How do we lose so many individual socks? 6 strategies to prevent orphaned socks

This story is part of try thisCNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life fast.

It happens to all of us, often with our dearest couples. We’re about to put away our freshly smelling laundry and find abandoned sock orphans. Didn’t they ever make it to the laundry? Were they kidnapped by the sock monster? Is all hope lost?

There are countless potential culprits and danger zones. Kids, pets, and messy roommates (ahem, partners) all increase the risk of single socks being abandoned, as does rushing or longer commutes to get to the machines. Even if you don’t take a few extra seconds to look around while doing laundry, it can be disastrous for the sock marriage.

To learn sock saving tips, I spoke to friends and co-workers to find out how to separate socks from their buddies and to learn strategies to prevent sock loss. Most of these methods only require a few minor changes to the average laundry process. While no single tactic is foolproof, if you have a determined mindset, one of these will most likely work for you.

You can find more tips here Wash your car without water, Fall asleep with a simple five-minute task and Prevent mold from growing in your washing machine.

Where do all the individual socks go?

First, let’s go through a list of where we may have lost individual socks.

  • They are stuck in clothes and shoes: Socks are stuffed into shoes and stranded in pant legs, especially in tighter-fitting clothing like leggings.
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  • They are scattered in or around the bed: Single socks often end up wrinkled in sheets or blankets or under the bed collecting dust bunnies, especially if you take off your foot warmers in the middle of the night.
  • They missed the basket: Socks like to hide next to the laundry basket, behind it or at the bottom where you can’t see anything.
  • Lost on the way to or from the laundry room: Lone socks jump off the ship at the first transfer point on wash day. Even if they make it into the laundry basket, they can fall out along the way. If you do your laundry in a public laundromat, there are more escape routes such as elevators, sidewalks, cars.
  • You’re stranded in or around the washer or dryer: During the washing process itself, socks give up their matches – sometimes lying helplessly on the floor next to the machines. They are often attached to the tub of the washing machine or got stuck in the dryer drum.
  • They are caught in other clean laundry: The biggest culprit here is fitted sheets.
  • They became your pet’s toy: Some dogs just love chewing on socks, even when there are lots of plastic bones and squeaky toys.

And that’s not all the places to look. Single socks end up in gym bags and under sofas and radiators. have children Also check inside toy boxes, backpacks, and just about anywhere they play outside.

a row of flying white socks against a blue background

You could only get 20 pairs of the same style and color at a time.

James Martin/CNET

This way you avoid losing just one sock

To protect yourself from losing a single sock, here are six strategies.

Strategy 1: Keep the pairs of socks together

The goal here is to ensure that dirty couples always go to the basket together. Never throw in just one sock — that’s a recipe for failure.

You can secure matching socks with a safety pin or clip, or roll them up before throwing them in the dirty laundry bin. This method is effective but potentially time consuming if you have to unroll or unroll the matches before they go into the washer and dryer.

You can also follow my dad’s technique, which has kept him from losing individual socks since at least the 1980s. He uses “sock locks,” plastic ring doodads that are machine safe and keep socks paired in the washer and dryer. After my dad takes off his dirty socks, he slides the pair through the plastic ring and tosses them in the laundry basket. The “sock lock” stays on throughout the wash and the clean pair ends up back in their drawer – all without sorting or separating.

Strategy 2: Separate socks from other laundry

Individual socks become tangled in clothing and bedding before, during or after the wash cycle. One way to avoid this is to always keep your socks separate from other items. Some people keep a second basket or laundry bag just for socks.

This is how I do it: In addition to the socks, I separate small items such as underwear and washable underwear right before the wash and make sure that they stay together in the dryer. Doing an independent load with just these smaller items can help prevent socks from snagging on larger items like fitted sheets and pillowcases.

Strategy 3: Store the socks separately and in a mesh bag

With this method, wash and dry socks in a laundry net or mesh bag (commonly used for lingerie or items that tend to knot). If you’re someone who separates light from dark before washing, separating your socks and underwear should be relatively painless.

Strategy 4: Get a sock orphanage

Every time you find a single sock, place it in a bag, box, or separate drawer. That way, if his partner shows up in the next load of laundry, they can be reunited. It can take months for socks to adjust, so check back regularly. Some long-term loners might have a happier life transforming themselves into a duster, shoe-buffer, or hand puppet (for CNET’s Scott Stein, it’s a traveling trunk for one portable game console).

Strategy 5: Buy multiple pairs of socks of the same style and color

If you’re reconciled to losing socks, buy similar or identical ones so singles always fit. The downside is that your feet are just a little less interesting if all of your socks are the same.

Strategy 6: Embrace the mess of mismatched socks

If lost socks are an inevitable part of your household no matter what you do, turn rogue. First, start pairing socks that are a bit similar. Then trust in the boldness of the collision. Pretty soon you’ll learn to accept that some socks weren’t made for monogamy at all.

You can find more tips here cut a cake without a knife, No more junk mail and light a fire with Doritos. How do we lose so many individual socks? 6 strategies to prevent orphaned socks

Chris Barrese

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