Calendar pages make great place mats

DEAR HELOISE: To make beautiful place mats for your table and to help keep your tablecloth clean, use last year’s calendar pictures and put two months back to back. Have them laminated with heavy plastic. They are so pretty and durable. If you get tired of one picture, turn it over for another picture for a while. — June Bomar, Abilene, Texas

Ladder mitts

DEAR HELOISE: I read in The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post about using oven mitts on a ladder. I used to own a lumberyard and we sold lots of “ladder mitts,” which fit on the top of most ladders. They are still sold in home-improvement stores. — Joseph Berlinger, Lake Worth, Fla.

T-shirt pillow

DEAR HELOISE: I am going to college this fall, and my mom and I made a pillowcase for my body pillow out of my old T-shirts. It is a really easy and cute way to preserve memories with your old shirts. The shirts fit around the pillow, so you just cut the part with a design in a strip and sew it together with other bands so the pillowcase is made of wide bands of T-shirts. — Chelsea in Houston

Easy sheet ID

DEAR HELOISE: To save time, I have marked each set of sheets in my linen closet. I use a permanent black marker. On the tag of the sheets, I mark “Q” for queen, “F” for full, etc. No more pulling sheets out of the closet to find out what size they are. — Dorothy Jones, Youngstown, Ohio

Putting odor on the run

DEAR HELOISE: Do you have a cure for odor in running shoes? — Pat, via e-mail

DEAR PAT: Smelly shoes can be … well, stinky! Hot weather, perspiration, wearing them daily as well as not letting them air out all can contribute.

You can deodorize and help neutralize odor by sprinkling 3 or 4 tablespoons of baking soda in each shoe. Let it sit for several hours or overnight, and then just dump it out.

Some tennis shoes can be washed in the washing machine, but not leather shoes! Stains should be treated and the laces need to be removed, and then they are ready. Wash using the cold-water cycle. You can either let the shoes air-dry or put them into the dryer (add three or four towels) using the “cool air” cycle only.

Also, giving the shoes a spray of foot antiperspirant/deodorant before wearing should keep odor at bay.

For a preventive measure, you can use cat-box filler. Create a pouch by stitching up 6-inch-by-8-inch rectangles, right sides together. Turn the pocket right side out and fill three-fourths full with clay cat litter. Then sew the top closed. Slip this pouch into your shoes when you store them. The litter will sop up any moisture and also neutralize the odor. Keep the litter-lined shoes away from Fluffy so she won’t get confused. — Heloise

Fun accessories

DEAR HELOISE: I love to wear accessories for holidays and have quite a collection. The problem was how to find them for the appropriate holiday. I bought storage containers that hold jewelry and hang up in the closet with varying sizes of pouches, and all with clear vinyl.

One holds all red, white and blue socks, jewelry, watches, etc. Another holds Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s and Thanksgiving. If you have vests and clothing, you could put them in clear garment bags and have your jewelry inside. — Barbara Nuss, Sacramento, Calif.

Safety-pin reminder

DEAR HELOISE: When you have a stain on clothing, before washing, place a safety pin on the area, then use your stain-removal process. At the end of the wash, you will easily be able to ascertain whether the stain has come out before putting it in the dryer. — Pat, via e-mail

Shoe selection

DEAR HELOISE: I store my shoes in plastic shoe boxes. Since the boxes are stacked, it is not easy to see the shoes clearly. When I get a new pair of shoes, I take a digital photo and enlarge it to fit the end of the box. I use clear tape to secure the photo on the box.

Now I can tell at a glance the style and color of the shoe. — Mazelle in Mississippi

Gift-wrap organization

DEAR HELOISE: Tired of rolls of gift wrap loosening on the roll, I bought a package of the larger, stretchy ponytail wraps and slid them on my gift-wrap rolls. They work like a charm. — Jeannine from Montana

Clothes hamper

DEAR HELOISE: Our laundry room is on the same level as our clothes hamper. I used to drag it to the washing machine. My husband put wheels on the hamper. Now it is easy to just roll it there. — Carolyn, via e-mail

Cleaning dog beds

DEAR HELOISE: In our home, we have three dogs and five dog beds. Dogs, as you know, shed, and the hair sticks to the dog beds. I used to wash and dry the beds, but they’d still have hair stuck to them.

Now, I toss them in the cold dryer for 20 minutes first, which knocks off the hair — it gets caught in the lint trap.

By then, they’re ready for the washer, there’s hardly any hair on them, and when they’re finally dried, there’s none! — Elliott Mitchell, Nashville, Tenn.

Hints from Heloise is syndicated by King Features Syndicate. Send great hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; by fax, 210-HELOISE (435-6473); or by e-mail,

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