Revisiting Your Masks and Hand Sanitizers

It has been nearly three years since our lives were shaken up by the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a time that played havoc with our health and livelihoods as well as our emotions. I still look back on it in disbelief.

During the early part of the pandemic, we were obsessed with staying healthy.  As new recommendations and capabilities rolled out, we followed them. Hand sanitizer? Check. Social Distancing? Check. Masks? Check. Vaccines? Check. At-home testing? Check.

People are still catching Covid, but the day-to-day terror and anxiety have let up for most of us. So what do we do with all of the paraphernalia that we accumulated?

When I work with people in their homes, I find bottles of hand sanitizer, piles of masks, and boxes of at-home Covid tests everywhere. Most of us aren’t using hand sanitizer all day like we used to back in 2020. We may have experimented with different types of masks until we found the one that was most comfortable and made us feel protected.

Here are some recommendations for organizing your Covid paraphernalia to reflect the fact that it is almost 2023.

Hand Sanitizer

You may have three sizes of hand sanitizer in your home:

  • Large pump bottles
  • Small portable bottles
  • Individually-wrapped wipes.

Are you still using a pump bottle? If so, figure out which rooms you tend to use it in, and place a bottle in each of those rooms. Put the rest away in a closet or a bathroom cabinet. If some of the bottles are almost empty, combine them. If you have bottles that have never been started, donate them.

You may have one or more portable bottles in your purse or backpack. Do you still use it when you’re out of your home? If so, keep one bottle in your bag and then follow the rest of the advice for the pump bottles.

An alternative to carrying a portable bottle is to carry a couple of individually-wrapped wipes, if you have them. Put the rest of the wipes in a Ziploc bag and keep them in a closet near the front door so that you can replenish the supply in your bag when it’s used up.

I recently had a use for hand sanitizer in my apartment. My building was doing its annual cleaning of the water tank, and they had warned us that there would be no running water from 9 am to 5 pm that day. I placed a bottle of hand sanitizer next to each sink so that we could still keep our hands clean. Other than that day, we don’t have much use for it, either at home or on the go.


By now, my family has settled into a well-worn groove when it comes to masks. I prefer a cloth mask with adjustable ear straps. My husband prefers the standard blue surgical mask. My daughter likes the black N95 masks.

It took a lot of experimentation before we each found our preferred style. So those are the only types we keep near the front door.

You probably also have your favorites. How about taking the cloth masks that you are no longer using and disposing of them with your fabric recycling? You can also donate unopened packages of masks. What you certainly don’t need to do is have all of the masks you own in prominent places in your home.

Covid-19 Tests

How fortunate we are to be able to do home testing for Covid-19 whenever we are feeling poorly. Still, those boxes of tests need to go somewhere. Find a spot in a cabinet or closet where you can stash them all. Keeping them all in one place will not only cut down on the clutter, it will also alert us when we are running low and need to purchase more.


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