October 11, 2011

{OrganizedHome} Day 11: Kids' Socks


Above is a picture of some of my kids' socks.  I say some because the vast majority of them are still in the van or under the sofa and even on the front porch. And they aren't in those places in pairs...oh no. They get lost and left around  in singles because sometimes just one foot gets cold or my kids get interrupted halfway through removing their socks or they've successfully removed both but one has temporarily become a puppet or a purse or a projectile.

On good days we keep the socks paired up nicely in a basket in their bedroom. Most of the time we keep their socks unsorted at the bottom of the laundry basket.  On the not-so-good days,  putting on socks means throwing all the clean clothes at the top of the laundry basket on to the floor to frantically search for socks on our way out the door. On the better days it means fights between my daughters over who get which pink pair of Dora socks and my husband having a meltdown over the sight of his son in purple tinker bell socks three sizes to big.

Because every pair was different, my 2 year old son just couldn't keep track of which pairs were his.
 
Enter the solution:


I've donated our random assortment of socks.  And threw out the ones without matches. I bought 16 pairs of socks from Old Navy for 20 bucks.

Now when I tell they kids to go put on socks, the girls take pink ones (they are close enough in age and size to share socks) and the boy takes blue. The twins mostly wear stockings or footed pajamas at this stage.  When they are bigger they will get their own color, probably purple.


I don't even pair the socks up. I just toss them into a bin.

No more fights over who wears what.

No more confusion over girly socks and boy socks

No more having to throw out a sock because we can't find it's partner (Or more realistically, saving a sock for ever because it's partner might turn up tomorrow...)

No more leaving socks in the bottom of the laundry basket because I don't have time to sort a million bajillion different pair of socks!


Good organizing is simple enough for a two year old to understand and acknowledges that your time is worth something.  Sometimes organizing isn't neat rows and pretty boxes...it's just coming up with a system simple enough to work for everyone.

[This is day 11 in a 31 day series called 31 Days to an Organized Home. Click here to read the first post in the series and see a list of all the posts so far. Thanks for reading!]

66 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic idea - if we ever have more than one child I will adopt this for sure!

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  2. I have 2 boys (2 &4) and I've adopted the habit that everytime the older one needs a new size of socks that it is a completely different colour than the last size. This way I know who's socks are which and which sizes are which just by colour.

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  3. now thats a good idea,, I HATE matching socks.

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  4. Thats a great idea! I'll definitely have to incorporate this once the girls are a bit older!

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  5. that is an awesome idea! I don't know if I can do it, because I love patterned socks, but this would sure make life a ton easier. Maybe someday I'll get frustrated enough to convert to this system. It's a good idea to keep in my back pocket!

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  6. I started doing this years ago!! Each of my four kids has a different kind of sock. They're all white, but different styles or brands. SO incredibly easy!!

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  7. I feel your pain.. even my husband's socks end up missing sides. I recently told everybody to pair their dirty socks and toss them in the hamper..as SOON as they take them off.. that way I'll KNOW they got washed together. Hopefully there wont be anymore missing sides ;)

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  8. I have been thinking of "thinning out" my boys' closet as well. Way too many clothes getting washed for no reason. Thanks. You might've pushed me over the edge to get it done :)

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  9. YES! My daughter and son are two years apart in age, but wear the same size socks, so all their socks are white. And they go in one basket, no sorting required (PTL!). Changed.my.life.

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  10. Great idea! I've done similar with my boys by purchasing athletic socks for them, each in a different brand...so my oldest boy has plain white Hanes socks, my middle boy has grey-bottomed white athletic socks and my little guy has multi-colored bottomed athletic socks. Hubby wears ankle socks and my athletic socks have pink bottoms. I love that you just bought multiples of the same kinds of socks. SO much easier!

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    1. I did this also and it worked out great! Plus my husband's socks stayed cleaner than the boys and he was able to wear his own socks!

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  11. Love this idea! Missing socks are the bane of my life!

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  12. I too have tried this (with at least my socks). My issue became that some wore out/stretched more than others... So now I have colour match pairs - and odds :( I did raid other drawers in our house, but alas three only lonelys remain (pegged to a coat hanger in my wardrobe, so I can't 'forget' them.

