Dear Heloise: There are many methods (some really ingenious) that people use in their homes to conceal valuables from possible theft by burglars. For example, hollowed-out books, genuine product containers (oil, furniture polish and the like) that are empty but can be opened to insert valuables through a screw-off bottom, and dummy electrical outlets that must be installed in a room's drywall and can hold cash and jewelry.

All of these devices have one thing in common: In the event of the owner's death, there may be no one who knows of their existence. It is essential, then, that users of such devices include records of location and content with their wills and other estate documents. Otherwise, that very valuable diamond necklace may remain in the "dead" electrical outlet for years until someone finally pays an electrician to rewire it. — G. Miller, Springfield, Mo.

This is something many people may never have thought about. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Here is a laundry warning that I want to share: Recently, I put a pair of tennis shoes in my washer to get them clean. Although I had done this many times before, this time the tip of one of the laces got caught in a small drainage hole! It required pliers to get it loose!

So, my advice is to tie the laces in a knot near the tips, or perhaps clip them together with a clothespin to keep such an unusual problem from happening. — Anita Londgren, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Dear Heloise: I know at this time of year, people use fans in or by a window to catch a cool breeze, and fans can start a fire if they get curtains twisted in them. I use those big hair clips to hold the curtain away from the fan. I use two clips — one on the curtain just above the fan, and one on the curtain just below the fan. If I turn the fan on and see that there is movement in the curtain that might catch in the fan, I clip that, too. Now I can keep the curtain closed with no problem. — Angie Waldner, Salem, Ore.

Heloise: A good hint to ensure your safety: When gardening gloves are not in use, store them in a clean coffee can or similar container, or in a plastic bag, to ensure that a spider doesn't make a home in one of them. This could save much misery and a lot of medical bills. — Faye Railsback, Knox City, Texas

Dear Heloise: When I buy new jeans, they normally will eventually tear at the top of the back pocket. So I spread about a half-inch square of washable fabric glue on the inside at all four tacks on the back pocket to help the material last longer. — Belinda C., 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 210-435-6473 or e-mail it to [email protected]. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column. © King Features Syndicate Inc.