Dear Readers: Organizing your bathroom’s medicine cabinet should be done at least once a year by simply taking a good look at what has been building up behind that closed door. Keep your home medicines up to date and discard those that: have expired; have contents, such as capsules, that are discolored, smashed or cracked; are stuck together, or have tablets that have become soft; show signs of deterioration, such as aspirin tablets that smell like vinegar; are in liquid form and have become separated; and have lost their label, or the label has become illegible.

Once this has been done, arrange the remaining medications so the labels can be read easily, and keep them out of the reach of children. Never place any medications near insect repellent or mothballs -- both can emit vapors that could be absorbed by a medication.

And while you’re at it, place items used daily on lower shelves, along with first-aid items like bandages, antiseptics, creams and salves, for easy access. Also, cold and cough supplies and thermometers can be stored on a higher shelf once the cold season has passed. -- Heloise

Dear Heloise: Here is a safety hint when traveling alone. My sister told me this one: When you pull into a service station -- or anywhere, for that matter -- don’t turn off the car and get out right away. She said to casually look around and make note of the surroundings and other people at the fuel pumps. Then get out and go about your business, but don’t let your guard down. It sounds a bit paranoid, but the times we live in require caution. -- Jenny, Aztec, N.M.

Dear Heloise: Due to recent surgery, I was unable to bend over to dust my baseboards. I spotted a can of pressurized air near my computer and used it to spray the dust off the edges of the baseboards. It worked so wonderfully that I also used it for dusting off a pleated lampshade and some silk flowers. -- Debbie, Rocklin, Calif.


DEAR HELOISE: I add a little fabric softener to an empty bottle, then add water and shake well. I then spray this on towels and comforters for that fresh-out-of-the-dryer scent. — Sandra S., via e-mail

DEAR HELOISE: I love candles, but often have problems with tapers wobbling in a holder. The easiest and quickest solution I have found is to wrap the bottom of the tapered candle with clear tape or plastic wrap — either will add some bulk to the bottom of the candle so it fits better in the holder. — A Reader, via e-mail

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or e-mail it to

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