10 Different Ways to Fold Socks

published Aug 1, 2023
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Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

When I was growing up, my Virgo mom was particular about folding clothes, including socks. And it went well beyond just matching pairs: She had her method of folding them — flattening socks with heels up and folding them into thirds, tucking toes into cuffs.

When I met my husband — and we started doing laundry together — I was aghast at the way he folded (if you could call it that) his socks. He matched them, rolled them up, and tossed them into a disorganized drawer that also contained underwear and knit beanies. (And we live in Hawaiʻi!) 

Turns out, both methods are completely acceptable.

Socks are often the neglected items in the laundry basket. You probably rarely think about folding and organizing them, but they’re also the one clothing item that seems to disappear on wash days. But if you spent some time folding and storing them, you wouldn’t have to keep buying new pairs.

First, empty your sock drawer. Sort them into pile-based categories: ankle socks, dress socks, fuzzy socks, winter socks. Match pairs. If you find orphan socks — those without partners — you can use them to dust your plants, wipe your baseboards, or clean your car’s cup holder. Keep the pairs you want and donate the ones you don’t. At this point, you can decide if you need a drawer organizer or small bins for your dresser.

Here are different ways to fold your socks to make organizing and storing them much easier.

1. How to Roll Your Socks

This is likely the easiest method — hence why my husband prefers it — but it also takes up more room in your sock drawer than other techniques. This works best on longer sock styles like dress or boot socks. Lay the matching socks on top of each other with the toes and cuffs lined up. Beginning at the toe, roll both socks up to the cuff as tightly as possible. (Imagine you’re making cinnamon rolls.) Because the socks may unravel in your drawer, consider using a honeycomb organizer to keep them tidy.

2. How to Fold Socks into Squares

This method is a great space-saver and easier than it may look. Place the socks, heels up, so they form a T (or plus sign), laying one over the other. Fold the sock on the bottom up and over the middle section, then fold the cuff side over that and tuck in the toe. Do the same with the other sock — fold over the toe end, then fold over the cuff end — until the pair forms a square. Tuck the toe to keep the sock together. This works on both long and short socks.

3. How to Use the Inside-Out Method

Also called the roll-and-tuck method, this simple technique — as demonstrated by Judi the Organizer on YouTube — starts by laying a pair of socks on top of each other. Starting with the toe end, tightly roll up the socks. Once it’s rolled tightly, take one of the cuffs and fold it inside out, placing the rolled-up socks inside it to form a ball shape.

4. How to Use the KonMari Method

Everything organizing guru Marie Kondo does is simple and effective. Her technique is to place one sock on top of the other and fold it into thirds. When done properly, they will stand up.

5. How to Fold Long Socks

While rolling long socks may be the easiest way to fold them, try this space-saving technique from Lennia McCarter (@lenniiamc), aka the “Folding Queen” on TikTok: Lay one sock flat and tuck in the heel so the sock forms a straight line. You’re going to fold this into fourths, with the toe end and cuff end meeting in the middle to form a square. Take this square and place it just above the heel of the other sock. Fold the cuff end over, then fold up the toe end, tucking it into the sock to secure it.

6. How to Fold Ankle Socks

Any method works on ankle socks, with the KonMari technique of folding into thirds being the easiest. You can also simply flatten the socks, laying one over the other, and fold at the ankle across the pivot point so the cuff meets the toes.

7. How to Fold No-Show Socks

These socks are often the ones that get lost in my sock drawer. But here’s a way to keep them together. Lay the socks on top of each other with the tops facing up. Move the top sock forward slightly in the toe direction so you can see both heels. Then roll the socks from toe to heel. Like in the inside-out method, once the socks are rolled tightly, take one of the cuffs and fold it inside out, placing the rolled-up socks inside it to form a ball shape. This will keep them together.

8. How to Fold Dress Socks

Any longer socks — dress, hiking, winter — can be folded in a variety of ways. Rolling and the inside-out methods are the easiest, especially for dress socks that are thinner or made from nylon or bamboo material. You can also use the KonMari method, but tuck the toe ends to better secure them.

9. How to Fold Fuzzy Socks

Fuzzy socks tend to take up a lot of drawer space. McCarter’s folding method is the best way to save space. She starts by flattening the fuzzy socks, heel facing up. She starts with one sock: she folds it into thirds, starting with the cuff. Then she folds the toe end, stuffing the toe part into the sock opening. It will form a square. Then take that square and place it in the middle of the other sock and repeat the process.

10. How to Fold Fluffy Socks

For thicker, fluffy socks (think: cashmere or merino), McCarter stuffs one sock into the other, flattens it out, then uses the above method to fold and store.