Gift-giving

Today’s sound off is about gift-giving:

DEAR HELOISE: My children seem to think I need all the latest gadgets to stay in contact with them. I appreciate their thoughtfulness, but a woman in her late 70s, like myself, will more than likely use the telephone to communicate with people. They have gifted me with a laptop computer (which is handy, I admit), but there are many electronic gadgets I don’t use and, frankly, don’t want. I have to learn how to use these items and I never remember which buttons to push. Even the instructions that come with them are confusing.

When deciding whether or not to buy someone a gift of electronics, please ask them if it’s something they would like to have or use. Even the latest cooking device may end up collecting dust. I’ve asked my children to stop giving me things and just spend a little more time with me. Call me for no other reason than to just say “hello.”

— Adelle in Nebraska

Adelle, more and more people are downsizing, eliminating things they really don’t need or want and gaining more freedom from the responsibilities of taking care of their possessions. The most important things in life really aren’t “things.”

— Heloise

Fast factsS

New uses for an old wine rack:

Store shampoo, lotions, shaving cream, etc.

Store art supplies.

Store yarn skeins and rolls of ribbon.

Display rolled-up towels in the bathroom.

Vacuum the walls

DEAR HELOISE: Everyone in my family has allergies, so to keep dust down I vacuum the walls and sometimes the ceiling. My vacuum, like most today, came with brush attachments that make this job easier. A hand-held vacuum with a brush attachment and a strong motor works the best to keep down dust, pollen and mold in corners of the room, on lampshades, throw pillows and vents.

— Marsha in California

Dirty mirror

DEAR HELOISE: How can I get built-up hairspray off my bathroom mirror?

— Sandy M. in Oklahoma

Sandy, put 91% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle (be sure to label it) and use it to clean hairspray from mirrors and other bathroom surfaces. Another benefit is that it disinfects and dries quickly.

Washing shower curtains

DEAR HELOISE: Is it safe to wash my shower curtain in my washing machine?

— Lisa in Ohio

Lisa, yes, and put some towels in with the shower curtain to get some scrubbing action. You can place it in the dryer, but only for three to four minutes. Remove it from the dryer and hang it up in the bathroom on the shower curtain rod immediately.

— Heloise

Send hints to Heloise to P.O. box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-f001 or email heloise@heloise.com.