Sock Management 101

If you Google the word SOCKS it will throw you backย 382,000,000 results, which is almost exactly the amount of socks that lives here at Chateau Da Woog! And always, with something so simple and mundane, there is a long and interesting history behind this particular garment. Originally they were made from leather, or matted animal fur. The word SOCK is derived by the Old English word SOCC, which referred the item as a “light slipper.”

The main purpose of socks is to cushion ones foot and provide a purpose to absorb foot sweat, therefor eliminating odour. A son of mine, who shall remain un-named, sometimes does not wear socks on Sports days and the stench of his shoes at the end of the day is enough to incinerate the small hairs in your nostrils. Socks are important people!

But if you are a domestic goddess, much like I am, you will know that sock management is a real issue, biting unto important time where you should actually be watching The Bold and the Beautiful. Or robbing you of the time when you could be examining your facial hair in direct sunlight in a magnified mirror. Or so I believe.

My little OCD Goblin, Mr. Woog, goes out once a year and buys ten identical pairs of black socks which makes managing them a doddle. But it is the other socks that causes me nightmares. There are footy socks, school socks, ballet socks and sports socks. There are fluffy socks and sockettes and ski socks. There are dozens of them. Into the wash they go, those little stinkers, and get washed and then dried. Then they are added to the WASHING COUCH where they can sit for days at a time. Once I lose the will to live, or run out of undies whichever comes first, I put on a podcast and start a little folding party.

I always start with the towels. I find folding towels oddly soothing. (Note to self. Apply for job at Bed, Bath and Table.) And then t-shirts before working my way through pants, shorts and “household” items such as tea towels until all that is left on the washing couch is a mess of socks and undies. Undies are easily sorted and then, there are just the socks.

Bastard little piles of cotton. The black ones are dealt with little pain. The striped ones, the spotted ones, the white ones. Three hours later I am left with a dozen odd socks. Where the fuck are their twins? I know Isobel Barbara is fond of walking past the washing couch, selecting a sock before going out into the backyard to play with it. I know that a few always fall down the crack in the middle of the couch. So what I do is chuck all the odd socks into a drawer of the sideboard, and watch that collection grow.

Then, every few weeks, most often on a Sunday Evening when the kids are pissing me off tooย the max, I announce with glee…

“BOYS! COME AND JOIN IN THE SOCKS BALLING PARTY!” before I dump the whole drawer onto the dining table. I hear their groans but I insist that it is quality, team bonding time before taking my leave to inspect my facial hair under the bedside lamp in my magnifying mirror. It’s a glamorous life.

After the Sock Balling Party finishes, I look at the leftovers and, brace yourself ladies, I CHUCK THEM OUT! Ruthless. They have some through all of the challenges and their time is up. I do not require seven manky odd socks sitting in a drawer until the day they remove me from the house in a body bag. It just is not necessary. Brutal, I know.

The cycle begins again. And you want to know the interesting thing? I do not recall ever buying any of these socks. It is puzzling and mysterious. It is like living in an endless episode of The Twilight Zone.

Do you have good sock management practices down pat?

What do you do with the odd ones?

  • michelle barrington

    I bought the socks for my daughter for school which have the fluro colour on the bottom so easier to match up. We each have a bra washing bag. Socks we wear get tossed into this bra bag to be washed in the washing machine. No socks left in the washing machine by themselves. The whole bra bag then gets hung on the line and the socks dry in the bag – yes they do. If they are still damp toss whole bag in the dryer. If need to be hung out they are hung next to the bra bag. Then the whole bra bag is added to the pile of dry clothes and gets returned to the bedroom. No need to sort socks EVER AGAIN. My sister has 5 kids and gave me this golden tip. You are welcome!

    • Sally Rose

      That is a very good suggestion, thank you Michelle and your sister.

  • Donna

    Every term-ish I buy all new socks and toss the rest. Kids wear the same socks for everything except sport. I still have a dining table full of clean washing with a strata layer of socks underpining the lot.

