Living

Got the back-to-school backpack blues? Here are some tips to beat them — Heloise

Dear readers: School is about to start in many parts of the country. That means it’s time for kids to tote notebooks, lunchboxes, laptop and tablet computers, papers, projects, purses, etc. That’s a lot of heavy “stuff” to carry back and forth — too heavy, and it can strain the body! Here are some hints to consider:

▪  Purchase a backpack made for the age and size of your child, or you!

▪  Distribute items evenly in the pack — don’t just cram everything in the main compartment.

▪  The backpack should be carried over both shoulders, not slung over one shoulder. It’s recommended that a backpack should weigh no more than 10 percent to 15 percent of a child’s body weight when packed and ready to head out the door.

▪  A person should be able to easily stand up and not have to slump forward while wearing the backpack.

These hints should help anyone have a “no-strain” outing! — Heloise

P.S. Having “backpacked” around Europe for six weeks when I was just out of college, I can attest to the strain of a backpack used for camping or hiking that is too heavy or NOT packed right! Sue, my friend whom I traveled with, would help me “saddle up,” then I’d help her heft her backpack.

We learned to pack lighter, put often-used items on top and heavy ones on the bottom.

FYI: Clean the darn thing out every week or so! Oh my, some of the items smelled or were not needed!

Auto trunk cleanup

Dear readers: Take an hour to clean out the trunk of your car. Sort and donate things you don’t use, and find a place in the house for things you do use. Carrying less cargo may improve your gas mileage!

Next, sprinkle some baking soda in the trunk to deodorize. Let it sit for an hour or overnight, and then vacuum thoroughly.

The baking soda will absorb any bad odors, and is a multiuse workhorse around the house, outside and in your auto. It is cheap and safe. If you would like a collection of my favorite money-saving baking soda hints, visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send a large, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To freshen a drain, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda mixed with 1/4 cup of salt into the drain, and then add 1/2 cup of vinegar. The mixture will bubble! Let it sit for 30 minutes, and flush with lots of water. — Heloise

Kitchen clutter

Dear Readers: Does your silverware tray slide around in the drawer? Take paper towel cores and slip them behind the tray. This should keep the tray snug in the drawer. — Heloise

Bread for fingerprints?

Dear Heloise: I use the last slice of white bread on my walls. I mash it into a ball, then sort of mush it into a smudge or fingerprint to remove it. — Dannie T., Dayton, Ohio

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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