Have you ever thought about how you fold your socks? Could there be a better way? Here’s a sock folding method for any situation.
While your socks may not attract as much attention as other, more visible articles of clothing, wearing the wrong pair of socks can ruin an otherwise stellar outfit.
Once you’ve mastered the art of choosing the right socks for every occasion you should protect your investment by folding and storing them properly.
If you’re like me, your mom taught you how to fold the “Inside-Out Potato Method” as a kid.
While this certainly works to keep everything in your sock drawer separated into pairs, it’s not very good for your socks (not to mention that piles of “sock potatoes” are hard to organize). This method will quickly stretch out their elastic.
#1 The Basic Roll
This is perhaps the easiest way to keep your socks organized and avoid stretching them out.
When To Use the Roll Method
Use the Roll Method when speed is more important than space. If you have a lot of room in your sock drawer and just want a simple, no-nonsense way to keep your socks organized without damaging them, the Roll Method will get the job done.
How To Roll Your Socks
Lay your socks on top of each other on a flat surface. I find that a hard surface like a desk or dresser is easier to work on than a soft bed.
Roll your socks from the toe to the top.
That was easy!
#2 The Ranger Roll
While the Basic Roll will keep your socks separated, the fold is easily undone. With the Ranger Roll, your socks will always stay together.
When To Use the Ranger Roll
The Ranger Roll gets its name from the US Army Rangers. As Rangers are often on the move, it makes sense that this method is ideal for folding socks to save space while traveling.
It is the best way to pack socks when preparing for a business trip, for a long hike, or for vacation. Plus, the Ranger Roll works great for boot socks.
You could think of the Ranger Roll as an improved version of the “Inside-Out Potato Fold.” This method does tend to strain the elastic of your socks over time, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you only use it when traveling.
How To Ranger Roll Your Socks
Lay your socks on top of each other on a flat surface with the bottom of the sock facing up.
Roll your socks from the toe to the opening.
Once you reach the top of the sock, hold the roll together while keeping the top layer free.
Fold the top layer around the roll.
Tuck in any loose ends.
Packing Tip: When trying to save space in your travel bag, pack your socks last. They can easily fit into small gaps.
#3 The Kondo Fold
Marie Kondo is a world renowned organizing guru. My favorite part of her bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was her description of how to fold socks.
When To Use the Kondo Fold
The Kondo Fold is the best way to fold socks when you don’t have a lot of space. This method allows you to stand socks up on their side, making them easy to store in a drawer or basket at home. This is my favorite way to keep socks organized.
If you are traveling and want to keep your socks together, you should probably choose another fold.
How to Kondo Fold Your Socks
Lay both socks on top of each other on a flat surface.
Fold the heel of the socks up.
Starting at the toe, fold the bottom third of the sock.
Continue folding in thirds until you reach the top of the sock.
Tip: You may find it easier to fold short socks in half rather than in thirds.
#4 The Cross Fold
Slightly more challenging than the previous methods, this fold only works with longer socks.
When To Cross Fold Your Socks
If you feel like you’ve mastered the other methods and are feeling ambitious, you might be ready for some “sock origami.” Like the Kondo Method, the Cross Fold won’t wear out your socks’ elastic and allows for easy organization.
How To Cross Fold Your Socks
Lay your socks on top of each other on a flat surface to form a cross.
Fold the toe of one of the socks towards the middle of the cross.
Tuck it in.
Fold the top of the sock towards the middle of the cross.
Tuck it in.
Repeat with the other sock.
Tip: For ankle socks you can tuck in the toe into the opening to help keep them together.
#5 The No Show Sock Fold
No show socks pose unique challenges for folding. Being so small, they require their own folding method.
How To Fold No Show Socks
Lay the socks on top of each other on a flat surface with the tops facing up.
Move the top sock forward slightly in the toe direction.
Roll the socks from the toe to heel.
Tuck the roll into the heel of the bottom sock.
No show socks fold so compactly that they can be hard to keep track of.
Final Thoughts on Sock Folding
While using the right folding method for the right situation may not seem like a big deal, folding your socks the wrong way can lead to overstretching, which can cause even the best socks to become misshapen and less comfortable over time.
Whether it’s cheap cotton gym socks or expensive silk dress socks, folding your socks properly will help extend their life and help you stay looking sharp.
For my over calf socks I use a modified version of the Kondo method. First lay the sock flat so that the hill is facing up instead of in the traditional boomerang shape. I do the same for the other sock and lay them facing each other with the heals facing each other. I then fold the toe up one-fold and then the top down one-fold. The I fold both folds toward each other. that allows me to stand the folded sock either on its side or stand up on open end. I use old shoe boxes to put my socks in so they stay organized.
For my no shows I put one inside the other and fold in half then lay them on top each other keeping like colors in the same stack rather than trying to stand on their sides.
I use the ranger roll method for my athletic socks even when I’m storing them in the drawer. For my nicer dress socks I use the “potato method” that you described. While I agree that both of these methods do stretch out the socks a little bit, it’s really minimal. It doesn’t seem to stretch them anymore then wearing them does.
Jack Mosier says
Best article on sock folding I have ever read! I am looking forward to trying out the cross fold.