On of the great joys of my recent Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up experience was learning how to fold socks. Yes, I know what you are thinking: “What a sad life that chick must have if folding socks bring her joy.” But just wait! When you see how I fold my socks now, you might become a happy-sock-folding convert too.
Before I listened to Marie Kondo, my favorite tiny tidying tirant, I never thought about socks. KonMari, on the other hand, thinks a good deal about socks. In her book she bemoans the poor knobby-kneed school girls with slumpy, baggy, stretched out socks. She is positively horrified by one client who actually knots her socks together. Any tugging or balling or stretching of socks is a criminal abuse in the Kondo-verse.
So, sufficiently chastened, I tried to fold my socks. I don’t know if the print edition of Life Changing Magic gives specific illustrations for sock folding, but the audio book made it sound like you just folded them in half, then in half again.
Well, that didn’t work for me.
Socks I tried to simply fold into quarters (1) unfolded of their own accord and (2) did not stand up in the sock drawer. One or two opens of the drawer and my socks were right back to their original loosey-goosey state.
Luckily, I found a solution: sock origami!
This technique is awesome, and creates tidy little sock squares that stand up on their own. Your socks will stay well mated with this technique. I can’t really explain it, so I made a video to show how I fold my socks now.
Hope you like it!340
LOL! You know I love you Erica, but my 12-yr-old son happened to look over my shoulder while I was playing this video and says, “That looks like a time waste”. And since he folds his own socks, I’m not going to push it with him. 🙂
Actually I usually wear ankle socks, and only have a handful of longer ones. But mine do okay with just the take the ends and fold them over themselves so they hang on to each other. While I like the aesthetics of them standing up in your drawer, its probably not going to happen. But then, I haven’t even moved on from tidying other parts of my house yet. Baby steps….and socks seem a long way off in the future.
It does take longer than tossing them into a drawer, which is what I used to do. BUT, I get that time back in not hunting around for a matched set. You probably do have to be a little kooky to origami your socks, I’ll admit. 🙂
Elizabeth F says
Wearing unmatched socks is very in right now. There are even stores and websites popping up that sell purposely unmatched socks as a set. You could have been one of the in crowd, now, oh well.
I’ll leave the in crowd stuff to folks more suited to it! 🙂
Kitty Sharkey says
I too am an anklet wearing gal. But your video inspired me to figure out how to fold and tuck them so that they too would stand up. Not perfectly square, but stand up they now do. I can send you pictures if you’d like.
I have been wearing mismatched socks for fun for a looooooooong time now. I never thought I was a trend setter though. It’s just that my anklets are almost always black but they often have some colored pattern on the foot or a colored toe. So no one really ever sees the difference if I have my shoes on. This exercise in sorting and folding is the first time in ages that I’ve actually paired them up correctly.
Might I recommend song King Missle “Socks” it has a video you can find on u tube it’s classic 90s alternative and might be fun to listen to while doing sock oragami!
Brilliant! I’m also a recent Kondoverse convert, but had trouble with the socks thing. (I do love how tidy my other clothes have been looking though!) it’s been so easy in the mornings to get dressed. It’s awesome. After sorting through and shredding 15 years worth of papers, I think I may take a rest for a while. The shredding is what killed me!
Totally. We have paused too, to regroup and reestablish our new “baseline.”
Snazzy! I might give it a try.
One thing that has definitely helped me in the sock department has been having a very limited number of choices. Long black or grey socks for the work week and my favorite cotton ragg socks for the weekend. The long socks get paired and folded in thirds and the short socks get paired and folded in halves. And as long as I have enough to get me through the week, I don’t need many pairs.
Limiting my choices on tights has helped as well. The thought came to me one day – WHY do I own ANY brown tights? I don’t have a single skirt or dress that I can wear them with. So, off they went to the give-away bag. More space for the stuff I actually use! 🙂
Absolutely. With the exception of the one pair of grey Smartwools, all my socks are black Nike Dry Fit socks. I have them in both calf and ankle height. They are the only socks I ever want to wear.
