April 6, 2019

Sock Drawer

Sent by Jonathan Stark on April 6th, 2019

For the past year at least, my sock drawer has been overflowing. It’s mostly full of socks, but I also keep underwear and gym shorts in there.

It’s so jam packed that when I take something out, I can’t even close the thing without carefully tucking stuff back in with my fingertips.

This afternoon, an interesting thought occurred to me as I was wedging argyles in through the crack of the slightly open drawer:

”Wait a sec… I don’t even wear socks!”

Where I live, it snows pretty much every winter and usually a fair bit. This year we had enough that I made a snow fort for the kids. And guess what? I don’t recall wearing socks once. Not even in the winter! I shoveled snow for hours this season, 100% sockless. I just don’t wear socks.

Gym? No socks.

Karate? We don’t even wear shoes, never mind socks.

Office? I mostly wear flip flops or Chuck Taylor low tops, no socks.

Snow? Fleece-lined L.L. Bean duck boots without socks.



A surprising number of them were gifted to me and I had maybe worn once, if at all. Many of the others were left over from when I used to jog regularly and when I used to fly to client sites for meetings. And it’s probably been five years since I’ve done either of those things.

But I guess that’s how life is… you accumulate all sorts of things over time, and they tend to stick around even after they’ve ceased to be beneficial. And I’m not just talking about stuff. It can happen with processes, routines, habits, hobbies, beliefs, even relationships. Carrying around loads of useless (or detrimental) baggage is a drag, literally and figuratively.

So what do you do about it?

Well in my case, I dumped the entire drawer on the floor, sorted through them, and kept exactly two pairs:

After removing these two “keeper” pairs of socks from the pile, I counted the remainder - there were 165 socks left over in the garbage pile.

One hundred and sixty five!

These are socks that I haven’t worn in years, have no plans of wearing in the future, and were having a negative impact on me at least once per day, every single day. So I chucked them.

The next time I get dressed in the morning, or pack for the gym, or get ready for karate, the odds are better than average that I’ll giggle with delight when the drawer closes without having to play yet another game of sock whack a mole.

Here’s the thing…

Have you got a “sock drawer” in your business that’s full of old routines or habits or beliefs or relationships that have outlived their usefulness? If so, maybe now is a good time to dump it out on the floor and examine what you find.

Keep what’s useful and chuck the rest.