A CLOSET PROBLEM
I recently bought a house, and the linen closet in the hallway has a musty smell and damp feeling. I placed baking soda in it to absorb odor and dampness, but it's not working. Help! I have to crack the door open sometimes to "dry" it out, and all my towels smell musty and damp. - C.M. Jerger, via e-mail
Baking soda is a great odor neutralizer, but first, I'm concerned that you have to open the door to dry it out. If that works, that tells me either there is a water leak or moisture coming from somewhere. You can try these hints:
1. Charcoal - either plain barbecue briquettes or activated charcoal, found in pet stores. Charcoal is great for neutralizing odors.
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2. Cat-box filler - clay-type cat-box filler in a margarine tub. Litter is wonderfully absorbent and sometimes works as a last resort.
If these hints don't help, you'll need to be a detective and try to figure out what the dampness is and where it's coming from. If it persists, you should call a professional - it's not going to go away on its own. Also, if left alone, it could get worse. - Heloise
When I mail a gift to my grandson, I include my photo so he can easily associate who the gift is from. - Granny in Mississippi
NO LOST KEYS
I was constantly misplacing my keys. So, I hung a rack with hooks inside a closet that's close to the front door (you can use whatever door is most used for you and your family) and hung up my keys. Now my family always knows where the keys are. - Betty Jean Widner, via e-mail
For a quick room deodorizer, add a couple of drops of essential oil, like orange, lavender or clove, to a cool light bulb of a nearby lamp. Turn it on, and as the light bulb warms, the fragrance will waft through the air. - Tammi M., Brenham, Texas
Hang a long piece of chain on a hanger in a hall closet near the front door. Using clothespins, this makes a great place to collect gloves, scarves, hats - just clip to the chain until needed again. - Erin M., via e-mail
Tackle boxes aren't just for fishing equipment. They make great organizers for facial-care products, makeup, dusting powders, perfumes, etc. Just store under the vanity, or grab and go. This is especially nice if several girls share a bathroom. - B. Hayes, Schertz, Texas
A flood, fire or natural disaster easily can destroy the photographic memories in your home. Help preserve family photographs by taking the time to scan them into a computer and then burn several CDs. Put one in a safety-deposit box, and give a copy to each of your children or to close family members. - Jackie Greer, Madison, Wis.
I put jigsaw puzzles together on top of a piece of plastic glass I bought and had cut at a building-supply center. I can turn the puzzles, carry them around the house and put them away when I'm not working on them.- Karen from Vermont
One of my assistants made one of these puzzle keepers out of plywood. - Heloise
When hanging an arrangement of pictures on a wall, first trace the outline of each frame on newspaper, brown paper or wrapping paper. Cut them out and use straight pins to arrange on the wall until you're happy with the placement. Hammer the frame hooks into the wall, and tear away the paper before hanging each picture. - Amber S., via e-mail