By JoAnn Rash

About a month ago I declared the quarantine over. Yes, we are still social distancing. Yes, we only go to the store when we need to. Yes, we wear our masks and wash our hands. However, when it comes to our home, the quarantine is O-V-E-R.

The purpose of our home is respite from the outside world, not only for us but for the guests we welcome to it. We want our space to create peace, comfort and be oh so much easier to clean.

Our quarantine home became the opposite of that. The quarantine invaded our space like an unwelcome guest who did not know when to leave. Bottles of bleach disinfectant were everywhere. Makeshift offices and schoolwork spaces were created. We had so much food that it no longer fit in the kitchen. Not because we were hoarding, but because three teenage boys eat. A lot. All. The. Time. This is especially true when there is no place else to go.

So, I kicked quarantine to the curb to make more space for peace and comfort. I created office space and storage to make working from home more comfortable. I reorganized the kitchen and the laundry room to make space for all the quarantine supplies.

Then I tackled the pile of masks. My Dad is the best. He got on the internet and ordered masks from all our boy’s favorite sports teams. We bought masks from the store and from our neighbor. There is definitely not a shortage of masks in our home.

Now that we are entering new phases of quarantine, we are using our masks more. Five people and lots of masks, more. With the increase use came the questions, “Where is my mask?” And, “Is this mask clean?” Along with, after walking in the door, “What should I do with my mask?”

Masks are now, at least for the foreseeable future, a part of our lives and our homes. I had to look hard to turn this part of quarantine into something that I welcomed into our lives. How do masks bring us peace and comfort? Well, they keep us safe. They keep others safe. It is one part of this virus that I have a little bit of control over (And, boy, do I need to feel as if I have some control over this.)

Okay, so they need to stay. But they need a space of their own if they are going to stay in ours, and a system (I love a great system!) that helps bring the peace. Time to create answers to all the questions we had about our masks.

First up, used masks. Used masks go in the hot water laundry basket. They get washed and hung to dry in their very own space. Once dry, we toss them on high heat for a few minutes in the dryer (Prolonged time in the dryer was wearing our masks out.)

Laundry Room Masks

Next, I needed to figure out what to do with them once they were clean. My first thought was to keep our own masks in our own rooms. I then decided that this would create way too many opportunities where we needed to send out search parties to hunt for masks. A basket? That did not seem like a highly organized solution. I pictured us digging through a basket looking for our masks and that did not bring visions of peace.

I decided that hanging them was the winning solution. I used a small bulletin board with large pegs (Be sure not to poke holes in your mask by pinning them directly to the board.) The bulletin board hangs on the wall in the hallway where we also keep our keys, backpacks, and coats.

Hallway Masks

Our masks now have their own space in our home and our lives. Hopefully not for too much longer. There is peace and comfort knowing where our masks are when we need them. And peace and comfort, friends, is something that we can all use more of right now.

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