The One Weird Thing You Did With Your Socks As A Kid Is Actually Kind Of Regrettable
If you gathered together a group of honest Millennials and asked them to divulge all the weird things they did as kids, you'd be sure to find a treasure trove of comedic gems. There are a bunch of things every '90s kid did, ranging from hanging up abruptly when our crush answered their house phone, to ensuring our collection of Beanie Babies' tags were kept pristine with those odd plastic tag protectors. My personal favorite practice has to do with our feet, though. Or, more accurately, our socks.
Not all of our childhood endeavors were pointless, of course. In fact, some were pretty useful. Take, for instance, the "art" of creating your own cyber version of your family or friendship group on The Sims. You could safely experiment with morality and discover "real life" scenarios, such as how not taking the trash out results in an unhygienic home. In a similar vein, playing with your Tamagotchi likely helped you become more responsible and taught you that if you don't look after your pets — be they real or virtual — they will die.
However, what if I told you that one weird thing you did as a kid that you thought was super helpful was actually, um, not? No, I'm not talking about amassing an impressive collection of all the shiny Pokémon cards, in the hopes of selling them in adulthood to become a millionaire (something akin to holding onto Beanie Babies in case they were someday worth mega bucks). I'm talking about a weird sock habit: Balling up your socks.
By "balling up your socks," I mean storing your socks in pairs by rolling the tops over and into each other, so that a pair of socks would form into a ball. Personally, I learned to do this in my childhood. It was the only way I knew to keep socks together and ensure I could find a pair rather than a lone-ranging, single rainbow one.
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Until very recently, I had thought this was actually a productive habit and I had continued balling up my socks into adulthood. That is, until I discovered organizing expert Marie Kondo and her book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. I soon realized that I had been storing my socks all wrong, which has led to somewhat regrettable consequences.
For those unfamiliar with Kondo's work, including her organization strategy The KonMari Method, here's a short insight: Kondo helps people de-clutter their lives and focus on what really matters. In The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, she asks readers to go through their homes categorically, touching all of their belongings, and asking themselves whether each item "sparks joy."
Once the de-cluttering process is over, Kondo addresses how to lovingly store the items that are left over, so you can easily utilize them when you need to. It was in this book that I learned where I'd been going wrong when it comes to socks.
According to Kondo, folding and storing socks using The KonMari Method, which helps one easily see and access all of their belongings, including socks, is the best way to go. "Never, ever ball up your socks," she wrote. "The socks and stockings stored in your drawer are essentially on holiday. They take a brutal beating in their daily work, trapped between your foot and your shoe, enduring pressure and friction to protect your precious feet. The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest." By rest, she means remaining in their original state, so that you avoid acquiring wrinkles or lost elastic.
Kondo added why she believes it's best to fold most clothes. "When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly, we are, I believe, transmitting energy, which has a positive effect on our clothes."
Ever wondered why your socks, and in particular your knee-high ones, never seem to stay up? It's because you've already loosened the elastic substantially by keeping them stored in balls. As Kondo noted, "When I see high school students wearing high socks that are loose at the top, I long to tell them how to fold their socks properly."
So let's quit this habit that we picked up as kids and stop balling our socks. This way, they'll last much longer. And you'll avoid an unnecessary sock-shopping trip, saving time for shoe-hunting instead.