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The Sock Bin

I have completely failed on the sock front.

Our sock bin in the bane of my existence, an outward representation of my failure. With five kids I see so many socks come through the laundry that I've taken to tossing them into the sock bin to be paired later. So far we're on five years of using the sock bin and I haven't gotten around to pairing them just yet.


I've even run Archbold events where I give children a dime for each pair found. They were great successes but sadly, we were quickly back in the old boat in a week. And I've only got so many dimes.

In the beginning, the sock bin was just a small basket. It's now a hamper. And the kids spend ten minutes every morning spelunking into the sock bin, staring and pulling and judging whether they've got a match or not.

My six year old this morning was sitting in front of the sock bin and saying, "These two don't match but I've got long pants on so who really cares, right Dad?"

First, I thanked God that my wife didn't hear it because there was definitely an implied understanding in her voice that she was sure I'd see it her way. I didn't.

I need to change up the Archbold sock strategy before I have to build an extension onto the house and call it the sock room.

*subhead*Matches.*subhead*

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19 comments:

Christopher said...

The shelf life of a truly matching pair of socks is usually less than a week or a single laundry run, whichever comes first. Once the kids separate them, it's really all over.

ProudHillbilly said...

I'm convinced that my dryer is actually a door into another dimension that is opened by the barrel turning. Somewhere there is a world with one of many pairs of my socks, the other still languishing in the drawer unmatched.

Adrienne said...

Safety pin them together when they're taken off and put in laundry basket or before going into the washing machine if the kiddo is too young to deal with safety pins (keep a dish of pins by washer.) Leave them pinned when returning to drawer after washing and drying. Take the pin off and drop in little dish on dresser. Ever so often you'll have to move some pins around (from dresser to laundry room.) Voila - no more sock mess.

Mike in CT said...

Adrienne, that sounds like a great idea, but in my home, like the Archbolds', the sock bin would continue to grow and then we'd just lose all the safety pins.

Long pants. Works for me.

Sherry Antonetti said...

Three tips: Every Sunday, everyone sort five pair. Put them in a sock bin. Done.
Destroy all holy avenger socks, even frayed ones.
Once a year, sort everything, anything that can't be mated is sent to the old sock's home, we pick Mardi Gras as the day, and everyone gets new socks as part of the celebration.

Mari said...

You won't have that sock bin forever. I threw mine out when the kids went to college.

Foxfier said...

Remove the sock bin.

Put it next to the radio, or computer, or something similar.

Sit down. Turn on something you actually want to listen to. (Ricochet podcasts are my thing.)

Match up as many as possible. In our case, that meant sorting by color, then size, etc.

Put those that are still unmatched in a box that says "for crafting."

Cathy D said...

I only have 3 kids and only one daughter, but I buy different socks for each person. That way I know that all the socks with the solid grey foot belong to this person and the ankle socks with grey only on the toes belong to me. Scout socks I totally give up on, though. I just leave them in a pile because I cannot remember which socks go with which scouter....

Anneg said...

Some good tips. Also, never buy fewer than 3 identical pairs. Somehow the 6 look out for each other and don't go into the sock netherworld.
I like the idea of new socks for Mardi Gras.

Red Cardigan said...

Matthew, my mother's freedom from the sock bin (and similar forms of laundry slavery) began when a friend said to her, "Why are you doing your kids' laundry? The ones over age 10 can operate the TV, VCR (back then) and microwave. The washing machine and dryer are even easier..."

Today's 10-year-olds are even *more* technically proficient! I gave each of my daughters her own laundry basket at age 10, and each started doing her own laundry then. I haven't had much difficulty sorting socks in years (because I only do my husband's and my laundry, and there's a pretty big difference between his socks and mine!).

I don't know how many of your kids are 10, yet. But as each child turns 10, the number of socks in the sock bin will drop until the only ones that are left are from when the youngest child was a baby.

Adrienne said...

Red - I was going to suggest the same thing. No reason kids can't do their own laundry.

Lynn said...

My mother's solution was to buy only white socks for kids and black socks for dad. Everything matched :D

Rebecca Taylor said...

We have a basket full of unmatched socks in my house. It is the bane of my existence. With every round of laundry folded, I search through it in vain hoping for at least one match. Instead, I just keep adding to it. I must be an optimist (or insane) because there are still baby socks in the unmatched basket. My youngest is 8.

Maureen said...

This is ridiculous. Everyone should have his/her own socks. When the laundry is done, kids (yours are old enough) should fold their clothes, claim their socks, and put their own clothes in drawers or hang in closets. It's not rocket science people.

Catholicus said...

Ah Maureen, if only it were that simple. You're forgetting the socks that end up under beds, in PE bags and the bottom of laundry baskets. Very few people don't have a backlog. When I retire I'm going to throw out all the socks in the house and buy 30 pairs of grey socks for me and the wife and never match again. (Black's no good cos they fade at different rates)

Cathy D said...

My one son tore a ligament in his knee and has to wear a brace now when playing basketball. So that the brace doesn't chafe his skin, he has fashioned for himself a sock sleeve out of various parts of socks. And he keeps making new ones. I'm forever finding sock parts on floors, in gym bags, under beds!

Christi H said...

Wow, same bin, TOTALLY differnt methods. I wish my parents gave out dimes for sock folding. If we got in trouble, we were made to sit in a corner folding socks. If said trouble included talking back, one of those socks would be in our mouths.

Lynda said...

We've produced thousands of singleton socks in my home over the years! Where do the missing ones go???

Rocket Scientist said...

We have six children. We used the dot method. Everyone wore the same socks. The oldest had one dot on the toe, the second-oldest two, and so on down to Grace, the youngest. As kids outgrew the socks, we could just add another dot and hand them down. Works well and matching socks was easy.

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