Friday, January 9, 2009

The Bane of My Existence

As all mothers know, socks are the bane of one’s household existence. Not the wearing of the items, which I highly recommend, at all times even, in our house especially, but rather the effort required to get them through the wear-wash-return cycle as a pair.

In addition to the ubiquitous unsolved mystery of sock-eating dryers, in our house, we have a big industrial-sized bucket of dirty clothes into which mostly everything thrown down the laundry chute from the second floor drops. The problem is that only selective small items can be retrieved from the bucket. Some socks seem to commit sock-icide by flinging themselves out of the bucket and landing in no man’s land (on the filthy, uneven concrete of the basement floor behind the industrial-sized bucket). Even if I am lucky enough to get the socks into the wash as pairs, the transfer between laundering machines is fraught with the potential peril of single sock-loss. Then there is the sorting.

Years ago I had adopted the “white socks policy” (no nod to Chicago). This means that everyone wore white socks and that each person had brand name that he or she wore to lessen the burden of sorting. My success was limited in that there were still stragglers from pre-policy days. There are some even now. But, like Agent Booth, I have a penchant for wearing colorful socks (not to mention white socks are boring for little girls), so the colors and wild designs crept back into the sock stream.

In taking stock of things I own, I have discovered, or uncovered, 43 unmatched socks in the “unmatched and waiting” section of my sock drawer. Just mine. At least thirteen of which are all black – but unmatching! And I have, this very morning, had an epiphany of sorts: throw the damn things out!!!

Why hadn’t I thought of this before? It is my Yankee (again, no nod) upbringing which drives me to save everything I have ever owned thinking “Someday, I might need this single burled brown cotton-poly blend foot covering in an emergency”? And, “There’s nothing wrong with it.” (It should be noted here that I have no problem throwing out socks with holes. Darning is not among my skills set.) It’s not as if I don’t have other socks. Maybe reducing the supply will help control the problem.

I’m quite sure no charity wants my widowed socks (maybe some rogue puppet company), and because they don’t really match (most importantly in height, texture, and pressure), it’s unlikely that I’ll ever wear them as pairs. But deciding to rid my closet and my home, and yes, I don’t think it’s too dramatic to say, even my life of my unmatched socks is really quite a moment for me.

I feel free, I tell you. Free from the holding pattern of “lost and looking” sock maintenance!


Kim said...

What I find hilarious, is that I can feel great having gotten rid of something like that, love the new room in the drawer, feel like I decluttered a bit of my mind, as well as my home, only to discover, in 6 months, I need to do it again.

I never worry about finding pairs of socks and I don't even pair them up for my husband any more. He just told me the other day that he just grabs two dark socks and wears them without a consideration whether they match. I'm pretty sure between that and his new goatee, people are going start questioning his sanity. Oh yeah, and occasionally showing up to work in a shirt he didn't bother turning right-side-out (which is also I laundry function I figured he was old enough to do on his own).

LB said...

We also have a sock drawer (bin really) near the dirty bucket for clean socks. The idea is that everyone should claim his own socks. Well, occasionally someone picks out a pair, but basically it fills up and doesn't close.

Hey! I think I'll throw those out, too! Thanks for inspiring the second moment of inspiration today.

I find your stance on being the family laundress quite in line with my own and the image of your husband going to work with his shirt inside out very amusing.

It's when the little girl undies, held there by static cling, fall out of your pants at work that really causes trouble.

Fiddler said...

Two words: sock puppets.

Amy said...

Love it! Try thowing other stuff away, too. You'll be hooked. Throw away all your pens that don't work, all the mechanical pencils with worn down erasers that can't be replaced, the inexpensive print with a tiny blemish on it that you've held on to for 8 years thinking that maybe it can be repaired and then framed, and definitely get rid of 90% of the dozens of free tote bags you must have accumulated from events over the years.

I did most of that, but I still have an entire HUGE bedroom full of boxes and stuff that we haven't unpacked yet, and I wonder why I even need it.

LB said...

No, Amy, not the tote bags!!!

With what shall I then move my broken pens and rolled up prints I've been meaning to frame from room to room?

Oh. I see your point.