Living Columns & Blogs

Hints From Heloise: Reducing closet’s hangers can be done without waste

DEAR HELOISE: I volunteer at a thrift shop, and we have an abundance of plastic clothes hangers, which are becoming a problem. We don’t know how to rid ourselves of them, because the customers do not want them, and storage room is at a minimum. Any ideas for recycling or other uses for these hangers that seem to multiply overnight?

Bev A., Kerrville, Texas

DEAR BEV: Hangers (any type) just plain appear to hatch more all the time! Perhaps you can first call nursing homes, homeless shelters and elementary schools. Or, put 10 or so together with some pretty ribbon and give them away, if you can.

DEAR HELOISE: This year I am giving adult friends and family gifts in reusable shopping bags. Our grocery chain sells reusable bags in Christmas and holiday designs and colors for 99 cents. It also offers the bags in other attractive designs that could be used for birthdays and other occasions. The reaction, so far, has been rousing approval, and I’m happy to be doing a small part to save the planet.

S. Allison in Florida

DEAR S. ALLISON: Every “green” hint helps keep our planet green! I, too, tend to collect the seasonal tote bags from the store. They can be just so darn attractive!

DEAR HELOISE: I seem to collect wine carriers used by grocery stores for carryout. I buy several sparkling waters weekly, and the packer uses a new carrier each time. Convenient, yes, but an expensive heavy-duty cardboard item that needs to be thrown away.

While reorganizing my storage closet, it dawned on me that the wine carriers would be excellent for holding some of my prized breakables. I filled one with candlesticks that topple over easily. Another holds expensive bud vases securely.

J. Garner, Abilene, Texas

DEAR HELOISE: I was working in the yard and had to go back into the house. I didn’t want to take my shoes off. I took two plastic grocery bags that were in my pantry by the garage door and slipped them over my shoes. I was able to use the ties to tie them enough so that they stayed on my feet while I was in the house. It kept my floors from getting dirty and was easy to do.

Joan Copeland, via email

DEAR HELOISE: After struggling to get every last drop out of tubes of moisturizers, etc., I decided that the best way would be to cut the opposite end and use a cotton swab to retrieve the expensive cream.

Ann Kanowsky, Boca Raton, Fla.

DEAR HELOISE: I hate ironing shirts because it is hard to get in between the buttons. I was straightening my hair with my flat iron and wondered if it would work on my shirts. I used a LOW setting and ironed that little section with it. It worked!

Iona, via email

DEAR HELOISE: My husband and I went on a car trip to the East Coast this summer. He asked if there was anything in the car to cover up his left arm to protect it from the sun; he has had skin cancer. I cut the left sleeve from one of his worn dress shirts. It stayed in place quite well and solved the problem.

Sue R., Mount Vernon, Ohio

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