How to Organize Socks Like a Grown Up: 3 Easy Steps

Think about your sock drawer right now. How does it look? Is it neat and tidy with everything in its place? Or, is it a bit of a mess, with desperate-looking socks crawling out at every opportunity, haphazardly strewn or something akin to tangled spaghetti?

Even worse, do you share a sock drawer with your partner or spouse?

Are your serious, alluring Argyles in regal blue and gray--that pair that you like to keep for manly work meetings--tussling and fighting for space with pretty-in-pink, perfectly sumptuous and girlish polka-dotty spotties?

Or is it more a case that you’ve ‘let each sock run amok’ and therefore, you seem to have only one of each thing? Do you possess a bundle of mismatched loner socks, while failing miserably to locate their missing, ‘other halves’?

Chances are your sock drawer right now trends toward total a disaster zone.

Even for the most organized among us, tidying our socks and underpants drawers is not exactly a priority, so we all just fling those socks in there and hope for the best (not the vest, though they’re probably crammed in there too).

There’s always something more important afoot (ha!) such as arranging the CD collection in alphabetical order, or de-fluffing the sofa of cat hairs.

For those who are not the most organized, making sure everything has a perfect place is hard enough for the important things in life. The thing is though, organizing your socks like a real adult does not have to be difficult. With some simple planning and a few tips, you can start your organizational, inspirational sock journey and come out the other side as a far better man--or woman.

Oh, and before we get stuck into the nitty-gritty, we should just mention this is not simply some random idea, either. Staying organized in all aspects of your life has become incredibly trendy in 2020. You have probably heard of the Marie Kondo effect and how it’s transforming the way people live, in decluttered spaces that really free their minds. So, while you’re getting your mind freed up, releasing your soft, striped socks from their gruesome gaol is just a bonus

If this sounds attractive to you, starting small is a great way to get going without being overwhelmed. Of course, do get friends and supportive family involved to ease the pain and provide much-needed encouragement.

After that, here are our tips on how to organize socks in three sock-it-to-’em steps.

First Step: Assess Your Sorry Sock Situation

This is pretty much a sock crisis triage.

You know, it’s the same way things work in a hospital. Take s(t)ock of the severity of your problems and address the worst issues first. And you know what the worst issue is, don’t you? It’s admitting you have a problem.

They say this is the first step to recovery. So, to take ownership of the problem in your shoddy and shameful sock drawer, you first need to assess the situation and see what is actually going on in there.

We know it’s hard. We know it’s traumatic. But you really need to peek inside and take a look. It gets easier after that. Really.

Take all the socks out of the drawer.

This may sound horrible and daunting, but it’s a very important piece in starting to assess what’s going on in your sock drawer. You will learn why specifically in the next steps, but the general reason is that it allows you to account for everything in that dastardly drawer and see the severity of the issue.

It allows you to start with a blank canvas as you go further on in the process of getting organized. Also, in some popular organization methods, such as the aforementioned Marie Kondo method, they require that you physically hold each item before you organize it, so you really do have to dive in there.

Rummage out your romantic socks and all the others one by one--or pair by pair, if they are still partnered--and cuddle them. Tell them you’re sorry.

You can do it… and then, having held each unloved sock, move to the next one. Big breath, now… and repeat. You can see the full array of socks now.

Get rid of or repurpose and orphaned socks or anything with holes.

Once you have all the socks you own out of your drawer and laid out somewhere, start thinning the herd. You may need a glass of wine or a stiff drink for this bit.

The first thing you need to do is identify all the socks that either have holes in them or are otherwise damaged, or no longer have their matching sock to make a pair.

These socks need to leave the drawer.

Got that? We’ll repeat:

These socks need to leave the drawer. Right now. This is about being a grown-up, remember? So let go of those worn and thin ‘lucky socks’. Say no to nostalgia socks, and fling the frayed favorites.

Yes, you can toss them all in the trash, especially if they are so holed that they’ve forgotten what they’re supposed to be. (Actually, that can work in your favor since you can deploy them elsewhere, and they won’t even realize…).

And don’t try hiding them behind your more upmarket pairs; you’ll make your Argyles angry and that's no good for your whole sock community. Argyles will always have the upper hand. Or foot.

Before you toss them for good, think if you can find another use for them. There are tons of uses for lightly damaged or orphaned socks. If you have these types of socks, here are a few ideas of how to repurpose them.

  • Dust or car rags
  • Homemade stress balls or hacky sacks
  • Sock puppets for kids
  • DIY holiday decorations like sock wreath or snowman
  • Dog or cat toys
  • Ice pack holders
  • Protection for sports equipment, furniture on floors, or for wrapping fragile items when moving house
  • Shoe covers for painting projects or traveling
  • Bottle sleeves for cleaning products or cold drinks
  • Keeping game pieces together
  • Hanging mothballs or potpourri
  • Erasers for chalk or dry erase boards
  • Hand-warmers when you’ve lost your gloves. Just cut tiny holes for the fingers.

These ideas are just a small fraction of the thousands of uses for the sad socks you can no longer wear. These ideas will help you be more environmentally-friendly, make craft time or cleaning time easier, and save you a few bucks when you utilize socks in place of things you would otherwise buy new.

