A Cautionary Tale About Socks: One Woman’s Experience With KonMari

YOU MAY REMEMBER last fall I organized my section of our walk-in closet [discussed here].  What I didn’t tell you, my gentle readers, is that when I did that organization I adopted, sort of, the KonMari approach to tidying up said closet space.

Oh yes I did.

I’ll admit that I’ve never been 100% convinced her approach to organizing stuff is for me, but I’m open-minded so I gave it a go in our closet wherein I have a chest of drawers + a rod for hanging clothes + some shelves on which to put things.

Please note that in keeping with my experimental mindset I went full-out joy-sparking in that closet.

Uh huh.

SO LAST WEEKEND Zen-Den and I were going to dinner with friends at a nice restaurant in a swanky part of town.  I was wearing black pants, intending to wear a new pair of black leather + leopard print loafers with socks.

Black socks, obviously. Because winter is finally here and for the first time since last winter I needed to wear dark socks.

All was good in my uber-organized sock drawer, or so I thought, until I realized that during my Marie Kondo organizational purge last fall I’d saved 5 dark socks.

Five. Individual. Socks.

They are: 2 textured brown socks, 1 plain navy blue sock, 1 plain black sock, and 1 tone-on-tone patterned black sock.

APPARENTLY I GOT a little too joyful, and a trifle distracted, when I sorted through my dark socks last fall, giving the ones I didn’t want to the Salvation Army.

I think we can agree on that.

But be that as it may this situation created an interesting problem in the moment for which I had no immediate logical solution.  Thus I’ll share with you what turned out to be my four choices– and ask you to contemplate what you’d do in this situation.

My solution is in the comments below.

• • •

HERE IS THE SOCK CONUNDRUM I FACED

1) I could wear the matching brown socks that didn’t go with the black pants and cute black leather + leopard print loafers;  or

2) I could be an outlaw a la Agnes and wear many possible mismatched sock combinations;  or

3) I could go sockless on a cold winter’s night;  or

4) I could give up wearing my cute loafers and wear black boots instead, knowing no one would see my socks that way.

WHAT DO YOU THINK I DID? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

• • •

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

120 thoughts on “A Cautionary Tale About Socks: One Woman’s Experience With KonMari”

  1. This just cracked me up! I knew you’d choose your boots. Sorry you couldn’t wear your cool new shoes. I love getting new socks. Have fun shopping!

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    1. Beth, it was the oddest situation to be in. I kept looking at my five socks and wondering how the heck I managed to save just these five socks. What was I thinking?!!

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  2. The boots, for sure. I repeat the downsizing every three months (we work, live, and travel the United States in an RV). While I’ve got it pretty whittled down to the bare necessities, I still find stuff to donate–at which point in the following days I will need the item I’ve given away. It’s hilarious you saved unmatched socks, but I’m sure those boots looked mighty fine!

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    1. randombits, the boots looked fine. It was just that I’d not worn the loafers yet and they are so cute.

      Living in an RV would certainly lend itself to being vigilant about having too much stuff. I find it funny, and totally believeable, that whatever you get rid of you need again. Murphy’s Law at work, I suppose.

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  3. Your solution is perfect . . . boots instead of socks. As you know from my blog posts, I’m a KonMari devotee, reducing 3 stuffed bookcases to a simple one.

    Now I’m watching her series on Netflix. I notice she NEVER judges the mess, but exudes helpfulness. Last evening, I tackled my lingerie drawer and found mates to a pair of socks I thought were a lost cause. See, it works! 🙂

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    1. marian, there was something about the book that put me off on her ideas, but I’m not against her approach at all. It seems smart. I want to be tidy– really, I do.

      I need to watch the Netflix show because everyone is enjoying it and I suspect that if I see how the process works, I’ll get into it more.

      [I’m reminded of the reality that everyone has different learning styles, and mine is watching/listening. I read for pleasure, but not so much to learn how to do things.]

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    1. Dan, I was on the verge of being a rebel, but became confused about which mismatch to make. Thus I solved my problem by avoiding my problem. A cop-out perhaps, but… it worked for me.

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  4. *scrolling quickly so I don’t read anyone else’s answers!*

    I’m torn between wearing the boots and wearing mismatched socks. … … … *Jeopardy theme song plays*… … …What is she wore boots, Alex?

    I would have just worn mismatched socks. Of course, I’d have to have plans to go out with another couple to eat dinner first and that would be the real challenge. (Introvert/hermit, etc.)

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    1. Tara, you are correct. I wore the boots. I was close to wearing the mismatched socks, but found that I couldn’t commit to which mismatch to wear. There were multiple choices.