    Pretty sure sock divorce happens before the swinging party that is the washing machine. If you can keep them coupled through the wash and dry they’ll maintain their fidelity.

  • The washing machine ate them, Mrs Woog – it’s a portal into the Land of the Lost Socks…! Funny story – aeons ago when my boys were small (32 and 25 now) our general purpose answer to where lost things had gone to was that they’d gone AWOL. No.2 absorbed this, to a point…and was overheard one time earnestly explaining to my mother that some missing item she’d asked him about had, “gone through the washing machine TO AWOL”…LOL! He had it firmly fixed in his head that AWOL was an actual place. Mum was trying so hard not to laugh. I’ll tell you something though – even now with just Dragon Dad and I constituting the household members who require socks, the cats’ dainty black stockings don’t come off – the washing machine STILL eats socks! And as for the odiferous ones…the stepson was in a class of his own, I tell you. He left a pair of his sneakers in the back of Dragon Dad’s car one time after Rugby…the car was totally uninhabitable for DAYS… Gah!

  • Amalia

    ‘Mum, can I watch TV?’
    ‘Yes’ I say, and plonk a basket of socks on the couch for him. Win win.

  • Nicola

    Several years ago my other half bought himself six pairs of black socks and six pairs of midnight blue ones. They were a nightmare to sort and he found himself wearing odd socks quite often. From that moment on i decreed no one could have socks that didn’t have a distinctive feature – coloured toes etc.. One of my offspring loses socks with alarming regularity and the odd socks basket is mainly full of her remnants. She doesn’t seem to mind wearing odd socks so every so often i have a pairing session and just put socks that go vaguely together for her.

  • Angela

    I really can’t understand lost socks and I have seriously tried to analyse the how , what and whens of it all. Id say I have about 50% of socks without a partner. I keep them in the laundry basket for about a month, then when no partner turns up ( most dont turn up) I biff.

  • I like my socks in pairs and have been known to search the whole house for that elusive mate. I used to have a small container on top of the washing machine and called it ‘the lonely socks department’. When all other socks were dirty and kids complained too loudly I was known to force them to chose 2 from the lonely socks department, thus increasing my kids care factor that usually Mum does wash, dry, sort, pair and return clean socks to their drawers. When my boys went through a stage of fighting over who owned which socks I simply piled them all in one basket next to the shoe basket in the hall – fight amongst yourselves!
    Now my super organised, slightly anal plan is to pair socks as they exit the washing machine and peg them in pairs on one of of those octopus peg thingies from IKEA- it works wonderfully. When they are all dry I chuck the whole octopus in the basket and head to the couch for some streamlined sock balling ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Mel G

    I can’t BEAR odd sock! It does my head in, and I blame my husband coz he started it ๐Ÿ˜€

    I pair the socks as I peg them on the line so when I bring the washing in, all that needs to happen is to ball them up as the peg comes off and voila! Pairs of socks!

  • The inspiring lifestyle at Chateau Da Woog ๐Ÿ˜‰ I too invested in the Ikea octopus and this has reduced my sock stress. Although I have not completely solved the mystery of the disappearing socks, I find it strangely calming to clip them together on the octopus. I have also done some research into sock management (I know – I should be looking for facial hair obviously) and discovered that all the cool kids fold their socks together and place them in little compartments in the sock draw. Sock balling, apparently, is out.

  • Tracey

    I have only ever managed to find one sock without its mate, and the mystery was solved 10 days later when my dear hubby arrived home from Papua New Guinea with the missing sock in his bag. Apparently it wanted to do the Kokodo Trail walk as well.

  • In a two person household I can never seem to work out where the missing socks live…

  • Kazzie

    I’m absolutely baffled by these stories of lost/missing sox. Don’t want to boast but have never lost a pair of sox in the wash, etc. My household always reasonably tidy so that’s probably why. ๐Ÿ˜‰