Kennedy: Ideas for repurposing those COVID-19 masks, from beard bibs to hamster hammocks

If your family is like mine, you probably have a stack of COVID-19 face masks.

We have a basket on a table near our back door that’s overflowing with throwaway paper masks, comfy cloth masks, super-safe KN95 masks.

There are masks with valves, masks made of fleece and masks with pleats. We have masks with filters that are not being used — too complicated. There are masks that anchor around your ears, and others with elastic straps that encircle your head.

At the bottom of our basket, I even found a seersucker mask — which would be perfect on days that I decide to dress like Atticus Finch.

Our mask stockpile is sufficient for the foreseeable future.

Which brings me to today’s topic: How will we repurpose all these masks once the pandemic is over? We shouldn’t just toss them out.

This repurposing occurred to me last Sunday driving home from our younger son’s soccer tournament in Birmingham, Alabama. When I looked over at our 13-year-old son sleeping in the car after the soccer tournament, he had his face mask pulled up over his eyes. Getting his “beauty rest,” I suppose.

That got me started thinking of other ways to reuse face masks.

Here are a few that came to mind, or were suggested by others:

* Beard bib: Since beards seem to be all the rage with men these days, why not use a face mask as a drip shield when eating messy food — spaghetti and cheesy pizza come to mind.

* Dipstick rag: There’s never a cloth handy when you need to check the oil in your car’s engine. Keep a few disposable masks in your glove compartment (or, as our boys used to call it, the glove department) and you’ll never have that problem again.

* Slingshot strap: If somebody will just design the right size frame, most face masks would make perfect bands and pouches for slingshots sized just right to throw tennis balls to Labrador retrievers.

* Pot holder: Some of the really thick masks, the ones you could barely breath through, can go in the pot holder drawer in your kitchen to help when you need to grab a hot cookie sheet from your oven.

* Emergency coffee filter: If you are coffee fiend, like me, and you find yourself without a drip filter on a cold winter morning, I think grabbing one of those disposable paper masks would do the trick.

* Quilt square: Probably half of the masks in our basket are made of colorful cloth in about the right size for a quilt square. I’ll bet there are quilters aplenty who could turn a bushel of masks into a work of art.

* Christmas tree ornaments: Seriously. Every family in America should save at least one colorful mask to use as a keepsake decoration for future holidays, so we never forget the insufferable, surreal year of 2020.

* Bikini pieces: Just saying … that’s what they look like.

* Pickle jar opener: As I get older it gets harder and harder to twist off those stuck-on jar caps. A jar-top-size piece of cloth is just the ticket.

* Hamster hammock: Get your furry pet off that hamster wheel and into a comfy little hammock. It’s been a tough 2020 for rodents, too.

Now that you’ve got the idea, don’t let me have all the fun. Please, send your ideas for repurposing masks to [email protected]

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Mark Kennedy / Staff file photo


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