How Many Socks Should I Own

How Many Socks Should I Own

There are many socks that you can buy for a variety of reasons. Most people have more socks than they know what to do with. So why do we have so many? How do we determine what’s the best number of socks to have. 

The number of socks you should own is equal to the number you use on a repetitive basis. In one week you will likely use 7-14 pairs of socks for regular activities and exercise. If you have other socks you use at least once a month, include at least one pair of those in your total number. Your total should be about 10-20 pairs of regularly worn socks.

If you wash your clothes more than once a week you will need far fewer socks. If you want to declutter, socks are a good place to start. Decide which socks you want and need and if you try hard you may be able to get your number down to about 10 pairs. 

Keeping Track of Your Socks

Keep Track of Your Socks

I used to lose track of my socks much more often. My socks were not organized too well and at times I would find it difficult to get a pair of socks to match. 

Sometimes I would lose a sock and I never find it again. Probably my washer and dry wanted to hide them from me.  

Part of the problem was that I had plenty of socks to wear. I would buy some new socks when I needed to, but after getting them, I found a reason not to wear them. I then would buy other socks that were better suited for my needs and the style I was looking for. 

Soon, I would have too many socks. I held on to them because I thought I could use them… later. So I stored them in a second sock draw. 

I only used about 7-10 pairs each week. Eventually, I never looked in my second sock drawer for socks. I forgot about them. 

So, when the time came to buy new socks I bought more pairs without using the new ones in the second sock drawer. Eventually, I recognized I needed to clear out all those socks and donate them. This was the first part of the solution. 

The second part of the solution that helped me keep track of my socks was to buy some drawer organizers.

These helped me get organized. I could see what clothing I had available much easier. It was easy to see that I had too many of several items of clothing. I started folding my socks differently and kept them organized by type. After a week or two, I knew exactly what I needed and what I could donate. 

How Many Socks Should I Own?

How Many Socks_

When considering how many socks you need, you’ll need to factor in your weekly habits. Here’s a list of what to think about to determine your specific needs.

  • One habit that I have is doing the laundry once a week.
  • I make sure I have enough socks to last for 7 days.
  • How often do you exercise? When I go running, hiking, or to the gym, I always change my sock after I’m done. I used to exercise at least 5 days a week. I have 4 pairs of running socks, 4 pairs of gym socks. This ensures I have enough for a week if needed.
  • How often do you use everyday socks? I have 4 pairs of everyday socks. If I exercise for 5 days, then I have 3 I can use for everyday socks for a total of 7 days of everyday socks.
  • Do you have work socks? I don’t have any special socks for work, but if I did I would wear them all day.
  • Do you have church socks? I have three pairs of church socks but only wear one.
  • Do you have sports or other activity socks? I use hiking socks when going long distances. I have 8 pairs. I think they must have multiplied in my drawer. I may need to slim down on these socks because I rarely go on long hikes.
  • Going out on the town? Sometimes when we go out to dinner or nightly activities we want to change clothing and need socks that match our outfit. Decide on how often you go out and need long socks or short socks each week.

The total of socks that I use regularly is 12 pairs. Then I have 11 pairs that I am not using often. I kept these, just in case I needed them, but now I will be donating most of them, or I will use them as rags because I never use them.  

Each person’s needs will be different, but for me, 12 socks are the perfect number for most weeks.

How Many Socks Should I Buy?

Buying Sock and Decluttering

It’s hard to know how many socks to buy at times because they come in multipacks. Sometimes you get a great deal if you buy a lot of socks, but getting lots of socks isn’t always helpful.

I find it helpful to buy only what I need when buying socks. Socks can come in packs of 1, 12, and any number in between. When I look for socks now, I try to get only the number of socks I will use each week. 

I do laundry once a week and need to have enough socks to last for that long. I know having a couple of extra socks can be handy. But if I buy too many socks I have to store them and I don’t have a lot of space. 

The more things we have the more responsibility we take on. I like things organized and having too much stuff in a drawer makes it cluttered. Decluttering is important to me because it feels so much easier to find things and it looks good too. 

I usually buy a smaller number of socks to help me save money and stay organized. 

Fewer Socks is a Greater Value

In general, it’s helpful to have fewer socks rather than an overabundance of socks. The more items we have of low value, the less we tend to place much value on them. 

This results in less interest in caring for the things we have. Socks are no exception. I have lost lots of socks, that have somehow disappeared, but it didn’t matter too much because I had so many. 

Parents see this phenomenon with their children all the time. They get too many toys and little value is placed on each one because children know they are going to get more. 

While having an abundance can feel nice, it doesn’t bring a feeling of value for the socks we have. If we don’t need so many, we probably don’t care if we go through many pairs each year.  

Then we start to lose money because even though the socks are relatively cheap the cost adds up over time. We may also not be taking care to organize and keep our socks in good shape if we have too many. 

Buying socks for specific needs, spending a bit more on quality socks, and them organizing them starts to bring more value.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Lots of Cheap Socks

Lots of Cheap Socks

Sara buys 8 pairs of running socks for $15. They work well and she is happy. But Sara doesn’t run enough to use that many socks and she already has a lot of socks.

Sara uses her running socks for running and daily use, She has so many she doesn’t fold them nicely; it’s too much work.

Sara’s socks each last 6 months and start to get holes. She has lost a pair and several pairs have holes due to her using them for everyday use. 


  • She went through 3 pairs each six months, only having one pair the second year, and needed to buy more for $15 
  • She spent $30
  • She had to recycle or throw away 7 pairs of socks + 1 that went missing.
  • She liked the style and price of her socks.
Fewer Quality Socks

Fewer Quality Socks

Joan buys two pairs of running socks. Each for $14 or $28 total. She is happy and her socks are great, She has just the number she needs each week to run.

Joan makes sure she knows where her running socks are and folds them nicely to makes sure they don’t stretch out. 

Joan’s socks each last for 2 years and start to get holes. She didn’t lose any socks and only using them for running.


  • She went through 2 pairs of socks in 2 years. They lasted the entire 2 years and Joan enjoyed their great comfort.
  • She spent $28
  • She had to recycle or throw away 2 pairs of socks.
  • She loved how her socks felt and performed.

The value of having a few good quality socks is that there’s less waste, it can costs less over time, and you usually love the high-quality features that come with socks that are made very well. 

The loss of value in choosing bargain socks is that we just don’t care as much about sock care, losing some or getting holes doesn’t matter as much, there ends up being more waste, and less enjoyment. 

Final Thoughts

I tend to buy cheap items at times. I often have a tight budget, so I need to spend wisely. Yet I recognize the value of spending more on good quality socks and have seen the difference when I do. I have a mix of lower and higher-quality socks. I choose to buy fewer socks to save money and creates less waste. 

I hope you can find socks you love and own just the right amount for you. I know that this can bring just a bit more sense of organization and joy into your life. May you enjoy your decluttering, organizing, and sock buying adventures.    

Thanks for visiting


I enjoy many types of outdoor activities including running, hiking, and walking. I was a former elementary school teacher for 17 years and now enjoy writing and sharing my love of the outdoors.

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