Black is my base color. Almost all my clothes are black or grey, with a few jewel tones in there. I own nothing that can’t go with black as a base color. I also own no yellow gold. My jewelry is all silver based. My husband went even further: he wears a pair of jeans, a white undershirt and a buttondown (usually white) every single day. It’s his uniform.
Can I just say, quite respectfully, that it is slightly insane to spend that much time on something so trivial? Maybe if someone was coming to inspect your clothing, or if you were tidying this ONCE and it stayed tidied, but it’s really not for the everyday lifestyle.
Hah! Maybe, but for me it’s an overall time saver because I don’t hunt for matched socks. When I’m not doing this for film, it takes me 12 or 14 seconds, so I can do every pair of socks I own in about a minute and a half. I doubt it’s actually much more time consuming than any other version of sock folding.
I pair mine up out of the dryer in 3 seconds per pair, but if this works for you, enjoy!
Right. I live for Sock Locks. http://www.sock-locks.com/
I looked into the Konmari method after your post on Friday and have been sorting ever since! It’s amazing! The sock folding was also a conundrum for me, but I have enough of them that they prop each other up. The best part has been organizing my scarves. Not only can I see them all now, but I feel at peace with my rather large collection since I know they all bring me joy. I’m waiting on the library to get me the book, so have paused after the clothing purge to fully engage in the whole process. While I’ve only been living with the nicely folded things for a few days, I can say that it is *totally* worth it and makes the small act of getting ready feel luxurious.
Isn’t it great when you can say: “I really love these things, and now I can find them and actually use them!”? Congrats on the progress!
I bought the book after your last post. I was going to get the audio version but realized it may be something I want to loan out, so a hard back version is coming today! I’m trying to get my kids excited about it too, they really need to embrace the purge (I mean ,tidy…)
Well done, Erin! It’s hard to get others motivated – and lecturing is a lose/lose. They have to embrace it. If you just give away stuff without their buy-in they’ll just buy in to a bunch of resentment and try to get their stuff back.
What inspired my husband to start clearing out some of his stuff was seeing my closet neat. He cleared several unused utensils out of the kitchen and then handed me the kettle. “We don’t use this. It’s a grease-catcher we leave on the stove.” *But…but… (I thought) every house HAS TO have a kettle. I know we have a filtered hot water dispenser that we use daily for making cups of tea but what if the power goes out?! Wait. Really? He’s right – we don’t use it. If the power goes out [once a year for an hour or so?] we have these great inventions we love and use all the time….saucepans. And if the power is out – are we really going to be thinking about sitting down for a cuppa? Really?
Good luck on winning over the kids!!
“We don’t use this. It’s a grease-catcher we leave on the stove.”
Might just be the most accurate description of our tea kettle I’ve ever heard… And we don’t even have a hot water dispenser.
Oh, that’s cute!
The book isn’t very clear – I have been folding them in half and then rolling them. That’s what she says to do for stockings so in my head it makes sense to do the same for socks.
I have a very small sock drawer, so they hold themselves up pretty well.
I think the only reason I would read this book would be to convince my husband to get rid of our china. Why we ever registered for it 13 years ago is beyond me. The last time we used it? Thanksgiving 2013—for two people. Before that? Who knows. But I mention getting rid of it and he gets all sentimental….which I’m usually the sentimental person. I have no attachment to our china. It’s pretty but not useful.
As for socks. I ball mine and the baby’s and hub’s get thrown in a drawer unmatched (they are all the same type of white socks, I match his few pairs of black or tan socks). Momma ain’t got time for that.
Ah…yes, “the Good China”. For me it has always fallen in the same category as “the Good Linens” – saved indefinitely for a special mystery guest – perhaps the next time Her Royal Highness visits? To this day when I visit estate sales I head straight to the linen closet and look for “the Good Linens” – hand embroidered pillow cases that have never had their seams finished and, therefore, have never been used or special sets still sealed in yellowing cellophane in the original boxes. The difference is that, after they’ve been thoroughly washed, hung on the line, and ironed – in our home they’re used and appreciated for their intended purposes every day.
Have you tried enticing him with eBay china auction prices or contacting Replacements.com’s purchasing department for an estimate? Good luck! I hope it works!
