It seems that no matter what you do, socks go into the laundry but never come out. Despite appearances, your drier isn't snacking on your footwear and there are a handful of things you can do to make sure you never lose another sock again.
Keep Your Socks Together When Washing and Drying
If you don't want to lose socks in the wash, keep them together. Give them a safety buddy like you used to have when you'd go swimming at camp. The best way to ensure they stay in pairs is to pin them together. Safety pins and binder clips both work well, but if you haven't any to work with you can just roll the sleeve of one sock over the other like you would when folding. On the plus side this takes less time and requires no materials, but it doesn't hold the socks together as well and creates a thicker layer of fabric up top that will take longer to dry.
Organise Your Socks Better
Sometimes socks get lost before and after they go into the laundry, but it just seems like the drier ate them for a snack. To avoid this problem, there are a couple of things you can do. First, keep a separate (smaller) basket for socks. This way they will not get lost in the tumble when you're bringing them to the wash, and you can combine them (using one of the methods described above) so they're in pairs throughout the entire process. If you have any pets, make sure this hamper is somewhere that they can't access.
To solve two problems, use a small mesh laundry bag as your sock-specific basket and just toss the laundry bag into the wash when it's full. Soapy water will get through the bag and the socks will get clean, but they won't get thrown off into another universe during the washing or drying phase. If you don't feel like buying a mesh bag (even though they cost next to nothing), just use a pillowcase you were going to wash anyway.
Track Orphaned Socks
Sometimes you are going to lose a few socks no matter how hard you try to avoid the problem. The best thing you can do when this happens is create an orphanage for lost socks. When you find one solo, just store it in a separate place and eventually — or at least hopefully — it will be reunited with its lost brother or sister by the next laundry cycle.
This story has been updated from its original publication date.