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DEAR READERS: You can decant -- what does that mean? For our purposes, it means removing kitchen and bath staples (rice, pasta, flour, cereal, beans, swabs and cotton balls, etc.) from their original packaging and storing them in clear containers that you can pick up at a discount store. There are pros and cons to this:


You can tell when you are running low. Buying basics at a warehouse store can save money.

The containers can stack efficiently, which will conserve space.

Weevils and pests will stay away; items can remain fresher longer.


It will take time initially to set up your system.

You can lose the nutritional and usage information from the packaging, along with the expiration dates. Tape labels to the bottom or back of the jars.

You must rotate items, and use the oldest product first.

Label each jar to get started.

DEAR HELOISE: We have friends who invite us to stay overnight with them when we travel. We've learned about a few things you should have on hand for guests:

• Alarm clock, your Wi-Fi access code, the TV remote, a dish for jewelry

• Cereal bar and a bottle of water per person

• Extra blanket

• Nightlight

• Washcloth, bath towel, toothbrush, razor, shower cap, floss and toothpaste

• Mild soap, deodorant soap and shampoo

• New roll of toilet paper

-- J.H., Uniontown, Ohio

DEAR HELOISE: When I mow my lawn, I leave a 2-inch border of uncut grass along paved areas. Then I go back and mow that border.

By doing this, my lawn mower no longer shoots billions of blades of grass all over my driveway and sidewalk. I haven't had to blow, sweep or wash paved areas after mowing in years.

-- Jarrod M., Colorado

DEAR HELOISE: I use baby oil daily in the shower, and instead of peeling back the aluminum cover on a new bottle, I poke a pin in the top. The oil flows at just the right amount without waste, and no worry about dropping it and making a mess.

-- Melissa B., Harrisburg, Pa.

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 on 05/17/2018

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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