Pillow problems?

Dear Readers: How old are the PILLOWS on your bed? If you don’t know, or if they are feeling rather “down” (yes, very bad pun indeed!), it’s time for a pillow check. A comfortable pillow is imperative for a good night’s sleep, so check out your pillows tonight.

The Better Sleep Council (www.bettersleep.org) recommends replacing pillows every year, but that’s really a bit much, don’t you think? Here’s how to test your pillows:

* If you “fold” the pillow in half and it does NOT unfold or bounce back, it needs to be replaced.

* If the pillow breaks apart into chunks, that’s bad.

* They say punching and fluffing of the pillow should not be necessary, but again I say: “Bah! Humbug!” If it’s a feather down pillow, like I have, it’s fine to fluff it a little.

Don’t cheap out — you deserve a good pillow! Most people spend about 1/3 of their life in bed, so invest in your health!

— Heloise

Drying towels

Dear Heloise: Here is a hint I learned from my stepmother: Even though we had towel hooks in the bathroom, I did not use them. She taught me to hang the towel spread out flat over the shower-curtain rod or on the towel bar to dry. It dries faster, and does not mildew or smell, like when I just hung it on the hook.

— R.L.E. in Louisiana

Good hint, and in a damp, humid environment like Louisiana, this will prevent a lot of stinky towels.

— Heloise

Clean clutter

Dear Heloise: Once a month, I sit down on the floor in my kitchen (or bathroom), open a cabinet (especially under the sink) and clean it out. When I started a few months ago, here is what I found: old bottles of cleaners, nasty sponges and towels, and grubby scrubbers. Now it’s not so bad!

— Ivy R. in Massachusetts

Hey Ivy, one cabinet or drawer at a time makes the “continual” cleaning process seem not so insurmountable!

Try my HELOISE 120-SECOND HIT LIST: Spend two minutes (120 seconds) or a little longer tackling ONE thing. Clean out broken pens from the junk drawer, trash from your purse or almost-empty bottles under the sink in a kitchen or bathroom. You will be surprised how well it works in a few weeks.

— Heloise

No more lost remote

Dear Heloise: Sometimes people have a hard time finding their TV remote. I use a big, beautiful cloth napkin and fold it into a square. I always place the remote on the napkin. It’s easier to find than a dark remote. Works for me!

— Gloria M., Monongahela, Pa.

Easy carry

Dear Heloise: I complained to my friend about having to make several trips from the car to the house with shopping bags, or lining the bags on my arms. She keeps a tote or laundry basket in the back of her car. I tried it, too, and now I place several bags in them and usually have to make only one trip.

— Jean in Fostoria, Ohio

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Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise(at)Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.