You’ll have a tidy sock drawer in no time.
Sock drawers may seem a simple enough space, but they can quickly devolve into a chaos of mismatched pairs, solo socks, and disorganization. Instead of fearing your sock drawer, why not designate an hour or two to turn it into a functional area that streamlines your life?
“Organizing your sock drawer may seem like a small and insignificant task, but the benefits it can bring to your life are truly compelling,” says Jane Stoller, an organizing expert and author of Decluttering for Dummies. “It helps you quickly find socks in the morning, keeps socks cleaner, is aesthetically pleasing, and encourages decluttering in general.”
Ready to tackle this project? Follow our step-by-step guide on how to organize socks and get ready to make finding your socks a simple “grab and go” process from here on out.
Step 1: Empty & Assess
For some reason, we have a propensity to hold onto our socks forever and ever—even if a sock’s been missing its pair for ages or if we always reach for another pair instead. This is your official permission to say “Sayonara, dear sock!”
“The matched ones that were eaten by the dryer are not coming back, the missing sock from the gym will not be returned to you, and the missing sock from your kid's gym bag will not miraculously appear under their pillow one day,” Stoller says. “Cut your losses and toss the other one. (Or better yet, repurpose it for cleaning. A dusting sock is the best.)”
Throw away any socks that:
Have been missing its pair for more than a month
Are uncomfortable or don’t fit well
Are worn, frayed, or otherwise stained
You hardly (if ever) wear
Also consider what sort of socks you need most, and which don’t get much usage. “If you go to work 80% of the time and use dress socks, this should be 80% of your collection,” says Stoller. “If you are active 20% of the time, that should be the rest. You might have some one-off special occasion socks, and that is OK to keep a few on hand—but not dozens.”
Step 2: Categorize Socks
Once you’ve whittled down your collection, organize your socks into different categories. These might include dress, athletic, cozy indoor socks, playful socks, and no-show socks. Depending on your preferences, you might also want to organize by sock length or even color, says Shantae Duckworth, a professional organizer and founder of Shantaeize Your Space.
This helps you further assess what you own so you can make any additional edits to your collection. Organizing by category also simplifies your daily sock selection process and can help you stay more organized in the future since everything will have its own designated space.
Step 3: Place Socks Into an Organizer
You have a few options for this final step, and what you choose ultimately depends on your preferences. Ideally, set up a compartmentalized drawer or bin that allows you to keep your socks organized by category for the long-term.
“I like to use clear plastic organizational shallow drawer bins, as that way you can see all of the socks and they are neatly packed into their designated spaces,” says Duckworth. “However, I work with a lot of clients who don't want to spend extra money on organizing materials.”
In that case, she recommends simply pairing and rolling up socks together, and then using a simple drawer divider (or two different drawers/bins) to separate dress and non-dress socks.
How To Keep Socks Organized
Maintaining sock organization should be very similar to the way you organize other closet items. Stoller recommends making the following a habit:
Consistently return socks to their designated spots
Routinely review and declutter your collection
Fold or roll socks right after laundry
Sort and match socks periodically
Label compartments if necessary
Purge worn-out socks as needed
Rotate socks seasonally
Folding Versus Rolling Socks—Which is Best?
Ah, the age old question of whether you should fold your socks or roll them together. Ultimately, there’s no “wrong” way to do it.
“I recommend choosing a method that works best for you and is space-efficient,” Stoller says. “One popular technique is where you fold each sock into a rectangle and then fold it in half again, keeping pairs together. Alternatively, you can roll socks into tight cylinders, which can save even more space. I prefer this one as it guarantees the socks stay together.”
Whichever method you choose, make sure it's consistent so you can easily identify and access your socks in your drawer or storage.
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