May 9 – National Lost Sock Memorial Day

Posted May 9, 2015

Mental Floss says about this holiday:

Today we honor the past, and we let go. It’s time to admit that one red argyle sock has gone to washing machine heaven. Time to turn the partner it left behind into a rag or a sock puppet, and buy a new pair. It’s what it would have wanted.”

What happens to our socks? Why do so many socks go missing?

In addition to the socks that get lost outside of our homes—for example, left behind at our friend's house, somehow, when we changed from sneakers to sandals—most socks that go missing somewhere inside the house really are still hanging around, waiting to be found. They're under the bed, or folded up in a fitted sheet (having static cling when everything first came out of the drier), or behind the clothes hamper, or clinging with every bit of static cling they can exert to the top of the drier's drum. Maybe the family pet has made off with a few of them and either buried them or hidden them somewhere we will never think to look. Even if we eventually find some of these socks (hours, days, even years later), the OTHER sock of the pair is likely to be hard to find or already tossed!

An awful lot of missing socks are hiding right there in the laundry room. Appliance repairmen report that many socks are in the washer – but they go over the tub and get stuck between the inner tub and outer tub! Others are in the drier – having fallen down between the drum in the front or rear, into the lower part of the drier. Of course, still other socks find their way between the washer or drier and the wall, or underneath the appliances. A few might get sucked into the washer's drain pump and go out with the rest of the wastewater.

Here are some other ideas about where our socks go:

  • They might be in another dimension—a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of cotton and wool, nylon and polyester. They might be taking a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of ankles, or knees, or even thighs.

  • Google has shown me that there are (apparently) washer gremlins and sock monsters who live in driers; front-loading washers can open a magic portal to another land; our galaxy's central black hole is actually made of socks, so many have been lost over the years; and/or there is a sock heaven for good little socks.
In all seriousness, there are things you can do to prevent losing socks, like washing socks in a mesh garment bag. 

And there are practical things you can do, such as reorganizing your sock drawer (you may be able to match a few up again that somehow got separated by load) or of course by just embracing the style of wearing mismatched socks!

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