Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Laundry Math

Maybe I've been checking a few too many of my 2nd grader's math word problems, but here's the way a load of laundry went one day last week:

27 socks from 3 different kids I attempt to match up.

I successfully made 11 pairs.

How many socks were left without a mate?

Answer = 5

Matches are on top sorted by child, and socks missing their mates are on the bottom.

My children take their socks off all over the house and car. I find them stuck down inside shoes, under the bed, under our shoe shelf, and occasionally in my purse!

So the odds of both socks making it into the dirty clothes, through the washer, out of the dryer, and ready to be paired with their mate is not very high these days.

And I didn't think about it when I bought these socks, probably because it was August and my kids had not worn socks in 3 months, so I had blissfully forgotten what it was like to wash socks times 3 children, but why, oh why, are each pair of socks in the packages I bought slightly different?!!!

And if they are the same on top (you know the part that sticks out of the shoe) can I match a sock with 2 sharks to a sock with many sharks?

Before my perfectionistic ways would not allow that kind of thinking, but now?

As a reformed perfectionist thanks to the daily refining God has allowed through mothering 3 children?

Well now, I'm really, really close to calling that a match!

And these socks:

Same size, basically same on top, just different stripe pattern on the foot part (which has the sole purpose of driving me insane) = match!!!

The current system is that the lonely socks are put in the drawer with the matched up ones where they can anxiously await their match, perhaps in a few days (or weeks) when the car, under-bed, backpack, etc. is cleaned out!

I really wish I could remember which blogger it was that I read her tip a year or so ago that she only buys one size and style of kid socks for her many children so matching them up is a breeze, because I love the idea in theory, but in practice? My kids are only 2 years apart from each other and 4 years & 3 months from oldest to youngest, but they encompass 3 different sizes of socks! And if I put a too big sock on one of them it's inevitable that I hear whines about the wrinkles inside their shoes, and a too small sock, well the heel doesn't fall in the right spot and that just doesn't work! So, I'd like to ask how she gets around the size issue or if she's found a magic kind of one-size-truly-fits-all-sock!

So, what do you think?

Life on earth is too short, just get close and call it a match.


Your mothering skills will be seriously scrutinized when/if your kid takes his shoes off at a friend's house and the mismatched socks will serve as proof of your lazy home-making; matching socks = an orderly life.


Do you have another way of handling the sock chaos?

Find more Wordful Wednesday and Works for Me Wednesday here.


  1. No...I have a pile to work on of my own. Sigh! :D

  2. I heard a tip where you get a lingerie bag for each child and then they put all of their dirty socks in their bag. It won't help if the socks never make it to the bag, but at least you aren't sorting through three different sizes. I did try this for a short while, but I felt the socks weren't getting as clean as they should and my children's socks always seem to be really dirty.

  3. This made me smile for so many reasons! I tutored a little boy on long division today...so the math reference worked for me today.

    My husband is the king of "as long as the tops match." He refuses to match socks and throws all the clean socks in a laundry bag until he needs them. The system worked for us until I realized he'd dumped my socks in there, too!

  4. I have a post coming up that talks about why socks and underwear are always on the holiday shopping lists for kids....and this is the EXACT reason why! haha
    I say mismatch them...who cares, a sock is a sock right?

  5. I will have to take a picture of my miscellaneous socks and post for you. I truly believe that the borrowers live in my floorboards and sneak away socks- I'm just not sure yet what they use them for.

    Being that there are seven of us, two not living at home, I still find their socks in the most random places. Like end table drawers, behind the television, tucked underneath a rug. I like your idea though- maybe I will go thru the basket and match them up like you did- GREAT IDEA!

  6. I keep a bag in my closet where I throw all the unmatched socks left after a load of laundry. About once a month or so I go through the bag and match up whatever's in there. If it happens that Im left with the same couple of socks after matching what's in the bag a couple months in a row, I cann it a loss and throw the single out.

  7. Sometimes I can never find the match of a sock for my daughter, so several years ago I created "silly sock day" where she would purposely wear two unmatching socks. She LOVED it, and still sometimes asks for Silly Sock Day. In fact, she's sometimes unmatched matching socks from two different pairs in order to make an ummatching set. LOL By the way, I would definetly call the shark socks a match - I mean, they both have sharks on them! And I am a perfectionist too, so I know what you mean. :)

  8. This problem can't be (KIND OF) solved until the kids are teenagers and are pretty much wearing the same size. Then I did what your friend did and bought bags and bags of socks all the same size and PLAIN white. I would wash them all and then put together pairs and count like 7 or 8 pairs out as I dropped them in their drawers. HOWEVER this only worked cuz I had 3 boys...3 years apart and they were all huge....my daughter's were of course different. BUT! No matter what I tried or did there was ALWAYS the lone socks. It is an unsolvable problem. Trust me on this one, haha...Have a wonderful day. HUGS

  9. So hard. I have developed the lonely sock basket. So, when I finish folding a load I just throw the stragglers in the basket. Then next week, I add them to the freshly laundered bucket and try again. There is always something (actually it's pretty much alwyas full) but I don't worry about it b/c I know the extras will make it back to their mates eventually or they will stay in the LSB forever and die a lonely death. Either way is fine as long as I don't have to worry. Another thing that helps me is that I wash the socks separately. So they can't get stuck in sweaters and what not.


I'd love to hear what you think!