Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sock puppet anyone?

I'm thrilled with the progress I made today, even though it may seem like nothing. I feel like I'm making strides in decision making, and it's making the overall job so much easier. It's making it so much easier to let go.

I've mentioned a few times that I've been working on sorting through laundry that I've quite literally been trying to decided what to do with for the last 9 to 10 years. It's been an ongoing frustration that got worse every time I put it off. I just couldn't seem to figure out what to save, what to throw or what to donate out of piles upon piles of clothes.

Add baskets of socks to the mix, and fast forward to this morning. Yes. Literal baskets of socks. Three to be exact. And that's how I started this morning.

Let me back up a bit.

Several different times, I've tried to sort these socks, and several times I've had a certain amount of success. Over the years, I've donated countless socks we no longer used but still had plenty of life in them, I have thrown out socks that had holes in them or whose elastic would no longer hold them up, but I've always had baskets of socks that didn't have mates. I just knew that I'd eventually come across the mates, and then I could decide what to do with them, so I'd hang onto them.

At one point, I thought my problem had to do simply with a lack of organization and ability to sort them into certain groups. So about 6 years ago, I got several 2.5 gallon zippered storage bags, and I started sorting socks according to style and color. I had several of these bags to make it easier to find mates when I came across an unmated sock.

There were the solid colored dark socks, the solid colored light socks, the white anklet socks, the white longer socks, the white socks that had patterns on them, the colored socks with patterns on them, the little girls' white anklets with lace around the top, the little girls' colored anklets with lace around the top and baby socks.

It did help to a degree. When I'd find a sock that needed to find a mate I always knew where to look. But it was time consuming, and it was a pain to find a place to keep the bags, and then the girls would get in the bags when they were bored and were looking for something to play with, and they'd end up all over the laundry room or the basement. I know that I threw a couple of the bags away when the basement flooded. They had socks in them that had gotten wet, but I knew I didn't have the time to deal with trying to disinfect them, so I threw them out.

Over the course of the last couple weeks while I've been trying to rewash the enormous amounts of laundry that had been put in Hopper's room when the basement flooded, I've come across a lot of socks. So many socks that when I sat down to sort this morning, I had 3 laundry baskets full of socks.

That's a lot of socks.

I threw over half a basket of socks away while sorting. These were mainly socks that I knew we'd never wear again even, if I were to find the mates. I sorted not quite half a basket and saved them for the girls to wear, although I'll be going through these periodically and getting rid of them more frequently than I have in the past. And I got about a basketful ready to donate. At the end of about an hour of sorting, I had about 3/4 of a basket of socks that have no mates.

I saved only those socks that have no mates, because I believe I'll come across the mates when cleaning out the pod or the garage and while finishing up the dehoarding. Eventually, I'll find all the mates that are out there to find. Once I find all the mates that are to be found, I will throw the unmated socks in the trash, and I'll donate the vast majority of socks to people who can use them.

And while this may not seem like progress to anyone but me, I'm thrilled. Because there is a definite end in sight to the baskets of socks in our house. Because this is the most progress I've made in 9 years to get rid of the excess socks.

Because now I know I can do it.


  1. I think you're doing fantastic! That IS a lot of socks. As I was reading this, I was like, why doesn't she just sort white socks and colored socks? Then I read on and realized you knew what you were doing :) Good job getting rid of the socks!!

  2. Since we live in Florida and wear flip flops most of the year, we don't have many sock pairs. However, I STILL end up with sock singles! There is a hole in the fabric of the universe that simply sucks individual socks right through. There must be a "sock dimension."

  3. Doing great .I have spent my life trying to solve the great sock mystery! What I do now is. set the unmatched soclk on my dresser, when I have done a weeks worth of laundry and still not found the mate ,out they go! Keeps them form piling up on me

  4. I do the same as fernvalley01. It works. But as I tend to have waaaaay too much crap, I also can appreciate the work you have done and the effort to do so. Props to you.


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