Posted on Sep 2, 2011 in Clothing & accessories, Home & Living
I’m serious — socks seem to disappear around my house on a regular basis, seemingly eaten by the washing machine or dryer. How do so many socks manage to vanish?!
Your sock is traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of cotton and polyester, but of laundry detergent. A journey into a wondrous machine whose boundaries are beyond that of imagination. That’s the fabric selector dial up ahead. Your sock’s next stop: The Twilight Zone.
…or so it would seem.
The dilemma of disappearing socks is nothing new. If they had worn such footwear, presumably even the ancient Romans would have lost some socks in their urine-based laundering facilities.
As it is, the mystery of the missing socks has been the subject of several books, inspired a spoof site called LOSS (Laundered and Orphaned Sock Society) from appliance manufacturer GE, spawned the marginally more serious Bureau of Missing Socks website, and was even the subject of one of Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up routines.
Where do all the missing socks go? Sadly, the answers we discovered were far less interesting than we hoped. We could find no proof that house elves or magic were in any way involved.
Through diligent research and experimentation, here are what we think are the more likely explanations for this phenomena:
In the case of numbers 2, 3, 4 & 5 above, you might want to see our article, “How can I find out how to fix my appliances?”
With all the above in mind, here are a few things you can do right here and now to keep your socks coupled:
Bag: Invest in one or more mesh garment/lingerie bags, and use them when washing of your socks and other small launderable items.
Label: Either go the classy route with iron-on nametags or sew-on labels, or just spend a buck and get a laundry marker. (Write initials or designate a specific symbol for each member of the family, like Prince’s family seemingly did.)
Streamline: Buy lots and lots of the exact same socks. If you need to be able to differentiate ownership, choose bulk packs of socks with colors, logos and/or designs specific to that size. (Some socks, such as the Hanes Toddler Boys Non-Skid Crew Socks, have the size printed right on the bottom of each sock to simplify sorting.)
Just say no: Don’t wash your socks. This can mean buying a new pair to wear each day… or something else.
Connect: Hold the pairs together throughout the whole washing/drying cycle with some sock keepers, such as SockPro or Sock Cop Clips – or as Consumer Reports suggests, just roll your sock cuffs together before putting them in the hamper.
Reunite: Organize your odd socks so when their mates reappear, you can match them back up again. Here’s one way to do it!
Use them: When all else fails and you still have mismatched socks lying around, create something crafty out of them! (For more ideas, check out how to make a sock monkey and some wintery sock snowmen.)
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