Although mask mandates were stopped earlier this summer, the new variants of COVID-19 are bringing them back. Many areas require masks for any indoor public places and some places, like hospitals and courtrooms, have never stopped requiring them. I expect we will be wearing them on and off throughout the fall and winter. Here are some tips and tricks that may help you keep your masks organized and at hand when you need them.
The CDC recommends getting a cloth mask that covers your face and nose and fits tightly all around your face. They should be constructed of at least two layers of a breathable fabric. Handkerchiefs and neck gaiters are too loose to be effective and should be avoided. Some people like to use face shields too but these should only be used in conjunction with a face mask, not as an alternative.
I have seen masks at many different stores in all sorts of colors and patterns. My favorite ones have been purchased in Asian grocery stores, like
Uwajimaya. I've also found masks at my local farmer's market, made by older ladies and sold for only $2 each. If you want to make your own, we have all sorts of easy patterns here on ThriftyFun.
We keep our face masks next to the front door, on a small rack with hooks intended for keys. This is handy if someone comes to the door or to grab as we head out. We also store a package of paper face masks inside each car, in case of an emergency. I like to match my mask with whatever I'm wearing. I even have a fancy glittery one for special occasions. My daughter always chooses the prettiest ones and my son always chooses the black ones.
I tend to keep my mask on when running errands, to avoid touching it as much as possible. When I arrive home, I take it off and put it in a small garment bag. I throw the bag into the next load of laundry. These prevents wear and tear on the elastic loops and makes it easy to find them. When they are dry, I hang them back up by the door, ready for use. Some of them come out very wrinkled but they are just as effective and the wrinkles fade as they hang. If need be, I could steam or iron the masks but I rarely bother unless it is a very special occasion.
Of course, handwashing and sanitizing combined with social distancing is still important too. Hopefully, we will get a handle on this horrible pandemic and life can go back to normal soon. But I suspect we will see regular use from some people every cold and flu season for years. Personally, I enjoyed not having to deal with seasonal respiratory illnesses last winter and will probably always have a mask in my purse or car, just in case.
If you have any advice for mask selection, storage or wear, please share it with us.
My multi layer cloth masks are kept in square, 2.9 cup size, Rubbermaid Take Along food grade storage containers. They are easily sterilized with alcohol swabs.