Put coffee baskets to new use

DEAR HELOISE: When I discard broken coffee makers, I keep the baskets. They make sturdy and virtually unbreakable scoops for dry pet food, cereal, hard candy, potting soil, aquarium stones and other household substances coarse enough not to escape through the center hole. Waste not, want not!

Sheila Beers, Argos, Ind.

DEAR READERS: In a recent column was a hint on cleaning dry-erase boards using baking soda. Here are some additional reader hints:

▪ “My solution that I have been using for at least a dozen years is baby wipes. They are easy to use and dispose of, and are safe for students to use.” – D.G. in Alabama

▪ “I’ve tried everything to clean mine and recently stumbled on a hint on the Internet of using toothpaste. I tried a small dab and rubbed it over the entire board, and it cleaned it to completely white. No residue, ‘ghost’ writing or anything.” – Laurie H., via email

▪ “I have found that plain old water in a spray bottle, wiped with soft paper towels, is the best cleaner to keep boards in prime condition. It might not work well if the boards have been abused through the years, but I have a set of 10-year-old boards in my classroom that look brand new.” – Patti Sanders in Arkansas

DEAR HELOISE: Every woman has pondered: “I’ve found the perfect dress, but now I need to find shoes to match.” Then they proceed to drag their new dress from shoe store to shoe store to find the perfect match.

Most dresses have two thin ribbons sewn into them. If the dress can manage to hang properly without the ribbons, simply snip them out and put the ribbons in your wallet or purse. Now when shopping for those perfect shoes, use the ribbons to help match your shoe selection.

Karen R., The Woodlands, Texas

DEAR HELOISE: You know those little plastic covers that protect nozzles on spray bottles and cans? They roll off the counter and onto the floor. I can’t find them (until I step on them). They just disappear into the pattern of the tile. Now I color the top of the cover with a marker or a dab of red nail polish. Makes finding it much easier.

Karen in Rhode Island

DEAR KAREN: I just toss them. No need for them for household storage or use.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a 1980s home with one step down to the living room. I have had many older people fall down the step.

I put three LED candles on the lower step, off to the side. This brings attention to the next step and has avoided accidents. The candles last six hours. After the event, they are turned off until the next event.

Victoria B., Colorado Springs, Colo.

DEAR VICTORIA: LED candles, which indeed are not candles but a safe, flameless alternative, are a smart choice for extra lighting that doesn’t pose a fire hazard.

Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 79500, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.