    My family friends had one EPIC sock drawer - all socks went there. No personal sock drawers. I think that's part of the solution - cause I mean, I don't know who owns which socks, and I don't care enough when I do the washing. They usually stay in the washing basket if they aren't mine :p HOrrid I know!

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  13. My husband I actually have the same sized feet :-S. So, we do this too. We buy one brand/style of white socks and one brand/style of black socks. Our girls are NOT the same size, but they will be in a couple years. Despite this, I buy only pink for Laura and only purple for Karen, all the same brand/style. When a sock gets a gaping hole in it, i can happily discard it without looking for its match. And when we get low on a particular brand/style/color of sock, I buy another package. There is a sock basket in their closet and another in our closet. I don't ever think about socks unless it's the thought, "What DID she step in?"

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  14. Totally did this. Awesome. My 5 year old has pink socks, my 2 year old has purple socks. No more lonely sock bucket and no more accidentally sending the 5 year old to school in toddler sized socks (you know you've done it...). Such a great idea. Thanks for all the great tips - keep them coming!!

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  15. Ma Bell's GranddaughterNovember 3, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    3 generations of my family use safety pins to keep socks together. Keep them pinned from laundry basket, to washer and dryer, to sock drawer. Unpin them to wear them, and pin them back before you throw them in the hamper. You can even use large pins to keep multiple pairs of socks together. Just pin the pins together. Then each person has a little bundle of socks: easier to keep track of. Grandma had 8 kids---that's a lot of socks, so she devised the pin idea.

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  16. Great idea! We've taken this a step further. Since I find that matching socks is like THE biggest waste of time EVER, my girls (5&3) wear the same kind of socks. No others. When someone gives us a pair of cute $1 socks from the dollar section at Target, I let them wear them once, and then they disappear!!
    Anyway, since my children pretty much refuse to wear socks, I moved a basket to our entryway bench to hold them. We don't put on socks until it's time to go somewhere, and I don't have to pair them up, since they are ALL the same! It's LOVELY! :o)

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  17. I love this Idea! I will be applying this to our busy life right away! Thanks!

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  18. We only havev 3 kids but the 2 youngest wear the same size (and are oppiste sex) and the teenager wears the same size as I do. To simplfy our sock problem we did 2 things.

    1. EVERYONE wears only white socks. EVERYONE.
    2. EVERYONE (even Mom & Dad) set out our entire outfit (including socks and shoes) before bed every night.

    Since putting both rules in order our mornings run oh so much smoother!!

    ~Heather

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  19. I love the idea, but can't bring myself to have each person only wear one color of socks. In the summer I hate anything but white on them with shorts, but with dark shoes I like darker socks... However, we did recently make two sock changes:
    1. Bought a bunch of gray socks from Old Navy for the boys to wear all winter so I wouldn't have to look at the stained bottoms of previously white socks.
    2. Started keeping all the kids socks in bins near their shoes by the front door. We never put socks on anywhere else anyway, so no more running upstairs for socks every time we want to leave the house. Yay!

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  20. My sister and I hate matching socks, so we solved this problem when we still lived at home... We put all our socks in a drawer, unmatched and when we needed socks you'd grab two and run. It never bothered us that our socks never matched, but I drove our mom crazy!

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    1. My 2-year old daughter loves mismatched socks, and I do now too. I love that she's developing confidence in making decisions for herself. And looking at her sweet little polka-dot/striped/hearted feet always makes me smile.

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    2. OMG THIS IS TOTALLY MY GIRLS 16 AND 19 THEY NEVER HAVE MATCHING SOCKS ON AND IT DRIVES ME CRAZY BUT I JUST GIVE UP LIFE IS TO SHORT TO SPEND HOURS MATING SOCKS

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  21. Love this solution. I only have one son, but I already sue this. He has a small number of white socks, and several black socks (they go with the school uniform). They are all plain and exactly the same. No matching, just put them in the basket with white or black socks!

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  22. I put socks as I pull them out of the dirty clothes baskets in lingere bags(one for each of us) so socks stay together and then they go straight to the drawer that way

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  23. My mom bought a bunch of safety pins and we safety pinned them together. I pinned at the toe, Mom pinned at the cuff (because our feet were similar in size). I remember doing this from...probably age 3 or 4. It also helped when my dad worked at a correctional facility because he had all different types of brown and was anal about matching. So if you pinned them when you took them off, they stayed that way until out of the dryer and you never matched socks.

