Dear Heloise: We were beginning to have difficulty with the ignition switch of our car. One look at our 15-year-old keys told us why. Both our car keys were quite worn. We recalled this happening in the past, so we retrieved an unused key from our master-key collection and had duplicates made. Works perfectly again.

The reason we had a master key was the suggestion a key shop made years ago. We took in car keys that were badly worn to have duplicates made. The key man said he would do his best but suggested in the future that we label one master key for each lock and set it aside for just such a need.

Now we have duplicates made for everyday use of any new key and set aside an unused master key. If we ever need to have a duplicate key made for our car, our new security doors, our garage door, back-gate lock, etc., it will be as near to the original as possible. — A California Reader

Wow! Never would have thought of this. It is a good idea to have spare keys. Keep in mind that new car keys have a chip in them and are very expensive to copy! So take special care of them. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: After a get-together at our house, there were several half-empty (or half-full) water bottles that guests had been drinking. I felt it would be wasteful to pour the water down the drain, so I watered my houseplants with it instead. — A Reader, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: I've always had difficulty storing my sheets and trying to get out the set I want without disturbing the other sets on top of them. Now I fold my flat sheet, fitted sheet and one pillowcase, and place them all inside my remaining pillowcase. For a twin set, you can just stick the flat and fitted sheets inside the pillowcase. You can quickly see which set you want from the pillowcase, and it keeps them all together very nicely. — Jonathan Sutton, Huntington, W.Va.

Dear Heloise: My husband likes blueberry syrup on his waffles, but I don't like to give him the added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup that is normally added to pancake syrups. So I warm up blueberry jam in the microwave, and it works great as a syrup. I only buy jams and jellies that are "all fruit." They are much healthier and taste just as good. — Sherry Derdak, via e-mail


Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 1-210-435-6473 or e-mail it to [email protected]. © King Features Syndicate Inc.