Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sock sorting

When you have kids, laundry is never-ending. Whoa, sorry...I slipped into my Captain Obvious uniform for a second there, didn’t I? In my house, certain loads of laundry lead to confusion. How you ask? Well, don't worry, it's pretty easy to tell my clothes from the clothes of all the other occupants in my house. And right now, Sam's clothes are still washed separately from everyone else's so I can use the mild and oh-so-sweet-baby-smelling baby detergent on his clothes.

The confusion lies in the underwear/sock loads! Okay, to better clarify, the confusion really is the socks (as long as I can still read the size on the underwear tags, there's no confusion there…yet). Jacob's and Caleb's socks are finally getting close enough in size that I have to closely inspect them to make sure that 1) I make a true match and 2) I give the right boy the right socks. This adds to my already-compressed laundry time.

Yet, it is often to no avail. More often than not, I'll hear a call of "Juuuuliiiiieeee, I'm out of socks!" when I've just sent a ton upstairs…with the wrong kid. Or, one of the boys comes downstairs with obviously ill-fitting socks on. I will never understand how Caleb doesn't notice when he puts his shoes on that his socks are bunching up because they're too big; or how Jacob doesn't notice that he's had to stuff his ever-growing feet into way-too-small socks! (Is it something on the Y chromosome?) When I question it, I typically get “I dunno," or "they were in my drawer," as a response.

When my Mom was visiting recently, she noticed my sock scrutinizing and offered some suggestions to ease my sock-sorting pain. Her first suggestion was sock locks. They're really neat little contraptions - you just slide your socks through them when you take them off, and the whole thing goes in the wash (and dryer!). The socks get clean and stay paired up. My father has used these since, well, the beginning of time. (He's an engineer and all about efficiency.) Now, I love my boys, and I think I know them pretty well, and I just didn't see them figuring out what to do with sock locks. Plus, while sock locks solve the pairing problem, they don't solve the “whose socks are whose” problem. Her next idea was genius. She suggested they each have a bag for their socks so that they're kept separate, but still get nice and clean (or at least unstinky - they are boys, after all). BINGO!

I happened to have two "extra" lingerie garment bags. I took a black sharpie and marked one with a big "J" and one with a big "C" and presented them to the boys, along with instructions that when their dirty clothes come downstairs to the hamper, the socks get separated out into the bags. I then took large binder clips and hung them, open, on their laundry hampers. (Open is important, because if the laundry hamper’s lid is on, the clothes somehow manage to only make it to the floor of the laundry room – I assume the bags would work the same way.) I know I'll have to remind them to pre-separate their socks for a while until it's habit (they're actually REALLY good about getting their clothes into the hamper downstairs), but I'm excited (yes, I actually used the word excited in the context of laundry) to see how it works.

I always need housekeeping time savers, so please share - what have you done to make your household tasks easier?

Julie Daneman is wife to Bryan, Stepmom to Jacob and Caleb, and Mommy to Sam. They are a boisterous, loving, happy interfaith family.

1 comment:

  1. My mom had a "dot" system... She would take a permanent marker and put a certain amount of dots on the bottom (Husband=1, Mom=2, etc) that way she just had to sort by the dots! My husband steals all of my socks and since we don't have kids yet... they all stay in a basket and we get them as needed!