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How to Organize a Sock Drawer

Womans hands placing folded socks into sock drawer

Do you fold or roll your socks for storage? Which is better? Your preferred method may depend on where you live and your background. The military always rolls their socks. It’s part of basic training. However, many people swear by the KonMarie sock storage system of folding everything into thirds to stack upright in a drawer. Either approach is better than a bin full of mismatched stockings. But what about other types of women’s hosiery? Can you fold or roll them too? You can if you’re careful. Learn the basics of how to organize a sock drawer with these tips.

If you’ve ever folded a load of laundry to be left with one lone sock, you know the importance of keeping your stockings together. How do pairs of socks ever become singles in the first place? After all, there were two last time you checked your feet. And what about that solo sock? Does it get permanently banished to the mismatched sock drawer, never to be worn again? So sad. It’s important to keep socks in pairs so this doesn’t happen. The first step is learning how to organize a sock drawer, so they stay together.

How to Store Socks

There are two basic camps when it comes to organized sock storage. There are the folders and the rollers. Both feel they are in possession of the "correct way" to store socks. But which is better? The truth is they both work. The better method for you is often a matter of lifestyle and the type of hosiery that you wear.

The Military Sock Roll

Socks rolled military style
Roll your socks together, folding the outer band over the roll to keep them together.

The military method for storing socks is a combination of fold and roll. It’s like the Ranger Roll used for folding pants. To store your socks this way, follow these simple steps:

  • Place the socks one on top of the other with the heels lined up.
  • Roll them loosely together starting at the toe and moving upward.
  • When you get about three inches from the top, fold down the band of the outer sock over the entire roll to hold it together.
  • The socks will appear inside out while stored but when you unroll them, they are right side up.
Young boy removing a pair of rolled socks from his drawer
The military roll is the best way to keep a child’s sock drawer organized.

Socks rolled military fashion always stay together even when the rest of the drawer is a jumble. They do not require drawer organizers to keep the socks together. This makes them a great solution for travel in addition to home use. The downside to this method is the elastic in the band will wear out faster due to constantly stretching over the rolled sock ball. However, most socks will wear out with holes in the heal or toe long before this happens. The military roll is a fine method for storing your everyday socks, though delicate hosiery may be a different matter. Use it for children. That’s because it’s easy to select a particular set of socks from a drawer without making a mess or unpairing the rest of them.

Simple Sock Roll

Consider rolling your stockings loosely together as another option. A general rule is that your rolls should be as wide as the fingers on your hand, minus the thumb.

Socks rolled loosely and placed in a sock drawer organizer
  • Place the socks one over the other with the heals aligned.
  • Grab a three to four inches of the sock and roll gently.

This method is effective in preventing loss of elasticity. It is also the best way to organize pantyhose. The downside is that you will probably need a drawer organizer to keep your hosiery neatly arranged. Without it, your rolls are likely to come undone while adding or removing pairs of stockings and from general movement from opening and closing the sock drawer.

Acrylic sock drawer organizer and lingerie sorter
This acrylic lingerie divider works best when organizing ladies’ dress stockings and delicate pantyhose. The smooth acrylic helps to prevent runs and snags.

This method is effective in preventing loss of elasticity. It is also the best way to organize pantyhose. The downside is that you will probably need a drawer organizer to keep your hosiery neatly arranged. Without it, your rolls are likely to come undone while adding or removing pairs of stockings and from general movement from opening and closing the sock drawer.

Fold Socks KonMarie Style

Hands selecting socks folded in a drawer Konmarie styles
Fold your socks and file them KonMarie style. This method allows you to see all your stockings at one time since none are hidden under another pair.

Organizing consultant and best-selling author Marie Kondo has popularized the folded system of stock organization. This system allows you to see all your socks at one time because they don’t cover each other. To achieve this, her approach adds a bit of a twist to traditional methods. To fold and organize socks the KonMarie way:

  • Lay the pair of socks flat, one over the other, with heals aligned.
  • Grab from the toe and fold up 2/3 of the way.
  • Grab from the bottom of the folded sock and fold again to meet the top.
  • Your sock is now nicely folded into thirds.
  • Place the folded sock vertically in your drawer as though filing it away.
Soft cloth closet drawer organizer with folded socks and underwear
This soft cloth lingerie drawer is meant to be used inside a closet. It comes with dividers that will help keep your folded socks organized.

This method works better with thick socks than with thin ones because it’s very difficult to make a small pair of socks stand up this way. This is true even if you use drawer dividers to create nice partitions within the sock drawer. Knee socks or crew socks work best. Pantyhose and footies are better sorted with one of the other organizing methods.

Alternate Sock Folding Methods

Step-by-step sock folding instructions
Use these step-by-step sock folding instructions to get your sock drawer organized.

The KonMarie method isn’t the only way to fold socks. Another way to fold men’s socks, crew socks, or anklets positions each sock at a right angle from the other before folding.

  • Place one sock heal side up in front of you on a countertop or table.
  • Place the second sock at 90 degrees from the first one. This sock should also be heel side up with the top band covering the heal of the first sock and aligning with the top edge.
  • Fold the top band of the fist sock over the top band of the second, forming an upside down "L".
  • Bring the toe of the fist sock over to meet the edge of the section you just folded.
  • The first sock is now folded into a square at the top of the second.
  • Take a hold of this gathered area and fold it down over the second sock.
  • Grab a hold of the toe and fold it up to form a neat square.

Socks folded in this manner can be filed vertically in a drawer as with the Marie Kondo Method or stacked flat one on top the other. Either way, a drawer organizer is recommended to keep them in position.

Sort socks by color and type.

Once you get all your socks neatly paired by your favorite method, it’s time to organize the drawer itself. Sort all your hosiery first by type and secondarily by color for best organization. This works because you’ll be able to quickly grab the right type of stockings in a coordinating color to the rest of your clothing without having to hunt and peck for the right match.

Organized sock drawer with many colorful, folded socks and stockings
This sock drawer is crowded but organized. Notice how the pantyhose and tights are arranged in the back row by color. Casual crew socks fill the front of the drawer with similar colors and patterns next to each other.

Use the right size drawer for your socks and hosiery.

Drawer size is also an important aspect of your sock organization. The drawer you use for socks shouldn’t be too high or deep. It depends on how many pairs of stockings you have, but shallower drawers between five and seven-inches-high usually work best. That’s because you won’t have to stack as many socks on top of each other. Don’t force yourself to dig for socks because you’ll just end up messing up the whole drawer. A drawer that’s too big can ruin your entire sock organization.

Ready to try out your knowledge of how to organize a sock drawer?

By now you probably realize that there’s more than one way to store socks. Choose a method for yourself and your family according to your circumstances. Do you travel a lot or have small children? Go for the military roll. Do you have many nylons or delicate hosiery? Roll or fold them loosely to protect the elastic. You may elect to use more than one method. Especially if you have a lot of variety in the type of stockings you keep in your sock drawer. The most important aspect of how to organize a sock drawer involves keeping matching socks together. Don’t let pairs become separated. And use drawer organizers or dividers to help keep them neat. Follow these tips and your sock drawer will become an inspiration for organization.

And remember, everything is easier when you’re organized!