Honestly, it’s difficult enough to keep a pair of socks together, let alone fold them properly. But recently, I moved into a new apartment with fewer closets than my last one, forcing me to consider how to optimize its nooks and crannies in the most efficient way possible. Which, of course, left me staring right in the face of one of life’s greatest conundrums — what’s the best way to fold a pair of socks?
The Cheater’s Way
If there was ever an expert on sock-folding, it’s Sam Trusner, a longtime equipment manager for the University of Illinois football and basketball teams as well as the national office manager for the Athletic Equipment Managers Association. But he tells me that these days equipment managers rely on laundry loops for keeping socks together. They work like so:
Now, football socks do require some folding since they’re longer. In this case, Trusner says that he lays them flat and folds them in half so that the “edge of the toe is even with the end of the cuff.” But given that most teams and schools now have lucrative apparel contracts, he explains, “They just get new socks, which obviously involves less folding.”
The Pro Tip Way
The subreddit r/LifeProTips talks a very big game. “A Life Pro Tip (or an LPT) is a specific action with definitive results that improves life for you and those around you in a specific and significant way,” its description reads. “Keep in mind that giving someone advice is not the same as giving someone an LPT. Advice is offering someone guidance or offering someone a recommendation.”
Naturally, then, I figured they must have an LPT or two about folding socks.
“I’ve found that folding the first two inches or so inside of each other allows the pairs to be stored together without stretching them out too much, if at all,” writes one LPT subscriber. To which another astutely points out that if your socks can’t handle being rolled up, how are they expected to last while on your feet? “I’d say that by far the better indicator for sock life is how you care for them, not how you store them,” he argues.
Most helpfully, a third cited the rolling-sock method as outlined by Ties.com. For this method you simply line up your socks and roll them together, “much like you would your ties.” That way, per Ties.com, “You can store these on their side in your sock drawer so you can easily see all of the socks you own at once.”
The Organizer’s Way
YouTuber Judi the Organizer promises to “help you get your s#!* together, get your life organized and create simple ways to do so.” As for how that applies to your socks, she advises folding them in thirds, which, if done correctly, should make it so they stand up by themselves.
The Quintessential Business Traveler’s Way
Okay, this quintessential business traveler also happens to be my dad. But I swear, I’ve never met a more fastidious man. I will also put his suitcase-packing skills up against anyone else’s. It should come as no surprise then that his sock-folding game is equally exacting. “Line up the socks together so that it looks like one sock,” he tells me. “Then lay the socks on a flat surface, flatten them out with your hand, take hold of one of the cuffs and fold it over the top of the other sock until the edge of the cuff is at an even length with the end of the toe.”
Well, you heard the man — get folding.