Monday, 18 February 2013

Sock Wars

I am feeling extraordinarily smug and efficient today. As this is not a normal state for me in Catchland, I am going to suck up every bit of it.

The cause of this jubilation is simple.  I have solved a household dilemma that is older than Noah.

How to label everybody's socks in a manner that is indelible 
and where ownership is immediately recognisable and inarguable.

 Yes, I thought that might get your attention.

For years, Catchland has been awash with a veritable ocean of stray socks.  I have tried every trick from every household hints section that I have ever come across.  Labels, stitches, name tags.  They come off in the wash, fade, stretch into illegibility or are pulled off.  The ultimate dilemma - and my favourite - is that no matter how clearly you children's socks are labelled, this is always totally ignored by others e.g. siblings or other children in your child's class.  Pick a sock.  Any sock. Them's the rules.  And once the socks are on, your poor child cannot tell his own in the sea of identicals.

Well, no more. This Mama has it sorted.

It came to me as I was pegging out the laundry a few weeks ago, trying to match eldest and youngest feet.  The size seemed to go from Big to Even Bigger to Really, Really Big. So, that was no help. 

School socks, Sports socks, Dress socks. They all look the same. Hopelessly confused, I tried to recall if Santa put the black toed anklets in eldest or youngest son's stash.  But, after the madness that is the festive season, I can barely remember the nose on my own face, let alone recall which Bonds belong to which boy.

And then, in that mundane moment,  lightning struck...

I pulled everyone's socks from their drawers and piled them on the table.  Then I raided my nail polish stash for five different colours - blue, red, green, purple, pink.

On the toe of each sock on the TOP TOE SEAM (you'll understand in a minute), I put a largish dollop of appropriately coloured polish

Blue = Eldest son
Red = Middle Son
Green = Youngest Son
Pink = Oldest daughter
Purple = Youngest daughter.

Nail polish has proved IMMOVABLE. It can't be picked off in boredom, it never changes colour and can be used easily on both light and dark materials.  My greatest joy is that it is QUICK! Oh, joy, joy joy, only seconds are needed. No more spending twenty minutes finding a needle in a haystack (literally!) to stitch a mark (And like that's ever going to happen after the first day of school - snort!)

I re-paired each sock and put them away again (You would marvel at the astoundingly large pile of  archeological specimens I also found and tossed from the back of the drawers - DOUBLE WIN).

Yesterday, I went to hang out the wash.  Green dot with green dot, red with red - Child's play. Oh, look out, here's an orphan.  Never mind, it's got a red dot, I'll just put it back in Middle son's drawer and when its companion emerges, they can have a re-union party.

This morning, Middle son was missing one of a pair that he had put out to wear.  Youngest son guiltily tried to hide the red dot on his toe from his brother's accusing stare.  In my unconscious wisdom, I had placed the dot where it is GLARINGLY obvious whose sock it is. Oh, be still my beating heart!

This still won't solve the problem of other children swiping my children's socks. Or of my darlings losing them by the dozen.  But honesty and self-organisation can't be labelled unfortunately.  

Still, the headache of sorting is no more, plus the dead-sock-bag is...well...dead.  In one fell swoop.

So, today, I ride, victorious into the sunset.  Socks in right drawers.  NONE draped sadly over chairs, like Victorian wallflowers at a dance, shouting "PICK ME, PICK ME, I'M YOURS"...

You can nominate me for the Pulitzer whenever you like.


  1. You may have just found the solution for world peace! I know it's not cold in Catchland, but if you could also find a solution for lost matching gloves and mittens you might just get that award!

    1. Oh boy! That would just do my head in. Socks are quite enough for me.

  2. Sadly this has come too late for me - Miss Mac has decided it's 'cool' to wear mismatched socks after years of me trying in vain to pair them up.


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