Three single socks hanging on line

One of the great mysteries of life: Where do all those single socks go? And why do they sometimes return in a future laundry load? But sometimes they don’t return, and what do we do with perfectly usable, orphaned socks?

Well, as long as there are no holes in them, I don’t mind wearing mismatched socks. They’re fine for around the house, as bed socks, or inside of boots.

If you don’t want to wear mismatched socks, a classic way to reuse an old sock is for dusting. Just pull the sock over your hand and dust. To reach high or low spots, pull the sock over a broom head.

There are so many ways to upcycle single socks as well. Cut them into little squares to clean off makeup. Make colorful hair scrunchies by cutting horizontally into rings. Or cut them into strips to make soft rollers. I like to put leftover slivers of bar soap in the toe of a sock so that I can use up every last bit.

Cutting the straight top of a sock can yield a cup cozy, a wrist warmer (cut a little hole for your thumb), or an armband for your phone (make sure that it holds securely).

How about a sock heating pad? Just fill the single sock with rice, tie off the top, and heat it in the microwave. If you are crafty, you make sock puppets or small stuffed animals. Or turn it into a tug toy for your favorite canine. Even the yarn can be salvaged for small craft projects or a scrap blanket.

If none of these ideas appeal to you, search for clothing recycling near you. Just be sure to call first to confirm locations are accepting donations at this time.

I think that we should think carefully before throwing anything away. Even a small bag of single socks reused or recycled and diverted from the landfill makes a difference.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.