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 pretty, clear containers that you can pick up at a discount store. There are pros and cons to this — let’s take a look:


You can see all of your items, and 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 how you like it.

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, and see how decanting can work for you!

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

● Alarm clock, your WiFi access code, the TV remote, a dish for jewelry

● Cereal bar and a bottle of water per person

● Extra blanket

● Night light

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

● Mild soap, deodorant soap and shampoo

● New roll of toilet paper

Now you'll be the best host ever.

J.H., Uniontown, Ohio

Dear Heloise: Summer's coming! When I mow my lawn, I leave a two-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 Springs

Dear Heloise: I remove water from shredded potatoes so they are crispy. Instead of using paper towels, I use a tea towel that can be laundered.

Roxanne C., Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Dear Heloise: I read your hints in the (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News. 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.

Melissa B.: Still, be careful of slipping!

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

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