Saving water, reusing old towels

Dear Heloise: I keep an empty plastic milk jug under my sink to collect the water from the faucet until the water gets hot. Then I use the saved water to fill the pet water dish, water plants and outdoor birdbaths.

And when I have an old towel that’s ready for the rag box, I cut a triangle from one or two corners so I can easily identify it after washing it. Thanks! — Julie T., Harrisonburg, Virginia


Dear Heloise: After cleaning the washing machine, I leave the lid up on the washer for an hour so that the insides can dry out, and it eliminates future odors. My mother, my daughter and I have never had washing machines with an odor because we leave the lids up for 30 minutes to an hour. (I prefer an hour.) — Pat Almquist, Marshall, Texas


Dear Heloise: If I received a wedding invitation like Brenda, from Missouri, did asking for money to attend the wedding, I would put the amount in a nice wedding card with a footnote that said: “Great idea! Now you can buy what you need, and the guests don’t have to shop for a wedding gift.” — Sharon, in California


Dear Heloise: In regard to the great tips provided by Jessica L., from Massachusetts, about decluttering, I’d like to add a tip of my own. She wrote: “Before you buy anything new to replace what you parted with, ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this? How will this make my life better?'”

In addition to those great questions, I always ask myself: “Do I have a place to store it?”

Thanks! I read your column daily in The Columbian. — Kathy E.M., in Washington


Dear Heloise: If possible, drill a very small hole in the caps of plastic-bottle products, such as apple vinegar and vegetable oil, to get the contents out quicker. If you can properly size the hole to match a round toothpick, the toothpick can be used as a stopper for the hole.

This method allows you to easily squirt the bottle’s contents onto salads or oil onto a frying pan. Matching the hole to a wooden barbecue meat skewer will allow a slightly larger flow. It’s not a good idea to punch the hole with an ice pick, as it might crack the cap.

I’m a reader and a lover of your column for many years. — E.M., in Ohio


Dear Heloise: Now that I’m retired, my wife and I like to travel, and we take our RV all over the country. However, we are both cardiac patients, so we also take a copy of our last electrocardiogram as well as a medical alert bracelet. And in our wallets, we have a sheet of paper that carries our blood types, emergency contact information, doctor’s names, addresses and phone numbers.

Our doctors are in Michigan, but either one of us could have a medical emergency while we are in another state or out shopping alone. You never know whether you’ll need this information or if you’ll have an emergency, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. — G.W., in Michigan

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000.


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