Innovative Sock Organization: The Crazy Trick for Socks That Saves Our Sanity

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Do the socks in your house drive you crazy?  Well, in our family of 7 and 7 sets of feet and the 14 pitter patters hundreds of times a day, the socks are an issue.

I know, I have tried so many things – washing in nets together (which only works if your family members keep them together to begin with), having the matched and unmatched bin and the sad and lonely unmatched socks, whom eventually get turned into cleaning rags or crafts if their mate doesn’t show up for eons.  It’s a sad fate for those little guys.  And it is a funny process to witness as the unmatched sock bin becomes more and more full each week.

Well, we finally found a solution (and one that we have done for a couple of years) and that also makes like easier, minimizes your “stuff” and makes life more enjoyable instead of a “hurry up” fight in the morning!

WARNING: it is a little weird.  I will totally admit that.  But at the same time, it is totally smart and totally makes sense.

And we can testify to the fact that IT TOTALLY WORKS! 

Are you ready for it?  Here it is…….

Throw out all of the socks in your house right now and go and buy a week’s worth of socks for every family member in your household.  BUT…. the new socks you buy need to be all one color or design per person and all different from each person.

Why?  Because, when you wash your socks with your laundry, and you go to fold and put away, it is super duper easy to identify whose socks are whose, it doesn’t matter if you have an odd number as they all become pairs (and maybe you will find the one that was missing, and if not still keep it for when another sock is lost and you will be even again ;)), it doesn’t even matter if you match them up! Better yet, throw them in a pile and tell your kids to come get their socks.  Our kids keep theirs in a gallon size bag in their drawer.  This makes it even easier!

It is a seriously easy, peasy, life-changing thing to do.

I know that throwing out old socks and buying new does not seem very thrifty – but the time and sanity you will save is worth it.  In fact, you know the old adage “time is money” and anything that saves time and helps you be more organized is worth the money.

But in terms of expense, this really is less than $10 per person.  Even high quality socks are not usually more than $10 for 7 pairs, but when we do refreshers on this (as the socks get old), we can typically get around $4-$5 per person with sales and bundled deals.

We have been doing this for a couple of years.  However, I drug my feet implementing this plan as I seriously thought was a bit extreme! 

But because of desperation to stop having the sock fight, to stop rummaging through bins of socks, to stop this insanity – I finally did it and it has been one of the best things ever for managing this area of life.

minimizing socks

There are a few things that are also learned from this experience:

Having less is more. I know it may sound silly, but there is real truth to that statement.  Just a lesson on minimizing socks has taught us this.  We feel like we have more with less socks, with less choices, with less laundry, with less “sock bins”…. it is more.  This concept can certainly carry over into other areas of our lives and we are still working on minimizing and simplifying other areas too.

How does being a minimalist/simple equal thriftiness? Well, in our opinion, you will spend less money (even if you are buying things for rock bottom prices), it trains your mind to not think you need to take advantage of every deal because you don’t want to have to deal with those extra things, you have less things to wash and take care of (which cost money!), and you are saving loads of time – which equals more money!

It also teaches yourself and your children to be content with what they have. This is a virtue that is often lost in the “stuff minded” world we live in! You cannot put a price on that!

We encourage you to join us to Be Intentional and get our lives simplified and more organized.  You can join our email list (we never sell your email or spam you – these are just personal emails from us to you about living a more frugal life – whatever the topic at hand be!) and our Facebook group to watch for updates and new challenges to encourage a more organized and simple life! 

What do you think of this idea? Do you think it is extreme?

Please share your thoughts, ideas and suggestions – we’d love to hear!


  1. Brenda says

    I’ve done this for the past 2 years for my boys! My younger son wears no shows and my older son wears ankle socks! I buy 2 packs for each boy right before school starts and throw out the old ones. It’s amazing not to match socks! I just throw all socks in their drawer! They pull out 2 socks and they match!

  2. Colorado girl says

    We didn’t want to go with the same old sox everyday. Girls wanted to match with outfits. Boys, of course, were OK with whatever. Instead of a sock “uniform” we went with a laundry marker and a symbol. On the bottom of the sock, where it won’t be seen, each kid chose a symbol — X, heart, square, daisy, and butterfly. Can you guess which were the girls and which were the boys? Each kid got to “label” their own socks. Still going strong — my two in college, living away from home, still label with an X and a daisy!

  3. Diane says

    With my four boys, I dotted each sock on the inside top with a marker. The oldest had one dot and as I passed them down, I added a dot. The second oldest had two dots, etc. The girls weren’t a problem since they were six years apart, so their socks were easy to tell apart.