      Yes, I hear you about the introvert thing. I don’t go out too often and only with people who don’t stress me. That’s the advantage of aging gracefully & learning to respect my inner hermit.

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  5. Showing off mismatched socks has been in fashion for a good part of the decade now… so I’m sure any casual observers would have only thought you were being trendy had you gone with Option 2. Find yourself some animal print socks so you’ll be ready to really make a statement the next time you want to wear those leopard print loafers. Bring out your wild side…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, I didn’t know that mismatched socks were a fashion thing, thus I missed an opportunity to be trendy. Pity that. I will look for some animal print socks because who doesn’t want to have wild ankles? 😊

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  6. Good choice Ally Bean! Perhaps not the most rebellious of decisions but practical given winter and the fact that brown socks with black pants would be so socially unacceptable in my opinion as the whole “brown with black” thing is really hard for me to tolerate.
    What I really want to know is how sweet, young Marie has managed to become so popular? I toss things all the time and am highly organized yet I have never written a book about it, nor has anyone ever offered me a lucrative TV show…

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    1. Deb, I couldn’t wear the brown socks with the black pants and mostly black shoes. I. just. could. not. Then I got hung up on which mismatch socks to put together, so I went with my boots– and look pulled together which was my goal.

      You raise an excellent point: why not you? I don’t know how Marie and her method has captured the attention of our country, but she has. I suspect that behind any overnight phenomenon [such as hers] is a lot of marketing and connections that you or I don’t have. What we see now is the top of the iceberg…

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    1. nancy, I think I could have gotten away with the brown socks with the loafers if I wasn’t wearing black pants. But those loafers + socks + my pants = no way. The boots worked just fine and I’ll get a chance to wear the new loafers once I buy some socks.

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  7. I have to say I was skeptical about all the buzz I was hearing about the book. But I watched the show and loved it. Marie Kondo is a delight to watch and I think I have been konmari-ing for years already without knowing it was thing or had a name or that I could market it!
    I would have gone with the mismatch or brown socks if I was going to a dark enough place…otherwise it would have been boots all the way! Not that I care what people think of what I wear, but if I could see them, it would bother me….’cos I’m “special” that way. 😉

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    1. Deb, I didn’t find myself inspired by the book, but I suspect that if/when I watch the Netflix show I’m going to be more of a fan. I keep reading and hearing so many good comments about her and the show.

      I didn’t know what to expect at this restaurant, being that it was quite an “in” place to dine. In retrospect I could have worn anything and been ok, but like you, I’d have known that my socks mismatched and this would have worried me.

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  8. OMG. I think I have 4 friends separately mention KonMari in the last 24 hours– and now this! I’m not sure I can handle all this! If you had even weirder colored socks (like pink and bright blue), I’d totally go that route. Seems like the kids are mismatching their socks on purpose these days. But since you had two black socks (even if they didn’t match each other), I’d have gone with those.

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    1. Maria, KonMari does seem to be THE CONVERSATION now, doesn’t it? I wouldn’t have thought to write about it except that I needed to explain how it came to be that I only had five socks. I may not be the best spokesperson for Marie Kondo.

      You’re the second person to mention that kids are intentionally mismatching socks now. I didn’t know that and feel like I missed an opportunity to be, as they say [or said?], on fleek. 😉

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  9. I read part of her book (but didn’t buy it). Some things are helpful but some don’t work with me. There are a few things that I keep “just in case.” That “just in case” never happens but I feel better knowing I’m prepared. I thought she was a tad neurotic about it all myself. I liked her folding and storage ideas though. As for your dilemma I would have done what you did and then tried to set something up so I could wear my new loafers. I don’t know how you ended up with 5 individual socks. You work with them in pairs at least until the dryer sends one off into the black hole of sockdom.

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    1. kate, I remember you talking about her book. I read parts of it, too– but it didn’t seem practical/doable to me. I’ll watch her TV show before I give up on the method entirely. And in the future I’ll pay closer attention to my socks as I sort them to go to charity. I don’t think the dryer ate this one; it was human error.

      I think that you’re onto something smart. I NEED to plan an outing just so I can wear my snappy new loafers. Need, I tell you.

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  10. I started to watch that show on Netflix, but something put me off. Perhaps I should try again. As to your dilemma, I would have worn mismatched socks, covered by the boots. No cold ankles for me in the winter!

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    1. Carol, I’m learning that people either adore her method, or dislike it. I want to see the Netflix show because the book didn’t call to me. Maybe seeing her process on the screen will convince me to go all joyfully sparky.

      I wore the boots sans socks. Is that allowed? I dunno. My feet and ankles were warm and my toes were happy, too. Plus, I looked stylish, if I do say so myself.

