Originally published on October 24, 2014. Updated on October 28, 2019 and August 8, 2022.
If you’ve ever gone through military boot camp, you’ve learned that there is only 1 correct way to fold socks. While that is true at boot camp, in real life there are at least 6 different ways I can show you how to fold socks. You choose the one that works best for you.
I use different folding techniques depending on the size and style of the sock, where the socks will be stored, and the age of the person wearing the socks (and responsible for keeping the sock drawer neat). Let me show you my top options for simple ways and new ways to fold socks.
If you don’t consider the best way to fold your socks, you’ll end up with a messy sock drawer where you can never find a matching pair of socks. So what is the best way to fold and store socks?
Remember – there’s not one right or wrong way to fold socks. Take a few minutes to review these six different ways to fold socks and figure out what will work best for you. I’ve used all these techniques personally and with my family.
Consider the type of socks you’ll be folding when you choose your folding method:
- Ankle socks
- Longer socks
- No show socks
- Tall socks or knee-high socks
- Baby socks
- Dress socks or work socks
- Short socks
- Crew socks or calf socks
- Thicker winter socks
- Children’s socks
You may find that you prefer to use one folding method for one type of socks and another type for other socks. Find what works best for your drawer space, socks and preferences.
Get my 37-page How to Fold Clothes ebook now with images and directions for folding all types of clothing.
How to Fold Socks – 6 Techniques
The Tuck Method
This works well with small socks. It’s super quick when you’re folding laundry and the socks stay together as a pair in the drawer.
When my children were young and had (teeny tiny) smaller socks, I simply tucked one inside the other.
I also tuck one sock into the other for low-cut socks and no-show socks.
Fold the Elastic of the Sock Over
Rather than tucking for longer socks, try the fold over technique. Lay socks on top of each other and simply fold the elastic band of one sock top over both socks. It’s the easiest way to keep pairs of socks together. If you’re looking for the a quick way to organize your socks, this is it.
I used this technique when my children were young and I knew that they were unlikely to keep their sock drawer neatly organized.
Rather than frustrate us all by insisting we have rows of neatly folded socks in their dresser drawer, I simply folded the elastic of the socks over and tossed them into the drawer. My kids could tumble through the pile searching for the pair of socks they wanted and the 2 socks would stay together.
My husband prefers his socks folded this way (wife shaking head and resignedly folding socks over). Remember the best method is the one that works for you and your family.
This also works if you have a large family and too many socks to deal with to take extra time to fold or roll them all into neat bundles.
The downside is that it can stretch the elastic of the sock over time. If you’re concerned about the elasticity of your socks, especially dress socks or delicate ones, you may not want to use this folding method.
File Fold or the Konmari Method
I prefer to file fold my socks because they seem to last longer this way. I feel like folding one sock over the other stretches the top of the sock out over time. You can see how I organized my sock drawer for free.
I recommend the file fold to my clients, because it allows you to organize and store your socks so that you can easily see them all in your drawer. It easily produces a uniform look of organized socks. No more rummaging through a pile of socks looking for one specific pair. This is the folding technique popularized by Marie Kondo.
Step 1 – Lay the first sock on a flat surface. Lay the matching sock on top of the first. Line up the edges and smooth out wrinkles.
Step 2 – Depending on the length of the sock, fold the toe of the socks down 1/4 or 1/3 of the way down the length of the sock. How far you fold the sock changes with different lengths of socks so that you end up with a uniform size and shape of the final folded socks.
Step 3 and 4 – Continue folding the sock up to the edge of the elastic band.
This sock roll method is just as useful as the KonMari method above but is a bit quicker and doesn’t require you to adjust the width of the first fold for different lengths of socks.
Lay the socks on top of each other on a flat surface, starting at the toe end, roll the sock up on top of the top sock. Continue rolling to the end of the socks.
This is a great method to gain the benefits of the file fold method with fewer steps.
Or roll them so they can stand up in a drawer organizer or simply side-by-side in the drawer.
Fold Socks Military Style Ranger Roll Method
For those of you on your way to boot camp, let me show you how to fold your sock military style. By the way, I survived folding socks military style when I went to training and I was a training instructor (a drill instructor) in the Air Force, so stand at attention and pay attention.
