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Monday, September 10, 2012

Dealing with Socks in a Large Family

Item #3: Unmatched Socks

As a highly disorganized person, keeping all of the kids in matching, clean socks was quite a struggle for me. After consulting many different blogs and forums, here's the system I have now:

*When I buy socks, I only buy Hanes brand.  Hanes have a color coded word or stripe on the bottom of each sock, so I know which child it belongs to. (The other socks you see are either gifts or hand-me-downs) This one tip has been such a time-saver for me, and also makes it possible for someone other than Mommy to match the socks. 

*When I'm matching socks, I always end up with stragglers.  I let these unmatched socks gather in the bottom of the laundry basket or in a little pile for a week or so - long enough to know that I've done lots of laundry and should've found it's match by now.

*About once a month I lay out all of the new unmatched socks that have been accumulating that month.  I make sure there are really no matches.  Then I pull down a bag of old unmatched socks from the previous month.(See below) One by one I pull out socks from the old bag and either find it's match or throw it away.  Yes.  I said throw it away.  Just try it - throw away one sock...and feel the freedom!!

This whole "throw it away" concept was totally mind boggling to me.  I would keep unmatched socks for years- until the child had outgrown them- before throwing them away. I've been using my current method for 2 years now and, surprisingly, we have never run out of socks.  Just the one package from Nana at Christmastime seems to keep us going all year long.  (But that is for 6 kids, so really at Christmas there are 60 new pairs of socks entering the house)

*My exceptions to the "throw it away" rule are thus:
 - Socks that I really think I'll find the match because I've seen them in the car or a bag,
- Socks that are in very good condition and part of a large batch, like the Hanes socks, and
-Socks that I adore and am not ready to admit defeat. Surely their match will find its way home!!
These socks I put in a small bag that I hang on the wall in the laundry room.  This is the bag of old unmatched socks.

It works!  What used to take up an entire football game, with socks strewn across every square inch of the couch now takes 4-5 minutes a week and 10 minutes once a month.

So, today, with much fanfare, I am throwing away that nice pile of socks.  Buh-Bye!


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