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Dear Heloise: Please let your readers know that before they throw away old letters and diaries, they should give them to their grandchildren.

I'm the genealogist in my family, and these types of items are precious to us. -- Rita T., Kingwood, Texas

This would be a fun end-of-summer project - perfect for the weekend! Love reading old letters and greeting cards; so much more personal than a text or email!

But, as I've mentioned before, be sure that if it is your diary, there is nothing in it you wouldn't want someone else to read. -- Heloise

Tint hint

Dear Heloise: We live in a mobile home. The front door faces east and gets very hot with our summertime temperatures.

My husband thought of a solution. He went to the auto store and bought a roll of glass window cover. We put it on our storm door glass to lessen the sun's rays. -- Caroline B.H., Rootstown, Ohio

'Noodle of shame'

Dear Heloise: I've found a great alternative to the "cone of shame": I carefully cut a pool noodle lengthwise, slip my dog's collar inside and fasten the collar around his neck so I can slip two fingers in there comfortably.

This supports his head and will disallow licking of sutures, etc. My vet likes this idea. -- Ricky R., via email

Readers, ask your vet if this would work for your dog or cat. -- Heloise

Pools rule!

Dear Heloise: My daughter has a fenced-in backyard, and her dogs love being out there, even in hot weather. She has a kiddie pool of water for the dogs to get in and stay cool.

There is just enough water for them, and it's not too deep for the smaller dogs. This is a good idea for dogs to be comfortable and enjoy being outside in the summer. -- D.S., Lexington, Ohio

Just be sure to drain the water after each play session; mosquitoes can breed in standing water. -- Heloise

$20 challenge

Dear Heloise: I challenged my family to take a $20 bill into the produce section of the supermarket and come out with dinner.

It's not easy, and we wouldn't do it every night, but we got a nice salad, fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, and fresh corn on the cob. Delicious and healthy! -- Mary T. in Dallas

It's in the bag

Dear Heloise: A snack-size plastic bag with a zipper top can be used as an eyeglass case. Great for sunglasses on a beach; it keeps the sand out. -- Mary H., Arlington, Virginia 

Paper trail

Dear Heloise: How long should I keep savings account and IRA account statements? I've saved these since the accounts were opened years ago, and won't start taking from either account for 10 years.

The savings accounts are monthly, and the IRA statements are quarterly, so you can imagine how much paper I have! Can I shred these, or will I need them for the future? -- Maxine, via email

Maxine, great question! The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. ( suggests keeping bank account statements for 12 months. If there's a tax component to your savings account, save that record for seven years. Then shred away.

IRA statements are different. Hold on to your statements for the life of the account. When folks start withdrawing money from their IRAs, that is when problems can arise.

One way to reduce the paper pileup? Scan all the documents into a PDF file.

Always check with your tax adviser, CPA or the IRS. -- Heloise

Sticky situation

Dear Readers: Got a helium balloon that's floated to the top of your cathedral ceiling? Grab another helium balloon tied to a long length of string, and get some tape rolled sticky-side out. Adhere the tape to the balloon, and release enough string to meet the wayward balloon. Both balloons should come down together! -- Heloise

Purse police

Dear Heloise: I am a retired police officer and do the family grocery shopping. I've observed ladies' purses open in their shopping carts.

Purses should be closed to avoid theft of a wallet. Take the "seat belt" strap and thread it through the purse strap and click it. This will prevent a thief from stealing your purse and save you the frustration and angst of replacing its contents.

Should someone try to make off with the purse, the person will get only a few inches away, drag the cart, alert you to the attempt and abandon the theft. -- Jim C., Dayton, Ohio

The brushoff

Dear Heloise: Feeding hummingbirds is fun and rewarding, but keeping feeders clean is so important to prevent spreading disease.

The little feeding holes are hard to clean, but the tiny brushes designed to clean between teeth make the job easy. Find them in the dental supplies section. -- Janet L., Kellogg, Idaho

Sleep scent

Dear Heloise: When I'm getting ready for bed, I spritz on some light fragrance. The scent relaxes me, it's fresh and clean, and the sheets and pillows end up smelling good, too!

I'm not going to save my perfumes for just the daylight! -- Judy B., Anderson, Indiana

The implication?

Dear Heloise: In response to a recent hint, if you tell a woman "You look beautiful today," doesn't that imply that she didn't look beautiful at other times? -- Marge B., Colorado Springs, Colo.

Only if you infer it! -- Heloise

Stinky solution

Dear Heloise: I put any trash that has the potential to smell (shrimp shells, meat, poultry and fish, peeled eggs, etc.) into a zippered bag, and put it in the freezer.

When trash is ready to go out, I put it in the outgoing garbage. This saves our trash bags, because I don't have to empty the trash several times a week due to the smell. -- A Reader in Virginia

A classic Heloise hint! Love it. -- Heloise

Fake snakes

Dear Heloise: Regarding your recent post about bird waste on someone's water fountain: We had the same problem with birds sitting on our pergola (covered sitting area -- Heloise).