You begin by laying the 2 socks on top of each other with the ends lined up. Then starting at the toe of the sock, roll the sock up tightly.
When you get to the end (the top of the socks), open the outer sock and pull it back around the rolled up socks.
Straighten the socks out and make sure you have the “smiley” on the top side of the rolled sock.
The advantage to folding your socks this way is that you can roll them very tight and compact for small spaces. It also works well for travel since they take up less space. Also, they don’t come unrolled if you have kids tumbling through the socks in the drawer. However, this way is one of the longest to fold socks.
Square Method of Folding Socks
This method takes the longest, but produces a tidy finished product. This may be the right way for you if you want a magazine worthy sock drawer.
Step One – Lay the first sock out on a flat surface with the the heel of the socks facing up. Lay the second sock on the middle of the first, lining the opening of the sock up with the edge of the first sock.
Step Two – Fold one side of the first sock over the elastic band of the second sock.
Step Three – Fold the other side of the first sock over the second sock.
Step 4 – Fold the portion with the folded first sock down towards the toe of the second sock.
Step 5 – Fold it down again.
Step 6 – Fold the toe of the second sock up to the opposite edge of the main part of the folded sock.
Taking these extra steps, creates neatly folded socks.
There you have it – 6 different ways to fold socks. Before folding socks, take 10 minutes and follow these Purging Tips for Socks.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Fold and Store Socks
What is the best way to fold socks?
There’s really not one best way to fold socks. I’ve used each of these methods, the tuck, the roll-over, the file fold or roll, and military style, in different situations and for different family members. You need to find the one that works best for you and your situation.
What is a sock roll?
Also known as a military roll or military style sock fold, the socks are laid one on top of the other with the edges lines up. Starting at the toes of the socks, roll the sock from the toe to the elastic band. When you reach the end of the sock, roll the edge of the outside sock down and over the sock roll.
How do you roll up socks?
To roll socks, smooth the socks out and lay them out with one on top of the other. Starting with the toes, roll the socks up to the top of the sock. You can store the socks like this or roll the top of one sock over the rolled up package to hold them together, military style. See the photos and tutorial above for how to fold socks military style.
How does Marie Kondo fold socks?
How do you fold kids’ socks?
When deciding how to fold kids’ socks, you should consider the size of the child’s socks, the child’s age and abilities, the child’s personality and preferences. Choose from the 6 sock folding techniques above, and choose one that works best for your situation. If you’re not sure which will work best, try one and if that doesn’t work, try another until you find one that works well for you.
What’s the best way to store socks?
The best way to store socks is the method that works best for you and your situation.
Some of my favorite ways to store socks are:
- Organizing Socks with a Free Repurposed Item.
- The Sock Dock – This is a great tool that I use in my home because it helps you with laundry and in storing socks. Never want to have to match socks out of the laundry again? Then the Sock Dock is for you! This is especially useful for large families (it made folding clean laundry so-ooo much easier for my family of five). Use coupon code “organized31” for free shipping.
- Foldable fabric sock organizer that also works for underwear and more.
- 56-Slot drawer divider for socks and underwear, belts and more.
- Over-the-Door organizing shelves are perfect for spaces with limited storage.
How do you store socks without stretching them out?
Folding socks, file folding or Marie Kondo style folding, is the best way to store socks so that they don’t stretch out of shape. Whichever technique you choose, make sure it does not involve pulling the elastic band over the socks, which will stretch the elastic. See my tutorials above to see each of the techniques on how to fold socks.
Be sure to pin for later when you need a reference for these different ways and tips to fold socks.
More How to Fold Ideas:
- How to Fold and Organize Jeans – Learn how to fold & organize jeans like a professional to save space & make your drawer or closet tidy. Works for pants, too.
- How to Fold Bed Sheets – Use these easy tips on how to fold bed sheets to keep your sheets and linen closet organized and looking pretty.
- How to Fold Clothes, Bedding and More – These tips on how to fold clothes and how to fold linens are field-tested in my family of five.
You can find all our best folding tips and clothes storage ideas in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.
I’m a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I’ve moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what’s really important to them.