The Saga of the Sock System

I am the oldest of nine children in my family. What does that have to do with socks? I’m glad you asked. Most people don’t give much thought to socks. Most people probably haven’t sat down and tried to match A WHOLE LAUNDRY BASKET OF SOCKS before. Multiple Times. I have. It was my least favorite chore. (True story: I once had a bad dream about having to match socks. While dreaming, I told myself this was just a dream, and woke myself up.)

The worst thing about trying to match up that many socks at a time was that I could never find all the matches. That drove my perfectionist personality nuts! And there were always so many socks that looked almost alike. One would be white with yellow stitching, while the other white sock would have green stitching. And I would sit there and wonder, “Will I find a match for this, or did my careless siblings mismatch another two socks?” (They did not all suffer from have the same perfectionist tendencies I had.) Then there were the socks that were almost the same size, but not quite. Is one stretched out more than the other, or are they two different socks that should never be paired together? I can feel myself getting uptight just revisiting these painful dilemmas. (I might need therapy; fortunately, one of my siblings does that!)

I decided at a very young age that I wasn’t going to try to match up an entire basketful of socks when I was older. So I did a few things differently in my own household:

I only had 2 children.

Fewer feet, fewer socks needed. I’m not saying I chose to have only 2 children so I wouldn’t have to match up as many socks, but it does work in my favor!

I buy larger packages of matching socks.

I try to buy packages that contain 8-10 pairs of socks that ALL MATCH each other. Rather than searching for that one perfect mate, they can all live together polygamously. Plus, I have enough pairs to make it to the next laundry day with a few pairs to spare.

I buy each member of the family a different brand of socks.

No more wondering if my husband or my son (who wear the same size now) have enough socks. They each have their own brand; and, IF THEY PUT THEIR DIRTY CLOTHES IN THE LAUNDRY, then I wash them and put them back. If someone doesn’t have any socks to wear, it’s because either

  1. They’re stuffed in random places in their bedroom (this isn’t a problem anymore), or
  2. They’ve thrown away a bunch of holey socks without asking me to buy more (this doesn’t usually happen anymore either).

I throw away all the old socks when I buy a new package of socks.

I can hear the gasps of horror now from all you frugalists. In my defense, I do go the extra step of trying to keep their socks rotated evenly in their drawers. When I put the socks away, I’ll usually put them behind the other socks, so all the socks get worn evenly. So by the time the first few socks get holes, all the socks are getting threadbare. But I think this is the biggest time-saving tip of all – throwing out the old socks to make room for the new (large package) of socks. It’s so liberating – you must try it.

On a side note, I must say that our socks usually last at least 2 years. So it’s not like I’m just “throwing money away.” I look at it as a time saver. Plus, think of all the money I save by not needing to go to a therapist and deal with my “USI” (unmatched sock issues). Priceless.

P.S.  These are the socks I buy my husband.  They hold up to his heavy work boots, and keep his feet dry.

Feel free to share your own sock issues in the comments!

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