Dear Heloise: I read your article about keeping up with operating books and instructions for appliances or other products.

Years ago I started using 9-by-12-inch envelopes. I write the product name (table saw, toaster, whatever) in the upper corner and place all the documentation, along with receipts, business cards and anything else pertaining to that purchase, in it. The envelopes are a perfect fit in a file cabinet.

I write anything I need to on the envelopes, such as model, serial numbers and dates of repair. It's a simple system, but it works. —Lloyd Kurtz, Ellinwood, Kan.

Simple systems are the ones that work and that we all can follow. Thanks so much for sharing your simple system. —Heloise

Dear Heloise: I often travel on business. After a disastrous stay in a hotel where even the wake-up call was off by 15 minutes, I now use the alarm on my cell phone. Regardless of the time zone, cell phones are set to the right time. It's easy to program, and I don't have to carry an alarm clock since I always have my cell phone. —Debra Johnson, Houston

Debra, I do the same thing! It might take a little trial and error to find and set the alarm, but it's a good backup. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I hope this will help moms who have little ones who use plastic "sipping" cups. I have found many a cup that once had milk in it under the couch or in the car. I used to just throw them away, but I found a new way to save them. I clean out the residue and then soak them in hot water and vinegar. I don't have an exact amount of vinegar; I just pour a whole lot in. Afterward, I wash them in the dishwasher on the hottest setting, and I have no more sour-milk smell. —Doris in Texas

Doris, vinegar is such a fantastic cleaner and deodorizer, and it has a million uses around the house as well — rinse kitchen sponges to keep them fresh-smelling, kill weeds and get rid of hard-water buildup. For more money-saving, handy uses in every room of your home, please send $4 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (58 cents) envelope for my six-page vinegar pamphlet to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.

Cleaning a drip coffeemaker with vinegar is a given. But don't just toss the vinegar afterward — use it to give your counters (not granite, marble or stone) a quick clean. Or use it to clean the tray under the dish rack or the water-dispenser tray on your refrigerator. —Heloise

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