In the Bag, Then In the Trash


July 30, 2015


Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about disposing of dog waste:

“I frequent several parks. Many provide bags to dispose of dog waste. There is often a trash can, too. My Sound Off is dog owners who use the bags for their dogs but then throw the bags on the side of the trail. What is the point? Why put it in the bag if you aren’t going to throw it away? It sits there, or someone else picks it up to throw away. Please do the right thing.” - A Concerned Reader in Texas

Hmm - what are they thinking? “Oh, I’m going to bag the waste, which is good, but toss it on the side of the trail, which is bad”? Or maybe they think the bag will decompose? Carry the darn bag with you to the next trash can! If you find it yucky, then don’t walk your dog in a public park! - Heloise



Dear Readers: Other uses for shoulder pads:

* Stuff with catnip and sew into cat toys.

* Stuff a pillow for a dog bed.

*  As bra uplift pads.

* Pin to a hanger - no bumps on sweaters.

* Pad heels or toes in shoes.

- Heloise



Dear Readers: You are inventive and creative as always. I asked for your hints about a second life for a changing table. Here are just a few:

Nancy P., via email, “Besides having two for garden supplies and a work station, I have one that I use for a grooming table for my Scottish Terrier - sure beats bending over.”

Sara Clark in Fullerton, Calif., wrote, "When baby is not visiting, my two cats use the changing table as a comfy place from which to look out the window or take a nap.”

S.S. in Texas wrote, “I took the pad off and use it as a shoe rack for all of my son’s shoes, now that he is older.”

Sandi, via email, wrote: “We cut the legs off our two-tier changing table, have cushions on both tiers and have ‘doggie bunks.’ Our Brittany spaniel has the top bunk, and my son’s roommate’s dachshund has the lower bunk.”

Thanks for all the great ideas! - Heloise



Dear Heloise: It was always a fight to get my son to wear a helmet while riding his bike. To make it “cooler,” I got some cheap craft foam, and we decorated it to look like a dinosaur. We painted it and used double-sided tape to put it on his helmet. Now he wears his helmet, but I do have to remind him once in a while. - Cathy, via email



Dear Heloise: Sometimes I forget to put in my hearing aids as I dash out the door. I wrote a small note on neon-colored paper that says “REMEMBER,” and taped it right above the handle on my storm door. Reminds me every time. - A Reader, via email


Show You Care - Don’t Tear!
July 23, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about magazines in waiting rooms:

“One of my greatest aggravations is, while browsing through a magazine in a waiting room, turning to a recipe or article, only to find it missing. I have never had a staff member refuse to make a copy of the desired information for me. Everyone wins when taking home info by this method.”
- R.W. in Center Point, Texas

It would be nice if others were courteous about NOT tearing out pages from magazines like that! Your hint asking the staff to make a copy probably is not a problem. Depending on how busy they are and the office policy, most will help. Or, note the magazine and recipe name, then when you get to a computer, look it up on the magazine’s website. Most are posted. - Heloise



Dear Readers: Other uses for paper coffee filters:

* Absorb grease when cooking bacon.

* Hold a crispy taco to prevent a mess

* Strain liquid out of a bottle with a broken cork.

* Place over food when heating in a microwave.

* Catch ice-pop drips with one.

- Heloise



Dear Heloise: My boys and I go camping a lot during the summer. Problem is, the ice cooler really smells musty when we get it out for the next trip. I hose it out every time, but still it’s pretty bad.
- Bruce E., via email

Your first step is good, but it needs to be CLEANED with soap and water, too. Fill it with water, add a squirt of dish soap and scrub with a scrub brush, or even a plastic broom. Rinse well, then turn upside down to dry. Here is the secret: Before storing, sprinkle half a box or so of baking soda inside. This should help absorb any odors that seem to linger. Dump out the baking soda, and you are ready to go. Don’t you just love baking soda? If not, you should, because it has so many safe and green uses around the house and garage. Want to find out how else I use it? Order my pamphlet.

To receive, go to my website,, or send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.

Going on a long hike? Sprinkle some baking soda on your feet before you put your shoes and socks on. This will keep your feet fresh and dry all day.
- Heloise



Dear Heloise: I try on clothes a lot before buying them. When trying on tops, it can be tricky to get the garment on without getting any makeup on the shirt. When I go shopping, I stuff a scarf in my purse. I slip it over my head and face before putting on a garment. No makeup gets on the garment, which I am sure the salespeople and customer buying it appreciate. - M.N., via email

A light problem at the movies

July 16, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about children and movies:

“When you go to the movies, they tell you to turn off cellphones, etc. But little kids with the lights on their shoes are very annoying - worse than cellphones.

“The children don’t sit still. Please ask parents to be aware of this.”
- Jerry, via email

Who would have “thunk” it, that sneakers could disrupt a movie? But if they have lights on them, they can.
- Heloise

P.S.: For adult moviegoers, turn off the cellphone! It’s selfish to sit there texting during the movie. The light from your cellphone is distracting to others.

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Items to use to check a cake in the oven:

* Corn-on-the-cob holders.

* An uncooked piece of spaghetti.

* A knife.

* A hot dog or marshmallow skewer.

* A chopstick.

- Heloise


Cleaning a vacuum

Dear Heloise: I have a bagless vacuum and empty the container every time I vacuum. But it just seems it’s never really clean. - Kari G., via email

There seems to be a divide on bagless vacuums. Some love them; others don’t. I’m in the “don’t” category. Most have a filter (or two) that needs to be cleaned, depending on the amount of use and how much dirt the vacuum picks up. Filters should be “dusted”off and rinsed under hot, running water. Don’t use dish soap unless the manufacturer recommends doing so. If not completely rinsed out, the soap can leave a fine film behind that then clogs the filter. - Heloise

P.S.: I have a bagless vac sitting in my garage, waiting to be adopted!


Lovey love

Dear Heloise: When my son was young, he had a favorite blanket that he carried everywhere. When he got older, he didn’t want it. I put it on a shelf in his room as decoration. Every once in a while, he asks me to get it down for him as a security blanket on bad days. - Greta in Texas


Sick room

Dear Heloise: When someone in my house is sick, I change the sheets and pillowcases every day. I feel it reduces the chance of spreading the illness. If you are trying to get better but are lying on a pillowcase that is full of germs, it may prolong the ailment. - Vivianne, via email

Vivianne, it certainly can’t hurt to change the sheets daily. Do keep in mind: If the person is not sharing a bed, those “germs” probably are not going to re-infect that person. Changing only pillowcases daily would cut down on the amount of laundry that needs to be done. Unless the sick person is throwing up or otherwise not able to control bodily functions, the bottom and top sheet could be changed every three to four days.

If you are concerned about the spread of germs, wash the linens in a separate load of laundry with the correct amount of chlorine bleach indicated on the bottle. - Heloise

Ads shouldn’t toot their horns!

July 10, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about radio advertisements:

“I listen to FM radio (Heloise here: not satellite radio) while driving. My Sound Off is about commercials from car dealerships that use a car horn in the ads. Do they realize how distracting that can be while driving? I hear a car horn while driving and get into defense mode, expecting that some collision is inevitable. Lay off the horn!” - L.G. in San Antonio

Good point - don’t need another LOUD, distracting noise while driving, especially one that is associated with driving! Don’t get me started about the LOUD siren sound effect! I’m ready to pull over, thinking it’s an ambulance or firetruck! - Heloise


Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a wine rack:

* Use to store rolled magazines.

* Use to store wrapping paper.

* Use to hold skeins of yarn.

* Attach to wall to hold scarves.

* Roll guest hand towels and store for bathroom.

- Heloise



Dear Heloise: I have recently been diagnosed with an allergy to fragrance. I had no idea how much fragrance we use! I’m having difficulty finding cleaners. I need products for glass and bathrooms. I’ve seen you come through before, and I’m counting on you. - Mary Ann S., via email

Mary Ann, thanks for the vote of confidence. Many of my readers seem to be developing allergies to fragrances. I don’t know what’s up, but I’m here to help. I’ve always said that most cleaners you need in your home can be made at home! Here goes with a short list.

