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Canning Day Quilt

In Search of a Mate

The missing sock phenomenon…  it is such a mystery.

I can understand the kid’s missing socks.  The are known to clean by shoving things under the bed, in the closet, or pretty much anywhere but the laundry hamper.

But when my husband and I loose a single sock…  that’s were the mystery gets interesting.  We have a hamper… and we use it. It might just be worthy of Mr. Holmes or Miss Marple or at the very least Miss Drew.

A small pile of single socks haunts my laundry room.  They move from the counter to the laundry basket and back again.  They just hang around, in the way, hoping their mate will turn up.  They don’t belong anywhere.

Until now:

As part of my laundry organization efforts, I got out the sewing machine to solve the problem.  OK, so maybe I didn’t solve the mystery.  If I had, I might have been in the running for a Nobel prize.  But I did sew a wonderful fabric basket….

Now all my lonely single socks will have a place to wait until their mate shows up.  Hopefully.

I used this very handy tutorial found at the Sometimes Crafter to make my basket.

For a little more functionality, I added easy handles.

The fabric is from American Jane called Punctuation Ditto Daisies Blue.  It works perfectly with the one bit of art I have in my laundry room,  a WWII poster of Rosie the Riveter.  It also looks great with my navy blue washer and dryer.

My new little basket works so well for socks, I’m planning on making a smaller one today as a place to put all the doodads I retrieve out of pockets, such as lip gloss, crayons, and coins.  I turn up all sorts of treasures on a daily basis.  I’m just happy whenever those items don’t turn up in the dryer…  crayons and lip gloss especially.

Now for a few ideas of what to do with the single socks if their mates don’t turn up.

  • Roll them up and have an indoor “snowball” fight.
  • Slip one on your hand and use it to dust the blinds.
  • Make a sock puppet.
  • Tie a knot in the center of an old sock and give it to your dog as a toy… my dog loves his.

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50 Responses to “In Search of a Mate”

  • Raquel:

    Love this idea! Sew (tehehe)clever! Thanks for the link to the tutorial. I think I’ll make a few this weekend for my laundry area. I too gather a small collection of things from boy pockets!

  • I learned of your site from Tasty Kitchen…I absolutely love it! Between this and your laundry soap box project…I’m almost looking forward to my own laundry…Yikes!


  • Beth:

    I was just thinking about the missing sock phenomenon this morning when I was wondering how I manage to have all sorts of plastic lids that are missing their plastic containers. I finally decided that the missing containers must have run away with the missing socks.

    I love your box. The handles gave me an idea for a re-useable auto trash bag that fits around the gear shift. My husband’s truck is a disaster area. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  • Cari:

    I’m one of 9 kids and we were require to safety pin our socks before tossing them in the hamper. Each of us pinned in a different place on the sock so that they could be easily sorted, such as toe, top, heel, bottom, etc. It was also great because I was super careful with my socks, but my sisters weren’t and I could always catch them looking for socks and not being able to steal mine. It makes laundry go so much faster and really isn’t too much of a chore when you’re undressing at night. Just keep a little pile of pins near the hamper. I love your box, btw. GREAT fabric. Your laundry room sounds beautiful.

    • Denise Rogers:

      Good morning,
      I enjoyed your share of your family’s solution of the “sock dilemma”! I know a family of 9 children that did the same as you except they used clothespins! We also have 9 children and we used to have sock parties where we spread out with all our lonely socks and then whoever found the most matches won (usually candy or pennies) and each recieved one piece of whatever the prize was for each match. One of our fond memories of making a mountain into a useful piles!

  • Cari:

    PS: My mom had a “tip” jar in our laundry room. Any money she found she called “tips.”

  • We had a jar in our laundry room as well. And the “orphan” coins were given to charity at Christmas time. My kids love putting coins in the little red baskets while Santa rings the bell….this way they have the money ready at hand and they are really anxious to give it away!!

  • Meaghan:

    I always put the odd socks in the draw of the person they belong too – it never ceases to amaze me how the matching sock miraculously catches up in a wash or so….it also means I never have them lying around the house. Love the little basket.

  • Nice basket you have there. At first look, you won’t be able to recognize that it’s a container for socks. :)

  • Liz:

    I’m impressed you have so few orphan socks. I seem to always have a laundry basket full!

  • maureen:

    I love the basket! How handy for so many things!I would love to have something as a thread catcher by my sewing machine…maybe this but smaller. Reading this post I suddenly had a vision of all the orphan socks in the world together in a pile…wow :)

  • Jan:

    Great idea! I announce to my family when I find coins, thanks for tipping your maid :-)

    My orphan socks become dust rags right away, as their partners never show up.

  • elsa:

    When I first saw the title of today’s post I thought you were looking for a partner! hahaha. Socks make more sense!

  • Angela:

    If you get too many of those socks, Amy at Then She Made has a fun tutorial. Here’s the path http://thenshemade.blogspot.com/2011/01/sock-snowmen.html
    I love both of your blogs. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kar:

    What a cute idea for such a bothersome problem. That little bag could help with alot of little issues in my laundry room. :)

  • Tamara:

    My mother used to save the orphan socks in a big basket and when we did something that needed punishing our chore was to go through the ‘sock basket’ and find any pairs in the basket. My response to this was always “not the sock basket!”
    Your sock basket made me smile because of this little memory :D

    P.S. I love your blog!

  • Anne:

    I finally solved the missing sock problem in our house: each person gets one kind of sock for daily wear. I mean same color, same brand, same style. Luckily our choices are easily divvied up out of the wash — mine are white, daughter’s are black, husband’s are khaki, son’s are gray. Sure there are still missing socks, but we can’t tell because we don’t need to match them up — just grab two socks from the drawer and go.

