Organizing Tip: The Missing Sock

the missing sock

Laundry. It never ends, does it? Just when I think I’m square for the week, another load is waiting in the wings. My least favorite part is digging through our enormous pile of socks to find matches. I’ve actually traded 3 weeks of cat litter clean up with Casey so I didn’t have to do it. That’s how much I can’t stand it. I’d rather clean up cat crap than match socks! The reason why I have so many socks? I keep buying them because I’m too lazy to match the ones I have. I’m also really behind on getting rid of the ones that haven’t had a match in years. It’s a vicious cycle, people. But I’m the first to admit I have a sock problem.

I was complaining about my sock situation to my friend Julie a few weeks ago and she showed me this awesome sorting trick. Let me tell you, it has totally changed my outlook on laundry. It makes sock sorting & folding so easy! No more huge, OVERWHELMING pile of socks to match up. With this tip, you simply pull out a few stacks of socks and you’re ready to get matching.

Do you have a bag of socks? This is mine.

bag of socks

The first step- SORT your socks. You’ll find some matches along the way!


Then cut a few ties from pieces of ribbon, string, or in this case fabric (this roll of fabric is t-shirt material so it stretches nicely and I can easily untie the stack if I need to re-stack).

cutting a ribbon

Once you’ve completed a stack, tie it up. That’s it. It’s ready to go.


Categorize your stacks. Colors, Stripes/Patterns, Whites & Blacks.

yes i have a lot of socks

When you have a rogue sock, just pull the matching sock from the right stack! The tie keeps the stack in place.

all stacked up

I will not trade this chore for cleaning out the litter box EVER again.

Do you have a sock situation or am I the only one?

  • Christianne

    You know the bags that you get when you buy a comforter? Ya, that’s my sock bag. This sounds like a really good idea.

  • Vanessa

    No your are not the only one. I’m convinced the dryer eats socks.

  • Jane M

    I hate the task of sock matching/folding/laundry chore. Sometimes I just scream and throw them up in the air and they land wherever! Thank goodness it’s summer – but my MEN still wear socks in the heat. Guess they don’t want to show off their tootsies in sandals.

  • Monica

    hahaha! what a great idea!!! totally doing it!

  • Marci

    wow, great idea! what always kills me is that my husband’s big white tube socks always have mates and my socks never do! the sock monster definitely likes to eat my socks 🙂 i have a lot of striped socks, maybe it likes the stripe-flavored ones.

  • Shawna Greenway

    Now I just feel like a lame mom/wife! My son very rarely has matching socks (I just know we’ll find them all if we ever move from this house) and I buy the same color socks for my husband and then the same for my daughter so I don’t have to worry about matching. And living in the Bay Area, I very rarely wear socks except for the gym and during the winter.

    • Tracy

      That’s the problem! I guess I need to start over and buy dozens of the SAME sock. It seems like every time I try to organize my house, I find 0-6 months sized socks! IT DRIVES ME CRAZY.

      • Shawna Greenway

        I was sorting socks just yesterday and found 3 socks from when my daughter was wearing the Gap 12 month size. She’s turning 10 in June! Where the heck did they come from????

  • Katrina

    Socks are the bain of my existence. Where do they all go??

  • Vanessa

    so not the only one. It is even worse now with the itty-bitty, kid/baby socks than it ever was with just the big, adult sized ones. I have decided that a “Sock monster” lives in my dryer… where else would they go?!

  • Mr. T

    I always thought socks manufactures should leave a lighter blank bar area under the toes so you could easily mark them personally as you like and match them up with their collective partner. Sure would make sorting them easier.

    My mom color coded all our socks with thread on the cuff area but it still took time sorting them out. I remember a friends mom got fed up and went to the craft store and pick out some ink stamps and stamped everyones socks with personal designs. Made matching them up so much easier especially in poor lighting. Not sure what you can do when one goes to be with Jesus?

  • Krafty Keely

    My secret to sock sorting…owning only one type of socks. Yup, all of my socks are white ankle socks. This is mostly because I really don’t like wearing socks, I only wear them when I’m working out, so they don’t have to be cute. Other than that I live in flip flops and flats and like to give my little toes as much breathing room as possible (unfortunately at the moment they really need to be painted…o well, flip flops anyway!). So there you go, my secret trick! Makes my life super easy…except that I don’t own a lot of socks so when I run out of them it’s a huge process of digging around to find them…

  • Christine

    When growing up we had an entire laundry basket filled with socks to-be-matched. Monthly my mom would pay me $.25 for every pair I mated, which took hours. As a kid it just seemed simple to me to mate my socks when they were thrown in the laundry pile and/or before they made it to the laundry room. This insured that when anyone, but my brothers, did laundry they would make sure the socks were uncuffed and in the same load. (My brothers often didn’t uncuff the socks so they came through like wet sponge balls.)
    As an adult I still mate my socks before throwing them in the laundry basket. Although I don’t have any children now so who knows if I will end up with a laundry basket of socks one day bribing my daughter/son to match them for $5/pair (adjusted for inflation).
    Your idea is great!

  • Lisa Lou

    I have sock issues too! I put rubber bands around mine. Every time I sit down to find matches I wonder when and if I should throw out the ones that have not seen their mate for months.
    My dear Dad… may he rest in peace… would safety pin his socks together when he undressed. That way he said it would be easier for my Mom because his work socks were black and blue. Into the wash…the dryer…and out together! He kept a little bowl of safety pins on his night stand. I miss my sweet Dad. My boys and girls put socks in the hamper in balls….inside out and full of sand and grass! I wonder how they would react if I asked them to start pinning their socks!

