Celebrate National Lost Sock Memorial Day on May 9 by finding new uses for all the sad singles hiding in the bottom of your sock drawer

At some point, everyone has experienced the mystery of the disappearing sock. Eaten by the dryer, left behind in a locker room, lost while traveling—socks have a habit of abandoning their mates to venture out on solo adventures. But there’s no need to relegate mateless socks to the landfill. Instead, we present 51 creative uses for the orphaned socks that are left behind (even the worn-out and holey ones).

  1. Mismatched pair. There’s no fashion law stating that socks have to match, so if you have two singles in complementary colors, be bold and wear them as a pair.
  2. Slippers. Not daring enough to leave the house in mismatched socks? Wear them as mismatched slippers at home.
  3. Dusting glove. A sock worn as a glove is handy for dusting awkward nooks and crannies, especially Venetian blinds.
  4. Cleaning rag. Use an old sock for a particularly dirty job such as washing a muddy car, bike or motorcycle.
  5. Ice pack cover. Slip a bag of frozen veggies into a sock to improvise an ice pack for an injury.
  6. Sock puppet. Keep it simple by using a felt pen to draw on facial features, or get fancy by sewing on buttons for eyes and yarn for hair.
  7. Stuffed animal. Socks are the ideal raw material for making stuffies ranging from the simple (a snake) to the more complicated (a classic sock monkey).
  8. Hacky sack. With a few sewing skills—and perhaps some help from a YouTube video or two—you can create a hacky sack out of a sock and rice or beads.
  9. Stress ball. Fill a sandwich bag with homemade play dough, place it inside a sock, and tie the sock shut with string or a ribbon. Then knead away your stress.
  10. Bean bag. Fill several socks with beans or rice and tie shut to create simple toys for kids to play with. These bean bags also work well as wrist rests while typing, and they make handy, customizable exercise weights.
  11. Small-item rescuer. To use a vacuum to find a tiny dropped item such as an earring or a pill, place a sock over the end of the vacuum cleaner hose and secure it in place with a strong elastic band.
  12. Hot pack. To alleviate aches, cramps or just general stress, fill a sock with rice or beans then heat it in the microwave.
  13. Shoe protector. Use old socks to cover and protect shoes from a messy painting or cleaning job.
  14. Hair elastic. A ring cut from a sock makes a perfect soft and stretchy hair elastic. If you have long hair, a sock “doughnut” can help you create a simple but chic ballet bun.
  15. Potpourri sachet. Fill a sock with some sweet-smelling potpourri, and tuck it into a drawer or closet.
  16. Pin cushion. A sock stuffed with other socks makes a convenient pin cushion.
  17. Smartphone protector. Use a sock to keep your phone safe from scratches in a purse or backpack.
  18. Duster for difficult-to-reach spots. Slip a sock over the end of a broom handle, and hold it in place with an elastic band.
  19. Leg or arm warmers. Cut off the socks’ feet, then channel your best Flashdance.
  20. Packing material. On moving day, socks are ideal for protecting glasses and other breakables. If breakage still occurs, a sock helps with cleanup by keeping the shards together.
  21. Small-parts bag. Use a sock to keep small things organized, such as the screws needed to put a piece of furniture back together after a move. Label the sock with a Sharpie, and tape it to the item.
  22. Shoe buffer. Make leather shoes look new again by polishing and buffing them with a sock.
  23. Umbrella bag. Slide a sopping wet umbrella into a long sock to keep your car’s interior dry.
  24. Drink cozy. Cut the foot off a colorful sock to make an eye-catching cozy for a soda can or travel mug.
  25. Foot or back roller. Fill a sock with golf balls or tennis balls and tie shut, then roll out aches and sore spots
  26. Golf club protector. A sock can keep the head of a golf club safe from dings and scratches.
  27. Whiteboard eraser. Easily clean a dry-erase board with a sock.
  28. Eyeglasses bag. In a purse or backpack, a sock can prevent eyeglasses or sunglasses from getting scratched.
  29. Silver polisher. Use a sock to polish tarnished silverware or silver jewelry.
  30. Replacement for Swiffer pad. Use old socks instead of disposable pads.
  31. Headband or ear warmer. Cut the feet off two (or more) socks, then sew the tubes together to form one continuous circle, long enough to stretch around your head.
  32. Draft stopper. Fill a long sock with rice or popcorn kernels and tie shut, then place at the bottom of a drafty door or window.
  33. Kneepad. Cut the feet off a couple of socks to create ultrapractical kneepads.
  34. Windshield wiper protector. In cold weather, prevent wipers from freezing to your car’s windshield overnight by sliding a sock onto each one.
  35. Cover for vase or plant pot. Create a fun cover for a plain flower vase or plant pot by cutting the foot off a quirky sock.
  36. Shoe bag. Use socks to prevent shoes from getting dusty in the closet, or to protect clothing from your shoes in a suitcase while traveling.
  37. Woven creation. If you’re really crafty, you can cut old socks into strips and weave them into pot holders, jump ropes, dog chew toys, rugs and more.
  38. Catnip toy. Fill a sock with catnip, tie or sew the end shut, and watch your cat go bananas for it.
  39. Dog or doll sweater. With just a few cuts, a sock can easily be turned into a sweater for a tiny dog or a doll.
  40. Messy bottle protector. A sock around a perpetually sticky bottle (maple syrup, balsamic glaze, etc.) protects the cupboard shelf or kitchen table from messes.
  41. Soap pouch. Soap in a sock is great for scrubbing muddy hands outdoors. A sock is also useful for grouping together tiny slivers of leftover soap.
  42. Dryer ball. Place a tennis ball inside a sock and tie it off, then put it in the dryer to help reduce drying time. Experiment with using anywhere from two to six of these dryer balls for one load of laundry.
  43. Wristband. A single sock can be cut into several wristbands, à la Jane Fonda circa 1982.
  44. Cover for furniture legs. To protect a floor from scratches, place socks on chair or table legs and secure them in place with elastic bands.
  45. Moisturizer enhancer. If your hands and feet are extremely dry, coat your skin with lotion before bed and cover with socks, to hold the moisture in overnight.
  46. Christmas ornament protector. Keep each precious ornament safely stored in its own sock, labeled with a Sharpie. A large sock is useful for storing a small string of Christmas lights.
  47. Ornament. This cute ornament doesn’t require any sewing. Stuff a white sock with fabric scraps, dryer lint or other old socks, and close off the sock’s open end with an elastic band or safety pin. Make a scarf out of a rectangle cut from a colorful sock, and tie this scarf around the middle of the stuffed white sock, forming a head and torso. Use a child’s sock as the snowperson’s hat, and colored sewing pins for the eyes and nose. For a cheerful finishing touch, attach a couple of buttons to the torso.
  48. Bag for safety goggles. In a workshop or toolshed, a sock can protect safety goggles from attracting sawdust and dirt.
  49. Scarf. Cut the feet off several socks, then sew the tubes together. The more colorful the socks are, the more fun the resulting scarf is.
  50. Pantleg protector. Snip the feet off two socks, then slide the socks over the bottoms of your pantlegs to protect against dirt and oil when riding a bike.
  51. Snore stopper. If you snore whenever you sleep on your back, put a tennis ball in a sock and sew or safety pin it to the back of your nightshirt to prevent you from rolling onto your back.