The Great Sock Purge of 2011
April 11th, 2011
I have forty-six pairs of socks.
This might seem like an alarming number until you consider that, when I cleaned out my sock drawer the other day, I got rid of forty-four additional pairs. Or maybe that information only adds to your alarm…
But before you judge me, you need to understand my history with socks. There’s a perfectly good reason why, until a few days ago, a huge plastic bin in my closet overflowed with ninety plus pairs of socks.
When I was in high school, my mom started giving me a pair of socks on the first of every month. Our family has a thing about the first of the month, and the socks became a way to celebrate it. She got really creative, too, about how the socks were presented. She’d hang them from my rear-view mirror. Get friends to leave them in my locker. Tie them to the dog’s collar. When I was in Washington DC for a class trip, she got the hotel staff to bring me a pair on a silver room service tray. And when I spent a summer on an archaeological dig, what should I uncover one morning but a pair of socks? (That one was truly impressive — the site director got a huge kick out of burying socks for me to find!)
Thus my sock collection wasn’t just big, it was special. Personal. Meaningful. Impossible to get rid of.
And somehow, this mindset of sock-saving lingered on beyond when the monthly sock gifts stopped appearing. It’s really hard for me to get rid of socks. And let us be clear that my socks are fun socks. Union jacks, gladiators, tennis rackets, squirrels, flamingos, and flying pigs have all made an appearance on my feet.
But after many years of hard wear, my sock collection was a bit ragged. Lots of pairs with holes in the toes. A ridiculous number of unmatched socks that I couldn’t bring myself to part with, as I held out a vain hope for their eventual reunification. My sock box was huge, disorderly, and a bit overwhelming. It was time to get serious.
I dumped the entire contents of the box onto my bed and got to work. All damaged sock went into the trash. A few pair (14) that seemed to be in good shape but never got worn went to Goodwill. Only the best made the cut. It was a difficult process, but I’m a better woman for it.