Holy Socks

Socks are one of the most frustrating pieces of clothing ever invented. What makes them particularly frustrating is the need to be used in pairs, which necessitates the need to find two equivalent items in the morning, when I’m usually half awake and can barely see anyway. They are somewhat unique in this regard. Shoes also requiring matched pairs, but it never seems to be much of an issue: since they don’t get washed, they can easily be stored together.

Socks are a different story. I often find that a pair ends up split between two loads of laundry, leaving me searching in vain for a companion to my selection. Other times, as in the picture above, one member of the pair develops holes while the other remains intact (why is this? it’s not like I use one foot more than the other!). I keep the undamaged sock out of the often vain hope that there’s another pair in my drawer somewhere. The reality is that it will most likely serve as a decoy during my morning rummage.

I’ve tried a few approaches to this problem. At one point, the strategy was to buy only one type of sock, so there would always be a match. This only really works if you get rid of all your other similar-but-not-quite-the-same socks and buy a whole boatload at once. Whenever I do this, however, I inevitably need to replace a pair at some point and can’t find the same model. My most recent strategy is an algorithmic approach – take the first acceptable sock out of the drawer and search stepwise until a match is found, removing each sock as it is encountered.

Usually this ends with a pile of unmatched socks on the floor and a great deal of wasted energy.

Is any ARRA money going to solving this problem?

4 thoughts on “Socks

  1. My Mom used to make us put safety pins through sock pairs before they went in the laundry. This doesn’t solve all your sock-related problems, but could offer some hope.

  2. I’ve solved this problem by buying socks in batches of one color. Whole lotta black socks, if that’s what you wear. Whole lotta brown socks. Whole lotta white / red / blue, whatever’s your pleasure. It’s such a simple wonderful system that I’m surprised when I learn that other people still live in Sock Hell. 🙂

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