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  24. Great idea, but I just couldn't do it :) I hate white socks with dress shoes/mary jane shoes and I couldn't put a pink or purple sock on my daughter wearing red. Ask me again in a few years and I will probably change my mind! I have 3 girls less than 3 years apart.

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  25. My oh so savvy pre-teen informed me about a year ago that mismatched crazy socks were in. That was one of the best days of my life! Now I just make sure the sizes are right and pair em up. ones that still don't have a mate go in the dryer for the next load. I'll be really sad when this fad leaves!!!

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  26. I agree with McMommy. My girls only wear mismatched socks so I just grab handfuls when they come up and split them into 3 piles.

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  27. I have been safety pinning socks together for about 2 years now....and we have never lost another sock! :-)

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  28. I have also heard of people with multiple kids taking a colored permanent marker and putting a dot on the bottom of the sock either on the toes or heel. So oldest gets 1 dot second gets 2 dots etc. So that way you know who's socks are who's and when the oldest grows out of the socks you just add another dot and give them to the next child they fit. This method can be used for any clothing really so that way you know for sure who's shirt kid #3 is wearing. :)

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    1. My 10yr son and I have the same size feet (for now) and my sport socks keep ending up in his room. I recently bought new white socks and put a dot of PINK nailpolish in each one, now I know they are mine. This princess in a house of boys has to represent the pink LOL

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  29. Just found you on Pinterest! Socks are the bane of my existence! I currently have an entire laundry basket of socks in my hallway since I have given up trying to match them and/or figure out whose sock are whose. It's gets tricky when your son's feet are bigger than your husband's! ;-)

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  30. We have three children, each has their own colour...Master 5 = green, Miss 5 = pink and Master three = blue. I have craft paint dots on their underpants, socks, singlets indicating which child they belong to. We also adopt this with bath towels, cups, drinks bottles, life jackets...pretty much EVERYTHING in their world is colour coded!!!

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  31. I stumbled upon your blog through pinterest and had to start reading because we had a few things in common lol. First of all my favorite color is TEAL, I have 4 kids very close in age.. at one point I had 3 in 3 years then 4 in 5 years :) My oldest is 6 and my youngest is 9months and 3 of them are girls! I know exactly what you mean about the explosion of socks and how hard it is to keep them together. We typically do not wear them much at all in the summer but this next winter I think the first 3 kids will be in close to the same size so I'm only going to get one kind of sock, have one basket and no more hunting for matches and fighting when someone (the boy) has to use their pink/purple socks lol.

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  32. I should do this for my husband who is always losing socks...:P

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  33. THIS IS SO BRILLIANT!!! AGH!!! I actually did something similar when it was just my husband and I in the house. We went out and bought all new socks. Mens, one size. (I have large feet.) So we shared and I never had to worry about pairing socks again! ...until we started having babies!

    I wish you had a more concise picture of this idea so I could "Pin it". It would get a gazillion re-pins.

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  34. I'm just now finding and following your blog, but I have to share how I've decided to handle socks. Each bedroom has a mesh laundry bag (small) hanging somewhere. Dirty socks go into the bag and Saturdays the bags with socks inside get washed and dried. Then each room takes their clean bag back to their room and put their clean socks away. I don't care if they match them in pairs or not- they can just dump the clean socks into their sock drawers. It has made my sock sorting nightmare disappear! I saw the idea on Pinterest. Thanks for all of your tips!

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  35. love this, thanks for the tip! I only have one little girl right now who is 8 months, but I know I'll use this in the future when more kiddies come along!

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  36. GREAT idea! Was just handed down a BUNCH of socks, but might pass those onto someone else & start fresh with this plan!

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  37. 4 girls. this idea was shared with me recently. i will do this soon. life will be so much easier. love it.

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  38. I've done something like this for myself. I wear black socks for most shoes and then white no shoes for tennis shoes. that's it. I'm glad you're sharing this!

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  39. I have 4 (soon to be 5) boys. My oldest and my hubby share socks, and my 10 year old won't wear anything but white athletics. My next two love picture socks, and don't care if they really match. And I have found that I don't really, either! One thing I did learn is that I can't buy them the same pair of picture socks, because they are two different sizes! I always end up with one big and one little! I just throw all the socks into one basket, and they know what theirs look like. I only sort socks when I am pregnant and nesting!

