Even with the vaccine being administered into arms across New Orleans and the nation, we are still being advised to wear masks for a while longer to protect ourselves and others. For a longer time than I care to admit, our mask and hand sanitizer “station” was a gallon Ziplock bag hanging on a decorative clip near the door. We filled it as needed with the essential safety accoutrements and, while a great visual reminder and 100 percent functional, this was always meant to be a temporary solution. I finally grew weary of digging through the bag in search of a mask color to fit my current whim, as well as the type (spray, gel or both) and scent of sanitizer (blood orange, lavender, my own essential oil blend or pure alcohol). A first world problem if ever there were one, but I digress. So, because the Ziplock bag was unattractive and — even worse in my book — it was inefficient, which always pushes the buttons on my pain threshold, because I’m an efficiency geek, I created a proper station. If you’d like to create one for your home here’s my recommendation.
Elements to consider:
Hooks for masks
A shelf or basket for sanitizers
Wall mounting capabilities
Clean simple lines
While there are some pretty adorable options on Etsy, I went for convenience and a low price point. We purchased a simple mail sorting rack for $15.99 at Harry’s Ace Hardware on Magazine Street. There were only three left in stock, but a similar sorter is available at acehardware.com.
We toss our masks in the guest room sink and hand wash them at the end of each day, but you could include a basket for used masks in your station if you pick a model with a wider shelf and hooks. This might be a good solution for those with children or otherwise larger households. If you go this route, get a slightly longer shelf, place hand sanitizers directly on the shelf or in a dedicated basket and put the “used” basket next to it with a label indicating “dirty” or “used” (or “wash me” if you want to have fun with it).
The reality is that we’ll be using masks and sanitizer for the foreseeable future, so we might as well create storage solutions that work with our needs and décor. But, if you don’t want to go to all of the trouble, I can vouch for a Ziplock bag clipped by the door. At the end of the day, the most important thing is not whether or not you have a Pinterest-worthy mask and sanitizer station. The point is to remember to actually take and use your masks and sanitizer (and of course to stay six-to-10 feet apart). Stay safe, everyone. We’re in this thing together.
(Note: A version of this column was published previously on myneworleans.com.)