Works for Me Wednesday: Bringing Socks Together

If no-one else will say it first I will. I'm not ashamed. I love to do laundry. Yes I do. And I'm sorry, I know this is considered abnormal, and un-American or whatever (I'm not American so there ya go) but I suspect there are many closet laundry-lovers out there.

Let's face it, it is the ultimate in instant gratification. Toss in a bunch of dirty stuff, add good clean smelling soapy substances, listen to the pleasant whooshing sound for a while... and...Lo! you have a bunch of clean stuff! Order out of chaos once again. It is a beautiful thing. There are two things which keep my laundry joy from being completely full though.

The first is the fact that once it is clean and dry and neatly folded (all activities which greatly appeal to the order out of chaos/instant gratification monster within me), there is the matter of putting it away somewhere, and when you live in a dolls house, that can be a challenge. This post does not address that challenge. I apologise.

The other challenge is that of socks. They seem to be the universal scourge of every washer-woman/man's existence. It is not satisfying to toss in a bunch of dirty socks, and come out with a bunch of clean socks, which do not have partners. It is not good that sock should be alone. Socks need to be in pairs. I think we can all agree on this. It's great when they come together without a big fat dramatic scene worthy of Grey's Anatomy, but in my house, and I suspect, many of yours, this is rarely to be. My socks are more of the star-crossed lover variety. On again, off again, ships passing in the night and all that.

Back in the dark ages when I was still trying to match each pair as I found them in the warm fragrant pile out of the dryer, it was tough, man. It would take me way too long to fold a load of whites because I was always scrabbling around searching for about 20 different socks and their respective perfect mates.

Now I do know that many products and methods exist to deal with this problem. Like pinning a pair together first, which ok let's face it, is never going to happen. Or those little mesh bags. Only thing is, that means collecting up all the socks at the beginning, and putting them in the little mesh bag and they just do not get as clean (or dry) when they are all wadded up in the little mesh bag. (I saw on Ellen recently that some kid came up with a sock pizza, which as innovative and awesome as it is, would not work for me because, again, this takes work at the outset and the fun of laundry for me is just being able to grab a bunch of white things and shove them in the washer with gay abandon. Not sitting holding a dirty sock whilst hopefully sifting through other dirty laundry to find its unfaithful mate. That just takes the joy right out of that. It is not the same as the satisfaction I get from hair-pretty reunions when there is stinkiness involved. It's just not.

So this is what I do. I wash with gay abandon. I dry with gay abandon. Then I fold with gay abandon. When I come upon a sock with its mate close by I rejoice and join them together in notsoholy sockmony and send them to honeymoon in their tiny apartments. However this experience is the exception rather then the rule.

What usually happens is I find a sock, I scan the pile briefly. I see not its straying mate. I smile, unperturbed. I toss the single sock in a canvas box where sock singles go to mingle. I proceed, tossing all single socks in the canvas box. I repeat until most of the laundry is done (because laundry is never ever ALL done), and it can be assumed that most of the socks which are still alive in this house are either paired up already or in the single sock box. If any singles have made it into sock drawers for any reason, I gather those up too, to join the club. No sock lives alone in this house. We are highly inclusive.

Unfortunately full disclosure requires that I tell you that not all the socks will survive the washing. Occasionally there really will be some swept away into the belly of the washer, Bermuda Triangle nothing, this is where they go. The washer eats them. Washers need to eat too folks, we should not begrudge them the occasional Hanes or Fruit of the Loom snack for as hard as they work. There will be a few singles who will remain single, over the course of many single cycles. Sometimes there will be a miraculous pairing after months, when all hope was lost, sometimes not. It is sad, but true. This is why sock puppets exist. We must make the most of what life deals us.

Now here is the best part. I locate my slaves. They are generally watching TV illicitly. I tell them that they may continue to watch TV (they look shocked) but only! (they look fearful) if they engage in a brain stimulating activity simultaneously.

This activity is called.....Sock Matching! It is oodles and oodles of fun! Even more fun then the WII! Yes it is! How do you know it isn't? You don't even have a WII! How do I know it is? Because I am the mom and I know stuff like that. (They are still young enough for this to squelch further debate).

To make it more interesting, I appeal to their competitive natures (I am still stymied as to where they came by those). I tell them that the one to bring together the greatest number of happy couples is the WINNAH! The WINNAH generally wins no prize. Except for the glow of satisfaction they will have that night while lying in bed waiting to drift off, knowing that they have achieved greatness in the sport of sock matching. It is reward enough. Within one episode of Hannah Montana I have a large community of happily married socks. It is quite glorious.

And it really is a fairly stimulating activity when you think about it, particularly if you have many socks which are similar but have slight variations. This really ups the thought-processing ante and you can feel good about providing educational opportunities rather then indentured servitude. (Really, I do feel strongly about kids working, and I do not count this fun, fun, activity as a chore, there's just something about having them be truly helpful to me, rather then me sacrificing high quality cleaning for the opportunity for them to learn a work ethic, which gives me guilt. Cos I am rational like that. )

For many, many more helpful tips you should visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer who hosts a regular Works for me Wednesday feature. If you have any ideas of your own, you can post them there too

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nyn said...

Sometimes with my OCD i think we are really in sync with our thoughts. Sadly I don't have the same thoughts about laundry as you do, I don't love it, although I do love when it is done. I was just thinking, while matching socks today, how glad I am that summer is almost upon us. Summer means sandals and less socks in the wash. One more reason to love summer!! Not as many socks to match.

Anonymous said...

Loved this! My singles ward is getting to the point of having to be split soon. Sadly, my kid kind of at home is too canny to fall for the joy of sock joining. HOWEVER, I find that if you sit in a part of the room that has BRIGHT sunlight, (this is for the dark load)some that seemed totally incompatiable get to see traits in each other that make them able to join in holy sock-lock. The whites are a lot easier. And getting sunshine is nice. Sorry. I know it is not always freely available to you.