Downsizing: Goodbye to the Land of the Lost Socks


Our house isn’t officially on the market, but a few weeks ago, a realtor asked if we would show it. Sure! Knowing the house hunters might walk into our walk-in closet, we set to work. Cliff gave up four pairs of old basketball shoes.

So I decided I could do it. I could shut down The Land of the Lost Socks. This basket, which lived on the floor of the closet, held wayward socks for thirty years. At one time, little girls socks lived there along with mine. (Cliff never loses socks. In fact my mother-in-law once said to me, “How can you lose socks?”)

Anyway, every few months, I’d dump out The Land of the Lost Socks and find some pairs. What a happy, satisfying moment when a pair was reunited.

But what to do with a sock whose missing partner never shows up? How do you know when it’s time to chuck that lost sole (soul)? And how DID I lose these socks?

These questions troubled me for years. But no more. The Land of  the Lost Socks is gone. All remaining stray socks have been given a proper burial in the kitchen garbage. The basket is now at the new house waiting to hold potato chips or napkins for a cookout.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with stray socks in the new house. Maybe I’ll lead a life so perfect, so orderly, that I’ll never have a stray sock.

Ha. Most likely not.

What about you? Do you lose socks? Do you have a Land of the Lost Socks?

And this socks discussion brings me to one of my favorite poems, written by yours truly:

Socks don’t lead

An easy life.

Missing partners,

Sweaty feet, and

Hours squinched

In tight quarters.

Yet I never hear

My socks complain.

Maybe I should be

More like socks.

Complaining less,

Absorbing more,

And ever ready to

Step into shoes

For the next adventure.


My poem, “Socks,” was published in Tangerine Tango: Women Writers Share Slices of Life, edited by Lisa K. Winkler.

Photo: This is The Land of the Lost Socks basket. The socks are fake news. I added them to the empty basket for photo appeal when I decided to write this post.

Giveaway Winners: Congrats to the latest winners! Joyce, who won the Golden Books; Linda who won How Did This Happen? Poems for the Not So Young Anymore; Karen, who won The Deepest Acceptance: Radical Awakening in Ordinary Life; and Dawn, Vickie, and Sandy who won tubes of SYLK.

16 thoughts on “Downsizing: Goodbye to the Land of the Lost Socks”

  1. Thanks for the TT plug! I love that poem! And love the idea of Land of Lost Socks– I should have done that when the kids were small. Now it seems Matt’s athletic socks get lost– but they do turn up. Really, where do the lost ones go? Good luck with the move!

  2. Love your poem! Sometimes I’ll pull out a pair of pants or sweater and find an orphan sock that has clung to it, in secret, for months. The reunion with its partner is always a sweet moment. 🙂

  3. Great poem, fun blog. Moving will make you clean out! How about a basket for one earring? Always hopeful to find the missing one.

  4. Barbara, I love this post! I too live in the land of lost socks! I have understood how they become lost – when I am the one who does all the laundry! But I confess to a few over the years. I’m sure at some point, I too will have to give them up as a lost cause. Sigh! ☺️

    Best wishes as you move and show the old house! Fingers crossed!

    1. Yes. I don’t get how they become lost, and Cliff and my mother-in-law surely don’t/didn’t. Thanks on the post. My socks send their best to yours (and am I going to really wear the garishly colored leather gloves I so happily purchased in Florence? Time will tell. I’m writing a post on color as we age. Fun topic).

  5. I keep the single socks in the clean laundry basket. Sometimes their mates reappear after a few weeks under the bed. Every now and then I give up on them and toss the lonely ones and start fresh

  6. Love your sock basket idea, I may have to borrow it. Lost socks are always a puzzle but as Susan mentioned sometimes I put on another article of clothing and voila – there it is, clinging to a sweater!
    I also love Tangerine Tango, it sits in my bedside book basket and every so often I enjoy rereading the wonderful pieces.

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