Dear Heloise: I would like to know the proper use of CHARGER PLATES. I have always placed them under a dinner plate, but a guest informed me that they should be used under a soup bowl or salad plate and removed before dinner is served. -- Kathy K., Lehighton, Pa.

Great question, Kathy! Of course, it’s your home, so you can do what you want. Generally, a charger plate is on the table with the plate or bowl from the first course. It should remain there until it can be exchanged with the entree plate if you are serving courses.

Typically 12 inches in diameter, a charger plate “dresses up” the other dishes for a more formal meal. -- Heloise

P.S.: I leave the dining-room table “set” with my china, silverware, etc., and use charger plates, too.


Dear Readers: Many people don’t realize how they endanger their hearing each and every day. Many electronics have a maximum-volume-limit setting. This allows you to “personalize” your music player with a level of sound that isn’t overwhelming. Go to the “Settings” menu, select “Volume Limit,” and set a nice, low volume that will prevent you or your kids from constantly listening to high volume that can cause permanent hearing loss! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My husband and I use a lot of powdered drink mixes that come in plastic containers. These containers are ideal for storing sewing supplies, trinkets, craft items, etc.

The best use is as storage for the many rechargers, cords and instruction booklets for cameras and other electronic gizmos. We stuck all the cords and accessories from one item into a container, added the instruction booklets and receipts, and labeled the lid with the name of the item. It helps keep the junk drawer organized. You could even store these on a shelf in a basket or box. -- Lois M., Ligonier, Pa.

Lois, a wonderful reuse hint! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have lived in several places without a window above the sink (Heloise here: The reader is referring to a previous column), and it is an absolute must for me to have one! What I do is put a mirror there. It will reflect a window view from elsewhere in the room. Even if not, it is the best substitute for a window I’ve found. You can even put an old window frame around it (and curtains). It really brightens up a kitchen sink. -- A Reader in Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: While sewing a button on a shirt, I couldn’t find my thimble even after searching through the sewing kit and linen closet. I saw the little cap on my bottle of hair spray and decided to try that. It worked! Now, I keep a couple of these caps in my sewing kit just in case I misplace my thimble again. Thought this was a hint worth sharing! -- Emily C., Munster, Ind.

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.

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