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Paring Your Pairs

There are certain things in a home which require multiple parts to function effectively.  However, time passes, life happens, and the bits and pieces become lost: the dog chews up a puzzle piece, a sock left behind on a hotel floor, a shoe accidentally abandoned in a gym locker on the last day of school, a plastic lid warped by the dishwasher.  

For whatever reason, we don’t let go of the remaining parts: you’re not sure WHICH puzzle the piece came from, you might find the sock or shoe’s mate someday, and you are pretty sure you have other lids to fit the now topless container in your cabinet.   

In a house full of things to do, it is easy to ignore one lonely sock – stash it in the stray sock box or, drop it back into the dirty laundry (its match will surface eventually, right?).  A stray sock bag or a box of container lids is a perfectly fine thing to keep.  The question is this: when was the last time you sorted through them?  When was the last time you piled up all the socks or containers in the house to make sure there were no lonely singles or containers without lids?    Let’s tackle the task together – You can do it! 

Set a date:   Maybe your day is today?  Maybe tomorrow while the kids are napping?  Maybe it’s next weekend, or next month – choose your time and stick with it!

Make it fun:  Choose a prize and make it a race - find socks anywhere and everywhere… under the bed, in the closet, behind the dryer – anywhere! He who finds the most socks wins!  Put on a movie and get matching – or leave the TV off and play a fabric game of Go Fish! 

Get it done: 

First…  Once your stuff all matched up… THROW AWAY THE LEFTOVERS.  I know from experience it is hard to throw them away (I LOVE that sock… it has corgis on it, and it was expensive!) But, once you have done the deed, or “ripped off the bandaid” it feels great to finally be free of lonely socks to worry over and sort through when you do laundry or get dressed. Trust me!

Second… after you have thrown away your leftovers, look at the pile of usable pairs and ask yourself:

  • Is this a reasonable amount to maintain for a family of our size?
  • Does a couple with no kids really need 86 pair of socks?
  • Do I need 4 pair of gym shoes when I haven’t been running in 4 years?
  • Do we need 37 Rubbermaid storage containers when the last time we had leftovers was at Thanksgiving?
  • If the answer is no, bag up your overage and donate them to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.  

Repeat:  Once you have completed the Paring your Pairs – set a time to repeat the process.  (I recommend at least once a year, around spring cleaning time)

Celebrate!  Sorting through the accumulated chaos of years is no small task.  Be sure to reward yourself: Ben & Jerry’s? A bubble bath?  An afternoon in the sunshine or maybe a night out at the movies?

Staff Contributor:   Denise Boline