Fan in some savings

DEAR READERS: Want to save money on your energy bill? Have you thought about your ceiling fans lately? To use your fan in the wintertime is smart – it can help make you more comfortable.

The correct setting for a ceiling fan in winter is clockwise (when looking up), so the fan can push the warm air (hot air rises) down into the room. A properly set ceiling fan can keep you and your family more comfortable and help you save on your energy bill.

There is a switch on most ceiling fans that will change the direction of the blades. Check it out! You also can check the owners manual for guidelines the manufacturer suggests. – Heloise

Cheap sheets

DEAR HELOISE: Here is my favorite hint I want to share: Buy the most inexpensive dryer nonstatic sheets you can. Cut one sheet into six equal-size vertical strips. Use only one strip at a time with your clothes in the dryer. It will eliminate the static cling, and you’ve gotten six loads from one sheet in your dryer.

You’ve saved money and eliminated strong chemical perfume smells on your clothes. Your box of 50 sheets, times six loads, equals 300 loads; that’s more than a year’s worth! Love your column — I read it daily and use many of the hints sent in. — JoAnn A., Naugatuck, Conn.

DEAR JOANN: What a great money-saver. Cutting the sheets in pieces would make them kind of small, so you will have to test for yourself. — Heloise

Helpful apron

DEAR HELOISE: I found a little narrow apron (like a tool belt) with three deep pockets on sale, just what I was looking for. For me, forgetful sometimes while working around the house, it was perfect for my glasses and the phone. — A reader from New Jersey

Easy to handle

DEAR HELOISE: My husband had shoulder surgery and was in an arm sling for four weeks. To make reading the newspaper easier for him, I cut it lengthwise on the center fold, giving him individual pages to handle. We enjoy reading your column in The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette. – Susan F., Woodland Park, Colo.

DEAR SUSAN: I’m so glad he was able to still read and enjoy the paper. You never know what surprising piece of information you may discover. – Heloise

Save big bucks

DEAR READERS: Many of you ask for vinegar and baking soda hints, over and over. I can’t print them every day, so I have put them in handy pamphlets: Heloise Vinegar and Heloise Baking Soda. Each is only $5 and is filled with money-saving solutions. Please send a legal-size, self-addressed, stamped (64 cents) envelope to: Heloise-Vinegar or -Baking, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-5001. Cheap items to save money. – Heloise

Digital space save

DEAR HELOISE: I work late and record a lot of my favorite TV shows to watch later. I am always running low on DVR (digital video recorder) space. I have both high definition and regular TV channels. I found that if I record a show on the regular channel, it takes up less space on my DVR than a show recorded on the HD channel does. I can get more shows stored now that I figured this out. – Michael in Texas

DEAR MICHAEL: Good advice, and something I’ve learned to do also. Thanks for writing. – Heloise

Stealer squelcher

DEAR HELOISE: After a foiled break-in attempt at our home, the police did a walk-through with us to determine if anything was stolen or damaged. They noticed a key holder in the wall near the garage entrance. The police explained that even though this is a common practice, it is very unsafe.

When robbers enter a home, they look for items in sight — things they can grab and run with. They especially look for keys, because this gives them entrance into the home again, along with access to your cars, ATVs, boats, storage sheds, mailbox, etc. The police suggested we move the keys to inside a closet or cabinet – definitely out of sight. This may not be as convenient, but it’s much safer. – Beth in Texas

Furniture spots

DEAR HELOISE: My “favorite hint” was in your column recently. You suggested putting mayonnaise on white spots on furniture. I used it on a spot on my piano that had been there for about two years. I left it on overnight and wiped it off the next morning, and voilà — the spot was gone! What a great hint. Thank you so much. — Lucy in Texas

Candle band

DEAR HELOISE: Candle safety hint: When I light a candle, I put a rubber band on my wrist. Then, when I blow out the candle, I remove the rubber band. If I get ready for bed and find the rubber band still on my wrist, I know I forgot to blow the candle out.

Hopefully, this will help others. — Beverly in Pennsylvania

DEAR BEVERLY: Don’t use a too tight-fitting, thin rubber band around your wrist. This is a good way to remember a lot of things that need to done. – Heloise

Place for a pillowcase

DEAR HELOISE: Need a great use for an old pillowcase? Use it to cover clothes in the closet.

Snip a small hole in the middle of the stitched end and slip it over suit jackets and blouses to protect them from dust. The pillowcases are much better than dry-cleaning bags because clothes need to “breathe” to stay in good condition. — A Reader in Texas

Butcher-block cleaning

DEAR HELOISE: Here is how I keep my butcher block cleaned: I sprinkle salt on a damp sponge and scrub over the butcher block, then rinse well. To maintain the wood, I oil the surface with mineral oil (not vegetable oil), let it sit overnight and wipe with a paper towel. Good as new. – Bernie, via email

Easy-find remote

DEAR HELOISE: I was tired of replacing remote controls after they disappeared. So, now I paint part of each remote with bright-color nail polish, or I wrap colorful tape around them. I keep a decorative basket in the living room or den and try to put the remotes in there when not watching TV. – Angie, via email

DEAR ANGIE: Great idea! This would work unless, like one of my assistants, you have a Great Dane that buried the remote in the backyard. — Heloise

Fast facts

DEAR READERS: Empty potato-chip cans can be used:

n To store uncooked spaghetti or pasta.

n As a piggy bank. Cut a slit in the lid.

n As a gift container. Decorate and fill with cookies to give to a friend.

n To store crochet or knitting needles.

n To keep children’s small toys.

– Heloise

Trash cans

DEAR HELOISE: Here’s how I keep my trash cans clean and smelling fresh: After cleaning the inside trash can, I put a roll of new, heavy-duty garbage bags into the bottom. Then I place used fabric-softener sheets into the bottom of the outside garbage can and trash compactor. This will help to cover the bad smells. Problem solved. — Sharon Anne in Texas

Bed freshening

DEAR HELOISE: To freshen pillows and bedding, put them in the dryer on “air only” or “fluff.” Then add a relaxing fragrance: Pour a couple of drops of lavender or essential oil onto a paper towel and toss it in with the pillows or bedding. This works great in between weekly washing. — Sheryl, via fax

Lining cabinets

DEAR HELOISE: I always lined my kitchen cabinets and drawers with shelf lining. This was not a good idea, because the lining got dirty, wrinkled and had to be replaced often. Something had to be done.

I got an idea while in a dollar store. I saw stick-on tiles that came in all colors and designs. I told my husband, and he thought it was a great idea to use them to replace the shelf lining. He cut the tiles and placed them in all the cabinets and drawers. Now all I have to do is wipe them clean with a wet cloth. – Ann A., Staten Island, N.Y.

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 email, Heloise@Heloise.com.

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