For glass or mirrors, try a simple rubbing-alcohol-based cleaner. Mix 1/4 cup of isopropyl alcohol (70-90 percent) in a quart of water. Use an empty spray bottle and LABEL CLEARLY.

For the bathroom, use the above for counters and sinks. If there is a little mold or mildew, use hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) to banish it away. You can pour it on a paper towel, or put it in a spray bottle. For most surfaces, a drop or two of dish soap into 8 ounces of water works.

These are very mild, and safe to use. Want to know what other cleaners you can make at home for just pennies? Order my pamphlet that is full of homemade cleaners. To receive, go to my website,, or send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cleaners, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Prevention is better than curative, so quick-clean sinks, counters and even the toilet every few days rather than once a week. - Heloise

P.S.: Run the toilet brush around the commodes daily to prevent lime buildup.


Phone pocket

Dear Heloise: I was constantly “losing” my cellphone in my purse! I had a small cloth pouch that held my phone. I did a quick stitch and sewed it into the cloth interior near the top. Now I can find in quickly.
- Norma F. in San Francisco

Conveying a germ concern

July 5, 2015

Dear readers: Here is this week's SOUND OFF, about food conveyor belts at grocery stores:

“My Sound Off is about grocery stores encouraging me to put the small plastic basket on the conveyor to unload my groceries. My concern is the unsanitary practice this is. The baskets have been on the floor, thereby potentially transferring filth and germs to the same surface that food items are placed on. We live in a ranching community - use your imagination as to where shoes and boots might have been!”
- Donna in Greycliff, Mont.

No need to think much to guess where that footwear may have been. However, the conveyor belt itself is not the cleanest, either. Most food is packaged, and we are taught to rinse fruit and veggies before eating. That said, simply tell the checker you want to leave it in the basket. - Heloise

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a coin purse:

* Make a mini sewing kit and store inside it.

* Store extra buttons in one.

* Make a mini first-aid kit with it.

* Keep extra bobby pins or hair clips in one.

* Store business cards in one.

- Heloise


No-slip sheet

Dear Heloise: I, too, was frustrated with the top sheet coming untucked. So I came up with a solution. All you need is an old pair of rubber flip-flops. Simply tie a corner of the sheet to the toe strap of the flip-flop and slide it under the corner of the mattress. Do the same on the other corner. It works great!
- Regina, via email

Brilliant! I love it, and you for sharing. I have “satin” sheets (on my side of the bed), and I've done just about everything! - Heloise


Writing supplies

Dear Heloise: When my brother deployed, we wanted to keep in touch with him. The first care package I sent included a box of envelopes (several pre-addressed to me), a package of paper and pens, also a sheet with the addresses of friends and family he might want to write. I sent it to him by email, but wanted a “backup,” just in case. He wrote notes to Mom and Dad, and to me. He said how much a real letter (on paper) meant to him. Email is great, but it's just not the same as seeing an envelope.
- Chrissy in Arlington, Va.

Chrissy, when I sent care packages, I included paper airplanes, jacks and playing cards. I saved weeks of the comics from the newspaper to “stuff” the box. Don't forget the fun things. - Hugs, Heloise


Pill protector

Dear Heloise: I used a hint about carrying a small supply of daily medication in your purse in case you forget to take it. I used a weekly pill divider. The problem is the pills rattle and make noise in my purse. I had an extra-soft eyeglass case and slipped the pill divider into it to muffle the sound. - Ingrid in Florida

Why Do These Things Rust?

June 24, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week's SOUND OFF, about items rusting:

"My Sound Off is about things that are supposed to get wet, but when they do, they get rust. I've enclosed a photo. (Heloise here: The photo shows a string mop, with a metal ring about a third of the way down. Rust city!) I have rust on my bathroom basin and washing machine. Whoever made these products, didn't they know they would get wet?" -- Kathleen H., Camp Hill, Pa.


 Kathleen, I am as outraged as you. Call the manufacturers right now! This is absolutely ridiculous! The metal ring around the mop is rusting? Huh? SHAME! Fight back. Call the manufacturer; take the mop back to the store. DON'T buy that brand again. -- Heloise

 Dear Readers: Other items to use as a jewelry stand:

* A coffee-mug holder.

* A cupcake stand.

* A large frame with a screen in it.

* A corkboard with decorative thumbtacks.

* A small branch from a dead tree.

  I love the last hint! Eco-friendly, unique and simple to do. Give me a can of spray paint, red or black, for my bathroom (blue for the guest bath) and I'm ready to create. Oh yes, don't like the way the color turned out? Just spray over it with a new one. How simple, cheap and fun! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: As usual, you came through with wonderful hints for Carolyn from Texas. She had a spoon collection, many from her 30 years of teaching school.

Rita in Idaho wrote: "She can make wind chimes, rings or napkin rings with them. She also can top a kitchen gift as an ornament, or attach them to a wreath."

S. Kangas in Philip, S.D., wrote: "My daughter received several from her grandmother, and she used ornament hooks to put the little spoons on her Christmas tree. She thought of her grandmother every time she looked at the tree."

Stacy in New Hampshire suggested: "Why not use her spoons as handles on her drawers, cabinets and other 'handles' throughout the house? This way she can revisit her travels every time she opens something." Heloise here: Love this! Talk about happy memories every time you see or open a cabinet.

Catharine in Connecticut wrote: "Buy a glass-top table, coffee table or end table, and use a mounting underneath. Place them there with some soft lighting -- what a conversation piece."

 Keep sharing your hints, folks! -- Hugs, Heloise



Dear Heloise: Don't throw away that old iron and ironing board! Keep them for crafting. I needed a new iron (the old one worked, but was beat up and dingy). I use the old one as my crafting iron. This way, the new one doesn't get gunked up when I work on my sewing projects. Iron-on patches, fusible webbing, etc., can gunk up an iron pretty quickly! -- Terry B., via email

Leave alone the dogs of work

June 18, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about service dogs:

“My wife has a cute little (38 pounds) miniature schnauzer mix. This dog alerts her to low blood sugar and does several other things for her. My area of concern is those adults who feel they have to pet this dog. Roy (the wonder dog) wears a vest in public with patches that state he is a ’’service dog’ and ‘please don’t pet me, I’m working.’ Yet people just have to reach out and touch him.

“I was brought up that you never touch another person’s dog without asking! People, please read the vest and ask permission to touch/pet, and if permission is not granted, don’t get upset.”
- Pete S., Fredericksburg, Va.

Give Roy a pet from me, with your permission, of course! I’ve written about this for years! It’s tempting, folks, but PLEASE ask before even approaching. Service dogs are in WORK MODE, and that means they protect and take care of their person. Don’t distract service dogs, no matter how adorable they are. Would you want to be “petted” while you are driving in heavy traffic? - Heloise


Fast facts

Dear Readers: Other uses for clean foam takeout containers:

* As a paint tray.

* Store leftovers.

* Start seedlings.

* As packing material.

* Use in arts and crafts.

- Heloise


Itchy insect bites

Dear Heloise: You printed a hint about using baking soda for minor insect bites. We always have a box in our camping gear, and one when we go to the beach. We used it once for a sting from a jellyfish someone stepped on. - Tom A., Clearwater, Fla.

Tom, baking soda is super for little insect bites. Please note: For jellyfish, DO NOT rinse with tap water. Make a paste of seawater and baking soda, pat it on the site and let sit. Then rinse with seawater. Baking soda is a miracle product that can be used for so many different purposes. Want to know what else I use it for? Order my baking-soda pamphlet. Go to my website,, or send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. A little itchy after gardening? Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to soothe your skin.
- Heloise


Dog bed

Dear Heloise: I have beautiful Labrador retriever, Buddy, who is 6 years old and 105 pounds, and still gets into mischief. I purchased several dog beds, only to find them ripped to shreds. I have a 5- by 7-foot throw rug and place it on top of a foam bed. He finally just lies on it without destroying it. - Sandra S., via email


Pine cones

Dear Heloise: I have big pine cones that I lay in potted plants. It discourages our cats from playing in them. When I “water” the cones thoroughly when watering the plant, they close up when wet. When they open up, I know it’s time to water. - Marilyn G., Conway, Ark.

People ponder pill packs

June 11, 2015

Dear Readers: Wow, those annoying “BLISTER PACKS” of pills are really causing blisters! So many responded to the Sound Off about medication in the blister packs! Most emails and letters shared hints on how to get the medication out. Some suggestions were: Carol B., a seam ripper; Bayne P., scissors; Susan G., a dental hook; and Lynnette, a letter opener. One reader, Jeanine R., said the pharmacy will repackage the pills if asked.

The following letter is from Jack B., who shed some light on the subject from the other side of the counter - the manufacturer. I had to edit for space, but the message is still clear:

“I worked in the pharmaceutical industry until my retirement. Making packaging easy to open, especially for the elderly or those with arthritis, has always been an issue. This kind of packaging is actually more expensive than putting the meds in a bottle. So why do the drug companies do it? There are several reasons: 1. Some meds degrade faster than others, and keeping them hermetically sealed until they are opened ensures their potency. 2. Individually packaged meds make it easier for users to see if they have taken their dose each day. 3. As you stated in your response, individually packaged meds are virtually childproof. It’s a fine balance to achieve these goals and still make the meds easy to get out. It is a nuisance, but I think that the benefits outweigh any inconvenience.”

Jack, thank you for the confirmation and your insight! It makes a lot more sense now why companies put the medicines in these packages. We still may not like it, but we can at least understand the situation. Two other readers shared good points:

From Joyce: “When my mom went into assisted living, the meds were required to be in blister packs. The staff administers the pills, and all remaining pills must be accounted for. Counting the blisters is more sanitary and efficient.”

From Kay: “I cut the packs into strips, with seven pills in each strip, and then use these as a ‘weekly’ amount. I can see if I’ve taken them all by just counting Monday-Sunday.”

- Heloise

P.S.: Keep pills in ANY container, pillbox or blister pack OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN! Don’t keep them on the kitchen table or counter if small children are around.



Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a magazine holder:

* Use it to store plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc., in the kitchen.

* Keep flat irons, curling irons, etc., in one.

* Put extra rolls of toilet paper in one if it is wide enough.

* Keep children’s artwork in one.

* Put in a pantry as a place to store canned goods.

- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I was brushing my teeth after drinking coffee when I noticed how stained my cup was from coffee. I put a dab of toothpaste on a paper towel and cleaned the cup. It came out sparkling clean!
- A.H., via email

Cans don’t measure up

June 4, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about the downsizing of canned products:

"I have a Sound Off: the downsizing of canned foods, especially cream soups. The smaller sizes mess up a lot of recipes I use them in. I usually double the recipes and have been adding another can of soup, which makes things a little more soupy than they should be.”

- Beverly in Little Rock, Ark.

Beverly, the can size (or volume) has shrunk through the years. Are you using an old recipe? If you are doubling the ingredients to make two batches, the smaller size should make it less soupy rather than more. Most call for condensed soup. If you are using the regular soup, then yes, it’s probably going to be soupy. Readers, can anyone help Beverly?

- Heloise


Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are other uses for fabric scraps:

* Tie around a circular form and make a wreath.

* Cut up and use as stuffing for a pillow.

* Cover buttons or pushpins.

* Make gift tags or bookmarks.

* Use to make a patchwork throw.

- Heloise


Rust begone!

Dear Heloise: What would you suggest is the best way to clean rust off a wrought-iron garden piece? It’s too big to dip or soak. If I sand it down, can I just cover it with a rust-preventing product? Won’t the rust just come back?

- L. Vela, via email

Sounds like you are thinking in the right direction! Rust is not just an ugly sight, it’s the metal being dissolved. Do sand down as much as you can without harming the piece. Next, vinegar to the rescue! You will need a lot, so buy a gallon or two of plain old white or apple-cider vinegar.

Next, place some old towels or a lot of paper towels over the rust spots, pour on the vinegar and let it soak. Check once in a while, and when you see the rust coming up on the towels, pour on more vinegar! Keep at it until you have removed as much as possible.

Hose down the garden piece. Let dry, and you should be ready to paint with a paint that inhibits rust. Vinegar can work wonders on a lot of household problems. Want to find other solutions with this one simple bottle? Order my pamphlet to find out what else you can do with vinegar.

To receive, go to my website,, or send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.

Have a rusty padlock that no longer opens? Soak it in some vinegar to get it working again.

- Heloise


Careful for coupons

Dear Heloise: Don’t forget to check the back of your receipts! Stores often print coupons on the back of receipts for their store or other stores. Coupons are a great way to save money and stretch your budget!

- G.N. in Texas

Stop Before You Go

May 28, 2015

Dear Heloise: If you are going to stop your newspapers and mail for a vacation, use the “stop date” as the day BEFORE you leave. That way, you can be sure the stop order went through. I can’t tell you how many times the stops did NOT occur on the day I had selected.

Love your column. I read it in the Orange County (Calif.) Register. This is the second hint I have sent to you. The first was published years ago!

-  Gayle P., via email

Gayle, thanks for the good advice and for being a longtime reader. If possible, ask a neighbor or friend to drive by your home while you are gone and pick up any papers or fliers that are in the driveway. A few days of piled-up newspapers in a driveway is a clear indication to burglars that no one is home.

-  Hugs, Heloise


No water necessary

Dear Heloise: I read (and love) your column in our paper and am responding to the hint about keeping a bottle of water handy for rinsing the liquid-detergent bottle cap. My hint is to rinse the bottle cap in the water that is filling the washing machine. No extra water needed!

-  Irene in Lansing, Ill.

Here is another hint I use: Just toss the cap (it’s plastic) into the washer along with the laundry.

- Heloise


Shredded paper

Dear Heloise: Many people use shredders at home to safely get rid of personal information. My attempts at using this material as mulch have not been very successful. Do you have hints for recycling this paper so it does not go into landfills?

-  Robert S., via email

Sure do, and thank you for asking:

* As packing material when sending packages.

* In a cat-litter box (especially after a cat has had surgery or been declawed).

* Before mulching an area, layer with shredded paper and then wet thoroughly.

* Recycle shredded materials in the paper recycling bin along with newspapers.

-  Heloise


Screen saver

Dear Heloise: My screen door leads to the patio and is opened and closed frequently. Sometimes I leave it open, but when I close it, because the screen is so fine, I run into it. I’m concerned this will loosen the screen from the frame. I put a 2-inch piece of tape, eye level, on the screen. Now no more worry about hurting the screen door.

-  Dorothy B., Paso Robles, Calif.

Ouch! That can hurt you, too! I’ve used a pretty butterfly decal as a warning sign on our screen door.

-  Heloise


Keeping shoes tied

Dear Heloise: I learned this hint about tying shoes from my neighbor: When you make the bow, just loop the second “rabbit ear” under twice, and the shoe will stay tied until you pull the ends to untie them. Your column I read today reminded me to share the simple things that make life easier.

-  Jo-Ann F. in San Antonio

Bad Ads Make Viewer Mad

May 21, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about television programming and commercials:

“In TV commercials, why is bad behavior being flaunted? Children destroying car paint, jumping on an open dishwasher door, jumping on beds, etc. The children get a grin and a pat on the head like it is OK.”

- Wynell M., San Angelo, Texas

How right you are! I see a few like you mentioned and think, “Hey, those parents are going to really have trouble later on.” You can write to complain to the advertiser. Don’t know if it will help, but it might if enough people do it. If you see bad behavior while watching the commercial with children, maybe point out that it is just silly TV, and that is NOT how we behave. - Heloise

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Other uses for DVD cases:

* Put a pad of paper on one side and place coupons inside for shopping.

