How I Eliminated Sorting Socks In My Clean Laundry

by Texas Homesteader ~

You know how it is, you do laundry and at the end of it all there’s Mt Socks. Blue ones, red ones, white and black ones. There are socks with stripes & geometric patterns.

Sorting them to match is always a struggle for me. Some look aaaaaaalmost the same, but they’re not. Ugh.

You try to pair them up but there’s always (and I mean always) one sock of a pair missing. I swear it’s like the washing machine is toying with you by playing hide-n-seek with that one sock.

You set it aside hoping the mate will show the next time laundry is done but it doesn’t. Nor the next. Nor… Oh how I hate sorting socks!

So although I’m a huge ‘Use Whatcha Got’ fan, eliminating this maddening frustration for me is something I’m willing to do to save my sanity. Read on, dear friends.

Do you hate sorting socks? I do! But I've found an easy way to eliminate that bag of mis-matched pairs and to streamline sorting socks on laundry day. #TexasHomesteader

Calming, Meditative Chores

There are some folks that find mundane chores such as ironing or sorting clean laundry almost meditative. A calm comes over them as they go about these chores.

But make no mistake, that’s NOT ME! Sorting socks is an maddening irritant to me. Oh how I hate sorting socks!

Sorting and matching socks is a chore I’d almost rather have a root canal than to complete. I’ll scrub toilets or hand-wash dishes but please don’t make me sort socks! So here’s what I do to simplify:

Socks Ruined By Stains

First of all, let’s tackle the waste resulting from socks ruined by stains. My solution is simple: make the stains invisible!

To accomplish this my sock color of choice is black. I mean think about it – we live & work on a ranch. It’s not unusual for us to traipse down to a muddy barn and run a group of weaning calves through the chute.

Using bleach & struggling with getting my clean but stained white socks unstained again after having them mud (or manure) stained just seems like an unnecessary burden. I want clean, but I want to hide stain here.

Plus we’re on a septic system so I use my own gentle homemade laundry detergent & I try not to use harsh bleach.

So years ago I decided I’d always wear black socks so any tale-tale stains won’t show. As long as they’re clean I’m good to go!

No more groans over taking off muddy shoes, glancing at those muddy white socks and wondering how in the world I’m gonna get those stains out even after the socks are clean.

Socks With No Mate

And having all my socks all the same means they all match. When all your socks match exactly, there’s no problem finding a sock mate.

A pair is not ruined because one has a hole. If I get a hole in one, there’s always another mate for the good one left behind. No more waste!

The socks with a hole are cut into shop rags for RancherMan and the remaining sock is simply paired with another non-holey mate. It’s easy because once again – they all match!

No more sock bag filled with unmatched socks. And no more throwing away a perfectly good sock because it has no match. That saves lots of single-sock waste right there.

Replace All Socks At Once

Now here’s a biggie, y’all. Although it may seem counter to my environmental bend, I replace ALL of my socks every so often.

Yeah, yeah I know – it goes against my grain to toss something aside and buy a new whatsit when the old whatsit loses favor with me.

But Stay with me now, there’s a means to my madness.

When I’ve worn my socks for quite a while until the number of pairs without holes is growing slim, a replacement purchase is on the immediate-future horizon.

When that happens I’ll do a little research to find out who sells black, high-percentage cotton (a big deal for me) heavy-weight, short ankle socks. After price comparisons are made for the best deal I’ll buy 12-15 pair right then.

Do you hate sorting socks? Me too! I've found an easy way to eliminate that bag of mis-matched socks & streamline sorting socks on laundry day. #TexasHomesteader

I’ve found it’s almost always men’s socks I buy, since for some reason women’s socks are made with much thinner material. Even women’s sports socks it seems! I’m hard on my socks so I need something that will last.

So after doing some research on highest quality, I’ll find the best deal & then buy!

Old But Still-Good Socks Passed On

But what about my older socks? They’re perfectly functional and without holes. They’re often slightly faded so I don’t want to donate them.

So I typically ask a few family members if they’d like to have them. I always have someone jump on the opportunity, especially if they have kids. You know how hard kids are on socks. I’ve never had to throw away used, perfectly functional, non-holey socks.

So for me that means once again I have a drawer full of socks that all match. And I think I’ve even saved a little money since I never have a bag full of socks that although are still fully functional, are no longer any good because the mates got stained, developed a hole or were sent away to another dimension by the washing machine.

Oh, and since RancherMan wears gray socks, sorting & pairing socks on laundry day is done in a screaming flash!

It goes something like this: Pick one sock color, pick another random sock of the same color, put them together. Repeat.

Peace & harmony are once again restored in our household & I’m left with my sanity intact.


