Like most people, I have drawers of mismatched socks in every color and size. If you too have this problem, don’t worry…you need not wait around any longer for those long-lost socks to magically reappear. Instead, you can put those old socks to good use, and eliminate some of your clutter in the process. Here are a few ways to get the most out of the mismatched socks you have lying around in practical and crafty ways.
BENEFITS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: By making things with your socks, you won’t be sending them to the landfill. In addition, when you make socks into practical things, you can then avoid buying new things. In doing so, you will avoid all of the environmental impacts associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, and shipping the item.
Cost: Low. If you’re like me, you probably have many extra socks lying around.
Time and effort: Varies, low - medium, depending on the chosen project.
Easy Sock Recycling Projects
Medium Difficulty Sock Recycling Projects
- Make a dust rag. Slip the sock on your hand. Dip the sock in some water or polish and clean away! Socks are good for cleaning all sorts of things, including furniture, windowsills, computer screens, floors, handles, and blinds.
Make a drink cozy. Cut the top of a sock off and slide it over the bottom of a bottle, cup, or can to keep the liquid cool or warm.
Keep a pet's paws warm. If you have a cat or dog that still wants to romp around on the ice, old socks can be helpful in keeping their paws warm.
- Donate. Donate your used socks to the website ‘The Mismatched Sock’. They have a plan to repurpose socks in a big project.
- Soothe your sore muscles. Fill a sock with rice, wheat, or flaxseed, place it in the microwave for a minute, and place over sore muscles to relieve pain.2
- Make stuffing. If socks are clean, they can be shredded and used as stuffing in toys.
Advanced Sock Recycling Projects
- Make garden soap holders. Gardening can be a dirty task. One clever way to keep clean is to put a soap bar in the bottom of an old sock and tie it onto your garden faucet or spigot. The soap will be ready whenever you need a quick clean up.
- Outdoor Spigot Insulator. To prevent outdoor spigots from freezing and bursting in the cold winter months, you can use an old sock as an insulator. Cover the spigot and add a plastic bag to keep the sock dry.
- Make a homemade hacky sack. A hacky sack is a small cloth ball filled with small beads or beans. Cut a sock in half. Fill the sock with dried rice, dried peas, or beads. Sew the opening together in a ball shape.3
- Make Fingerless gloves. If you have a worn-out pair of socks, you can make a new pair of gloves by cutting a hole in each of the heels and cutting off the toes of the socks. Stick your thumb in the heel hole and your fingers out the toes. To fix the raw edges, tuck them under to the inside of the glove and sew a simple hem.4
- Make a Stuffed Doll. You can make a sock monkey, sock puppet, or any other creation your heart desires.
- For an easy version: Fill an old sock with beans or rice. Glue, sew, or draw on eyes, nose, and mouth. Cut up another old sock into strips and sew on for hair.
- For a more advanced sock monkey version: Find two socks. Set one aside while you make the body. To make the body, cut the sock in half long ways from the toe to about the heel. Sew the ends up and you have two legs.
Stich around the body of the sock where you want the neck to be, and pull tightly to create the monkey head. Gather the top of the sock as well to round your head. Cut the second sock, and stich the pieces as shown in the pictures below.
Find more detailed instructions here: wikihow.com/Make-a-Sock-Monkey.
Sew a quilt. Making a quilt out of old socks gives them extra utility for years to come, as well as being meaningful if you use socks with fun patterns or designs that you can't bear to part with. To make the quilt, first turn the socks into rectangles: cut off the toes and along one of the sides of the sock. Spread open the socks and start sewing. To assure that the quilt does not end up lopsided, alternate the socks so that the toes face in opposite directions.9
Make draft protectors. To reuse socks and be energy efficient at the same time, make a draft protector. Fill a long sock with beans, rice, or other spare filling. Sew or tie up one end and you have an instant draft protector that you can put on a windowsill or in the gap under doors. If you want to decorate the draft protector, you can make it into a creature: add eyes, nose, mouth and maybe feelers or whiskers.
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