The men speak out


Jan. 21, 2015


Dear Heloise: When I get an advertisement from lawyers, doctors or businesses on magnets, I don't throw them away -- I use them. I take a picture of a family member or pet that's about the same size. I paste it over the advertisement, then put it on my refrigerator. My family loves my collection, and I even send them to friends. - Earl Harmon, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

P.S.: I love your hints in the magazine (Good Housekeeping magazine - Heloise) and newspaper columns. The other day, I was at a home-improvement store to pick up supplies for a hint I read in your column. The salesman asked what I was making. He said, "What a great idea - did you think of it?" I couldn't lie and said I read it in your column. He said, "Wow ... I thought all those helpful hints were about making cupcakes." I think he is a follower now.


Careful tarping

Dear Heloise: Regarding placing a tarp over your car to easily remove snow: It may work on some cars, but it likely will destroy the luster on most. Snow is heavy, and on top of a tarp it can scratch your car. The more often you do this, the more scratches will accumulate.


To those wives whose husbands think they are too manly to read your articles: I'm a 55-year-old man who fishes, works on cars, operates heavy equipment and fixes almost anything. I not only learn something occasionally, but I enjoy reading your column. Thanks. - Dave in Dayton, Ohio


Dear Earl and Dave: Thank you both for writing and reminding folks that this column is not just about baking, sewing and housework. It's about life, and how to fix things, prevent and solve problems and take care of yourself.

It's amazing to me that there are still new hints to learn! Here are some Heloise do's and don'ts:

Don't put your cellphone in a microwave to dry it - yes, people have done this!

Don't use ammonia for a pet-urine stain - it smells like urine! It will attract the animal back to that spot.

Don't put fine crystal wineglasses in the dishwasher. It can scratch (etch) them.

Do recycle and reuse. Yes, newspapers are still good for the bottom of a bird cage, garbage can and to clean windows.

I'm still here testing, calling experts and researching hints for you. I'm the gal you can trust.

Thank you for continuing to read Hints From Heloise, and I hope I'll be here for you for a long time.
- Hugs, Heloise

Cotton balls

Dear Heloise: I take a lot of vitamins that come packed with cotton. I save the cotton to use with nail-polish remover. - Debbi in Florida

New gift might need some coverage

Jan. 15, 2015

Dear readers: Did you receive (or buy) a pricey piece of electronics, such as a new television, cellphone or DVD player, or lovely jewelry? You probably need to INSURE that added item. Most folks don't think about it, but now is the time to contact your insurance agent to see if you need to add a floater or adjust your policy.

A special floater covers property that you lose or that is damaged, whether in your home or away. Maybe a wedding ring falls down the sink at home, or while on vacation! Or that special camera gets broken by mishap beyond repair. Contact your insurance company today to find out what you may need to do to be covered. - Heloise


Helping hand

Dear Heloise: It used to be that ATMs and gas pumps swallowed your credit/debit card and spewed it out when your transaction was finished. Nowadays, most require you to insert and then pull the card out very quickly. Because of a medical condition, it takes me too long, and the transaction is canceled.

Now I keep a small pair of long-nosed pliers in the armrest and use them to hold the back of the card as I insert it and withdraw it immediately. - John S. in Delaware


Medication hints

Dear readers: In a recent column, a reader wrote about being asked to bring prescription bottles to every doctor visit. Other readers shared their hints:

Carol J. in Texas wrote: "When my mother lived with me, I kept a copy of her medications list on the refrigerator in case of an emergency. It could be retrieved quickly by the ambulance crew to take to the hospital."

Eleanore J. in New Hampshire wrote: "I always keep a copy of my and my husband's medical list, including doctors, medical histories and medications. I keep each list in a small, plastic bag, ready in case of emergency anywhere."

Becky H. in Texas wrote: "I have one son who is a firefighter, and another is a paramedic. They insist that I carry a list of my medications, with dosage. I carry this in an outside pocket of my purse. Firefighters and paramedics DO NOT like to go through a patient's purse or wallet to find medical information."

