The Single-Sock Blues
April 1990

“The Single-Sock Blues,” Ensign, Apr. 1990, 71–72

The Single-Sock Blues

Is there a household that doesn’t fight the battle of the bulging sock box? In my box are dozens of mismatched and holey socks that I have accumulated over twenty-two years of family life—they seem to reproduce themselves when I leave them alone. But the problem would be much worse if I hadn’t discovered some ways to keep the sock box contents under control.

Odd Sock Up

It is surprising how many loose socks will turn up in snow boots, under beds, or in closets when you offer a reward of a penny a sock. Try a sock hunt every so often, but be forewarned: after a few rounds of this game, one begins to suspect that the children are now saving socks for the penny-sock hunt!

Another remedy is to invite your neighbors to your house for a “Great American Sock Exchange.” Put your single socks on a large table and have your neighbors bring over their clean, single socks. Everyone can return home with several matched pairs plus the bonus of a visit. (It’s not uncommon to find several mates during these exchanges because you probably shop at the same stores, and some of the socks were left by their kids after a slumber party anyway.)

If you just can’t find mates for socks, there are many ways to use the “orphans.” Cotton socks make great disposable cleaning mitts. A dab of furniture polish on a soft sock makes a good dusting mitt, and washing crystal chandeliers and dusting furniture with sock mitts are a snap.

Make hand puppets from socks by attaching artificial eyes, nose, mouth, and ears that you have purchased or made from felt. Make the puppet “talk” by inserting your hand into the sock so that the four fingers in the toe form the upper lip and the thumb in the heel becomes the lower jaw.

Recycled Socks

Perhaps your problem is not single socks, but holey ones. Socks can be recycled by cutting off the tops of colored socks with a tight weave to use as cuffs for coats, shirts, mittens, or children’s pajamas. Cut the tops from the socks, fold them in half, and sew the right sides of the cuff and sleeve together.

The tightly woven tops of knee-hi’s make leg warmers for little girls.

Nylon panty hose can be recycled in several different ways. When camping, you can put a bar of soap in a discarded hose leg and tie it to the water tap to keep the soap from getting in the dirt. Nylons cut into three-inch squares make good stuffing for handicraft items.

An Ounce of Prevention

The best solution to sock problems, of course, is prevention. Pinning mates together before laundering cuts losses as well as saves time sorting and folding. Buying several pairs of socks in the same style and color helps, too. When socks are worn out or lost, you can still mate the remainders.

After you have tried as many ways to reduce the size of your sock box as you care to, the best tip of all is to throw away the socks that you know you will never use.—Kaylene A. Griffin, Logan, Utah