… get those holiday packages sent off. Here are some packing hints from the U.S. Postal Service:

• Cushion items. Newspaper, packing peanuts and shredded paper all work. Shake the box to see if things rattle around — they shouldn’t.

• A box is a simple concept, but there are rules. The box must not bulge; it has to close flat. Use 2-inch-wide clear or brown packing tape; don’t use cellophane or masking tape. Never tie a box with string, cord or twine — it can jam the equipment. If you’re reusing a box, that’s great, but remove, cover or black out all previous labels and logos on the box. Cover the mailing label with clear packing tape so it won’t smudge.

• Weight restrictions? You bet. Size matters. A box weighing more than 70 pounds cannot be mailed through the post office.

Some items cannot be shipped. Check out the Postal Service’s website for details.

– Heloise


I recommend talking to your pharmacist about medications. My doctor put me on a new medicine, but when I went to pick it up, the pharmacist said that this drug will interact with the meds I am on. It will cause severe illness. It seems that my pharmacist might know more about medications than my doctor does.

– Deb in Pennsylvania


I’ve heard that it’s not good to store medications in the bathroom. What do you think?

– Kathy W. in California

Kathy, I agree completely, and here’s why: Heat and dampness from the bathroom can render medications less potent and possibly ineffective, especially pills and capsules. Store medications in a cool, dry place, away from light, moisture and heat, and also away from children. Take the cotton stopper out of the bottle, too.

Ask your pharmacist for more hints on medication storage, and read on for another hint about prescription medications.

– Heloise


When we come home from a trip, we unload suitcases in the garage so I can give them a good wipe-down, especially the wheels. You wouldn’t believe how black the towel gets. I also unload the dirty clothes right into the laundry room.

– An Avid Reader,

The Villages, Fla.