    A side benefit is I don’t get that angst of what to do with a good sock when its mate is too damaged or stained to wear anymore.

    p.s. We are not a stylish family, as you might have guessed.

  • I love that little basket. Yet another sewing project that I might be willing to drag my sewing machine out for.
    Okay, this isn’t a complete plug for my blog, but this is what I do with the occasional wandering sock- cut off the toe, leaving the elastic part still intact and slip over oil bottles to catch the drips.

  • Love your ideas! Thanks for sharing. That is the cutest basket, and since I am not the best at sewing I will be asking my Mom for some of these!

  • Patti:

    Hi, I just found your blog today and I’m enjoying reading through it. I thought I’d let you know that some “missing” socks may still be in your washing machine. They slip under the gap below your agitator and get wrapped around the metal rod. You can take the agitator off and check periodically to find those lost socks and sometimes you’ll find other missing things wrapped around it, too!

  • Those mesh lingerie wash bags are perfect for washing socks and keep them from getting stuck in the washer. Everyone could have their own bag personalized somehow. That would be a great project!

  • Laura:

    I know one family of 10 kids and the mother bought only white sports socks (7 of those 10 were boys) and kept them in a laundry basket in the hall. Whenever anyone wanted clean socks, they helped themselves from the laundry basket. Dirties went in their own basket.
    As a result there were never any mismatched socks or strays. All socks were the same style and color!

  • denise wynett:

    I laughed out loud just reading some of the comments about lost socks. I have a hamper filled with single socks; a few are from years ago when my kids were small. for some reason, I cannot discard them. Thanks for your website. denise w

  • [...] I love my fabric sock basket!  I made my laundry sock basket last winter and it is the perfect solution for those inevitable stranded [...]

  • I really need to make one of these – functional, and cute too! I’ve put a link to this post (and your site) on my blog, http://www.anchorsandechoes.wordpress.com. Thanks for the great idea :)

  • This is very cute. Thanks for the link. BTW, my girls are grown and still remember when we had sock fights when they were little.

  • What a great idea – the only problem is I would need about four of these….we have two teenage boys & I have no idea why the washing machine seems to eat one half of their socks, each time!
    Thanks for sharing this

  • Martyna:

    I had the same problem, socks and knickers disappearing all the time!!!! Most of the time I found them inside pillowcases or duvet covers, and sometimes our washing machine ”eat” them, they just get entangled in the filter and the washing machine goes bonkers!!!! I suggest using a net bag to wash all the little things together:))

    lovely basket btw:))

  • Steph:

    I know what happens to your socks! He’s called the ‘Dryer Monster’! (Dun-dun-DUN!!!) He lives in the dryer and eats only one sock from sock pairs, with an occasional button garnish. I wrote an exposé about him in middle school, but my silly teacher thought it was a creative children’s tale, and alas, she fell victim to him too, and only wore mis-matched socks from that day forward!!! :-D

  • Sewicked:

    There’s an entire book devoted to what to do with single socks. Mostly, make toys.

  • Catherine Boothe:

    Socks are larval hangers. But only one changes at a time, that’s why you have missing socks and extra hangers.

  • MHM:

    My friend’s family had the same problem. One day the washer broke and when they took it apart to fix it they discovered a bunch of socks on the inside of the machine. SO the washing machine could be eating them.

    Cute box, we also do the solution of having on one color sock for each person. that way it doesn’t matter if one goes missing.

  • Betsy:

    can you give advice on what step you add the handles in on? And perhaps how you made thet handles (measurements, etc.) Would appreciate it and thanks! -Betsy

  • Jane:

    Please cut the toe out of the sock before giving it to your dog. We always gave our dogs socks to play with, then one day our dog chewed the toe end off and ate it, after a few days the dog got sick. She had a toe full of dog food in her belly that was not going to come out. After a expensive vet stay they got it out, we always cut the toe out now!! So please be careful!

  • Josie:

    Thanks for posting pattern link! The addition of the handles is brilliant, by the way…

  • Patsy:

    Socks do actually get sucked into the water pump pumping the water out of your washer, my plumber found one once and showed me. Amazing huh!

  • Crystal:

    If you pin socks together and put them in a laundry bag they won’t get lost and you won’t need a single sock basket. Pin, into bag, into washer, into dryer…done!

  • The washer eats them. No, really! I found one caught up under the center agitator once. I’m convinced more got up in there somehow.

  • Mary Beth:

    Can you explain how you added the handle?

  • Here is a link to a tutorial I made that explains how to add a handle: http://fosterhouseblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/diy-fabric-basket-tutorial.html

  • I love the basket but I was wondering could you make it without the backing? just wondering….

    • Calli:

      You really do need something… fusible interfacing, fusible fleece, batting, etc. to give your basket a standup quality.

  • Charlott:

    My cats used to bring home girls socks (I have a son) and washed dusters from neighbours washing lines!! Love the bag and it is definately on my “To Do” list! Oh and by the way my washer eats my bra wires.. not good!

  • Linda:

    So adorable. I love it! That would be a great catch all for the backseat of my car.

  • [...] a fabric basket for all those bits and pieces like this one at Make it Do [...]

  • Karen:

    I love the basket and will put that on my to do list…When the kids were little and I did a lot more laundry I kept a piggy bank in the laundry…I put the change I found in it and when it was full I would treat myself to something for just for me!


    Thank you for posting this tutorial. I have needed this type of storage, so thank you again.

  • viviana:

    hola soy de argentina quisiera el molde de esto puede ser,mil gracias.

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