Dear Heloise: To keep files of bills, appointments and tax deductions organized, I have 12 FILE FOLDERS, one for each month, with four weeks in each. At the end of the month, that file folder is put to the back so the present month is in front.

When I get a usable tax receipt, it goes in that month’s file folder. Mail-in rebates and associated papers go into the month or week of expected payment. Birthday cards go in the proper month until they are mailed.

Warranty or possible returnable-item receipts are stapled together and put into the month in which they were purchased. Saves a lot of time if there is a problem.

At the end of the fiscal tax year, the folders can be emptied and noted for deduction. -- L.J., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: My car’s remote garage opener died. A new battery did not revive it. I took a little piece of fine sandpaper and rubbed the battery contacts. Problem solved. -- Betty B. in Florida

Good hint, and if you don’t have sandpaper, you can use an emery board. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Just read about the guest towel suggestion in your column in the Ventura County (Calif.) Star. I purchased three dozen washcloths in colors matching my guest bathroom, rolled them up tightly and stuck them into a pretty wicker basket, just like you would do with flowers.

I put out a small basket for occasional guests and a large one for parties. The used cloths go into a wicker basket on the floor. It’s attractive and very hygienic. -- Marion E. in Simi Valley, Calif.


Dear Heloise: With three teenagers, all involved in different activities, it’s hard to keep communication fluid. My oldest daughter and I dedicated a wall space in the entryway of our house for better communication.

We got a clipboard for each person, decorated them and mounted them on the wall where they couldn’t be missed. Now we use the boards for to-do lists, notes, appointments and shopping lists. It’s been a lifesaver for us! -- Jessica in Ohio


Dear Readers: Many readers like to save time by buying precooked chickens, and while the plastic containers they come in CAN be recycled, why not repurpose them instead?

Make a little greenhouse! The containers are perfect for starting seeds or herbs. Wash and fill with a seed-starting mix, and add water to moisten. Poke holes in the soil and tuck in the little seeds. Make sure to keep the “greenhouse” in a nice sunny spot and sealed tightly! Happy planting! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have an older mailbox, and the red flag sometimes drops down before the mailman comes, especially on windy days. So, I place a rubber band around the flag and then link it to the handle on the door of the mailbox. No more dropped flag. -- Kay Osborne, Mission Viejo, Calif.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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