  4. Nancy Thatcher says

    I used to do something like this when we still had the four kids at home. Only since there were only a few years difference in all their ages, I bought tube socks all the same. When washed and mated they each took an equal number of pairs. Once they got old enough my hubby was thrown into thie sock pool also! Sure saved a lot of time and trouble!

  5. Tanya says

    I don’t do any of that. All our white socks are the same style, but we also have colored & patterned socks. It’s gotten to be a style to wear mix-matched socks so my girls don’t mind. :)

  6. Michele says

    Hey, just read your life changing sock challenge and love that idea! My problem is that we are a struggling family and for me, even at Walmart, getting everyone new sock (even a week’s worth) is about $50 that I don’t have – possibly more… :(

    I am going to do this once our financial situation picks up though!! :) Thanks for the tip and God Bless!!

    • says

      Michele, you can also utilize many of the ideas shared above – use your current socks and mark the bottoms with a sharpie or thread too! I have 2 kids that like to wear the exact same socks (because apparently they are super comfy) and so I marked one of the sets with their initials on the bottom and this has also worked just as well. :) You also don’t have to make the transition all at one time either, but one by one at $5 a payday or something. Many ideas to make a similar plan work. I will tell you, this has really been a big blessing and change in our home!

      We did this a couple of years ago and haven’t had to replace socks. At that time, we were able to get every one new socks for $4-$5 per person. Basically the cost of a kids or happy meal (which we never get anyway) but has lasted a couple of years instead of one meal. I personally decided this was an expense that was worth it as it saves me time, and time is money. I am probably going to do this again as the socks are getting old and worn sometime this Christmas season when socks go really cheap.

  7. says

    You could encourage your kids to join the fad that my grand daughters do: wear mismatched socks! Problem solved! Some fashion statement-eh?

  8. Molly says

    Keep in mind the socks that go to the mismatch pile, never to go on a foot again, are wasted money too! Yes, you can use them as rags (I’ve seen people stretch adult socks on swiffer dust mops or dusters too), but how many rags does a family need?

    I have a small family, but we have been doing this for years! Everyone gets black thick socks to wear around the house/work & play outside and a white set, only to be worn in public (They also don’t get stained as much).

  9. Diane Tutwiler says

    i did something similar when my boys were home. One thing I did do though was keep the old socks and those were to be worn to baseball practice, etc. But especially baseball where they were on red clay that stains theirs socks. My oldest went into the military and at boot camp everything had to be labeled. He said having his initial on bottom like he’s had for years was prefect and he never lost a sock in the general wash bag they sent back each week.

  10. Angela says

    I have a house of 6 little kids and a hubby. This concept would not be ideal. I bought each kid their own socks of the same kind and when they take them off at the end of the day they put it in a lingerie bag. When it comes time to wash zip it up throw it in the wash. Once dry all pairs are still in the bag and so much easier to put together. Theres still room for missing socks when they are not kept together. The safety pin works as well but I don’t want my 2, 3, and 5 yr old having to work them. They put their socks in a bag as well. Just my thoughts.

  11. Carolyn says

    My father in the 70’s use to put numbers on the bottom of our socks.. each one of us kids had a number even my parents. He used fabric paint to put the number on and this way when the socks were washed the number would always be there. No one ever saw the number as it was on the bottom of the foot and we never argued who has who’s items in the house.. I used this also with my two boys when I had my children and never had a problem. One can use the first letter of there name as that works also. Just a thought.

  12. Jodel White says

    I think its a great idea. we have four in our family. two and two. changed dad to black socks that are longer and my son has shorter “necks”. my daughter just has different colors(still too many ) but she is twelve and wears the mis matched. The sad thing for me is I still have 3 yes count them 3 reusable shopping bags with mis matched socks. I keep thinking I will need them.. I will be saving four socks for dusting and the rest I will save to use as filling for crocheted pillows. thanks just thought of will writing my comment

  13. Nicole says

    Sweet ideas! We might have to incorporate some of these during our upcoming move to a much smaller house. :)

    What my family’s doing now seems to work pretty well; all the ‘big kids’ and Dad use normal gold-toed socks, Mom has her own ankle socks, and the little kids use either two-stripe or three-stripe socks. However, we do have MANY socks that are tatty or super hard to find matches for. Hopefully I can get my parents to read this so we can toss those and focus on the good socks instead. 😀

  14. Jeannette says

    We live in Florida so many times we go sockless most of the year. However, for school and tennis shoes my son was extremely picky about the type of socks that he would wear. He always had the same kind with little to no variation. I kept things simple by grouping laundry by person. I did mine and my husband’s laundry on Sundays, and each of the kids laundry was done by person and on a different day of the week. That way socks, underwear and other items were never mixed.

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