Dear Readers: Thanks to all who shared their helpful advice. This information is especially true if you or someone you care for has a serious medical condition. As to the "not like to go through a patient's purse or wallet," the first thing a responder will do is try to stabilize a patient. A purse, wallet or cellphone is not high on the list at that moment. However, the information will be helpful a little later on. - Heloise



Dear Heloise: I keep chain necklaces from getting tangled by rolling them onto foam hair rollers.
- Suzy K., Columbus, Ohio

Geographic suggestions

Jan. 9, 2015

Dear readers: Here are some of your responses to a past column about how to recycle or donate old National Geographic magazines. This topic must have hit home with many of you. Here goes:

Jill Wilson, via email, wrote: "Artists across the U.S. are looking for old National Geographics to use in making abstract paintings. The magazines are difficult to locate and would be of great use to crafts organizations or children's programs."

Betsy Creamer, via email, wrote: "Please consider veterans hospitals. They love them. We took 40 years' worth and were met at the door eagerly."

Jan in California wrote: "I have seen old National Geographic magazines for sale in antiques shops."

Al Bayless in Kihei, Hawaii, wrote: "I give them to a doctor or dentist to put in the waiting room. I once asked a doctor why he didn't subscribe to it for his office. He said, 'Because they are stolen so quickly.' So, please donate them." - Heloise


No bug bites

Dear Heloise: Make sure you check your boots, galoshes, etc., before you put them on your feet. Spiders and other insects could have made their homes in there. Spray them first with a bug spray. Insect bites can be very painful. - Bob Choolijian, Plaistow, N.H.

Bob, the first rule of camping or staying the night in a wilderness cabin is: Shake out shoes and boots! Don't just put your hand or foot into footwear! You never know what may have crawled in during the night.
- Heloise


Candy stirrer

Dear Heloise: I love this time of year, when the holidays have come to an end but there are plenty of leftover candy canes. I use them to stir my coffee and tea for an added hint of mint. - Jerry H. in Colorado

This is a resourceful way to use leftover holiday candy. As a coffee and tea drinker, I like to add a pinch of nutmeg, candies or cremes for different flavors throughout the year. I have many more hints in my Heloise's Flavored Coffees and Teas pamphlet to help make your coffees and teas tastier. To order one, please send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Coffees, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Other candies that can be dropped into a hot drink are lemon drops, red-hot cinnamon candies, peppermint candy and chocolate, of course! - Heloise


Party preparedness

Dear Heloise: I enjoy entertaining. Before my guests arrive, I put fresh rolls of toilet paper in each bathroom so that I do not have to deal with that common problem. - Anita N., via email

Anita, a good hint that I use myself. Put a fresh roll on, and store the half-roll under the bathroom sink.
- Heloise


Light holder

Dear Heloise: Save your empty paper-towel rolls to wind up the Christmas tree lights on. No tangles.
 - Susan in Huntington Beach, Calif.

A new year of giving

Jan. 5, 2015

Dear readers: Happy New Year! 2015 can be a good year for all of us, even if only realizing one small accomplishment, reaching a goal or simply getting through it.  I'd like to take a little space in my column to thank all of you for being loyal and supporting me. Your positive emails, letters, notes and comments when I get to meet you at a speech or just bump into you keep me going.

There always have been horrible and sad events going on around the world, and there will continue to be. However, each day is a chance to do something nice for family, co-workers, friends or the "anonymous" person you see at a fast-food restaurant. Hint from Heloise here: When it's time to pay for your food at the drive-thru and there's change left, give it to the "window person" and say "Thanks." Do the same for the counter person who takes your order. Don't forget housekeeping maids in hotels and motels - they are the workers behind the scenes and don't get tipped often.

Please know that I'm here to help you with the little bothers of life. Sorry, I don't have a hint for world peace. However, I do have one to keep raccoons and deer out of your yard: Use a kitchen spatula and a metal pan to make a fierce noise.

Start the day with a laugh if you can, and take care of those you care about and those who care about you. - Your friend, Heloise

P.S.: Here's another hint for the new year: If you have a large job to do (clean out the attic, garage or that closet!), do the worst part first, and the rest will seem easy.


Charge it

Dear Heloise: Are charger plates to be used on the table during a meal? I have been to very nice restaurants where the chargers were on the table when I arrived, only to be removed when the food was served. Which is correct? - Sharon H., via email

Both can be correct, and there is no law governing this! For those who don't know, a charger plate is an ornamental "dress up" plate and not to be used for food. Usually a salad plate or soup bowl is placed on top of the charger. Typically, a charger plate is either used during the meal or brought out with the main course. It already can be on the table as part of the setting.

There are many different types of "service," so unless you are dining with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London, I don't think you need to fret. - Heloise

*Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio,  Texas 78279-5000 or email to









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