With trash cans left outside, the view is garbage

Dear Readers: Today’s SOUND OFF is about garbage cans left in plain view. We’ve had several letters on this subject, and here is one of them:

“Dear Heloise: Why do people leave their ugly garbage cans out in front of their house not just on pickup days, but all the time? Not only is it tacky-looking, but it affects the entire neighborhood’s appearance. Many of us keep our homes painted and our yards maintained, but when someone parks a garbage can on the front porch or in front of the garage door, it makes the whole street look bad.” — Walter D., Newport, R.I.

Walter, judging by the letters we get every week, this is an annoying subject for many, all across America. If you belong to a homeowners association, perhaps it can ask everyone in the neighborhood to store garbage cans out of sight. — Heloise

FAST FACTS

Dear Readers: If you have an old toothbrush, don’t toss it out — clean and disinfect it, and use it for some of the following tasks:

* As a dry brush for cleaning dust from knickknacks.

* Clean bathroom faucets.

* Clean jewelry (nonabrasive toothpaste works well here).

* Clean small, narrow-necked vases.

— Heloise

THE RETIREE RULES

Dear Readers: I received several letters from readers who agreed with “The Rules of the Lake House” that guests need to limit their visits and come only when invited. Here are a few responses. — Heloise

“Frankly, it exhausts us to have overnight guests. We hear the same comments from our retired friends. Our children live out of state, and one of their visits means cleaning, shopping for groceries, baking and entertaining, and it wears us out!” — J., via email

“We love to have our family and friends over, but we also love to see them go. At our ages (74 and 76), we just can’t take more than two nights with company!” — Maryann H. in Denver

“I’m a widower and love to have my daughter and grandkids come for a visit. I just wish they’d leave after three days. Last year, my daughter wanted me to take the grandkids for a month in the summer, and I said, ‘Sorry, darlin’, I’m too old and too tired for that kind of stress.'” — Jake L., Florence, Ala.

UNPLUGGED

Dear Heloise: I read your advice in the Roswell (N.M.) Daily Record. When you’re going to be out of town, I would like to advise turning off the clothes washer’s water valves. The hose can rupture and flood the house. — Todd S., Roswell, N.M.

FOAM PACKING PIECES

Dear Heloise: I donate foam packing pieces to packing stores, and they’ll gladly accept them. In some cases, they’ll even welcome used cardboard boxes. — Patty D., via email

CAN-DO WITH A SPRAY CAN

Dear Heloise: To keep my spray can of starch from falling off my ironing board, I put a rubber band around the middle and lay the can down on its side. That way, it won’t roll off the ironing board. — Cathy R., Holly Lake Ranch, Texas

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Dear Readers: October is National Window Covering Safety Month. The Window Covering Safety Council (www.windowcoverings.org) has hints for making your home safer when it comes to WINDOW TREATMENTS:

* Keep all cribs, beds and furniture away from windows.

* Use only cordless window coverings, or those with inaccessible cords.

* If your window treatments do have cords, make sure they are out of sight and out of reach.

If you’re renting a home or apartment, or your home is older, you may have older-style cords on your window treatments, which can be a danger if you have grandkids who visit.

Safety is always the most important factor. Window cords can pose a strangulation hazard to young children. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.CPSC.gov), corded window coverings are among the top hidden hazards in American homes.

Check these websites for more information. — Heloise

EDITOR’S NOTE: Send your great money-saving or timesaving hint to to Heloise at P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, Fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email to Heloise@Heloise.com. She can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in her column.