The legend about washing machines eating socks isn’t true. The reason so many people have orphaned socks is that their socks don’t make into the wash in pairs. I have discovered dirty socks under furniture, inside garages and behind clients’ washing machines.
You can avoid having stray socks by creating laundry systems:
- Require that everyone put socks in the hamper when they’re taken off. Otherwise, you will find dirty socks in every room.
- Pin socks in pairs before they get washed if you want to guarantee they’ll come out together. I used sock locks when I shared a laundry room, or you can use safety pins.
- Put clean socks away when they come out of the dryer. You don’t have to fold them lovingly, but if they end up on the floor, they have a good chance of separating and getting mixed up with dirty socks (see #1, above).
- Buy multiples of the same socks if you don’t want to bother with matching them after washing.
What if you’re facing a huge bag or drawer of mismatched socks? You can go through and find pairs or, if it’s not the best use of your time, you can declare sock amnesty and let go of them all. I have clients who have tossed dozens of socks and said that they felt liberated.
Of course, you don’t have to put them in the trash; you can donate them to an animal shelter or locate a place to recycle them. Some large thrift shops have bulk buyers for merchandise that won’t sell in the store, like damaged clothing and mismatched socks.
Whatever you do, don’t blame the washer for your missing socks! Do you have a technique that helps you avoid the dreaded solo sock?