I do not care for beige. Whether you call it offwhite, cream, tan, bone or ecru, beige leaves me cold. So it was with some surprise that I recently found not one, but 8 pairs of beige/tan/cream socks in my sock drawer. When did I buy these, I wondered, and why on earth did I think I needed multiple pairs of a color I do not like and do not wear? Perhaps they came bundled with other colors, like a land line with cable. But that would presume I have similar socks in other colors...the chosen ones in the bundle, as it were. Try as I might, I could not locate similar styles. These non-colored socks appeared to be unique, related to my other socks only by virtue of the fact that they are, indeed, socks. Which made me think...what do you do with unwanted socks? I am a frequent shopper at thrift stores and can't for the life of me remember seeing a sock bin. They are not the kind of things you give away to friends....at least not to my friends. I can just imagine the conversation. "Do you think you might like these socks I found in my drawer? They are very nice, never worn, in a lovely shade of beige. You say you don't wear beige socks? Do you know anyone who does? Me neither." I can't see myself putting them out at a yard sale. What is the going rate for 2nd hand socks? A dime? Maybe I could put them in a free bin, or better yet a must-take-a-pair-with-any-purchase bin. I don't have any young children to make sock puppets for, and even if I did, who wants an off white sock puppet? I tried putting them on my dog's feet, thinking he would appreciate the extra warmth, but he looked so disappointed in me that I immediately removed them.
So I googled what to do with extra socks and found ideas ranging from benignly helpful to truly bizarre. One site suggested using them as Coke can cozies, although why anyone would want to drink from a sock covered can is beyond me, and how would you set them down without them tipping over? Another site urged me to fill them with flour so that "boys" could throw them at each other without doing any damage. I raised a boy with a rocket launcher for an arm and I find it difficult to imagine him not doing any damage with a flour stuffed sock, and more importantly, a sock I had given him with the express purpose of throwing it at something. Many of the "tips" involved cutting the socks into strips and using them for either curling your hair or tying up drooping plants or "many things around the house", while other tips included putting them on your hands to use as dust mitts/furniture polishers. One helpful suggestion was to fill them with beans, heat them in the microwave and tuck them into your child's coat as she left for school. "Little hands warm up quick", chirped the site. It neglected to say what would happen when my daughter dipped a hand in her pocket, came up with a sock of hot beans and then chucked it at the child in the seat in front of her on the bus. I gaped at a description of how our ancestors were much more thrifty than we are, and felt suitably chastised as I read how the author's grandmother, raised on a cattle ranch, used old socks as menstrual pads. I made a mental note to mention that to my daughter in Austin. Socks also, so it is said, make "wonderful dish cloths", but probably only if you don't expect anyone to help you wash/dry dishes. "Where are your dishtowels?" "Oh, just use this old sock! And when you are finished, would you mind running your sock-hand over my coffee table?" Apparently socks make "wonderful wet cloths to soothe a feverish brow". Keep them in your medicine cabinet with the Tylenol, it was suggested. Give them to your daughter, one intrepid mother urged, to make doll clothes out of. One site said if you live in the country with livestock, keep a lot of old socks on hand to "take care of something yucky" which, thankfully, was not described. The same site suggested keeping all of your extra money in a colorful sock in your sock drawer. Apparently burglars eschew stealing socks or perhaps they only steal beige ones, in which case I need to dispose of these quickly.
I am amazed that so many people have put so much thought into what to do with extra socks. But, on the other hand, who am I to talk...I wrote a blog about it.