Calculating My Own Personal “Sock Loss Index”—and Re-Examining All My Life Choices

Photo: Getty Images/Sirinarth Mekvorawuth/EyeEm
I never get angry when I receive socks for Christmas, just curious about which ones will make it to the new year. I mean, I’ll wear some holly-covered footwear through October, but we all know that socks are the first thing to get lost in the wash. But why? Why is there always one missing sock? Why are they, in a real Charlotte York fashion, always looking for their other half?

A 2016 study by Samsung revealed that the average person loses 1.3 socks a month, which is approximately 15 socks a year. By my estimation (and innovation), the “sock loss index” is calculated this way:

Laundry size + washing complexity - attentiveness towards laundry x positivity towards doing the laundry.

I don’t do math, but that sounds like if your laundry is huge and unseparated and you have a bad attitude about it, you’re gonna lose some socks, fam.

So I went on a quick quest to find as many lost socks as possible. If you’re also wondering where the hell socks go after laundry day, here’s where they could be hiding out.

The bottoms of your tights and leggings

My more fitness-obsessed friends will zero in on the “leggings” side of this. When you’re just trying to get out of your gross gym clothes, the move is to get off everything ASAP, right? It happens in one clean (er, maybe not so clean) swoop, and you forget that there’s still a sweaty pair balled up in the bottom.

If you’re a chronic tights-wearer in the winter, though, it’s more likely you’ll find spare socks there. I’m always layering something to wear over my boots, and one can’t underestimate the static cling of socks to tights. A lot of pairs are hiding in hosiery, I promise.

Underneath all your furniture

The study alludes to socks falling under the radiator or furniture, so that was the next place to look. Tired, end-of-the day me tends to kick off my socks wherever, so if they weren’t plainly in sight, they had to be hidden in the shadows. Indeed, I found plenty of socks playing hard to get.

In your luggage...oh, wait, I guess not

This is especially wise if you’re the kind of woman who packs spare clothes in her tote when spending the night at her significant other's, or a globe-trotting girl who’s always traveling for work or otherwise.

Me, I’m not glamorous. I have a small unicorn backpack for spending the night at my boyfriend’s, a bigger backpack for weekend stays at my parent’s place, and a rolling luggage for everything else. Something was bound to get left behind.

Yet oddly, scouring my bags didn’t yield a lot of results for me. Maybe one stray gray sock. I still recommend checking those out before you wrap up a sock cleanse, because otherwise the other lost-in-commute possibility is, oh no...

Probably the homes of past bedfellows

When you’re trying to crawl out of someone’s apartment, I figure socks would be the least essential piece of clothing to throw on in a rush. I want to say that I’m sure those socks are in a better place, but honest to God, I just hope they were never defiled. Shudder to think.

So, grand total when I finished scouring my room: 17 pairs (yay!) and 26 spares (yikes). That’s a pretty ridiculous overhang. What’s a girl to do?

Declutter, declutter, and declutter. The only sensible move with the spares is to toss them. It’s extraneous laundry mostly purchased at Dollar Tree, so I think I’ll get by with two weeks' worth of footwear.

Then again, the other socks are going into the black hole of the laundromat, and well, we’ll see how many are left after that.

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