers? Back when DH used to dress the baby, I swear to you, he would open the drawer, put his hand in, and STIR! I swear to you, I WATCHED HIM! Then he'd grab some clothes, and dress the kid in pieces from different outfits (meanwhile, they'd all been folded together, shirt inside its matching pants, and laid neatly in the drawer)

I've been thinking of you every day for about 2 weeks. Every time I open my sock drawer. I think of your success, and say, "I need to do somethign about this d*** drawer." I keep stuff besides socks in there--lint roller, some jewelry, the evening bag, extra gloves. And I have socks I should probably ditch.

Maybe I'll try your rubber bands. (DH is in charge of his OWN sock drawer; I don't even want to go there, LOL!)

And DS's sock drawer could probably use the rubber bands, too.

I think of our comments about how sock drawers just do NOT want to cooperate, etc.

Maddie, that's how my mom did socks--all socks went into a sock basket; if you wanted socks, you fished yours out. Every now and then, mom would be tired of the sock basket accumulation, and she'd make someone sort it out and put it away. She refused to sort socks; that was OUR job.

And the teacher is thinking, "Oh, good. I'm not the only one who can't keep my kids' socks all bright and shiny."

This reminded me of a conversation I overheard in the laundry once. This older woman (LOL, probably 57 or something) was speaking of her widowed son-in-law, who had 3 boys to raise after his wife (her DD) died. The grandma said, "he's doing a really good job, but the bottoms of their socks are gray!" She went on about it a little bit scathingly, as if somehow that proved that he couldn't do it without her help; he was basically incompetent as a dad, because the bottoms of his kids' socks were dark.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 9:46AM
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I swear to you, he would open the drawer, put his hand in, and STIR! I swear to you, I WATCHED HIM!


Talley Sue,

I am so glad that it's not just my own beloved who does this. I refuse to put his laundry away, because I would get worked up seeing what happened to the clothes I had folded.

Now everyone has to bring up their own darn laundry and put it away themselves. Much easier on Mama and her knees.

And I don't care if their socks are grey on the bottom!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 11:55AM
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For years until we moved the last time, I had a cartoon on my refrig. It was a lady standing in front of a huge pile of socks and she was lighting a match to throw on the pile. The cartoon said that that was the way she matched socks. Guess a lot of people like me hate matching and putting socks away. This was my solution. There were certain jobs our boys had to do around the house...and there were other things they could do to earn extra money, so from the time they were old enough to "match", they got paid for "doing the socks". AAHHH I loved it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 7:58PM
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Remember Highlights magazine, and the game they have of pairing up the nearly identical drawings of cowboy hats, etc.?

I have always thought that matching socks is just like those games. You can have 4 brands of white socks, and they'll be different. Some will only be very subtly different.

My DH can't sort socks--he just doesn't see those tiny differences. I'm not even sure he bothers to see the BIGGER differences.

I think it's a good idea to teach kids to sort socks, because it'll train them to NOTICE!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 9:18AM
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When I replace DH's socks with new ones, I now try to get different colors. It's much easier to sort than trying to figure out the match to another brand of black socks. The differences really are subtle.

It must have been over 15 years for me to finally throw out the box of unmatched socks. I'd keep going through it actually believing that all the matches must be in there and I was just too "stupid" to find them. The money spent lugging that one box around from house to house probably cost me more than replacing all the socks in there.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 10:00AM
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Oh, no, no, no!
The whole world just MIGHT see your holey or dirty socks!

Haven't you heard about what happened to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz last month? He was in Turkey, visited a mosque, slipped off his shoes and --holey, moley!-- both socks had holes in them! He was the gossip-ee of the week! (If you Google him and 'socks' under the "images" option of the search, you might come up with the photo. The Washington Post certainly ran it on it's gossip page!)

(A Gold Toe rep rushed him 21 pairs; Turkish sock manufacturers mailed him some--and even employees presented him with a pair!)

That aside, this posting is making me laugh! It's like it's an eternal question--how to keep your sanity among close-colored socks and socks that disappear in the laundry!

Even in daylight, I have trouble discerning black socks from blue. Drives me nuts! I have to go into the bathroom, where I put in some Reveal bulbs, to compare them. (not saying that the Reveals alone do the trick--it's just that there are 10 bulbs there--one of those "Hollywood" light strips).

But I really love the thought that goes into housekeeping tasks like these! The rubber band trick and the idea of buying one color only in Gold Toes are great!

I have used the honeycomb dividers before. I put only my navy and non-black socks in those, and then I used a clear shoebox for the black socks and placed it atop one side of the dividers. The problem with the dividers is that they are not the height of the drawer, so you lose storage space. You can't really stack the dividers without risking one sock falling through, unless you put a piece of foamcore or cardboard between them. And then lift the hole cardboard/top layer.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 5:32PM
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Best way to sort sock is not to sort them. My husband and I use small safety pins and pin them together when we take them off. He pins ant the toe, I pin at the top. This really helps sort those white socks we wear with tennis shoes. They all look alike. I have a small dish with a magnet in it, then the pins stay in there. Easy to unpin socks and put pin in dish. Have done this for years and it works. Easy to sort when they come out of the dryer.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 9:38AM
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celtic moon, I thought of you last week, as I finally dealt w/ DS's sock drawer. I can sort his out pretty easily, but it's always so jumbled. I put a rubber band around each pair, and it's much more manageable.

Now I have to deal w/ mine.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 12:03PM
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My DH introduced me to SockPro when we married 24 yrs ago. He used them even before we got married (yes, I'm keeping him!) The key to this system is you must pull your socks through it BEFORE putting them in the laundry basket. They go through the W&D, no problem. I have never sorted socks except when the kids were little and I couldn't train them to use the sock pros.

WE keep them in alittle container by the clothes hamper so it's handy when we undress at night.

They are wonderful!

Here's the link:

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 7:35PM
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