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  11. Boots of course although depending on the color of the blue and the black and how long the pants are, I may have tried to get away with that. Sometimes blue can look an awful lot like black and I like my pants long so maybe they wouldn’t even be seen. On the other hand, you now have an excuse for another night out, right?

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    1. Janet, if my pants had been longer I might have worn the navy & black socks together, however wearing the boots worked & solved the problem. Plus, like you said, now we have a reason to go out somewhere fancy again.

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    1. Susan, the boots worked fine with the pants and looked nice, but *dang it* I wanted to wear my new stylish shoes. However, there’ll be another time and I’ll be ready with the appropriate socks. Not quite a New Year’s Resolution, but close!

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  12. The boots idea is a good one, most logical probably. My thought was to wear a pair of my husband’s black socks. They would fit. Sort of.
    BTW, I’ve TOTALLY been thinking of you lately and wondering when you’d be coming back. Missed you. Feel special? (That or you’ve been here all the time and I’ve somehow missed it. If that’s the case, whoops. :/ )

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    1. Betsy, I didn’t think of wearing Z-D’s socks. That might have worked– at least they’d have been the same color. Fortunately the boots solved my dumb problem.

      You’re sweet to think of me. I’ve been away for about a month, enjoying the holidays in a low-key blog-free way. I do feel special, so thank you❣️

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    1. Dorothy Grover-Read, I wear socks when I must which is why I hadn’t noticed my confused dark sock mess in the drawer. This was the first time I needed them this season.

      Having been to this restaurant now I can see that I could have gone without socks, but I didn’t know about the parking situation and anticipated that we might have to walk a few blocks in the cold weather. So boots it was.

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    1. Donna, yes, I’m nothing if not practical. I’ll wear those loafers soon enough. I’m pleased to be back here writing again now that the holiday excitement is over.

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    1. Jan, I thought about the mismatched sock approach, but chickened out, I guess. Something in me needed for my socks to match, hence I wore boots so that no one would know anything about my socks.

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  13. I’d have worn the boots, but ONLY IF there was no time to stop at a store to grab a pair of suitable socks on my way to dinner. Then, cute shoes waiting in the car, I’d slip on the new socks and shoes and be on my way!

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    1. nance, I wish we would have had the time to stop at a store, but we were in a hurry with no time to spare. So I wore boots. I looked fine, but felt sadly about not wearing my cute new loafers.

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  14. This is the first time I’m hearing of KonMari. I already have a closet that’s virtually colour coded so I suspect I’m not missing too much.

    5 individual socks of different colours? I can’t begin to imagine what was preoccupying your mind when that decision happened! 😆😆

    The boots make total sense… although I would have been seriously tempted to stop and buy a pair of socks on my way to the restaurant. Done it.

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    1. Joanne, Marie Kondo and her KonMari organizational system are all the rage this month. She’s been around for years, but there’s a new Netflix show that features her in action. I’ve not seen it but the buzz is everywhere I turn.

      I agree that I must have been very distracted [or tired] when I saved the five dark socks that I did. It makes no sense, but that’s what I found in my sock drawer.

      There was no time to stop to shop for new socks, so I went with the boots. They were comfortable, but nowhere as cute as my black leather + leopard print loafers would have been. *sigh*

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      1. I’m resisting the urge to go to Netflix and look up the show. It must be a perverse side of my nature that I have an aversion to any kind of bandwagon.

        I hope you’ve since had a chance to wear your cute little shoes. I wear a size 10 so I NEVER get to say “cute little shoes” in relation to anything in my closet 😉

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        1. Joanne, the links in this post will get you to some general info about KonMari. I haven’t seen the show on Netflix yet. I’m a sucker for trying any new organizational system– even if it turns out to be no good for me I usually walk away with at least one piece of it that I like. In this case, I like how she folds t-shirts, fwiw.

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    1. laura, good idea. I have time this weekend to go shopping and there may be some sales going on, too. I mean, heaven forbid I buy any socks, no matter how much I need them, at full price!

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  15. Ah. Well it depends on how cold the air and how cute the loafers. I would probably go with barefoot in loafers.
    KonMaried years ago, never touched the socks. Socks are my friend. I did give away pretty much all my black everything though. No more black for me. I have an emergency black funeral suit, but only until I treat myself to a nice new navy one instead.

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    1. joey, it was near freezing so I went with boots. I did consider going sockless, but it was too cold for me to do that.

      As a gracefully aging woman 🙄 I don’t wear black [or purple] around my face anymore. I decided that last summer. I have accessories and pants and skirts and footwear in black, but when I need a neutral sophisticated color I go with gray. I look nice in gray. Although I could rock navy, now that I think about it.

