Posted: February 28, 2014 at 1:57 a.m.

DEAR READER: Many folks join gyms after the first of the year. Here are a few quick hints for not only finding the right gym for you, but also for being a good gym customer:

When looking into joining a gym, ask for a free trial. Some gyms will let you have a week free, or at least try a class to see if you like it.

Ask if they have any discounts. We all know the standard senior citizen and military discounts, but they may have more.

When working out, don’t take calls on your cellphone! If you need to keep it with you, put it on silent and call back later. Or step away to someplace where you can talk without bothering others.

Be aware of what’s going on around you. If you see people waiting for a machine or weights, don’t be a hog, and keep your time limited.

If taking a group exercise, be on time. If you know you are going to have to leave early, tell the instructor, and find a spot close to the door so you can slip out quietly.

DEAR HELOISE: After we complete the cycle on our clothes dryer, I take the fabric-softener sheets and stuff them into our shoes. They absorb the moisture and the odors. Recycle, and no cost.

  • R. Sell, Texas

DEAR HELOISE: I work in a large airport and have two travel hints. First, a lot of bags are black. What most travelers don’t know is that most baggage handlers put the bags on the system wheels up so that they don’t slide and cause a jam. So, if you are putting an identifying mark on your bag, do it on the back. It will help a lot in finding your bag.

Second, when you submit your bag at the ticket counter and they put the bag tag on or have you put the bag tag on, make sure the tag is not around both handles. If the bag has to be inspected, the bag tag will have to be removed. As you know, they are hard to separate, but what you might not know is that once separated, they don’t stick well when put back together.

  • Ray G. in New York

DEAR HELOISE: For knitters who have all those little balls of wool left over that are too small for any knitting project, make them into pompoms (tie them tightly!). The kitties like them! Dip them in catnip, and see if you can donate them to your local animal shelter.

  • F.H., Virginia

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

MovieStyle, Pages 36 on 02/28/2014