Mending socks and other lost skills

I cannot sew…my proficiency with a needle and thread ends at putting a button back on a shirt.  I find this very sad and one day, when I am graced with much more free time than I have now, I would like to learn this very useful skill.  My grandmother used to make my clothes when I was little in addition to the baby blankets that my children are still using today.  She made her own dish rags, rugs, and was proficient at mending socks as well.  Mending socks is a lost art.  Sure, there are a few people out there who still know how to do it but there are a lot more holey socks than there are sock menders!  My laudry room alone is filled with socks who’s soles have worn out and are now destined for the rag bin.

Think About This Thursday

Mending Socks and Other Lost Skills

Base Photo Courtesy of Morguefile

Mending Socks and Other Lost Skills

Our lack of ability in the area of mending socks isn’t the only thing we have forgotten how to do.  We no longer fix vacuum cleaners,  glue coffee mug handles back on or find creative uses for broken flower pots.  We are a throw away society.  Generations before us learned how to reduce, reuse, and recycle their old stuff because they had no other choice.  New socks cost money….repairing holey socks only took time and a little bit of thread.  We used to have more time than money.  Not anymore.  Now we have money and our holey socks get tossed out in the next day’s trash.

Here is a random piece of trivia for you to Think About This Thursday:   In the United States, approximately 150,000,000 socks are sold each year.  Where do a vast majority of these socks come from?  China.  (Yiwu, China is actually know as “sock town” and produced over three billion pairs of socks for Wal-Mart, Pringle and Disney last year.)  Where do all the holey ones go?  Right to the dump.

Mending socks and other lost skilles

Now, I am not recommending you go out and start mending socks…I am certainly not taking up that particular skill any time soon.  What I DO hope to leave you thinking about today is our ‘throw it away’ attitude.  If every person chose to fix just one broken item instead of tossing it aside to buy new we would be well on our way to easing the burden on our landfills.  Can you imagine how high a pile of 150 million socks would be?  That’s a lot of socks!

If you are feeling ambitious and DO want to learn about mending socks, here is a video from YouTube on how to do it:

Not up for mending socks any time soon but don’t want to throw away your holey foot coverings? Here are a few things you could do with them instead of tossing them into the trash can:
1.  Use as a dust cloth:  Obvious but very useful if your house gathers as much dust as mine does.
2.  Cut off the ribbing and use as a can or glass cozy to absorb condensation.
3.  Stuff with catnip and voila, instant cat toy.
4.  Use a sock over your hand as a bath mitt to wash your small child.
5.  Keep one in your car to use as an umbrella sock.  It will absorb the rainwater and keep it off your floors and seats.
6.  Fill with ice and use as an icepack for a skinned knee or bruised elbow.
7.  Fill with rice or dried beans and sew the end shut. Microwave for a minute or so and you have a nice, heavy heating pad.
8.  Use a bean or rice filled sock as a draft blocker under doors or windows.
9.  Give them to your children to use as art supplies.  They make wonderful puppets!
10. Cut them into long strips and use them to tie your plants to posts in the garden.
Have any other old sock suggestions?  I have a laundry room full of old socks just waiting for a job to do!


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About Diane

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can't quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke!


  1. I know how to mend socks but sadly it’s not something I generally do unless we are talking my warm wool socks.

  2. I hadn’t thought about this before. I don’t mend socks either but I do keep wearing them if there is a hole in the toe. :)

  3. I taught my fiance how to mend socks a few years back! I also like to use them as rags.

  4. You are correct…we waste too much as a society. I love your Thursday posts!!! Anyway…my favorite use for holey socks is an ice pack for my sinus headaches…as long as they are clean of course..haha

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