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      1. I’m glad you wore the boots and had the warm feets. New black socks must go on your lis now.!
        Purple is one I haven’t really tried. I can do lilac, not too sure about purple. Might cast some shadows… I look nice in gray, too. I think we share the same coloring, Ally Bean. Navy has quickly become my new black. I have 0 black shoes, so heaven forbid I have to wear that black suit, I’ll be doin it with metallic shoes.

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    1. Margaret, I wore the boots, but have yet to get any more socks. We got snowed in over the weekend so all I’m wearing now are my boots. And no one cares about what socks I have on with them!

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  16. I had you pegged as a #4 or #2 kinda gal. I thought I’d let the temperature decide; it can get pretty warm in your neck of the woods. (It’s all relative; I’m in Vermont where the wind chill was -30 last night). But wouldn’t it have been fun to pull off a #2?

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    1. Janet, I went with the boots because I didn’t want to have mismatched ankles. Sounds kind of pathetic now that I write it here, but my vanity was such that I couldn’t do that. Also, like you allude to, it was going to be very cold that night and I didn’t know how far I’d have to walk from the parked car to the restaurant, so no way was I going without socks of some sort. Hence, the boots.

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      1. I once wore mismatched earrings (both black) to an event I’d organized. Intentionally. Thought it “daring.” But the event turned into such chaos (too many people, not enough planning) that people thought I’d started out scattered, and not because of the evening. Kind of backfired on me.

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  17. hmm. . . I probably would have worn mismatched socks. I would have selected the navy blue and black ones because unless the light is very bright, navy blue looks almost like black. At least that would have been my story.

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    1. Sheryl, your solution is a good one. I’ll keep it in mind the next time this happens to me… because you just know it will. I opted for black boots, which meant that no one could see my socks– or even if I was wearing any! 😉

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  18. I’d do boots. But I’m also not a KonMarie fan so there’s that. I don’t know why. I’m not a stuff person. I *am* an organization person. I tried her t-shirt folding method and hated it, but maybe because I only have seven t-shirts, three long sleeve and four short sleeve? Anyway…your outfit sounded so cute.

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    1. Kate, I went with the boots because I didn’t want to wear mismatched socks. I’m usually not so vain, but I wanted to look pulled together for this dinner. I’m kind of lukewarm about KonMarie but I’ve only read her words, not seen her in action. I need to watch an episode of the Netflix series before I go further with this method.

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    1. Laura, I’m trying to get into the KonMari spirit, but have yet to go full out Marie Kondo around here. I have NO IDEA how I ended up with five dark socks, but I did. And the boots worked just fine, so no harm, no foul.

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  19. The thought of saving three socks with no matches made me crack up!

    I was going to guess wear boots.

    If it were me, I’d probably borrow a pair of socks from my husband, but my feet are so big I can pull that off.

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    1. Erika, I cannot explain how I saved the socks that I did, but when I realized what I had in front of me, with no time to go buy some proper matching socks, I went with the boots. But talk about your weird problems…

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  20. Ah, yes, the sock chapter. My question is, did you previously roll them like balls and so they were lonely thus losing their mate? I would suggest matching the shirt to the socks so the pants don’t matter, especially if they are fun looking – expose them to the world so they can enjoy life outside of the draw.

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    1. Shelley, I rolled them into balls. I had two balls, one was brown socks that matched… and the other ball was three socks together that didn’t match. I don’t know how I did that, but I did. All-in-all I feel that I failed Marie Kondo both in execution and in theory. 😐

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      1. LOL – don’t worry, the sock rule is a tough to follow. No matter what I’ve tried, they still mess around with each other in the drawer and never seem any happier. Except when they are on display on my feet.

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  21. Yup boots – but for me it’s *always* boots. That said, your new loafers sound decidedly cute and, as such, they deserve to be the star of the show, so mismatched socks (or the wrong colour socks) would’ve been an unfair (to them) distraction.

    Welcome back!

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    1. deb, you understand my conundrum. The new loafers need to be the star of the outfit, deserve it really, so no old goofy socks would do. I’ll admit that the boots looked nice, professional, and were comfy. It all worked out.

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  22. I don’t give (or take) fashion advice, but I do know what to do with stray socks. Cut off the toe, pack it with loose catnip, and tie it with twine (or if you’re being fancy, ribbon). Present it to your cat. If you don’t have a cat, present it to someone else’s cat. The cat won’t stop to ask if it matches anything.

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    1. Ellen, what a wonderful way to make a catnip mousie. Thanks for the instructions on how to do it. I never would have thought of this, but now that you mention it I’m sure it’s a great idea. 😻

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