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Odd Socks: Where They Go, Matching Them, Using Them and More

As the chief laundress in her household, Abby Slutsky is a veteran at dealing with unmatched socks.

You probably have a pile of odd socks in your home.

You probably have a pile of odd socks in your home.

Where Do All The Socks Go?

The stories my washer and dryer could tell,

Do my socks disappear because of their smell?

I don’t really think that is the case,

My mom has the problem at her place.

And the truth is--she is so very neat,

There’s probably no odor attached to her feet,

So moving along--can I track my socks down?

Sometimes I find them floating around.

Reasons You Have Many Odd Socks

It seems that almost everyone I know has a collection of odd socks. It is easy to lose one sock in a pair for several reasons:

  1. Socks may get separated by the time they get in the washer; thus, a matched pair may not always get washed together.
  2. Socks are small pieces of clothing, so it is easy to misplace them.
  3. Some family members may just grab odd socks to wear around the house when they are not going out. Thus, a load of laundry may contain socks that had no match.
You may find odd socks hidden in large clothing items if you search for them.

You may find odd socks hidden in large clothing items if you search for them.

Places Where Unmatched Socks End Up

Although it may seem like odd socks end up in sock heaven, they really remain in your house. It is just that by the time you find some of the mates, the other half to their pair is frequently thrown out or misplaced, Where do they go?

1. Behind a Laundry Machine or Dryer

Occasionally, I have found odd socks that have slipped behind my washing machine or dryer.

2. Interior of Other Washed Items

Since socks are small, it is easy for them to get caught in the interior of a pant leg, shirt or sheet. Often a person folding these items will not turn them insideout to ensure that the socks are not in these garments.

3. Another Person's Sock Drawer

Many socks are unisex and their ability to stretch makes them fit more than one family member. Thus, it is easy for odd socks to end up in different rooms. Once they are in the wrong room, it becomes difficult to match them.

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4. Rag Bag

If you keep your rags in your laundry room, it is easy for you, a cleaning lady or anyone else to toss an odd sock in a rag bag.

Keeping Pairs Together: Ways to Prevent Odd Socks

Preventing socks from disappearing is not hard. It takes a little time, but you can easily save the time at the backend of matching socks when they come out of the laundry.

Clip Socks Together

If desired, you can use safety pins to clip socks together before you wash them. On rare occasions, safety pins become loose in the wash, and the pointed end can become dangerous if you do not find it in clothing. Thus, I prefer to use The Amazing Sock Clip Holder from Amazon. These plastic sock clips firmly hold all pairs of socks together and are dryer and washing machine safe. I do not have to worry about dangerous pins getting lost in my clothing.

I put a few in each person’s room, so they remember to clip their socks before putting them in the laundry room. Once you get used to using these clips, they are a time-saver for sorting socks and a savings in buying replacement socks. When I first bought them, some of them were a little tough to open, but after a few uses it became easy.

Put Socks in a Hosiery Bag

When I only have a few socks that I am washing with a load, putting them in a hosiery bag helps keep them from getting lost. However, my hosiery bag is not that large, so this is only practical when I am washing a few pairs.

Matching Odd Socks and Getting Rid of Them

Even if you are planning on reducing your mountain of odd socks by using clips or a hosiery bag, chances are you already have accumulated many of them. If you are like me, you may match them periodically, and then continue to keep unmatched socks in the hope that you find their mates--sometimes it even happens.

Nevertheless, more often than not, keeping odd socks takes up space and makes it more difficult for you to find mates if you do not get rid of odd socks that you have attempted to match. I recommend going through your odd socks methodically, so you know which ones you have already tried to match.

1. Make sure you have odd socks from each family member's sock drawer, the laundry, and your accumulated odd sock pile.

2. Arrange socks so you can see them. I prefer matching one color at a time.

3. Identify torn or worn socks; discard them with their mates, if possible.

4. Put unmatched socks by color in a bag or bin labeled 'second round'.

5. Discard any patterned socks you no longer like or wear.

6. Next time you match socks, place the 'second round' socks in a separate area. Throw out any unmatched socks from this bag.

Recycle some unmatched socks by using them as rags.

Recycle some unmatched socks by using them as rags.

What Can You Do With Unmatched Socks?

1. Craft Projects

See if you can give your odd socks to a local preschool. Sometimes they can use them to make sock puppets and other crafts,

2. Help the Homeless With Odd Socks

Donate your unmatched socks to the Odd Sox Project. This organization distributes odd socks to homeless people in need.

3. Use Unmatched Socks as Rags

Recycle odd socks into rags. At times, it can be convenient to have a rag that you can slip on your hand.

Many people seem to have a pile of unmatched socks somewhere in their home. Hopefully, these ideas will help shrink your pile of odd socks. It is amazing that so many people are reluctant to get rid of them. Good luck in reducing your odd sock pile.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Abby Slutsky


Abby Slutsky (author) from America on August 24, 2021:

Thanks for reading. Your idea sounds fun.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 24, 2021:

We used to have an entire laundry basket dedicated to odd socks. One day I rolled all the odd socks into balls, put on the album theme to Star Wars, announced "The Empire Strikes Back" and proceeded to pummeled my children with sock balls. The Sock Wars was so much fun we made a regular event of it. I like the idea of donating them to the homeless. Thanks for the info.



Abby Slutsky (author) from America on August 24, 2021:

Thanks for reading.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on August 24, 2021:

Thanks so much for reading.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 24, 2021:

You opening poem is so cute, Abby. When I married my husband he was pinning his socks together when he told them off. I started doing the same thing. We don't lose socks ever! Your article is full of good advice.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on August 24, 2021:

Very interesting. Elaborate.

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