In the early 1970s, my father started pinning his socks together.
The goal was to make it easier to match each pair after doing laundry.
Dad doesn’t remember what caused him to do it.
He is color blind, so that might have been part of the motivation.
Whatever the reason, the habit stuck.
He realized early on that the optimal way to pin socks wasn’t at the top, but at the heel, where the fabric is thickest. That caused the least damage.
My father has gone five decades without losing a sock in the wash. He has wasted considerably less of his life than the rest of us sorting through piles of fabric.
And he didn’t start until he was in his 40s.
It’s must be said that even if you don’t lose socks, they still eventually wear out.
Everyone aware of the pinning-of-the-socks routine acknowledges its utility.
It’s the kind of effort that James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, would endorse. It’s something that could definitely make you 1 percent better.
And yet, no one in the family has adopted it. Nor have any friends.
I bought a package of pins once to try. But I just didn’t have the stamina.
And that really is what it takes.
Clear argues in his book that it’s important to adopt actions as part of your identity. And to make them easy by creating a plan and removing obstacles.
But at the end of the day, you need to be that person.
And evidently, almost no one is.
(Part of a series based on conversations with my parents about how to manage life.)