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Melissa Schmalenberger, Published March 24 2013

Ms. Simplicity: Ending sock-drawer chaos

I realize that not everyone has an organized sock and underwear drawer. I realize that most people just throw them in a drawer and call it good, sometimes not even matching the pairs of socks. The horror of it!

So a couple of years ago I organized one such drawer. Let’s call these clients “Roy” and “Michelle,” nice people who want the world to become more organized, even it is by one sock at a time.

Here are the steps for organizing your sock and underwear drawer:

1. Empty out everything.

2. Wipe out the drawer.

3. Remove anything with holes or you no longer use. Remove anything that doesn’t make you happy. Remove anything that is not comfortable. Remove anything that is not attractive or in style, purple ankle sock with pompoms really are not in style any more unless you are a 60 year old woman.

4. Sort all remaining items into like piles.

5. If you have lone socks, now is the time to get rid of them. Chances are you ditched the other one months ago and didn’t even realize it.

6. Find a drawer organizer that fits the needs of the remaining items. I did switch the drawer organizer in the last year as I found one that I liked a bit better for the size of “Roy’s” drawer. Drawer organizers help keep everything in place and fit nicely. When one item is pulled out, the space remaining shows when it is washed and returned exactly where it should go. This keeps the system organized for years to come with some simple maintaining in the meantime.


• Fold or roll socks instead of turning one inside the other. This helps with extending the length of the sock by not having the elastic stretched out (beside it looks pretty).

• Remember the 80/20 rule? You wear 20 percent of your stuff 80 percent of the time. This is true on socks and underwear, pick out the ones that you wear, and get rid of the rest. When I work with clients most of them have more than one drawer of socks and underwear. This is when it is time to take a serious look at what you have. Do you really need 50 pairs of underwear and 80 pairs of socks? You really only wear your favorites. Do you need a drawer of just socks for exercising, but only exercise two times a week? In that case you should only have two pairs of socks.

• Sort the socks into colors or types. For “Roy,” it is white, tan black/navy. If you have trouble determining between black and navy, make sure you keep those on opposite sides of the drawer.

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo. Her website can be found at www.mssimplicity.com/