We put two rubber/plastic snakes on top of the pergola. Problem solved. -- Diane B., The Villages, Florida

Cane and able

Dear Heloise: My cane is good for more than stability: I use it to push my laundry basket from the bedroom to my laundry area, to pull the clothes from the back of the dryer, and to move clothes if they get stuck in the washer's agitator.

I also use it to smooth out the blankets when making my bed. I use the crook end to pull things out from under the bed or chair.

I even have been known to shake it at a naughty grandchild! Love your column. -- Big Red, via email

Readers, the primary importance is your balance. Make sure you can do these tasks safely. -- Heloise

No-flush list

Dear Heloise: I save store flyers and fold a few pages in my purse and also store some under my sink. Sure saves money on toilet paper for wrapping unmentionables. -- Sara, via email

Glad you mentioned it! Yes, these items should never be flushed. What else is on the "No-Flush List"? Dental floss, facial tissue, paper towels, "flushable" wipes, cotton balls and swabs. -- Heloise

Spilled pill

Dear Heloise: I found an old pill in the bottom of my purse. I wasn't going to take the pill anyway, but there was a number on it. I put that number into a search engine online, and it told me the name of the medication. Good to know! -- Tamara W. in Salt Lake City

Always be cautious of medication that you're not sure of the expiration date. -- Heloise

Give it the rub

Dear Heloise: My fine hair flies out with static electricity when I brush it. I've found that rubbing my hair with a fabric softener sheet makes it more manageable. -- Dr. Mary J., Katy, Texas

Dear Heloise: I discovered a cloudy haze on the inside of my car windshield. I tried commercial glass cleaner, only to smear the haze!

I thought, "I know what Heloise would suggest -- vinegar!" I used white vinegar with a microfiber cloth and then wiped the windshield again with plain water. It worked perfectly -- the haze was gone!

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I enjoy reading your column! Thank you for all your excellent hints and advice. -- Janene M., via email

Janene, isn't vinegar a dream? It's cheap, available, nontoxic and safe, and I've used it throughout my career. I've compiled my favorite vinegar hints and even a few yummy recipes into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It's easy! Visit to order, or send a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, together with $5, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. You're right on track with the microfiber cloth -- no lint left behind! -- Heloise

Size matters

Dear Heloise: To your readers: Please think about what size an outdoor plant will become, and plant accordingly.

That little tree will become a 50-foot giant that will cover your neighbor's roof.

The vine will find its way to your neighbor's eaves.

The creeping ground cover will creep its way over to your neighbor's yard.

Anything deciduous will shed its leaves.

I write this out of personal experience and frustration. I enjoy reading your column. -- A Reader, via email

Butt out!

Dear Heloise: I am a trash collector for my planet. A common thing found on our beach: cigarette butts.

As I walk my dogs, I use their doggie bags to pick up cigarette butts. I'm planning to get tin buckets to fill with sand, and I'll attach a laminated sign: "Put your butts here -- save the planet." -- Marilyn A., Santa Monica

Classroom culture

Dear Heloise: Here's my hint for getting ahead in school:

I always sit in the front row of the classroom, for the following reasons:

  • It's easier to see the blackboard.
  • I won't be distracted by other students.
  • I won't be afraid to ask questions. -- Gina T., Lubbock, Texas

This works for college, and for grade and high school, too. Never feel intimidated to ask questions. The question you ask is what everyone else is wondering, too! Sitting up front is a great idea. -- Heloise

Simple solution

Dear Heloise: I had bad headaches, and my doctor asked me if I'd ever been checked for TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).

Turns out, my jaws were out of line. My dentist made me a mouthpiece, and no more headaches! -- Candy S., Middletown, Ohio

Here's the takeaway: It's always good to look for the root cause of pain. Thanks for your letter, Candy. -- Heloise

Hidden symbol

Dear Heloise: It is refreshing to see that we are using more recyclable items, especially plastics. Most communities have recycle programs that make it easy for consumers to get on board with the recycle effort.

I have to wonder why container manufacturers hide the recycle symbol? It would be nice if there were some indication on the outside of the packaging that recyclable materials are inside. -- Don in The Villages, Florida

Good point! Look carefully for the recycling code. -- Heloise

Smelly scents

Dear Heloise: My dermatologist recommends that I use a moisturizer on my face to help with a skin disorder.

Why do men's moisturizers have such pungent scents? My guess is that most of us men prefer fragrance-free over the perfume smell that most manufacturers are using in their products. -- James Cobb in Texas

Ask your doctor if a moisturizer labeled for "Sensitive Skin" might work OK for you. These usually are fragrance-free. -- Heloise

Easy read

Dear Heloise: When faced with trying to read print that is too small to see easily on medications or products, take a picture of it with your smartphone and then use your fingers to enlarge the photo and text. -- Becky L. in San Antonio

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