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15 thoughts on “How I Eliminated Sorting Socks In My Clean Laundry

  1. Bradley N Green

    buy some sturdy thick rubber bands, keep all socks banded in pairs except when wearing, after use re-band and throw in wash basket. never need to roll or sort ever again

  2. Beth

    I am afraid black socks won’t match my brown slacks I wear to work. 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL – no, that’s true Beth. But you can still choose the color works for you & still not have the drudgery of sorting socks! Black was my sock color of choice for several reasons: 1) I always wear blue jeans, 2) I’m often ankle-high in mud at the cattle chute, (sometimes that quick run to the chute leaves me unprepared and without my mud boots) 3) We’re on septic system so I don’t use bleach in my laundry, 4) Using black I’m not battling stains on an otherwise clean piece of clothing. ~TxH~

  3. Nancy

    Funny you should mention black socks. When I first started delivering mail all my socks were white. The first day I got home I saw brown socks not white. Then when I took them off and saw the brown dirt line…. I was done with white socks! As soon as I got my first paycheck I had 2 packages of socks, padded even, and they were on sale! I have never gone back to white and I don’t miss them.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes! As long as they’re clean, why struggle to get ’em white again? Just wear black socks! ~TxH~

  4. ColleenB.

    Needless to say I have lots of Sunday socks; ‘holy ones’ :} Old socks really come in handy for cleaning mini blinds, dusting, etc. Cut the toe section off and you have leg warmers, placing over an ice pack, I used to; remember this was years ago but I used to cover the heads of my golf clubs, mostly the woods, use an old sock as a koozie. In the cold winter months, to keep your windshield wipers from freezing to the wind shield just place an old sock over them and that will keep the wipers from freezing to the window. Place a tennis ball in a sock and toss in the dryer to help fluff up your clothes.
    Many, many uses for them old socks. Like someone had mentioned; I would always use a safety pin to keep the matching socks together; but that was years ago. I now use all white socks. My colored; wacky socks I have used to cover a clay pot i by slipping a potted clay pot in and folding over the edge of the sock and then fill container with soil and plant; mostly a succulent of some sort.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Good for you, Colleen! There are lots of things you can do with holey socks before finally sending ’em off, huh?? When I’m trimming them into rags I even toss the 100% cotton scraps into my composter. It takes a while for them to compost down but if they’re small enough it doesn’t even matter – I’ll still use the compost when I’m planting! ~TxH~

  5. Sondra Langle

    Happy Sunday. I will never again sort socks without thinking of you. What kick!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL Sondra. I really, really, REALLY hate sorting socks! Heck when our kids were younger there were 6 of us in that one household, sorting that many different socks was a full-on whippin’! ~TxH~

  6. candace

    Personally I don’t mind wearing unmatching (not exactly a word) sox. I love Smart Wool sox and don’t have much trouble finding ones that match, I’m with the reader who doesn’t mind doing laundry. I don’t match the sox of the Birdman who lives with me. He sometimes does his own laundry but is under penalty of death if he washes anything of mine, other than the dog wiping towels, which we “co-own” so life is mostly good in the laundry dept here.
    On a more wonderful note, the screech owls had been hanging around the nest box built for them by the Birdman who lives with me, then seemed to have decided against it for their baby raising facility but now, after an exhaustive search for preferable and possibly more reasonably priced (having a couple of goofs sitting in lawn chairs in the evening peering at their apartment through binos and a spotting scope) and more private abode – ARE BACK!!! We’re keeping our fingers crossed that they stay. It’s so much fun to watch them and last year the fledged babies hung around (parents too) for a few days after flying the “coop” and we could sneak out in daylight and see them in the trees. Now if the neighbors would just stop poisoning mice and rats it would be owl heaven.
    I love reading all the comments that all of you post.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Kudos to all y’all out there who find enjoyment in laundry! I’ll admit I enjoy hanging it on the line to dry, but otherwise it’s not my favorite chore. But sorting socks? NO!! ~TxH~

  7. Laurinda

    I’m with you on sock matching, I hate it! I stopped sorting my husband’s socks, because he doesn’t mind doiing it. My cotton & colored socks all have a safety pin attached, so as I take them off, they get pinned together to get washed. I’m slowly replacing all my socks with handknit, because wooll is better for your feet than cotton, but it’s slow going.

  8. Patti

    Okay, I admit it, I’m just weird…… I love laundry! I have since I was a kid. There’s just something about detergent, sorting the clothes, the before and afters that make my heart skip a beat….. I make my boys pair their socks together before they turn in their wash. The tops are folded over each other and I unfold them when they get thrown in the washer. Haven’t had a pair gone missing in years. I’ll come do your laundry if you help me with the gardening. I just can’t get the hang of that one. I have a problem with artificial plants , sad but true. 😉 LOL Have a great week, Patti

  9. Claudia L Wagner

    My son has a different solution. He NEVER wears matched socks. He NEVER sorts socks. He just dumps them all in the drawer, then grabs two when needed. After one visit, I found he’d left socks at my house, so I just threw them in with my laundry. No problem. Washed, dried, and I couldn’t find the mates. Anywhere. Not in the dryer. Not in the washer. Not in the as yet unwashed laundry. Not under the bed, behind the bed, or mixed in with the sheets from the stripped bed. I finally realized they were my SON’s socks.

  10. Gail

    I buy 2 pairs black, 2 pairs blue, 4 pairs white. By buying 2 pairs, ie 4 socks, if 1 gets lost, I still have a pair, then another lost, I still have a pair. If 3rd one lost, then socks are probably worn out and need replacing anyway.


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