  • Darcee

    Ahhh, the dreaded sock dilemma. When my kids were babies/toddlers, I used to put their tiny socks in a lingerie bag when I washed them. Kept them all together in one place. Now, I’m constantly chasing after socks between myself and my 3 kids. There has never been a time that I haven’t had socks that have lost their mate floating around my laundry area. This is a great idea, thanks for sharing.

  • Brie

    I don’t have a big sock problem, just because laundry is one of the few things I really stay on top of, so I match and put away socks almost as soon as they come out of the dryer and very rarely lose any. I have one leopard-print sock that I love and it lost its match like, nine years ago and I’m STILL HANGING ON TO IT. The next time I move though, I’m gonna lose it on purpose. Gotta let it go.

  • Amanda

    I heard a great idea for this the other day. A mom sent her 13 year old daughter to go match socks. 10 minutes later, the mom walks in to find the daughter and her two younger brothers playing “Go Fish” with the socks. Genius, I tell you. In a less wholesome vein, I feel like that could be turned into a wonderful drinking game, no?

  • adeli

    I don’t remember where I read this trick but it really works!!! When you take your socks off to throw them in the hamper just safety pin them together and you’ll never lose a sock again and bonus no sorting

  • Jessica

    Ahhhh, your sock bag is too cute!! Can’t say that I have a sock problem, but I also only do laundry for myself instead of six feet. I’m always impressed by your organizational skills. Stacked, color-coded socks?! I’m a sock baller.

  • Amanda

    we have a sock issue too… i was just having a mini melt down about it last night actually! lol.
    what about this? 🙂 looks a little over the top but also looks like it would work!

  • donna

    Just do what my son’s girlfriend does and wear them mismatched. It’s become her fashion statement.

    My sons and husband all had to buy different brands of socks to avoid messing theirs up.

    When I have a rogue sock I just put it on top of the dresser. The mate eventually shows up.

    Or, I give it to my son’s girlfriend…

    • Trish

      I have a friend that wears mismatched socks too. she stayed with me a few times and some how now i have more mismatched socks!! lol my daughter (7yrs old) is now wearing mismatched. when they run out of socks because the sock basket is full, they start wanting mine. i tell them, you know where the basket is. finally when i start running low…time to conquer the basket! i spend all day sorting and matching, however i have found the fastest way is similar to your idea… i group in colors first and let my youngest have fun matching colors…including a pile for long husband socks. then it doesnt seem so overwhelming looking at the small piles. the hardest part is the whites. i have me, my husband, a 4 yr girl, 7yr girl and a 9yr boy….and other than my colors, my son wears the same size as me…
      as far as the dryer goes..yes they eat them. i had to take my dryer in to get fixed and when they took it apart…THEY ACTUALLY FOUND A SOCK!!! lol lol
      and you wonder how dryer fires start 🙁 I guess that would be indigestion…lol lol lol

  • cindy

    I definitely have a sock bag too and it’s usually overflowing. I always try to coerce my husband into matching them up too. I am definitely employing this trick in my house!

  • Leah

    Haha.. oh man this made me laugh!!! My boyfriend has an entire drawer dedicated to his mismatched socks!! Also, we live in an apartment building, whenever we do laundry in the community laundry room,I always end up with someones baby’s socks!! I have like 8 little baby socks with no matches, they just sneak into my laundry somehow!

    Also, this came to mind when I read this post:


  • Popsie

    Hi, I do this already but have not made it look so pretty… i just use one of the mismatched socks as the tie!
    Anyway, surely sock matching and pairs work is a great and very valid game/ activity for a toddler?! It is what I do!

  • Trish

    hmmm, just mated socks last night…notice that when you wear them mismatched, you tend to wash that ONE sock more and so when i found the mate…they didnt match any more, go figure! it was faded

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  • Erika

    My two boys are 6.5 and 8 and wear the same size socks. My little trick (to keep the socks equal etc so one kid doesn’t end up with all the socks in his drawer and the other kid has none) is to use a Sharpie marker and place one dot on the sole of big kid’s sock and two dots on the sole of younger kid’s socks. When I get a rogue sock out of the drawer, I place it in an over-the-door/junk organizer in the laundry room. Eventually the match will turn up, or another match will be created and we’ll have a pair.

    I’m a little confused about the “bag of socks”…is this for doing laundry? Or for keeping organized in the sock drawer, etc?

    • Tracy

      oh..the bag of socks is where i keep all the rogue socks in our house. I have since gotten rid of most of those socks! I love your trick. Thank you!

      • Erika

        Oh okay…so that’s like my organizer-behind-the-door-sock-pouch. Got it. 🙂

        I can’t take credit for the dot thing, I read it somewhere else years ago. It does work nicely though–and when it’s time to pass things down to kid #2, you just add another dot.

  • meka

    A ponytail holder works good to.

    • Tracy

      Oh yeah! I haven’t had those in my house for about 7 years since I have short hair 🙂

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  • cindy fincher

    My problem is my husband being able to tell blue from black socks.Our bedroom has ok light but still hard. Why doesn’t a manufacturer simply weave “blue” “black””brown” onto bottom of socks? Can’t be that hard to do!

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