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Dear Readers: You might pick a seat in the emergency exit row on the airplane because it has more legroom. That's understandable, but be aware that if you sit in the emergency exit row, you have to be prepared to help the crew, if necessary.

Here are some of the requirements that airlines have, which are in compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration:

  • Be able to read and understand printed instructions.
  • Be willing and able to follow commands from the crew.
  • Be able to communicate to other passengers.
  • You must have excellent eyesight and hearing.
  • You can't have pets or young children with you in the row.
  • The use of a seat belt extender in the emergency row is not allowed.

This is a partial list -- contact your airline before you board for a complete list of requirements. Safety is always priority one! -- Heloise

Downsized supplies

Dear Heloise: Senior citizens typically downsize and move into smaller homes. We bargain-shop and use coupons. But it seems sales and coupons today apply only to quantity buying!

Where do we seniors store eight rolls of paper towels, 48 rolls of toilet paper or two large bottles of laundry detergent, and why buy two dozen eggs to get one free? -- A Frustrated Shopper, Somerset, Pennsylvania

I totally agree! Stocking up may work for young, large families, but for seniors with limited space, a little goes a long way! Coupon-issuers, are you listening? -- Heloise

Texting tip

Dear Heloise: When I'm texting, I've found that it's quicker to type the lowercase "L" instead of shifting to make a capital "I." It looks the same. Just an observation! -- Jody W., age 14, Hammond, Indiana

Dandy discounts

Dear Heloise: I take full advantage of the concierge in hotels. Concierges know the discounts to shows, restaurants, amusement parks and even how to get services like dry cleaning, mail and spa appointments.

A concierge is a key player in the hotel staff -- use him or her, and tip if the service is extraordinary! -- Robin S., Fort Wayne, Indiana

Definitely make friends with the hotel staff, including the concierge. It's their job, and their passion, to help us have an enjoyable, fulfilling and safe stay at their property.

If you're a visitor, the hotel may be one of the few sites that represents the city you're in! I fully support the hotel industry -- I've been a road warrior and have been staying in hotels for over 40 years, carrying on my mother's dream of being every housewife's friend! -- Heloise

Gift return

Dear Heloise: When someone gives me cookies, a cake or candy in a tin or plastic storage container, I like to return the container full of another yummy treat. I just think it's good manners, and a nice gesture toward the original giver! -- Meredith R., Yuma, Arizona 

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for three-ring binders:

  • Store extra photographs in them, in plastic sheets.
  • Use sheet protectors to keep everything from news articles to birth certificates.
  • Keep special birthday and anniversary cards, theater tickets, etc., in one. -- Heloise 

On the road again

Dear Heloise: My husband and I love to travel by RV. During our trips, I discovered that a rolled-up washcloth or towel makes a great buffer to protect glassware. You even can use the smaller tissue boxes to put glassware inside and keep it safe. -- Sandy W., via email


Dear Heloise: We have very large family gatherings, and there's always a lot of leftovers. Instead of using plastic storage containers, we use large plastic bags to take home leftovers. Even liquid things like chili and stew work well in plastic bags that have a secure locking top. -- Candice H., Adams Mill, Indiana

Soft soles

Dear Heloise: I'm forever filing down my rough heels, but I found a way to keep my feet looking nice for warm-weather sandals: After I file down the rough edges, I rub a heavy mineral oil or petroleum jelly into my feet and put on a pair of cotton socks. I sleep with the socks on all night, and in the morning my feet are soft and smooth. -- Kelly A., Tucson, Arizona

Main turnoff?

Dear Heloise: When you are away from home for a period of time, it's a good idea to shut off the clothes washer's water faucets. I have experienced water leaks at the stem when you restore the water upon your return. This happens with older faucets that have been in the same position for a number of years. If it is handy to do so, turn the water off at the main, and this way, you take care of not only the washer, but the hot-water tank, dishwasher, ice maker and the rest of the water outlets in the house. Check with a plumber before turning off any water at the main source. -- Richard G., Kerrville, Texas

Travel list

Dear Heloise: Since I travel often, I'm always concerned that I'll forget something I will really need on my trip. So I created what I call my "permanent travel list" for those items I'll likely need on every trip. I just refer to it each time I pack for a journey. If it's out of the country, I have a "sub list" of things like passport, visas, travel insurance, etc. -- Paul P., via email

Baking soda tip

Dear Heloise: To remove product buildup on your hair, put a pinch of baking soda in the palm of your hand, then add your regular shampoo and apply to hair. Work up a lather from scalp to ends. Rinse well and use a good conditioner. Try it once a month or so, and no more hair spray buildup. -- Sandy M., Colorado Springs, Colorado

Cloudy glasses

Dear Heloise: We have hard water where I live, and my drinking glasses come out of the dishwasher all cloudy. My husband refuses to drink out of them because they look disgusting, but there's nothing wrong with them, so I hate to toss them out. Help! -- Sara B. in San Antonio

Sara, to remove hard water buildup on drinking glasses, try soaking the glasses in warm (not boiling) household vinegar for about an hour or two, then scrubbing with a nylon-net scrubber. If this doesn't work, the glass has been permanently etched, and unfortunately, there's nothing that can be done.

To find out more cleaning hints and tips using this inexpensive product you already have at home, order my pamphlet Fabulous Vinegar Hints and More by sending $5, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-5001. Or you can order online at Why should you use dangerous chemicals to clean when you have an environmentally safe and inexpensive cleaner in your cupboard? -- Heloise

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Labeling photos

Dear Heloise: A while back, someone wrote about labeling old photos with the identity of the people or the place where the photo was taken. Use a pen that is OK for archival use and, preferably, write on paper that is with the photo. But you never should write on the back of a photograph. -- Nancy T., via email

Nancy, by writing on the back of the photograph, the information is not lost. No one should press hard on the back while writing, but many people don't have the time or interest to do more than label the photo. -- Heloise

Toast and tea

Dear Heloise: Please remind your readers: When eating out for breakfast, providing that the service is friendly, prompt and attentive, tipping a little bit extra is a good idea.

The server most likely will be checking on you quite a bit, refilling coffee cups and clearing lots of dishes (if the meal is buffet-style).

Breakfast typically is the cheapest meal on the menu, but the servers still work really hard. Reward them! -- Ronald M., Tulsa, Oklahoma

Gym sock

Dear Heloise: When I'm at the gym three times a week, I don't bring valuable jewelry, etc., but I store any small items I don't want to lose in a designated stray sock.

I've stitched this sock into my gym bag so it won't get tossed into the laundry by mistake, and it works as a little storage pouch for my keys and wallet. -- Helen D., Erie, Pennsylvania

Mail call

Dear Heloise: I save some "junk mail" I receive, and I let my grandkids open the mail when they come to visit.

They feel important, having mail to open, and they can practice reading. Some of the mail comes with stickers or pretend credit cards, bookmarks and even coins from time to time!

The kids get a kick out of opening the mail; it's a fun thing for them to do. -- Celeste G., Helena, Montana

Two hints

Dear Heloise: When I receive an invoice in my email, I take a picture of it (a screenshot). The email can get lost or forgotten, but the picture on my phone is handy.

Also, our bank will not take coins unless they are rolled. I roll any spare quarters I may have, and take the other coins to a commercial counter. -- Carol in Fort Wayne, Indiana

By the way, you can get gift cards at those commercial counters, and there is no fee charged for one of these. -- Heloise

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; email: