Background: i like to keep pairs together so that they are worn together and wear out together…but mostly i like to reach in to my sock drawer and just grab a pair and go which means i sort them first. but, i agonize over sorting socks because i buy the same brand of black and brown and navy socks again and again. to make matters worse, my husband also likes the same brand and we have lots of identical-seeming socks! i used to spread them out in broad bright daylight to try to differentiate the vague differences in color from age or wear or size. even the same brand and size socks can vary in weave or length. keeping “mine” mine and “his” his is important to me. therefore, it took a long time for me to pair my socks.
my friends and my husband all remained unimpressed about this; i thought that i may be the only person who cares so much about sorting my socks! not true, though… because when i showed my new idea to my mom, she also immediately grasped the idea and also adopted it!
my new way is to mark my socks… which has saved me time and energy. i marked each pair with fabric paint. the kind i used comes in small bottles with a squeeze tip applicator. i made one gray dot on my first pair, two on my second pair and so on. i improvised various simple shapes or changed colors when i thought that too many dots seemed confusing. variations in color added even more choices so one pair has two white dots flanking two gray dots. i let them air dry overnight and they were “good to go!”
sorting them now is a breeze. I no longer have to examine every single black sock in order to pair them. say that i start with a black sock with a neon orange spot… if i next pick up a black sock and it has a neon orange spot… voilá, that pair is DONE. if sock #2 has a white dot, i place it with the white dot facing up and go on to the next black sock. #3 might be a match for either and if it is, that pair is also done.
to give you a better idea, here is a photo i took with my phone one day as i was folding laundry!
more advice: my fabric paint advises label says to turn items inside out for washing so i apply the dots on the outside of the socks. i place the mark near the top center where it will not show when i wear jeans and where i look for the mark as i sort. i first experimented with right and left but found it to be more complex and it took more time. i can imagine a family where one person’s socks have blue dots, one person’s has green. or gray. or yellow. or taupe.