My Simple Tip to Eliminate Lone Socks

posted by Andrea | 02/26/2016
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lone socks

Earlier this week, I shared a handful of relatively normal things I have never done. As I was typing the post, I ALMOST added that I had never lost a sock while doing laundry.

I decided against adding it though, as I’m not 100% positive that I have “never ever” lost a sock; but if I’m really honest, I can’t remember ever losing one — even the teeny, tiny baby socks (and I wash a lot of teeny tiny socks!)

For the last 5 years (ever since we’ve had a front-loading washer) Dave and I have used mesh garment bags to drastically simplify our laundry routine — AND to make sure our washer doesn’t “eat” our socks!

Yes, if you’ve never had a front-loading washing machine, you might not be aware that they are known for “eating” small items of clothing — like socks. I was warned about this by a friend before I ever did a load of laundry in our front-loading washer, so I was prepared with several mesh garment bags for all sorts of small items.

As we have added children to the mix, we have gotten lots of miles out of our garment bags. 

Mesh garment bags seem to be the perfect solution to assure that tiny socks never get sucked into our washer, get stuck on the inside of someone’s pant leg, or lose their mate in any other way.

We currently have one mesh garment bag for each child — for socks, tights, and small undies. I use mesh garment bags for my washable nursing pads, small footie socks, and any time I wear tights or nylons. We also have a larger mesh garment bag that we use for small stuffed animals or other small fabric toys that I try to wash regularly.

We keep the garment bags on hooks inside our closets and I simply grab them, zip them up, and toss them in the hampers when I’m ready to do laundry.

This system is so quick and simple (not to mention very frugal) and has been helping me simplify my laundry routine for the past 5 years.

An added bonus is this system makes it extremely easy to give Nora the “chore” of sorting and folding socks. I just toss her the garment bags of clean socks and let her start matching them up!

I don’t have an exact link to the specific garment bags we use — but I’m certain they are all quite comparable.

I would suggest getting a set of 4 or 5 bags in different sizes (something like this set) as the various sizes all seem to work well for different items. Also, I wouldn’t pay more than a few bucks per bag because I’m positive you can always find a deal somewhere (they are usually sold in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores).

I realize it might be more difficult to get older children (or husbands!) to actually put their socks into a mesh bag — but I will say that our children picked up this habit very quickly and don’t even think twice about separating their socks when they take their clothes off!

Hopefully this tip will work for you and save you some money replacing all those lost socks!

Do you have any other quick, frugal tips to simplify laundry?

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14 comments

  1. The Weekender: Vol. 15 | Happy Heart and Home

    02/27/2016

    […] past week, which resulted in a less stressed and more confident me. Hopefully I keep remembering! Stop Losing Socks! I have no idea why I didn’t think of this solution before. Leave it to Andrea (one of my favorite […]

  2. Marlene

    02/26/2016

    Doesn’t it take a long time for the socks to dry all bunched up in the mesh bag? I only use the bags for washing bras, then line dry.

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  3. Nayu

    02/26/2016

    Missing socks isn’t a problem for me – I almost only ever wear odd socks! Purely because I can. I get a bit traumatised when I somehow pick a pair from my sock drawer. I wear ankle socks then thicker (& often longer) socks on top as I get cold feet: it’s the longer socks which I do sometimes have to wear a pair depending on who’s house I’m visiting, but most of my friends know my passion for going odd!

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  4. Alicia

    02/26/2016

    See, these are the details I never think about! With 3, and one a baby, I could definitely use something like this! I can’t tell you how often I have mismatched, missing socks. It’s so frustrating!

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  5. Shelly Smith

    02/26/2016

    So, do you and the kids put your socks into the mesh bag as soon as you take them off for the day? Or do you (or someone else) put the socks into the mesh bag as you sort through the dirty laundry, in preparation of washing clothes? I wonder if smelly socks (such as my tween/teenage boys have) would make your closet too smelly?!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    we put the socks in the bags right when we take them off. I would not spend the time or energy to weed through dirty laundry to find the socks! IF that were the case, I would just wait until they were clean and then weed through the laundry to fold them 🙂

    also, it doesn’t have to be in the closet, that’s just where our kids’ hampers are. I’d suggest keeping the sock bag right next to the hamper — wherever that might be.

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  6. Marie

    02/26/2016

    I have used several from the dollar stores for years. Eventually they will fall apart, but i have never had a problem work them ruining my items. I don’t use them for socks but they seem to work great for bras with hooks closed. All of my kids small stuffed animals they sleep with get washed every week with sheets. Small baby rattles…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve actually never thought to look for these at the dollar store — I’m going there next week to pick up a few things for Simon’s birthday party, I’ll have to look for these 🙂

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  7. Ann

    02/26/2016

    I wonder if you added a few safety pins to each bag (pinned to the edges) if it would also reduce static naturally? Might be worth a try!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good idea!

    [Reply]

  8. Jen

    02/25/2016

    My husband has used these since college, and I have often thought I need them for my boys! He takes it off his socks in the morning, puts it in his pants pocket, then reattaches the socks before he puts them in the hamper at night. They go right through the wash and I don’t even have to sort them! They are fabulous!

    http://www.maxiaids.com/sockpro-sock-holders-assorted-colors?gclid=CL7IuOz-kssCFYwfhgod8UkCDA

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Jen! I’ll have to look into those 🙂

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    Liane Reply:

    Aha! I found two packages of those in various illogical places in my elderly mom’s house. Both unopened. I thought they were for cords! I just washed all her white socks and there were 3 strays. But due to the total state of chaos here, the mates may turn up. These would work for kid socks, I agree.

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  9. Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life

    02/25/2016

    I love this idea. I tried using one of those bags once but it was a super cheap one from the dollar store and I think it did more damage than good! I’m sure I lose plenty of socks, but I’ve been buying the same exact kind for myself and my husband so at least all of his socks match each other and all of mine match each other. No random leftovers without a match.

    [Reply]