How to Fold Your Socks the Right Way—and Why You Shouldn't Bundle Them

There's no denying that socks are a necessity, but they are so easy to lose—they seem to up and run when they aren't put away properly. If you're consistently finding stray socks without their matching counterparts, or if they're taking up too much storage space in your drawers, it may be time to optimize your folding methods.

There are a handful of ways to fold your socks and the method you choose will depend on the type of sock you're folding, as well as which technique you find the most efficient for your space.

Related: Martha's Method for Folding a Fitted Sheet Will Help You Master This Tricky Task Once and for All

Feet crossed with gray socks on bed under blanket
Feet crossed with gray socks on bed under blanket

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How to Roll Socks

Rolling socks is perhaps the easiest method, but it also takes up more room than some other techniques. If you have ample space, though, try this simple technique.

  1. Flatten the socks so they're laying right-side-out.

  2. Lay two matching socks on top of each other.

  3. Start from the toe ends and roll the socks down to the ankle to create a cinnamon roll shape.

How to Fold Socks Into a Square

If you want to save space in your drawer, consider folding your socks into a compact square. "It is true that squares or flat-folded stacks of socks save space in a rectangular drawer," says Darla DeMorrow, certified professional organizer and owner of HeartWork Organizing. "It's the same idea as square plates are more space-efficient in a cabinet than round plates."

  1. Place the socks so they make a T-shape, laying one over the other.

  2. Fold the sock on the bottom up and over the middle section, first left, then right, to cover the width of the top sock.

  3. Then fold one half of the top sock down to the middle.

  4. Fold the last half of the top sock over the middle.

  5. Tuck the remainder into the pocket formed on the edge.

How to Fold Ankle Socks

Most ankle socks are small enough that they don't need to be folded. "They like to nestle against each other, either stacked or filed standing upright horizontally against each other in the drawer," says DeMarrow. On the other hand, crew socks that have a higher ankle can be folded.

  1. Flatten the socks so they're laying right-side-out.

  2. Look for the natural pivot point at the heel.

  3. Pair the socks together, laying one over the other.

  4. Fold at the ankle across the pivot point so the cuffs meet the toes.

How to Fold Dress Socks

Longer pairs, like dress socks or your go-to wool hiking socks, can be put away using a variety of methods. Certain varieties do best with rolling, which can be accomplished following the steps outlined above. "Nylons or thin dress socks may not hold up to a fold, and those are best rolled," says professional organizer Melissa Keyser. For other socks, save space in your drawer by folding them.

  1. Flatten the socks so they're laying right-side-out.

  2. Pair the socks together, laying one over the other.

  3. Take the toe ends and fold the socks a third of the way.

  4. Then fold again so the crease is touching the cuff.

Why You Shouldn't Bundle Socks

Although bundling your socks (wrapping one sock completely around the other) is efficient, it can wear down your socks overtime. "Folding instead of bundling helps protect the fabric and elastic," says Keyser. "When the socks are folded, it gives time for the fibers to relax, but when one of them is always stretched out, it can cause the fibers and elastic to stretch out." Additionally, since bundling is essentially turning your socks into small balls, they can easily roll to the back of your drawer and get lost.