Dear Heloise: My home is an older home, and anything that had been in any closet has an “OLD” SMELL. I want to put boxes of baking soda in each closet to help control odors. Should I place the soda boxes on the top shelf or on the floor?

Thank you for all your help through the years. -- Kellie Bryant, via e-mail

Kellie, as a first step, leave the closet door open as much as possible to allow fresh air to circulate. You also can put a small fan in the closet or just outside facing in so that air is forced around. This will help with that smell.

Baking soda is an odor absorbent. It’s better to have a large surface area, so you can pour the baking soda into an old shoe box. You can put the boxes of baking soda either on the shelves or on the floor (if you don’t have pets or children). Replace the baking soda every month or so. Baking soda is a fabulous deodorizer and cleaner to have on hand. It is cheap and helps you save money around your home. I have put together a great pamphlet on ways to use baking soda around your home, inside and outside. To receive a copy, just send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. You can sprinkle baking soda over stinky trash in the garbage can, inside the dishwasher and down the garbage disposal to keep them all odor-free. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Our high-school class members try to stay in touch. I keep a record of obituaries of our classmates. When there is a death, I let other classmates (who live out of town/state) know. I give as much information as possible in case they want to send condolences.

I wish families who write the obituary for the newspaper would put the year the person graduated. It would be helpful for keeping an accurate record. -- Pat Zoccali, Warren, Ohio


Dear Heloise: I have a good idea for house robes and the ties that close them. The ties were always so thick and awkward to use and didn’t stay closed. Then I saw an extra-long shoestring that I had. I strung it through the loops and now have an easy belt to use, and it stays tied, because it is kind of stretchy. -- Evelina Brewer, Bakersfield, Calif.

Those stretchy shoestrings can be used for a variety of things. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Wide rubber bands that are packaged on fresh broccoli bunches can have another use: To get a strong grip on a doorknob, put the rubber bands around it. They fit snugly to help you turn the doorknob. -- Ruth Ferris, North Canton, Ohio

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.

, King Features Syndicate