I may be unique here but over the years I have collected perhaps hundreds of mismatched socks of various sizes and colors. Some are good cotton and others are like new. Since I have a large family and many no longer fit the children, I want to either get rid of them, recycle, or put them to use sustainably. I can't think of anything to do with these. I already have a large supply of rags. Any ideas for disposal or use of five full bags of socks?

  • 5
    Pair up similar socks and wear them. Nobody is checking. And if they do you have a good answer.
    – RedSonja
    Jan 17, 2017 at 8:24
  • 1
    Donate them to charity.
    – THelper
    Jan 17, 2017 at 12:21
  • 1
    +1 because that's an impressive accomplishment!
    – LShaver
    Jan 17, 2017 at 19:02
  • 3
    And in future, standardise your sock purchases. If you buy 10 pairs = 20 socks of a given type, you can lose 19 before you no longer have a pair.
    – Móż
    Jan 17, 2017 at 22:50
  • Just wear them. No one will care, even if they notice.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jan 29, 2017 at 12:07

7 Answers 7


Just about anything you would normally do with rags, but these ones are already in tube and bag form:

  • Use for washing, polishing and cleaning - just put your hand inside
  • Use to keep stuff in - small items like wingnuts, earrings...
  • Use fancy socks for wrapping presents - tie a ribbon round the top
  • Put stones inside and use to hold down bird nets or apple branches in the garden
  • Add eyes and hair and make into puppets. Make hundreds and sell for charity
  • Recycle into baby and doll clothing
  • Sew together and stuff as draft excluders

OK that's just a few ideas for the creative household!


If they are pretty stretchy you can cut off the tops and use them to make cozies for your drinks containers. Here's how: gather and stitch the cut end to close the tube in a round fashion. This is more easily done if you place a bottle or glass inside to help even out the material as you sew. Work the material around so that it sits flat. Decorate with yarn or sew on beads, etc. Then use the remaining foot portion to fashion drawer sachets. Just fill them with lavender and sew them shut. Or fill with rice, sew closed, and microwave for a minute to soothe a sore neck.


Make sock puppets, either yourself or others (children!):

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You can Google something like how to make sock puppets easy for plenty of descriptions, even instructables.com has a 10 minute sock puppet instruction.

You can do great things with them


I tried a patchwork of socks, that wasn't very beautiful. Depends on the socks (and your abilities in patchwork)!

You can cut them in little pieces and use them as stuffer for pillow, footstools... You can easily find some tutorials.

  • I thought about this tuto (clementinelamandarine.com/2014/09/13/…) but it's in french. In the same way, I saw a long time ago that you can do some children clothing by using patchwork but I can't find the tuto... (Wasn't interested)
    – Phnix
    Jan 30, 2017 at 14:55

Follow Richard Dawkins' suggestions:

  • Be bold
  • Make a fashion statement of odd socks
  • Fight the tyranny of the matching socks
  • Sock it to conformity
  • Be an individualist, not a slavish sock puppet.

Shoes and gloves, like proteins and many other molecules, have chirality: there’s a left one and a right one and you can’t rotate either to make the other. Hands are chiral, so are feet. But (with rare exceptions) socks are not. Socks fit feet more approximately than shoes, and any sock will fit the left or right foot equally well. So, unlike shoes, there’s no obvious reason why you have to buy socks in pairs. Theoretically you could buy a dozen identical socks and choose any two of them at random each day. If you lose one, no matter, you now have eleven from which to choose. But alas, as far as I know, socks are only ever sold in pairs. And that’s ridiculous.


I live in a college town and have a teen age daughter along with some teen age nieces and I've notice that the style is to have mixed match socks. Just pair up colors and tell them they are retro style socks. They will think it's cool and you can start the next big trend.


Throw them in your vehicle. Next trip by the river. Were all the little sewing shops are stop. They will take any good cloth to remake into other items. Rag Rugs, window wipes, dolls, you name it.

  • Explain us where country you're living, this looks like India?
    – J. Chomel
    Feb 17, 2017 at 9:38

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