Posted: November 21, 2013 at 2:34 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: I buy shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste in bulk. With a marker, I label the bottles before putting them away. For example, if I buy a package of five bottles, I label the first one “one out of five” and so on. When I do this, I don’t have to worry about buying too much or when I will need to buy more.

  • A Reader, via email

DEAR READER: A very good “inventory” system.

DEAR HELOISE: I received multiple fire-ant bites to my right foot. Over-the counter remedies were ineffective and short-lived against the blisters and the itching.

I used a half-gallon of cool water and a generous cup of white vinegar as a soaking solution. The effects of the soaking lasted many hours and could be repeated as frequently as needed.

  • Donna S., via email

DEAR READER: You have discovered one of vinegar’s amazing qualities. It is a natural antiseptic that can be used to stop the itching of not only fire-ant bites, but also wasp stings and other insect bites. You can pour vinegar on a cloth or paper towel and place it over the “bite.” Obviously, if you have an insect allergy, follow your doctor’s instructions on what to do if bitten. Next summer, remember to pack a small bottle of white vinegar in case of jellyfish stings. Unlike insect bites, pour over the sting - don’t apply using a cloth.

DEAR HELOISE: I moved into a new house a few years ago. Since I have vaulted ceilings, my kitchen cabinets do not have a soffit over them. I put some cute decorations on top of the cabinets. Several months later, I got up there to clean and was amazed at how dirty it was. I cleaned like crazy, then put waxed paper on top of the cabinets and put my decorations back. Now when I have to clean, it’s just the decorations. I pull off the old, dirty waxed paper and stretch out a new layer.

  • Nanci C. in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: A suggestion for readers who are in the process of moving, or plan to, would be to leave the instruction booklets for the appliances in their home. I have been stuck with a new stove and no clue on how to operate it. Now if I move, I will always keep in mind to leave the old instruction books for the next tenant.

  • A Reader, via email

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Weekend, Pages 37 on 11/21/2013