DEAR HELOISE: I just exposed myself to concentrated filth! How? By once more having to empty my vacuum cleaner. Why hasn’t someone come up with a “green vacuum” by now?
— Frances M., Fayetteville DEAR READER: Frances, they have. There are bagless vacuums now. Just remove the dust-collecting cylinder, take it out to the trash can and empty it into the trash. There also are robotic cleaners. Both work well to make that chore easier and cleaner.
DEAR HELOISE: When I travel, I like to pack those perfume samples that come in magazines. That way, I don’t have to worry about my perfume bottles breaking or leaking, and I get to try different perfumes.
— Jama C., Florida DEAR READER: Jama, I assume you rub the perfume side on your skin, which is a very clever idea. I use those same samples to keep my suitcases smelling nice.
DEAR HELOISE: Like so many of your readers, I like to garden and get my hands in the dirt, but hate paying the price with my hands. The best solution I’ve found is to buy a box of (100) medical exam gloves at a pharmacy. They’re sturdy, feel comfortable and are waterproof. They’re also cheap enough to throw away, even if you use several pairs a day. — Nancy M., Colorado Springs, Colo.
DEAR HELOISE: Both of our daughters got married in December, and before they stored their gowns, I snipped a bit of tulle from under their dresses and two flowers from their bouquets. I also took a small flower from the groom’s boutonniere. I used material from the little birdseed bags and ribbons from the wedding. I bought two silk Christmas ornaments for each couple in the color of their wedding. I decorated the ornaments with these items and presented them to the two couples at Christmas so they could have a special memory of their wedding on their trees for years to come.
— Donna M. in Nebraska
DEAR HELOISE: When we buy marshmallows, we put them in a 1-gallon sealable bag with a couple of heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar, and shake well. Keeps just fine, and the marshmallows don’t get sticky or clump together. — Ken R., via email