Buy different sock brands for siblings

Traci laments the curse of matching socks:

This seems silly (do most hacks start with those three words?) [Indeed, many do! Also: "I'm sure everyone already does this, but…" — Ed.] but when you have more than one kid — and they are the same sex and close in age range (my two sons are 5 and 3) — don’t buy underwear and socks from the same place. It makes laundry sorting a nightmare. My mom (yeah for Mema!) found the boys great socks at Old Navy … cheap, easy to put on, not too thick, no crazy, “ouchie” seams and they have the size imprinted on the bottom in that rubbery stuff which helps with traction. Problem is the 2-3 year old socks look very much like the 4-5 year old socks. So I spend too much time reading the bottoms of them, trying to figure out what socks match. Next round of sock and underwear buying, I’m going for two different looks!


  1. Niel says

    The Hanes socks we buy at Target have different color lettering on the bottom for different sizes. They come pre-hacked for you!

  2. Divrchk says

    I just clicked over from Bloglines to comment about the Hanes socks from Target. The different color stripes on the toes makesfor very easy sorting. Also, Gold Toe socks for kids, also bought at Target, have one, two or three stripes on the toe for easy sorting of different sizes.

  3. DaveTheWave says

    Back in the late 70s and perhaps in the 80s also, my mother used ARTEX paints to place our names on socks and undies and t-shirts. I’ve often thought of doing something like that for my boys. I’ve also thought of placing a number on a pair of socks so you know which two belong together. This site has paints that are similar to the old ARTEX metal tubes.

  4. Sophie says

    When my daughters were 6 and 3, I started tossing all the clean socks and underwear into a laundry basket and letting *the kids* sort it and put it all away. They’ve never had any trouble recognizing their own socks and underwear, even when the colors/brands were the same. The only thing I had to do was switch a couple of drawers in one of the dressers (so socks and undies were in the bottom drawer, instead of the top drawer that the 3YO couldn’t reach). Much easier than Traci’s hack for kids as old as hers.

  5. ksmce says

    I use a Sharpie to mark the front waistband with their initials. When new undies are purchased, I mark them all as they come out of the package. I never realized how much time was spent at the clean laundry basket opening the undies and flipping with that flipping little tag to read the tiny little 2T. Now it’s on front and center.

  6. Shauna says

    For my kids socks – I buy grey and white for dd and white for ds – but I also take a sharpie marker and put a red dot on ds’s socks and a green dot on dd’s. That way, all I need to do (when bleary eyed and exhausted) is just connect the dots. :)

  7. LisaS says

    I use this logic combined with the colored heels and toes, and extend it to the adults as well: the boy’s socks have grey bottoms, the Husband’s are all white. The girl doesn’t wear tube socks, but hers are all colored–I throw the white ones in the donate stack unless they have ruffles or something. Yes, I pay an extra dollar or two to keep the system intact, but it helps decrease the daily sock angst to some degree.

  8. none says

    Another time saving measure I’ve learned is to keep the socks by the shoes and the shoes by the door- especially for toddlers who don’t like to wear socks or shoes when they’re home.

    I have a hat box that stores the socks (mostly white) and a cute wicker basket that holds her current favorite shoes. Hanging above it is our diaper bag/my purse. Makes getting out the door a lot easier. (So does keeping a few pair of socks and a pair of shoes in the van for when you just don’t have the time or patience to argue.)

  9. Caro says

    Use the same hack for when you have two kids in diapers. Pampers for one, Huggies for the other (for example). Avoid the situation where you have 7 of one kid and none of the other.

  10. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings says

    This works for me and DaHubby (he gets the Hanes with the grey heels and toes while my Hanes are plain white) but that’s a GREAT idea doing it for the kids! *smacks forehead*

  11. Cathy says

    I just said to dh last night that we were about to have this problem – thanks for solving it for me!

  12. Maura says

    I went a different way for my b/g twins. As infants they had all white socks, all the same brand so matching socks was simple. Now they still get mostly white socks, Old Navy is our brand, with a couple of pairs of colored ones each.

  13. RookieMom Heather says

    I have two boys and the infant will one day likely inherit the toddler’s socks so I color code by size. Right now, the big boy wears red and black. Last size it was gray and orange. It works for us.

  14. Ticia says

    I put the kids socks in a lingerie bag for washing, so when my twin 2 year old boys take their socks off; into their bag they go. When I take socks off their little sister, her socks go into her bag. Then when I wash their laundry their socks are already pre-sorted.

  15. Melissa says

    I’ve taken a different approach to the laundry for my 3 kids under 5.

    Rule #1 – if you don’t mix together, you don’t have to sort later…
    I have 3 kids, so I use 3 hampers and 3 baskets. Each kid has their own hamper for dirty clothes and a basket for clean clothes. On laundry day I wash 3 loads of laundry…. you got it… one for each kid. I never have to sort because I don’t mix them together. Saves me a TON of time.

    Rule 1a – hamper = dirty and basket = clean and never between the two shall mix.

    Rule 1b – hampers stay in the kids own closets, and baskets stay in the laundry room (admittedly, I do have a 2nd floor laundry room)

    Rule 1c – at 1 year old, kids can begin the responsibility of putting their own dirty clothes in their own hampers

    Rule#2 – Clean is more important than folded…
    And if I can’t get to the folding right away, at least everything is CLEAN. And since each kid has their own basket, it’ not hard for them to find what they need.

  16. TJ says

    Wow, a 1 yr old can put dirty clothes in the hamper? My almost 11 mth old just started crawling! He’s my 3rd.

  17. Teri says

    Sorting socks? What’s that? I only have one child and I buy the same kind of socks every time. On laundry day I just throw them all in the sock drawer. Since they are all the same; all you have to do is reach in a grab two. When one gets a hole in it; just throw it in the scrap rags basket. Works out great. No sorting.