Set socks that are old/never worn anymore aside to donate.

After you have got rid of (or better yet, repurposed) your orphaned or damaged socks, it is time to dig a little deeper into your collection. Chances are you have pairs of socks that you either no longer wear or never wore in the first place, but they still look amazing.

If the socks are fully intact and have no other problems than being pairs you don’t like, don’t throw them out but donate them.

One group that has a desperate need for socks is the homeless population. The homeless never get hold of stunning or trendy bright socks so the least we can all do is donate our still functional, older ones. Homeless people go through socks fast, and wearing dirty socks can lead to a range of health problems.

Other places may not accept used socks to be given out to someone else or resold, so choose only the very best pairs to donate to charities. These socks should look new.

Other thrift stores will accept less new but still functional pairs as a donation. You can donate socks in any condition (except wet or contaminated with hazardous materials) to Goodwill, for example. They have a textile recycling program where they use items they can’t sell and turn them into a material to make new textiles.

Also, look out for clothes collection points. Many socks thrown into clothing collection bins in public spaces are sent to developing countries.

You should now be left with the socks you actually need!

Now that you have purged your sock drawer of all the socks that you will no longer wear, you are left with just the socks that have value to you. Now, it is time to start the organization process of folding them and then separating out your socks into categories.

Second Step: Choose a Sock Folding Method

When looking at exactly how to organize socks, the next step is to pick your folding method. Many people are used to the “ball” method of folding their socks.

While this method has been used for a very long time, it is quite inefficient since it makes the socks much bulkier than they have to be--it also means that the beautiful fabrics of superior, stretchy socks such as this smart black pair with 5% Spandex can be left under stress, with one sock housing the other and its cuff always stretched.

Here are a few alternative methods used by organizational experts.

KonMari – This is the official name of The Marie Kondo method that we discussed earlier. Kondo is the author of the bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and the host of the popular Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Her overall message is that everything you own should bring you joy, just like this opulent pair of finely striped socks. Good folding is a critical part of looking after special items of clothing.

To employ the KonMari method, you lay your socks out naturally, on top of each other. Next, you fold them in half, taking the toe and bringing it all the way to the top so it forms a straight line. From there, you nicely roll the socks.

This gives you very tidy and uniform sock rolls that you can then place in nice, organized lines in your sock drawers. This method is simple, easy to execute and very popular among all the Marie Kondo-ites around the world.

Cube Method – The next method you can experiment with is the cube method, best utilized for ankle socks as it’s hard--if not impossible--to do with longer varieties. What results is a similarly shaped sock package to the KonMari method but even more compact and more tightly held together.

To execute the cube method, take your two ankle socks and lay them out perpendicular to each other, forming a plus sign or x shape. Next, take the top of the bottom socks and fold them over the top. Bring the bottom of that sock up to meet it and tuck the toe into the opening of the sock. Repeat this process with the top sock, which is now locked in by the bottom sock being tucked in. After you tuck the toe of the second sock into the opening, you have a great compact and stackable sock bundle.

The only other way we know to achieve a sock cube is to cheat by buying some in gift boxes--but why not? Treat your tired toes!

Military-Style – This style is a combination of the traditional rolled style and the KonMari method. While it is probably the least efficient space-wise of these three techniques, it allows you to fold your socks in a way that is comfortable and familiar while still being more efficient than the traditional “ball” method.

You start the military-style fold the same way as the KonMari, by laying your two socks on top of each other. Then, you start from the toe and very tightly roll the socks all the way to the top. Once you have a roll, you pull the top of the outside sock back to enclose the rolled sock.

While these methods are all good, it really comes down to personal preference and what works best for you and your space. Whichever method you pick, the most important thing is to be consistent. That will make all the difference and make sure no sock in your drawer feels better than the rest. You definitely do not want that, as it leads to discord again...

Third Step: ‘Divide and Conquer’

Armed with your favorite folding method ready to go, now it’s time to finish up and get organized for good! Before you start folding, you want to divide the socks into categories. This will allow you to put socks that are alike together making them easy to find and put back in their proper place after they have been worn and washed.

The easiest way to do this is to group the by style or appearance. You can group them by color so that all your green socks go together in one place and your purple socks go in another.

Or, you can go by pattern. Here you would have a section for spotted socks and another for striped socks. Either way, it is also advisable that you create one last section for socks that are very dressy, expensive, or that have sentimental value. For example, if you have a great pair of socks you got as a groomsmen gift at a friend or family member's wedding, you may want to keep that in a separate section.

Once you know how you are going to divide your socks, there is one more thing you can do. This is only for those who want or need to go the extra mile and really create an incredibly organized drawer.

To do this, create physical dividers so your socks always stay in the specific section. This isn’t totally necessary but does help, especially if you think you may have trouble sticking to this system. One great way to accomplish this is by putting old shoe boxes in your drawer to house each category of socks. You could use these to put your business socks separate from your casual or fun socks, as examples.


If your entire life is a little messier than you like, there is no better place to start improving things than with the small step of organizing your sock drawer. Using these three steps above, the question of how to organize socks is easily answered and easily attainable by anyone.

You too can do it! It isn’t hard and what’s more, it marks you out as a real grown-up. Next, you can organize your underpants.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.