How many socks are needed?

taterbugDecember 27, 2005

Seriously, how many pairs of socks and underwear should each of my boys own. I'm going to try to get some organization in my life this new year. How many undershirts and T-shirts(what they wear to school) should I keep for my boys? There must be 50 in their closet, and there is always laundry to be put away! The clothes do not fit in the drawers. There must be a good rule of thumb. Organization is a challenge for me! Please give your advice. taterbug

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How old are your boys and how often to they change clothes in a day? I have a 14 year old still at home, and he wears a white t-shirt under another t-shirt, so that doubles the amount of t-shirts he wears at one time, plus he plays sports so that doubles the number of clothes he wears per day.

Here's an easy way to declutter shirts and underwear: Go through the drawers, and throw out anything yucky. That just leaves "nice" things. Next, pay attention on an average week to how many socks/underwear/tshirts you wash. That will determine what is needed for one week. Decide on how many days/weeks of clothes you want available (I chose 2 weeks at the beginning, because that allows for "extra" so I can throw out ratty, stained, or holey stuff as I do laundry, then we don't shop again until he's running out of clothes in one week).

NOTE: I've also found it helpful stack clean clothes in baskets, then make him go through what's left in his drawers himself. Lots of times the "leftovers" that weren't worn are things he claims he'll NEVER wear, even if they are still "nice". He also has a tendency to outgrow clothes, but leave them in his drawer and tell me months later "that's too small". This technique also purges those, so that he is left with emptier drawers and only the things he says he WILL wear.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 10:36AM
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O.K. as simple as it sounds -- here's what works for me -- and my DH who has enough socks and underwear for 20 guys!! LOL!!!

1) Fold and stack T-shirts -- literally put them into the drawer --so that it closes easily. Stop. Take out the stack and literally count how many are in the stack.

2) Examine his room's storage. Is it time to rethink the closet space?? Maybe re-doing the closet will give him BETTER (not necessarily MORE) storage. You are aiming for MAXIMUM USE of storage. How about his furniture??

3) When new stuff is bought or given ....... old stuff goes out!!!! For most clothes ----- charity shops really need kids clothes!!!! So this step is really a good one -- other people will literally and truly benefit from your and HIS generosity!!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 11:48AM
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Another thing to note is how often you do wash. My kids can get by with less because I do one load of laundry every day. If I were to do my laundry only once a week, then they'd need more.

I always tell my kids that when their drawers won't close, that means it's time to get rid of some clothes.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 1:33PM
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At our house, if the boys can't close their drawers it usually means it's time to re-fold things. LOL My goal is to SOME DAY teach them that it is not necessary to destroy a drawer full of neatly folded t-shirts to get to the "special" blue one at the bottom of the pile. :)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 4:29PM
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Short answer. Enough to last for one to two weeks without washing clothing.

Long answer:

I'm with Sheryl. Less is better. You will do the laundry more often and it won't pile up because they need to wear it. They won't end up with a bunch of outgrown, perfectly good clothing.

My kids are 5, 8, 11 and 21. They have enough clothing to last around a week and a half. They each have a four drawer dresser. Shirts in one drawer, jean/pants/shorts, pajamas, and underwear and socks are in the one drawer. My daughter has a few dresses which have to be hung. Otherwise, I don't buy kid's clothing which needs hanging up or ironing.

Also, think about if they can wear something more than once. During the winter, my kids wear their jeans a couple of times before washing.

There are real advantages to less clothing aside from the laundry issue. It's easier to notice if the socks wear out and you need new ones. It's easier to keep up with a button missing and get it replaced. My kids actually wear out many of their clothes and I feel like I got my money's worth. They actually enjoy getting new items since they don't already have a ton.

We set out school clothes the night before so that the morning goes easy. I don't have trouble with the exploding drawer syndrome since they put their own clothing away, they are more careful with it and usually just pick the shirt or jeans at the top of the stack.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 6:21PM
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Really? You don't hang much? We hang as much as will fit in a small, narrow closet: Jeans, dress shirts, team uniforms, scout uniforms, sweatpants and mesh athletic shorts that were hung to dry. At almost 6-feet tall, my 14 yo son's jeans are not going to fit in his drawer (big kid, small house, small drawers).

We did shop for new jeans for him today. Bought 4 pairs, 4 are going in the trash--they're so beyond saving!!!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 8:33PM
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I also hang more than I fold. But that's just because we have more hanging space than drawers.

Back to the original question - I like for everyone to have two weeks worth of socks. That leaves a comfortable margin to get the laundry done while being sure to have a clean pair when you need them. Luckily socks don't take up much space. Some things, like jeans, can be worn more than one day (unless you spill something on them), but with socks and underwear I like to err on the side of plenty. If the drawer is overflowing with never worn or unmatched pairs, it is definitely time to get rid of some.

I have an Unmatched Sock Drawer. When a sock comes out of the dryer without a mate, it goes in the drawer. Whenever I feel like it, I sort through them. If I keep seeing the same lone sock, I assume the dryer ate the mate, and I pitch it. Some of those socks have been in there a looooong time. I'm ever hopeful the mate will turn up. :) Once I found a lone sock in my dd's desk drawer and scolded her for not putting it in the laundry. She said she was waiting for the mate to show up. had been in the Unmatched Sock Drawer for ages! (And yes, she knows about that drawer.)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 6:55PM
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Everyone here is assigned a certain brand of socks, and all their socks are the same kind. We often have spares since I toss the holey ones as I go... but it doesn't take too long to match them up to a new mate.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 7:17PM
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Julie, yes, lots of matching socks is good! I refuse to darn socks - holey ones go in the trash.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2005 at 11:57PM
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Thank you so much. Most of these ideas are completely new to me-obviously organization doesn't come easily to me! I'm determined to clean out this house in this new year. This week I have hauled 5 boxes of clothes to the local charity house!! It really does feel good. taterbug

    Bookmark   December 30, 2005 at 10:19AM
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