Dear Heloise: Why are zippered plastic bags closed before you use them?
More often than not, your hands are full of something that needs to go into the bag, and it's tricky to have to open the bag first! I say package them open in the box!
— Linda in San Antonio
Linda, I have received other letters with this same complaint. I contacted a couple of major manufacturers, and they did not have a particular reason why they come closed. It is just how they are manufactured.
I agree that it can be a nuisance to have to open the bag when your hands are full, but I like that they come closed.
I think it ensures that nothing else has been in that bag before I put my snacks or leftover food in it! Think of the hassle involved with having to wash the bag before you could put anything in it! Opening the bag is a small hassle for peace of mind.
Dear Heloise: As I try to take better care of our environment, I remember that my mother had no plastic bags, aluminum foil, paper towels or plastic wrap.
She shopped with a canvas bag or wicker basket, covered bowls of food with saucers and small plates, wiped up spills with old towels and even lined trash cans with newspaper.
I can do all those things and save money at the same time!
— Bea in Oregon
Dear Readers: Other uses for spice jars:
As a single-bud vase.
Fill with fish food and use to sprinkle it in a tank.
Store a cinnamon-and-sugar mixture for toast.
Use as salt and pepper shakers for picnics.
Store tea lights.
Dear Heloise: I have some very white cotton fabric. I would like to make it look off-white. How would you suggest I do this?
— Kathleen, via email
Try soaking the fabric in tea. Take a large plastic bucket and many tea bags. After "making" the tea, put the fabric in to soak. How "strong" the tea is will determine how dark the fabric comes out.
If that doesn't work, see if manufacturers make a dye specifically for this.
Dear Heloise: My granddaughter is a type 1 diabetic. I keep the package nutrition panels on hand for the times she is visiting and wants a brownie or frozen waffle or similar food, so that the carb content of all of her favorite foods is easily accessible.
— Carol in Washington
Dear Heloise: Fold a vintage tea towel over a colorful scarf or a man's tie, and you have a unique apron without sewing. These often have lovely embroidery, and easily can be laundered.
— Bonnie in Indiana
Dear Heloise: I love to go camping. I got tired of always having to pack and then unload.
I bought a big plastic tub that now holds all my camping gear. I put everything in it that I need for a camping trip: an old pot and pan, matches, rope, toilet paper, batteries, camping shovel, etc.
Then all I have to do is throw it, my tent and the cooler with food in the back of my truck, and I am ready to go.
— A Reader in Colorado
Dear Heloise: My co-workers and I always leave treats for each other on our desks. Nothing big — a piece of our favorite candy or a cute notepad, just little things we find. It is such a nice surprise to walk in and find a little something on our desks. It brightens the whole day.
— A Reader in Vermont
Send a great hint to: Heloise
P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-435-6473; email: Heloise@Heloise.com
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