Mask Organization Station (Plus Tips for Keeping Your Masks Clean While Traveling, Tips for Washing, And More!)
Family Mask Station
An inexpensive and convenient way to keep your family health and organized.
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With my husband back at work and my child and I leaving the house more and more (now that our area is mostly open with extensive precautions and community spread is extremely low), easy access to clean masks and a good place to drop dirty ones when getting home became a necessity. We were storing masks somewhat haphazardly, throwing dirty masks in a laundry bin in our utility/mud room along with other clothes leaving them prone to getting misplaced, and were often left low on mask stock when masks didn't get washed, or having difficulty finding masks when it came time to leave the house.
I knew we needed a better way to store our masks.
Where else would a mama to look for organizational goods during social distancing (when not really shopping much in person) but the internet? I found a great farmhouse wire shelf with hooks (click here or on the image below to learn more), and then scoured the internet for the perfect basket to pair with it (click here or on image below to learn more). I couldn't be happier with how the mask station turned out (scroll to see).
We used doggie poop bags to line the basket closest to the door for a dirty mask drop. We've found them to be the perfect size, and we have them on hand anyway because of our pups. Using bags helps ensure germs don't transfer to the basket while masks await being washed. Keeping them in the basket instead of the laundry helps avoid the issue we were having of masks getting mixed in with clothes and lost (masks are the new socks!). Of course, sometimes we do at least remember to put masks in a delicates bag when washing them. This helps them not get misplaced while washing, at least! Please note, the CDC suggests placing masks directly in the washing machine. However, if you live in a home like mine where some clothes are washed on cold and others on warm (you will want to wash your masks on the warmest setting possible, not in cold water), or if you don't have a washing machine, the plastic bag method will help ensure segregation of masks (thus hopefully avoid contamination).
A center basket holds rolls of extra bags. Clean masks hang on the far side (closest to the door into the house, so closest to the direction we'd be heading in if leaving). The spacing between clean and dirty masks ensures germs from dirty masks don't transfer to clean ones. My husband and I also have our masks separated right now (hence why some are hanging outside the basket in the image above).
The wire shelf we bought has two compartments. In the larger one we've placed an adorable carry bag I've been use for my clean masks (I also keep a ziplock bag in there to store masks if they become dirty or saturated while out, and always carry spares for myself and my child). While mine came with a skincare kit, you can use any small makeup bag to carry your masks (see some highly rated solutions below). There are also packs of sanitizing hand wipes for easy access if we don't yet have some in my purse or the diaper bag. This ensures we can quickly grab and go, rather than having to search for sanitizer. In the smaller compartment I've placed dried flowers for decoration, as well as a large jug of hand sanitizer. This ensures we can easily clean our hands the second we walk in the door (though we also keep sanitizer on our person and in our cars, and have a sink in the utility room). We also use this larger hand sanitizer jug to refill smaller containers before we leave the house. Once we are able to find more lysol spray we are planning to store that on the shelf as well, so we can regularly sanitize the space without having to grab cleaner from somewhere else in the house (other than the masks, of course; you don't want to spray those with disinfectant!) I also hung a wire and sea glass piece we got during one of our visits to Peaks Island from the shelf. Even if we can't visit Maine this year we can still find ways to remind ourselves of one of our favorite places!
Highly Rated Products You Might Like for Your Mask Organization Station
Doggie Poop Bags
Have your mask storage system set up? Be sure to check these evidence based sources for how to keep your mask clean, and other tips for staying healthy while out of the house.
Why do we not store gloves in our organizer? Per the CDC, gloves aren't recommended/necessary during everyday activities such as running errands. They should be used when cleaning or caring for someone who is ill.
Instead, simply make sure to wash your hands regularly and well. Always wash with soap and warm water, scrubbing between fingers, under finger nails, and up your arms, for at least 20 seconds.
Hand sanitizer may be used in cases where it is not possible to wash your hands, or after hand washing.
Keeping our families safe and healthy in the pandemic era can feel overwhelming. This mask storage solution has helped us feel just a bit more in control of all the extra things that need to be done before we can walk out the door.
WHAT STRATEGIES HAVE YOU FOUND HELPFUL FOR KEEPING MASKS ORGANIZED?
Comment below to share!
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Our family, like many others in the United States, will be homeschooling this fall (and potentially beyond). While my little one is still in preschool and doesn’t require formal curriculum as a result, that is no reason not to provide fun and educational activities at home!
In anticipation of needing to keep my little one occupied at home, I’ve put together a ton of [FREE] printables for readers to use! There are options appropriate for toddlers all the way up through early elementary school!
I’m really excited to use these throughout the fall, and to share this content with readers!
I've created a ton of new worksheets, plus three different interactive activities perfect for binder books, felt board activities, and more. Most are either autumn or Halloween themed, though I've also created a few that aren't seasonal. And there is even more to come! I'm adding new resources to the library all the time (especially now that I'm homeschooling!).
DO I NEED TO SUBSCRIBE?
While the bulk of my new content is exclusively available to those who have subscribed for my free resource library, I've also made available 6 worksheets, ranging in difficulty from preschool level to early elementary school, for free and for immediate download. No subscription required! You can find those here.
1. A Halloween themed addition and subtraction page.
2. A more or less activity.
3. A relational language activity.
4. A first book report template that makes for a super flexible reading comprehension activity.
5. A shape, counting, and color awareness activity.
6. A counting and color awareness activity.
You can find printables available for immediate download on my activities page.
Making the Most Out of These Activities
Some of the activities new to the resource library are straight forward and include simple instructions.
The interactive activities are flexible; use them however you think best! That said, here are the ways we use these resources in our home.
Binder books have been a favorite activity of mine dating back to working in special education classrooms throughout high school. They are excellent for preschoolers, and super easy to make if you have a few basic supplies:
And, of course, content like that included in this content release!
Place the 'base' pages in plastic page protectors. Follow the directions below for each individual set.
Once you have printed the base pages and laminated and cut the appropriate cards, apple velcro to the page protectors and to the back of each card. Place the base pages in a binder, and you are done!
Be sure to check out a preview of the final product here.
Felt board activity
Felt boards are super easy to create by hot gluing a sheet of felt to a piece of cardboard (you can also use a cork board, or picture frame with the glass removed). Rather than placing base pages in page protectors, use them as stencils to create felt cut outs to place on the board. Finally apply felt to the back of each laminated card.
Apple Basket Activity
I've also created a two sided version of the apple basket base page. Laminate both the double sided page and the apple cards of your choice (the square cards, the individual red apple cards, or the individual colorable apple cards are all options!). Cut each of the basket sides out and either staple into an envelop, glue each to a small cardboard box, or create a felt pouch basket. You can do this by cutting a rectangular sheet of felt, folding it in half and hot gluing the two ends, and then hot gluing the bottom. Finally, hot glue the basket pieces to either side.
Make one basket for each number.
Then cut out the apple cards, and have your child place the correct number of apples in each basket!
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May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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View my author page for Westchester County Mom here.
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