Thursday, April 19, 2012

Winning the Sock Wars

Laundry breeds in the dark. I’ll swear by it. The way my laundry pile grows…and grows…and grows the minute my back’s turned leads me to the only possible conclusion: Asexual reproduction is taking place in my laundry basket at the speed of a six year old mowing through a container of chicken nuggets. Competition for resources is so stiff, they’ve resorted to cannibalism.

Which brings me to the worst part about laundry: The bloody socks. 

I’m not a hoarder. I’m really, really not. I just can’t see the logic in throwing away a perfectly good pair of socks. Because of that, my kids have also adopted the mantra of, “It doesn’t have to match, it just has to fit.”

The sock basket. It’ll cough up two socks at a time. Good luck finding two of the same. It’s just easier to let it ride.

That’s fine if you don’t care, but I was getting frustrated. I couldn’t always find my youngest’s little socks in the bottom, so he’d end up wearing his dad’s or his brother’s. (He wears a 3. They wear a 12 and a 9, respectively. It wasn’t pretty.) I could never find a pair. When I sat down to sort socks, I’d spend almost two hours trying to put things together. The sheer volume of options was so overwhelming, I avoided sorting socks like the plague. Which resulted in the sock basket throwing up at regular intervals all over the stairs.

Enough. Was. Enough.

I stumbled over a fantastic post the other day that I wish I could find again. It was written by a mom of seven talking about how they managed socks. Her advice? To buy unique styles and colors of socks for each kid. All of each kids’ socks should match-that way you don’t have a pink sock, a purple sock, a blue sock, a white sock and a penguin sock, and not a pair to be found. When they outgrow those, gather all of them up, throw them away, and buy another bag.

I was a little skeptical, but I had to do something. So I bought everyone a new bag of socks, 10 pairs for each, and tossed all the old socks away. The first time sorting socks took me five minutes instead of 50, it was SO worth it. If there was a sock missing a pair, I could just grab another and put them together. 

That’s what we did. How do you keep your socks in line?


Angleicka said...

Similar to this. My kids have one set of white socks that are all the same, but are different enough in that they are Hanes or whatever that have pink vs gray bottoms/toes. They are coming with these fabulous letters in the band now that tell you the size too! SO I can easily filter one size out when we move up a size.

Then they have at least 2 PAIRS of every other kind of socks. I always buy two packs of "cute" socks so that I ultimately shouldn't ever end up with ONE lonely sock (though amazingly it still happens here or there).

Also... and maybe my best laundry strategy in general is that I wash everything on cold and don't sort colors, etc... each kid & mom have 2 laundry baskets-one in their rooms for accumlating dirty laundry and one that can be in the process of being washed.

The kids know that their dirty clothes go in their basket as soon as they come off. When full, they get washed. Makes folding and taking care of MUCH easier. And then I'm only wrestling making their own socks match.

I like socks too much to make my kids wear the same all the time (all one color etc)... cute socks are so much fun! Though I do think we have too many at this point.... it'd be smarter to have 4 or 5 sets of the same 6 different designs rather than 2 or 20 designs. Haha! But the sorting and doing laundry by kid helps SO much!

For myself... I wear black socks 90% of the time and every could of years I toss out every single pair and buy several packs of new (b/c they change and fade).

Whew... that was a very long-winded reply!

Angleicka said...

Holy typos!

*2 of 20 designs

Unknown said...

Mom would take a needle and thread (bright color) and stitch into the tip of the toe different shapes. One for Dad and one for each of 4 brothers. The all wore the same size. She did this with their dress socks and the white athletic ones. Like your way too, less time putting a few stitches in the toes.