Declutter Lost Socks & Create A Sock Basket: 15 Minute Mission
Today's decluttering mission is to declutter lost socks, and those without a mate that have been hanging around for quite a while, waiting for their lost match.
Plus, today you should make a collection area for missing socks, such as in a basket or bag, so from now on as you come across them, when doing laundry, you can hopefully more easily find both parts of the pair, eventually.
The Problem: Missing Socks
It never fails, as you're folding laundry, you come across a clean sock without it's mate. One is missing.
The question becomes, where to put them until you hopefully come across it's mate, as well as how long should you hold on before you give up hope and toss these loners (or use it for another purpose).
The Solution: Hold All Unmated Socks In One Place
My solution -- a sock basket held in the laundry room, or close to the laundry.
It actually doesn't have to be a basket though. It can be a bag or other container, or even something you put up on the wall of your laundry room. Whatever works for you and your family, and the space you choose to store this container in.
Below I'll show you some ideas from readers of their family's missing sock collection area, plus discuss some routines you can begin so that your sock basket itself does not get out of control.
This way you'll have the best chance of matching up those stray socks, and also have good habits in place for giving up on lost socks within a reasonable time so you don't have a huge collection of unmated foot coverings lingering around your house.
As one reader, Dawn said, "I once donated a bunch of unmatched socks only to discover a bunch of unmatched socks in a different place later ( the matching socks). I was irritated to say the least. This is a great idea to have a special place to keep the unmatched ones in because then they have a chance to meet up again."
First photo courtesy of AnneCN, second photo courtesy of MarkWallace, and third photo from a reader, Karina
Example Of Sock Baskets & Other Ways To Collect Stray Socks
This is a simple concept, but it can make a huge difference in actually letting you find and re-match up your socks.
The picture above is from a reader, Holley, who said: "I put them in plastic tubs and let my kids help to find the matches."
Holley's container is just about the right size too, in my opinion. Not too small, but no so large that it gets overwhelming with the number of unmated socks you have to sort through.
Here's another example of a small box which is a great size for this purpose. This photo is from another reader, Katherine, who explains: "I labeled an old shoe box 'Socks Without Partners.' When I have a load of laundry that has some socks that don't have a partner, I look in my Socks Box to see if the mate is there. If not, I put the sock in the box to match up later. I have matched up several pairs of socks this way. I find it helpful since I have a teenage daughter that loves to leave her dirty laundry all over her room. It may take a month or more for some of the missing socks to turn up, but eventually, they usually do turn up."
Ideas For Containers Or Methods For Keeping Stray Socks In One Place
Basket, or small tub (as shown above). One reader, Susan says: "I keep plastic bin on the shelf above the dryer. It's labeled, "Sock Widows," since they're missing their mate."
Bulletin board (this idea was shown below, by a reader, Karen, such as pinning missing socks to the bulletin board so you can visually see which socks you're looking for.
Indoor clothes line - this is a similar idea to the bulletin board. The photo on the right is from a reader, Danielle, who showed us her missing socks clothes line in her laundry room. In addition, above is a photo from Karina, who explained about this idea: "I made this and have it on the laundry wall. Just a cheap canvas with blackboard paint, string and pegs. Seems to work quite well."
Bags (same idea as a basket basically)
Where You Should Keep Your Sock Container?
You can keep your container in whatever place is convenient for you, but I suggest a place close to the laundry room or washing machine and dryer if you can.
After all, you will be coming across these socks as you finish up the wash, and are actually folding the clothes, so this is often the most convenient place for the whole family to put them.
Be Careful Or Your Collection Center Can Become Overwhelming Without Proper Habits
Here's a picture from a reader, Dee, who said: "Here are our messy, unmatched sock baskets (for 7 people)." Looks a bit overwhelming to sort through, doesn't it?
I hope I've convinced you to create a collection area for your lost socks now, but I do have a word of caution.
You can easily begin collecting way too many stray socks, or get in the habit of never pairing your socks back up if you use this method, and that is a recipe for disaster.
One reader, Rhonda, said something rather typical of this particular problem: "I don't know that I'll ever master this one. We have 3 baskets full of unmatched socks! The boys and my husband will just pull unmatched (but close) socks and wear them. It makes me crazy! I keep threatening to throw them all out, but I never do it. Maybe I'm the problem...LOL."
If you choose way too large containers for your sock basket it's easy to just let them pile up, sometimes for years and years.
Trust me, if a sock hasn't shown up in a year, it's time to let its mate go!
Plus, I know some people just dig in their baskets for a pair of socks each morning, or even grab two mismatched ones to wear (which is somewhat a trend right now among kids anyway), but this wastes so much time each morning, if you added up all the time you or a family member are doing this.
I definitely don't suggest it as a method.
Instead, choose a small container, which forces you to deal with it more frequently. Then make it a habit to regularly, I would suggest monthly, go through all your stray socks, matching all that you can and then just giving up on the ones where you can't find a mate. (Thanks to a reader, Melody, below, who sent in this photo of she and her child matching up socks.)
You can donate socks, throw them away, or repurpose them. Whatever you choose -- just don't let them sit around in this container for ages.
Ideas For Who Can Match Up These Lost Socks
You don't actually have to do this habitual organizing task yourself either, which is the beauty of it.
Matching up socks is a simple task for even young children to do, and can relieve some burden off yourself. Just remember to ask them to do it once a month, or every week, whatever you choose.
Of course, if you do decide to do it yourself this is a fun excuse to put on some fun music or watch your favorite TV show while you sit there with your basket and match. This task is rather simple and mindless and allows you to get some needed relaxation while still getting something accomplished.
Do You Want Ideas For How To Keep From Losing Socks In The First Place?
This article has been focused on what to do when you have missing or lost socks, so you can keep track of them until you find the mate.
But, did you know there are some techniques you can use to prevent losing socks in the first place while doing laundry? I've discussed 3 ways to prevent missing socks in the wash here, so check it out since this is another way to keep your household's socks under control.
Ideas For What To Do With Decluttered Socks
Eventually, you may have to get rid of some of those socks without a mate, if the mate never materializes.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!