The Case of the Missing Sock has been open in every household since humans have worn socks. Fed up with my own one-sock situation, I wanted to know probable causes—and discovered a laundry trick along the way. The Internet did not fail me on my quest for answers, with numerous (and humorous!) ways of explaining why we always seem to start with two, but end up with one. You’ll be surprised to learn these other facts about laundry you never thought about.
The Search for My Missing Socks
At the beginning of my quest, the theories seemed pretty reasonable. Perhaps one of the socks never actually made it to the hamper, or actually into the washing machine. I checked that small space between the wall and my washer and happened to find three lonely, abandoned socks (bingo!). One theory that we would all secretly like to believe is that the dryer simply ate one of the socks and left its mate behind to tell the tale. Before you start loading your dryer, make sure you know about these items that you should never put in the dryer.
Then things in my search started to get weird. I was no longer finding rational explanations, but completely (and literally) out-of-this-world ones—everything from “they slipped into another dimension” to “a rogue troll with an insatiable appetite ate them.” It was then that I realized the possibilities really are endless. But more important than the why, I wanted to know the how: How do I fix it?
How to Never Lose a Sock Again
The trick lies with a handy little tool you probably have in your sewing kit: safety pins. Stainless steel ones, to be exact. When you take your socks off, pin the mates together so they won’t get separated in the hamper (or unknowingly kicked under the bed). The pair will stay together in the wash and because the pin is stainless steel, it won’t rust. The hungry dryer will be deterred from eating both socks as that’s simply not its style, and two perfectly matched socks will emerge clean, fluffy and unscathed. As an added safety measure, you should probably keep the socks pinned together until you’re ready to wear them.
10 Clever Hacks That Save Both Money and the Earth
10 Clever Hacks That Save Both Money and the Earth
Take shorter showers. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. Install a low-flow showerhead. Fix leaky faucets. Use rain barrels to collect water for your garden (check first to see if it's legal in your area).
Shaving an extra $10 per month from your water or energy bill adds up to $120 each year, a nice chunk of change to have back in your budget.
Live in an area of town that's not overly car-dependent. Walk or bike to work, or use public transit if it's available. Carpool with coworkers who live nearby. Set up a carpool schedule for getting the neighborhood kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.
Run all your errands in one trip rather than heading out several times a week to take care of a task here and a task there. This saves time, money and the environment –- a trifecta of savings.
Create a meal plan and a shopping list to make sure you only buy ingredients you'll eat before they spoil. Learn to use leftovers creatively. Compost food scrapes and food that has happened to expire, or find ways you may still be able to use it (like turning overripe bananas into banana bread).
Install a water purification tap on your faucet and buy a reusable water bottle you can take to the gym or carry while running errands. You can also buy reusable water bottles that have a filtration system built into the cap, so you can refill at a drinking fountain while you're out.
Buying fresh ingredients and making your own meals from scratch is another trifecta: It saves you money; it cuts back on the unnecessary waste caused by foods that are over-packaged; and it cuts back on the health risks of foods that are over-processed.
This motto of frugality from the Great Depression -– "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" -- is a smart one to follow today if you're on a mission to live in a way that's more Earth-friendly.
This motto encompasses everything from mending clothes rather than throwing them away to learning to fix your broken toaster rather than buying a new one. In our "disposable" society, this motto stands as an encouragement to be more resourceful and make the most of what you already own.
Whether it's in your backyard or on your kitchen windowsill, growing your own veggies and herbs gives you fresh, organic ingredients you don't have to waste gas driving to the store to purchase. Plus, you'll know your produce is totally organic and pesticide-free because you grew it yourself.
When you make your own cleaning products from simple household ingredients, you save money, cut back on packaging waste, and can make solutions that are safer for the environment and your family. Many household cleaning products get the job done just as well as expensive store-bought cleaners with harsh chemicals.
Why buy a DVD you'll only watch a once or a book that will just sit on your shelf once you've read it? Borrow media from your local library -- many libraries even have video games for your kids.
When you have a DIY project, borrow tools from your neighbors rather than buying a power washer or circular saw you'll probably never use again. Organize a clothing swap with your friends so you can trade items from each other's closets -- an outfit that's old and boring to you could be new and fresh to one of your friends.
Eaten by the dryer, or eaten by a troll—there are some things we’re just never meant to know. Whatever the case, I hope this safety pin trick helps you as much as it has helped me! When it comes time to start your next load, make sure to avoid these common laundry mistakes.