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  40. I like the concept of this, but I'd make a change. Instead of establishing and enforcing arbitrary gender binaries for the kids, I'd let each one pick out what color socks s/he'd like and let that be that.

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  41. This is such a great idea! I'm going to use it. Thanks for sharing.

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  42. Wow! Very clever. Why didn't I think of that? I'm going shopping today for new socks.

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  43. Wow! Very clever. Why didn't I think of that? I'm going shopping today for new socks.

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  44. In our house everyone has their own colored hangers.

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  45. As noted above, with our girls ages 7, 11, 13, mismatched socks are the norm now so no matching involved. I just throw them all in one basket for them to use. They all wear solid black athletic socks so that also makes life easy. PTL !!

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  46. Did something similar a long time ago and it has worked for years. My husband gets long socks in black and white, my 17 year old gets ankle socks in black and white and I get whatever I want because I am the one who sorts the socks. :)

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  47. I did the same thing!! I was so over it. My daughter got hanes with pink toes, and my son hanes with grey toes. Best $40 I ever spent!! We bought 3 packages each. Just do this ladies, its worth it! :)

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  48. Just found your posts! Thought I would throw in another idea - one we do at my house. I bought several packs of Target boys socks. They have colors on the insoles, and no color on the upper part (you know, the part that shows above the shoe). They are fun colors and EASY to match up. I bought 2 different styles so I can use one for the girl and one for the boy. 99% of the time there are matches, and yet the kids get to have socks that look cool with their outfits. And if they don't match? Well, no one can see the insoles anyway. So-no worries!

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  49. I just stumbled on a Pin to this series this am... you have a TON of wonderful ideas! But this, this is the coup de gras, possibly the MOST. BRILLIANT. THING. EVER. I could be overreacting - I, too, have a sock issue in my house. ;p I see a Target trip in my immediate future!

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  50. Thankfully the fad for my daughter is mismatched socks...no matching needed. My son has black socks. Hubby has white. I have like 3 pair so who cares. And my toddler son has all the same white socks. I used to waste a lot if time on sock matching and keeping singles forever waiting for the match to show back up until a friend of mine said " I consider socks disposable"...it changed my life :)

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  51. I started doing this with MY socks as soon as I was old enough to buy them for myself. As a kid I could never find a matching pair and it drove me crazy. So I bought all matching socks and they all get tossed into the sock drawer, no need to hunt for matches. Now my kids are in love with cartoon character socks and they're driving me crazy :(

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  52. I started doing this with MY socks as soon as I was old enough to buy them for myself. As a kid I could never find a matching pair and it drove me crazy. So I bought all matching socks and they all get tossed into the sock drawer, no need to hunt for matches. Now my kids are in love with cartoon character socks and they're driving me crazy :(

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  53. Love it! This would have been brilliant while my kids were younger. I now have three teen girls, so you can imagine the types of socks we have. As an alternative for those with a similar situation, I purchased each one a mesh bag (and the more pourous the better). They put all socks, underwear, bras, in the mesh bag and wash. If it's whites, they will sort out the colors and then empty, reload the bag, then wash colors. It works great for us. Thanks for all the amazing tips!

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  54. This is why I only buy one kind of sock! They're all the same size, color, brand, etc, only difference is some have a colored band about the top. And that's the part nobody is going to see anyway! So, after the laundry is done and it comes time for sock-fetching, all one has to do is find two socks and done! :D

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  55. A friend of mine shared this tip with me when I had one child and she had 3. I thought she was silly until I had my 3rd and totally started doing it as well! Now, I have 4 and we will continue this awesome idea. I threw away all of the old socks and never gave them a 2nd thought until this Christmas when a dear friend made me a family of snowmen (like our family) using old socks. They were so detailed and completely adorable. Now, I'm trying to get my friends to give me their old socks so that I can make some snowmen next year... I'm sure she got the idea from Pinterest.... anyway, if anyone is going to adapt this sock idea, you may want to save the old socks just in case you find a fun craft to use some of them for!

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  56. I read your post out loud to my husband and we were both laughing so hard, the tears were flowing.

    Of course, your description at the beginning is EXACTLY as it is in our home.

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