Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: Claudine from Spokane, Wash., is partially correct about the car key fob communication being able to potentially drain your battery. However, the distance shouldn't be determined by using the lock, unlock or remote-start features. Those functions have a much longer range.

I can unlock the doors or use the remote-start feature from any room inside my home and from quite a distance outside my home with the garage door closed. However, the communication to start the vehicle and drive is far shorter, usually 3 to 5 feet. Some cars can be slightly farther. That communication is a far weaker signal and is easily blocked by doors and walls.

The easy way to test this distance is to have someone else in the car while you try to start it from various distances. That will give you the proper range to stop the constant communication. Hope this helps.

-- Bob, in Ohio

DEAR HELOISE: When I check out library books for my grandkids, I put a sticky note on the inside of the back cover. I let it stick out a little so that it's easily seen. That way, it's easier to find among their other books.

-- Margo Campbell,

Walker, Ala.

DEAR HELOISE: Dryers can sometimes damage clothes. Heavy items, such as jeans, take a long time to dry and use up a lot of electricity. Unfortunately, our weather prohibits an outdoor clothesline. But I've found a solution:

I put clothes in the dryer for only 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out. Lightweight items, such as lingerie, can stay in the dryer, as they dry quickly. I then put clothes on closet hangers and hang them to air-dry on a closet bar that I've installed above my dryer. When they're dry, they're ready to hang in the closet. It saves time and energy.

-- Linda C.,

Huntington Beach, Calif.

DEAR HELOISE: I have several nice slacks with stretch waistbands, but whenever I tried to find them in my closet, they are always mixed up with other slacks that had zippers, as well as some capri pants.

Then I bought colored tape, which I wrapped around the handle of the hanger, cut to about 3 inches long. This way, I group the colors together and know that red stands for the zippered slacks, green for the elastic waistband ones and yellow for the capri pants.

It saves a lot of time and aggravation.

-- A.R., in California

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

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