Dear Heloise: Greetings from Louisbourg, Nova Scotia! After recently purchasing new lock sets for our home, I realized how many KEYS get tossed in the garbage when locks of different types are changed.

Haven’t we all got a container with old keys that no one can use or knows what they are for? Can old keys be recycled in any way? Thanks, and keep up the good work. -- Judy, via e-mail

Greetings to you, Judy! How nice to hear from way up North, from my home state, Texas! You are so right! There are several ways to recycle them around the house:

* Sew them into the bottom of drapes to help the drapes hang straight.

* Tie onto fishing line and make into a wind chime.

* Attach to zipper pulls on heavy coats or bags.

* Give kids a key chain with keys to play with.

* Sell or donate to artists.

* Use to decorate picture frames or gifts.

You also can check with a mixed-metal recycling company to see if it recycles the metal. Hope this helps. Calling all locksmiths! Any hints to help reuse or recycle keys? -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: When traveling with small children and there is a need to use public restrooms, use bread wrappers to place over the toilet seat. When finished, just grab the wrapper by the end and discard. My neighbor used to call these my “fancy toilet-seat covers” when I asked her to save some for me. It really does help, as the child doesn’t have to touch the seat. -- A Reader, via e-mail

This will work on seats that are split, but please be sure to throw them away -- DO NOT flush them. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read with interest your column about money hidden by older family members (finding money hidden in strange places after they have passed. -- Heloise). My mother also had that habit. Her place of preference was in back of pictures of family that were hanging on the wall. All family members knew about this.

After she died and the money was removed, the grandchildren had much enjoyment, some boasting: “Grandma liked me better than she liked you. She put $20 behind my picture. Yours had only $10!” -- Dorris from Iowa


Dear Heloise: I have a wooden pull-out cutting board in my kitchen cupboards. It looked terrible after years of use. I looked high and low for a replacement.

Then it occurred to me to refurbish it with my husband’s electric palm sander. Starting with coarser and ending with a finer paper, it looks nearly as good as new. -- Jan from Idaho


Dear Readers: Here is a helpful phone hint if you are traveling overseas. In an emergency, dial “112” on your cellphone and be connected to an emergency service provider. This is available in most EU (European Union) countries. -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate