Uses for Unmatched Socks

Updated on September 20, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

Minimalism is catching on and I'm excited about streamlining. I'm sharing what I've learned about decluttering and simplifying our lives.

You Are Lucky If Your Socks All Match Up in Pairs

Even the most organized family usually end up with some stray socks that don't match anything.
Even the most organized family usually end up with some stray socks that don't match anything. | Source

What to Do with Single Socks?

A friend lamented that she had a huge stash of unmatched socks. Every laundry day, she added to it. Then she bought more socks to replace those.

Where do all those unmatched socks come from? Most likely, the other sock ended up with a hole in it, leaving one good sock without a mate. In some cases, the sock is hiding somewhere under the bed or in the back of the closet or in the toe of a shoe. If you have a pet, they may have chewed the sock or dragged it away for playing.

No matter what the reason, having a pile of solo socks is frustrating and feels wasteful. Here are ideas to put those socks back into service in one way or another.

Sort That Pile of Socks

Check in the drawers and under beds to find any loose socks. Now, start sorting them by colors, then by type. Sometimes a match will emerge from the jumble of socks that you've been hoarding.
Check in the drawers and under beds to find any loose socks. Now, start sorting them by colors, then by type. Sometimes a match will emerge from the jumble of socks that you've been hoarding. | Source

My friend actually found that a number of pairs emerged from her marathon sorting effort.

She had quite a few that matched once she spread them all out. Still, there were dozens of lonely socks that were now considered totally hopeless.

Some Ideas for Those Leftover Socks

  • Turn them into rags. Keep some as mitts to slip your hand inside for dusting jobs. Cut others from the top down to the toe to form a rag for scrubbing jobs.
  • Put rice In them and tie shut. Heat in the microwave a minute or two to get it hot. Cheap heating pad for your neck or back or any sore spot. You can slide these between the sheets in winter right before bedtime. It's an old-fashioned bed warmer.
  • Make a cat toy by adding some catnip inside the sock. Sew it shut and cut off the excess. Your cat will have hours of fun attacking and playing with the catnip sock.
  • Drop the last bit of a bar of soap in them and tie in knot. Wet the sock and rub it to get a lather for washing. This works well for little kids who have a hard time hanging onto slippery soap in the bathtub.
  • Cut off the ankle part of a stretchy sock to make a mug warmer or cozy for your coffee cup.
  • When you wear boots or long pants in winter, no one will know your socks don't match. You can also wear the mismatched socks for at-home days when your appearance doesn't matter.

How Can Your Unwanted Sock Help This Kitten in the Animal Shelter?

Source

Turn Socks into Heat Packs for Shelter Animals

Nicole shared this great idea in a group for nonconsumers. She turned dozens of orphans socks into heat packs for kittens and puppies who are being spayed or neutered at the humane society. These were socks that would otherwise have been thrown out since they don't match or are just worn out or have no elastic.

To do this, she bought 20 pounds of rice to fill the socks. She sewed across the ends or tied off the socks at the opening after filling them with rice. The volunteers at the humane society heat these in a microwave or an oven and put them in with the recovering kittens and puppies to comfort them.

She explained that after the animals come out of surgery and when awake, they sometimes have trouble staying warm enough, so they put a warm rice pack in their crate and they can snuggle with it. Many of the kittens also find it comforting amidst the chaos. The rice-filled socks stay warm a long time.

It helps them at night too, when the small animals get cold and miss their litter mates.

Sandra commented that she was going to call her shelter to see if they wanted these. She said that she has a good-sized clothes basket of socks she could use. They were destined to be cleaning rags, but she liked this idea better.

How Much Rice Should You Put in Each Sock?

Nicole explained that she just eyeballed it. She puts about a cup in smaller ankle socks. Once they are filled, she shakes it to get it to compress and then ties it off with yarn or string.

Make Bigger Ones with Pillowcases

Megan, who worked at a spay/neuter clinic said they used larger ones too. "We used pillow cases and filled them with rice. We like the pillowcases for the larger dogs like Pit Bulls and Great Danes. We do use the socks too for the cats and smaller dogs such as Yorkies and Bichons.

Lilian commented on what a great idea this was. She volunteers at a cat rescue. "These would be great for orphaned kittens as well," she explained as they are much more economical than buying commercially produced hot/cold bean bags or electric heating pads.

Check with your local shelter or vet. Some do not do their spay/neuter in-house so they may not need them.

Reminder: Your local shelter ALWAYS need towels, blankets, sheets, etc. that you might have as well.

Make a Sock Quilt

Take a simple blanket and sew the socks all over it in a random pattern. The effect is fun and whimsical.
Take a simple blanket and sew the socks all over it in a random pattern. The effect is fun and whimsical. | Source

Cut Across the Sock to Make Loops

A child will have fun making those potholders on looms that use fabric loops. The loops are just remnants from sock manufacturers. The potholders are cute and the perfect size to use in the kitchen or as coasters. The looms are inexpensive and you can find them used at the thrift shop.

Make Sock Puppets

This old fashioned craft is fun for kids. Get out the button box, some yarn, and any stray socks you have. After they make their puppets, encourage them to put on a puppet show.
This old fashioned craft is fun for kids. Get out the button box, some yarn, and any stray socks you have. After they make their puppets, encourage them to put on a puppet show. | Source

More Ideas for Mis-Matched Socks

  • Cut the toes and heels so that you have a bunch of tubes, then sew the tubes together and stuff. You can either make a toy snake for a child, or a draft blocker for the bottoms of your doors and windowsills.
  • Put oats in them for an oat bath. It's great to smooth the skin and keeps it from making a mess in the bathtub.
  • Cut across so it comes off in loops to make stretchy hair ties.
  • Convert a bigger sock to fit a Chihuahua in the winter. Instant dog sweater with just a few cut of the scissors.
  • Ask a day care or school if they would want them for crafts.

My yoga instructor puts tennis balls in old socks and uses them to rub her spine. She taught us how to do this and it feels GREAT.

Mismatched Socks - A New Fashion Trend?

Wear them. Mismatched socks are the new pairs. My nephew started this. So now when I look at the mismatched socks, I think ... just wear the darn things.
Wear them. Mismatched socks are the new pairs. My nephew started this. So now when I look at the mismatched socks, I think ... just wear the darn things. | Source

Just learn to buy the same brand, style, and color every time...That is what we did and it saves time on matching or the drama of finding the missing socks...

Remember Sock Monkeys? Make Some in Different Colors

It doesn't have to be a monkey. How about a white rabbit with floppy ears (the ankle part of the sock). Use a marker for adding the face or stitch it with yarn.
It doesn't have to be a monkey. How about a white rabbit with floppy ears (the ankle part of the sock). Use a marker for adding the face or stitch it with yarn. | Source

© 2017 Virginia Allain

Your Turn -- What Ideas Do You Have for Stray Socks?

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    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 2 months ago from USA

      Thanks for all the cute ideas! I especially like the one about the oat bath..

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