* Download videos or pictures to a CD and hand out to family.

* Carry photos in so they don’t get bent.

* Use as a practice writing surface for kids with a dry-erase marker.

- Heloise


Carts in handicapped spaces

Dear Heloise: I sympathize with the lady who uses carts left in the handicapped spaces to replace her walker. But people need to keep in mind that the handicapped spaces are for wheelchairs exiting vehicles.

When the lift is deployed and is blocked by a shopping cart, the driver cannot exit the vehicle, thus negating the reason for the extra space. Perhaps a smaller cart return specifically for the handicapped area would make it easier for those who use the handicapped spaces to return their carts. Also, anyone who wishes to pick up a cart on the way into the store can do so.

- D.S.M., Springfield, Ill.

Thank you for the good reminder! Sometimes we think we know what’s best, until we learn the other point of view. Having been on crutches and a cane for many, many months (from a motorcycle wreck where a car hit me!), I know the difficulties getting around. Getting in and out of the car was, well, a pain!

- Heloise


Sticking drawers

Dear Heloise: We have an old dresser, and the drawers don’t move smoothly. Do you have a remedy for this?

- Ida F., via email

Absolutely, and it’s easy to remedy. If the runners are metal, simply spray a little lubricating oil on them. Then open and close the drawer several times to get good coverage. Do not use cooking spray in a can - it will make the slides sticky over time.

If it’s wood on wood, don’t use oil! Use an old candle, and rub the wax on both the drawer slides and inside the dresser.

- Heloise


Planning ahead

Dear Heloise: When we go on a family outing, we always talk about where we will meet in case one of us gets separated.

- Loren M., Reno Nev.

Some ATMs are loudmouths

May 13, 2015

Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND ON, about ATMs:

“I like ATMs that don’t sound out the amount of money you are getting and instead just spit it all out at once. It is a safety issue for me. You never know who is nearby. If they hear the machine spitting out 10 $20 bills, they know that you now have a bunch of cash on you.”

- I.G., via email

It is important to be safe when using an ATM, and this certainly is a consideration.

Guess it’s time to scout out the machines that don’t announce how much money you are getting! You can put your hand over the speaker to muffle the sound, if needed.



Fast facts

Dear Readers: One-time projects to spiff up the house:

* Buy hangers for water hoses.

* Clean or paint the front door.

* Replace hardware on kitchen cabinets.

* Get a new mailbox.

* Buy new pillows for the couch.



Caregiver helper

Dear Heloise: I was the caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient. A co-worker’s father-in-law (also an Alzheimer’s patient) decided he would drive and took the car out. He was later found out of gas at the side of the road. I took my friend to the hardware store and had the car key remade to look the same, but just not work.

- Jane T., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Jane, thankfully it turned out all right and he was not hurt. It is very difficult to deal with loved ones in situations like this. The most important issue is keeping them safe! This is one way to circumvent the potential problem without having to take the keys or sell the car, which can be hard on both parties.

-Hugs, Heloise


Transferring flour

Dear Readers: Why make a mess when transferring flour when you don’t need to? Here are just a few of the many hints you sent, responding to our Sound Off:

From Melanie T. in New Orleans: “My solution is simple: Lift a corner and use scissors to cut it off. You now have a spout to pour flour, sugar, cornmeal or coffee without spilling a drop. If you don’t empty the bag, just fold the corner back, roll down the bag and put a rubber band around it to keep it sealed. Thanks for the great column.”

From Ruth M., via email: “Here’s what I do: I place the container on a paper towel. If any spills, I just pick up the paper towel and dump back into the container. No waste or mess!”

I just plop the bag into a large zip bag!



Save money

Dear Heloise: Once you have one of those lightweight mops with the disposable cloths, why waste money buying the new cloths? I use an old/stained washcloth. It holds water and cleaning solution better anyway. Just toss it in the washer and reuse.

-Bonny S., Summerfield, Fla.









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