Yes, sock bags. What, never heard of them? They're pretty similar to a lingerie bag. In fact, they're pretty much identical. In this house, they're called sock bags, and each child has one with their name on it.
We were having some serious issues with socks here, and a solution was a must. I literally had a big laundry basket full of socks without mates. I'm sure their mates were somewhere in there, but who wants to dig through ten peoples worth of socks just to find two that match. I knew it was bad when I saw my daughter wearing two mis-matched socks to school.
The kids and I finally sat down one night, for two hours, and had a sock matching/folding session. It sucked! Who wants to match socks? NOT ME. After that night I came up with an idea...
I bought cheap lingerie bags, and using a permanent marker, wrote each of the kids names on their own lingerie bag. (I bought my lingerie bags at Ikea. They were like $2 for 2 of them, or something. I also saw them last week at Dollar Tree for a buck each.)
I sat all eight of my kids down at the dinner table, and did a demonstration, while instructing each of my kids on how to use these "sock bags". I used pretty simple four-year-old terms, so that they could each completely understand how to use the "sock bag" system that I developed.
#1: Take your socks off of your body.
#2: Take your sock bag out of your dirty hamper.
#3: Unzip the zipper on your sock bag.
#4: Place dirty socks IN the sock bag.
#5: Zip the zipper on your sock bag.
#6: Place the zipped sock bag on top of the dirty clothes in your dirty hamper
That's it! Easy right? Some of you may be doubting the usefulness, or the ability of my children to follow these instructions...I'm happy to report that we've been doing this for a couple of months now, and for the most part, we've had no issues!
On laundry day, I have the kids empty their hampers into my big hamper in the laundry room. When I wash my load of whites, I just throw the bags (still zipped, with socks in it) into the washing machine, and then the dryer. When they're done drying, I pull out the bags one by one, fold the socks inside and put them into the appropriate child's bin to be put away. I also place the sock bag in their bin, so that they can put it back in their hamper. Easy-peasy, and the best part is that now my kids are usually wearing matching socks!
*I found out after the first couple of times of washing the sock bags, that certain kids take their socks off in little munched up balls -they don't get clean that way (obviously, lol), so they were later instructed to make sure there are no "sock balls" in the sock bag.
**If, for some reason, socks don't make it into the sock bag, they don't get washed. I leave them on the laundry room floor and tell my child to come collect them, and put them into their sock bag. If I don't know who it belongs to, I make them all come figure it out.