In the flow chart of my life, my sock drawer occupies the lower right corner in a rectangle with the heading “Unimportant” and connected by an arrow to a diamond labeled “Do Not Worry About.”
Apparently I’m in the minority. (I know this because I read it on the Internet.)
Organization manuals devote chapters to rearranging sock drawers and a quick Google search found numerous websites established to guide sock-wearing readers through the pitfalls of stocking ownership.
Three topics surfaced consistently during my research: Sustaining Sock Sets, Skillful Sorting, and Proficient Pairing.
Sustaining Sock Sets
Losing a sock in the wash is a mystery. Stephen Hawking developed a theory, regarding how solid matter (sock) disappears in a finite space (washer) prior to his death. It will be published posthumously. Until then perhaps these tips will aid in sustaining sock sets while laundering them . . . or not.
Pin them together . . . but then you have to find the safety pins.
Segregate the socks in their own load . . . but it takes a bazillion socks to make a full load.
Don’t wear socks . . . but uncomfortable in cold weather.
Crossing my fingers and dumping them into integrated loads is the technique I employ. Finding pins takes too long, facing a laundry basket of ONLY socks is depressing, and freezing feet are reasons I stick with this haphazard approach.
Following these Internet suggestions alleviate the frustration of sorting clean sock survivors . . . or not.
Wear only one type of sock . . .but the dyes wash differently. Resulting in the more frustrating task of matching slightly different hues.
Wear vastly differentiated socks like striped, bold colored, and holiday so visual cues ease the matching . . . but if timing is off the Easter bunny socks may be the only clean ones in October.
Follow the Radix Sort Algorithm put forth by Professor Brian Christian, computer scientist and co-author of ALGORITHMS TO LIVE BY. “Algorithm” sounds confusing, but it means a step-by-step procedure like a recipe. The idea is to cut the problem down to size by dividing the sock survivors into smaller groups like color, length, and fabric and then to work through these smaller groups. He claims it’s faster . . . but I deliberate too long about for which subgroup the sock qualifies (Black? Midcalf? Black and Midcalf?) that I waste the time saved.
I use the Speed Dating Technique. Place the socks in rows and move one alongside the first. If they’re a perfect match, hurrah! Both are taken out of circulation. If not move the sock to the next one in line and compare. As in Speed Dating sometimes I settle for an almost perfect match and go with it. If one sock is a few inches shorter than the other, and I’m wearing them with jeans, it works!
Clean, sorted socks lead to the final and most controversial stage of sock ownership, how to secure the twin socks in a manner for an easy selection prior to donning. This challenging step is demonstrated in dozens of YouTube videos ranging from the simplest to the most complex method. Use one of these procedures to traverse this complicated step . . . or not!
The Top to Top Fold Over system is executed exactly as its name implies. Lay the socks atop each other, toe-to-toe and heel-to-heel. Then turn one sock top over the other sock top, which holds them together . . . but the bond is weak and the calmest sock drawer rummaging breaks it.
The Rolling Method appears to be favored by the military. Soldiers, featured in three YouTube videos, demonstrate rolling socks in tight sushi like rolls and securing them by turning the opening over the roll. By the titles listed under “This may also be of interest to you” of subsequent videos, it seems that this method is also used for packing underwear and t-shirts . . . but the rolling method places stress on the elastic sock top. However, I think soldiers are more concerned about bullets and bombs than whether the elastic in their socks stretch out.
The Folding Method criss crosses flattened socks with a series of alternating folds that results in a stackable square sock pair . . . but these origami like maneuvers are complicated. The result should have been a flying crane or a leaping frog not something as tame as a stackable square.
I use the modified roll method that I developed as a child. Mom assigned me the task of pairing my dad’s work socks. Since they were all white I couldn’t go too far astray. I dumped the mass of tangled socks on my parents’ bed and opened my dad’s sock drawer. Rolling the pair together and securing them by pulling the top over the rolled part resulted in a fist size ball. I would then lob them across the room into the opened drawer. I’d also aim for my brother if he happened by.
The Lone Sock
Dissertations have been written on what to do with the socks that don’t have a match. If creating sock puppets or saving them until the mate shows up doesn’t appeal to you throw them away!
It bestows a feeling of control and keeps the other socks in line, I mean in pair.