The World Wide Sock Sort

I was going to call this challenge the “Great American Sock Sort” but then I realized we have readers all over the world, so the World Wide Sock Sort it is – this we’re  thinking globally, but acting locally – right in our own bedrooms.

The goal this week is to eliminate any socks that are un-wearable, (holes and such) any socks that are lonely (missing mates), socks that are too small, too big, too ugly,…..etc., and to arrange the socks you have into an easily accessible organizer.
What you’ll need:
A garbage bag
A donate bag
Possible gas mask – if you have teenage boys
At least one sock organizer per dresser – maybe more
Time: 20-30 minutes

What is a Sock Organizer?

  A Sock Organizer can be anything you’ll use to keep your socks in place in the drawer.  You can buy then everywhere from the Wal-Mart to Ikea.  You can also use things you may already have around your home like regular shoe boxes.  The depth of your drawers might dictate the right sorter for you.  I’m a bigger advocate of the things that are rectangular in shape than the diamond shape type of organizer.  I just think it is “easier” to fill the rectangle or square more efficiently than the diamond.
Step 1 – Do all the laundry.
  This is important because you want to be confident that all of the socks have been washed and are in the correct rooms.
Step 2 – Plan your route
I started in the laundry room.  I took the sock basket, which had a few strays after doing the laundry, and headed into the furthest away bedroom.  I love moving around on a “mission” and having a route feels that way.  Plus if you stay the course, you’ll leave a completed room behind. Ahhhh, nice.
Step 3 – Empty the drawer
 Its quick work to empty a sock drawer and determine what is “wearable” – the unwearables go into the garbage bag.  The old Baseball socks, Soccer socks, etc. that have been hanging around my kids drawers since grade school went into the “donate” bag.  Other items that joined them in the donate bag were “gift socks”.  You know these types of socks, the colors, textures, fabrics, prints, designs….etc. that are just not your style – but they were a gift of some sort and you felt obligated to keep them – DONATE!!! 
 The donate bag should also be the lucky recipient of gift socks that you love, but you’ve NEVER, and most likely will never, wear.  If you were given a pair of pink socks with Bling around the cuff, 5 years ago, and you think they’re adorable, but they just aren’t “you” – but you’re torn because you love them and your favorite aunt sent them to you, and blah, blah, blah – either donate them or “re-gift” them to someone who will wear them.
  If you’re having trouble, try to think about how much easier it will be to find the socks you want to wear when you don’t have to dig past the socks you’ll never wear.  Think about how much easier it will be to put the laundry away when you don’t have to constantly rearrange things you don’t wear.
  As you sort through, pull out the wearables, and set them aside.  It will be fastest and easiest to reload the drawer if you can start with empty.

Empty the drawer.
Holey socks go in the garbage.
Step 4 – Organize
  Socks definitely come in different styles and have different uses.  Just like other things, you want to keep things together that go together.   Short gym socks, long gym socks, hiking socks, dress socks….etc.  The nice thing about things you wear constantly  – gym socks or black dress socks, is that they can be “stacked” .  Stacking is the most space efficient way to store socks, it’s very visible, accessible and doesn’t add any wear and tear to the elastic in the sock.  

“To ball or not to ball” – I’m not an advocate of “sock balling”.  Besides that fact that it takes up more space, things like holes, stains, and mis-matches are often concealed when socks are in a ball.  I’m a folder.  Besides the other things mentioned about balling, when you fold your socks, you always get the matching length – for some women it’s knee highs, for men it’s dress socks, for me it’s hiking socks.  These types of socks all look the same, yet come in different lengths. Folding them insures that they are perfectly matched with their mate of length (did I mention I’m a little obsessive.)

Step 5 – Set some limits
  This sounds a little bit silly, “Set your sock limit.”  Keep in mind that the reason you want to be more organized is so that your life is easier, less frustrating, not overwhelming, faster, more efficient, etc.  Whatever your reason(s), and you may have others – when you have too much, when you have more than you need (this is individually relative), you won’t meet that goal.  Ask yourself, how many pairs of gym socks do you need?  If you wear one pair a day to work out, and you do laundry twice a week, you could probably be happy with 4 pairs of gym socks, keep 7 to be safe.  This will make it even easier to “thin the sock herd.”    Define the amount of space, the number of socks, etc.  For me – I limit my regular wear socks to one Ikea sorter.  “Special socks” like ski socks are stored with the things I use them with, i.e. my ski pants, jacket, hat, and socks are all stored together. 
Step 6 – Put your socks away

Before you start refilling your sock drawer, think first about which socks you use all the time.  Which socks you use less frequently.  Be sure you are putting the most used socks in the easiest to access, and easiest to reload location in your sock drawer. 

Shoe boxes make execellent sock sorters if your drawers are deep enough.

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