It’s not always easy to accept help with certain tasks as you age. While there’s nothing to be ashamed of, requiring assistance can feel embarrassing — especially if you need help with something like putting on your socks, which requires someone to get up close and personal with your feet. Plus, there isn’t always someone around who can lend a hand. That’s why devices like the Stocking Aid (a tool that helps people put on their socks) have become so popular; they give you back your independence. However, these tools get expensive — the original Stocking Aid costs over $100 — and they aren’t easy to pack if you’re traveling.
So, what are your options if you can’t bend down but need to put your socks on? There’s one trick we bet you haven’t heard of, and it was invented by a YouTuber named Mark Elliot Barrett. All you need is a couple sheets of paper, a newspaper, or a magazine — and your socks will be on in a pinch.
How To Put On Your Socks — No Bending or Sock Aid Required
You may remember Youtuber Barrett from his hack to clip toenails without bending over — and this sock trick is just as unconventional and effective. As Barrett explains in the video, he has arthritis in his left leg and cannot reach his toes. “The most difficult part of my day is putting on my socks,” he shares. “And if you have arthritis, like in my case, I simply can’t reach [my toes], even if I wanted to. So what do I do?” When Barrett has a sock-pulling device handy, he uses that. And when he doesn’t? He mimics the device with paper.
“The next best thing is to make my own ‘sock pull’ … using a simple pamphlet, brochure, or magazine,” he explains. “It has to be fairly thin but not too thin. You need that support [so it] holds that cylindrical shape.”
Here’s how to do it: Sitting in a chair, Barrett takes a magazine and rolls it into a taco shape, long-wise. Then, he pulls the sock over one end of the taco, and slides it up over the rolled magazine until only the toes are free. Next, he drops the taco-sock on the floor, doing his best to drop it so the open part of the magazine faces upward. He shimmies his foot into the opening, inching it along until his toes reach the front. Finally, he lifts his foot and bends slightly to pull out the magazine, and readjusts the end of the sock around his ankle.
“The more practice I do, the better I get, and I’m actually better at doing it now,” he adds. Another tip: Try doing this over a carpet or a rug, which will give you more grip when you shimmy your foot into the sock. This is especially helpful if you can’t bend to readjust the sock — you can use the carpet to push the sock the rest of the way on. Check out Barrett’s demonstration below.
How Barrett’s Trick Has Helped Others
Barrett’s trick isn’t perfect — it does require a little bending (even if it’s minimal) and some practice. Still, viewers report that he’s helped them tremendously. “Brilliant solution,” one person commented on the video. “For so many reasons. Zero cost. Always available — like if you’re on a trip and forgot your sock donner at home … No bulky parts. Thanks for sharing!”
“Thank you so much for this video,” adds another. “I pulled a muscle in my lower back and haven’t been able to put on my socks for three days. Today I used your technique and was very happy to be able to put on my own socks.”
“I have cerebral palsy, I’m 52, [and] my back is always sore [and] tight,” yet another commenter wrote. “I can left my legs up but can’t flex my feet. Putting my socks on is literally impossible for me. Not any more. Brilliant.”
Thank goodness for helpful hackers like Barrett!