When it comes to folding socks, there are nearly as many ways to approach it as there are types of socks. Most of us are familiar with that old-school technique of the “potato roll” where you turn them inside out together, and while this does work, it also stretches out your socks and can be difficult to organize. But if getting your unruly sock drawer finally organized is on your to-do list for the coming year, here are a few different ways to fold socks to save space and make your sock drawer the envy of the family.
How to Fold Long Socks
Long socks can be difficult to fold — this category includes your athletic socks, knee socks, and other pairs that come up above the ankle. This means there is more material to contend with, so you’ll want a folding method that takes that into account.
- The Fold Over. One of the simplest folds, with this technique you lay one sock on top of the other, and line them up — toe-to-toe, heel-to-heel, and cuff-to-cuff. Smooth out any wrinkles or bumps, and then fold the cuffs down about one-third of the way down. Fold the toes up one-third of the way to meet up with the cuffs, overlapping them slightly, then gently open the cuffs and tuck the toes inside. This will give you a neat, square sock fold that can be stacked and sorted!
- The Roll. This is a great option if you’re planning to travel and want to keep your long socks neat and compact. Start with the same technique of lining them up, and then, starting from the toes, roll them tightly together. This is a method best used when you have a drawer, suitcase, or another container where they’ll be tightly packed together to keep them from unrolling.
- The Cross. For this type of fold, start by crossing your socks on top of each other, forming an X. Then fold the toe of the bottom sock over the top one, and follow that by doing the same with the bottom cuff. Now fold the toe of the upper sock to the middle, then the cuff, and you should end up with a sock square that won’t stress or stretch the elastic in the cuffs!
How to Fold Ankle Socks
As one of the most common types of socks that can be worn with a wide range of shoe types, there are a number of different ways to fold ankle socks. All three of the methods used for long socks will also work with ankle socks, but here are a few more to consider.
- The Ranger Roll. This is a variation of the roll method, popularized by the US Army Rangers to keep their socks neat and tidy while on the move. For this variation, you’ll start with the socks stacked on top of each other with the ankle facing down. Roll it from the toe to the cuff, and when you reach the top, pull the outermost layer down over the rest of the sock roll to keep it all together, and tuck in any loose ends.
- The Kondo Fold. Popularized by renowned organizer Marie Kondo, this is a great sock fold for those who want to stand their socks up in the drawer to help save space. Start with the basic fold-over, laying the socks on top of each other, and lining them up from cuff to toe. Then fold the heel of the socks in, and starting with the toes, fold the socks up about a third of the way each time until you reach the cuff. You should end with a neat sock fold that can be laid flat or stood up to stack neatly in a drawer.
- The Inside-Out. Starting with the socks flat together, this fold is quick and easy — fold the cuffs inside out, and pull them about halfway down, so they are paired together. While not as neat and easy to organize as some of the other folds, this is still a fast way to fold ankle socks and ensure the pairs stay together.
How to Fold No-Show Socks
By their nature, no-show socks have less material, and therefore can be a bit more tricky to fold and organize. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few tips and tricks you can use to get even your tiniest no-shows neat and tidy in your drawer.
- The No-Show Roll. It’s easiest to fold no-show socks into a roll. Lay them on top of each other with the opening facing up, then pull the top sock down so they're offset. Roll them together starting with the toes. When you reach the top, tuck the roll into the heel of the bottom sock.
- The Stuffed Together. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to fold no-show socks is to put one of them inside the other, keeping the pair together. The downside is that while it ensures you won’t lose one half of the pair, it is probably the least neat looking once added to your drawer.
- The Fold Together. This is a variation of the fold-over and Kondo Folds — simply lay the socks together, and then fold them in half to create a neat package.
Folding Socks to Save Space
No matter which type of sock you choose, or which fold method ultimately works best for you, folding your socks will take up less room in the drawer, and be far easier to manage when you go looking for that favorite pair. But folding isn’t the only way to save space in your sock drawer. Here are a few tips for how to keep your now neatly folded socks organized:
- Declutter. How many of us have what feels like hundreds of pairs of socks stuffed in a drawer, and yet we consistently wear only a third of them? As you pull out your socks to fold and organize, get rid of any pairs you don’t wear regularly. If they have holes or are worn, throw them away. If they still have some life left, but just aren’t your favorites, consider donating them.
- Find the orphans. Part of this process also means figuring out which socks you still have a full pair of, and which ones you have lost a single sock along the way. You might have tossed it in the drawer thinking it would turn up in the next load of laundry, but if you can’t find both halves after a few rounds, it’s probably time to get rid of the lone sock.
- Sort your socks. Depending on how many pairs of socks you have and how your socks serve you, you might be content to simply sort by color, making it easy to find what you’re looking for at a glance. If you live in a climate where you have different sock weights throughout the year, or you have a mix of different types of socks for different shoes, sort first by style and then by color to keep your drawer organized.
- Finally, arrange your socks in rows in your drawer, making them easy to see and grab. There are a number of organizers on the market that can divide your drawer up into precise rows designed for socks, but even without one of those, you can create neat lines organized by type and color. Depending on the depth of your drawers, don’t be afraid to stack pairs on top of each other, although you’ll want to keep like colors and types together.
Finally, if you’re planning to travel, knowing the best socks to take and the best ways to fold them can help ensure you have exactly what you need on your trip without taking up too much space in the suitcase. Overall, the Ranger Roll is one of the best travel folds since it ensures that all your socks are paired together in a tight bundle that won’t come loose until you’re ready to wear them.
You’ll also want to pack your socks last — they can easily fit between the clothes and the side of the suitcase, or even inside your shoes, giving you plenty of space for everything else you plan to travel with.
The Best Sock for the Occasion
Having a varied and organized sock drawer means you always have the best sock for the job – and you’ll always be able to find the ideal pair when you need it. Check out our guide on choosing the perfect socks and discover your perfect match.