If the special china Spark Joy for him, why not use it every day? That’s the point of the book. Life is too short. I too had “special” china saved for “special occasions”. I finally realised that to me, my family is special. I went though and purged the everyday stuff I didn’t like anyway. I do no special washing of the special china. I just use it and wash it. I don’t care about the resell value because I like it and intend to keep it.
Thanks! I’ve been reading the book and your film was very helpful! Thanks for sharing! I am slowly going through my things and really enjoying the results!
Samantha M. says
I just have the 2 types of socks, thick dark winter socks I use as slippers & short white sports socks. I just put them all in a basket in my closet and can grab 2 at any time. No stretching, no time to fold or sort, if one goes missing I have no idea as it has lots of friends in the basket I can pair it up with. To those that like to fold their socks I say good on ya, I will fight to the death (well maybe not that far) for your right to fold but it’s not for me.
Love the video 😀
I actually found the ZEN in folding the socks this way. Lovely to bring Art into small moments. There is a Grace to it, that makes life richer. Don’t you think?
Thank you for sharing 😉 <3
I just have 4 small sock drawers and all the socks in each drawer are exactly the same. They all just get throw in the drawer with newly washed ones in the back. No folding or hunting for pairs needed.
Eva Spitzer says
Hahaha I run a sock company- I’m totally sharing this
I am so showing this to my husband just to see what curse words he strings together. He periodically throws out all his worn socks and buys dozens of white and dozens of black and they all match. I on the other hand have a horrific time getting trouser socks and knee-highs that have decent elastic. It seems like one of a pair is always slipping to my ankle. And I do not have on freakishly large calf or conversely a freakishly small calf. I should really just throw them out as they don’t work, but I always think, I can use them to cover the pears or apples I’ll just set them aside. And then I wonder what this pair of socks is doing not in the laundry and the whole cycle starts over again. I may join my husband and just have black, grey and blue, no patterns, and if they don’t work they do go straight to the garden or trash.
I fold & sock match (tops together & folded into each other just enough to keep them from separating) as soon as the dryer is finished. Everything is put away once folded as I’m a stickler about leaving clean clothes sitting in a basket & wrinkling when they don’t need to be. That said, I sure like your sock folding trick for travelling/suitcases as it would take up less room & will be sure to use it next time we travel.
I need to get better about stuff like this, my house is chaotic right now (although to be fair we just moved). I have enough of the same exact sock, that I like to just lay them all out flat in a stack. Works well for me, but with more variety this would be better!
Nancy Sutton says
All this talk of black reminds me of how I finally simplified my ‘office uniform’ back in the day. First, straights skirts beat slacks, for the ironing touch ups alone; and I noticed a sharp gal always wore black skirts (pretty much the same ‘model’ – if she could get away with it, why not dowdy me?) and a wide variety of complementary tops. Then always a comfortable pump with a heel (how do they do the high’s for 8 hours?) and earrings finished the ‘basic requirements’ with class. Anything else was a time investment with minimal ROI 🙂 Wonder what KonMari would make of it? I’m waiting for the library’s audio of her book 😉 Thanks, Erica 😉
I have two words for you. SOCK LOCKS
This is brilliant! I found a shorter version for toddler socks a couple of months ago and works like a charm! Especially for the short ones that never stand on their own if piled up.
You mean you found a different video for small toddler socks? If so, please share. That’s what I am looking for. Thanks in advance.
Susan Katz says
Aaaah I love this! Not sure what rabbit hole I went down to land on this post, but I’m so glad I did. 😀 Just reworked my husband’s sock drawer using this folding method and mine’s next…
Nuno Leitao says
Just folded 30 pairs and they look very nice!
I’ll keep this technic.
Thank you, might take a bit longer but the tidiness in the drawer will be great and I will fold them this way the moment they come off the line! I also bought my three kids each a type of sock with stripey bits so I know which or who they belong too and will do the folding of those as well! But hey, already saving time with each child having a different stripe! No more ‘you got my socks on’ and if they say can’t find my sox I just say not my problem, yours, find them hahaha
Thank you for this, you’re a genius! I’ve been switching to KonMari folding but socks were driving me crazy.