Dear Readers: Now that we’re well into fall and the busy holiday season is almost upon us, let’s get that refrigerator cleaned out and working efficiently. This is a process; plan for at least an hour.

Take out everything from the fridge: all foods and condiments, bins, shelves, trays and wire racks. Use a good antibacterial cleaner on the bins and racks, and also wipe the rubber gasket seal on the door. Use a cotton swab to get into the folds of the gasket.

Vacuum under the refrigerator; remove the grill on the front, if possible. This is really important if you have pets; stray hair and dander can collect under there, and keeping it clean will help your energy bill!

Finally, check your foods before you put them back. Make sure all foods are fresh and in good condition. — Heloise

Signaling device

Dear Heloise: My son went out of the house and walked onto the driveway. Then I needed him back inside.

My keys were in sight, so I pushed the “panic” button. That got his attention, and he came inside to see what I needed. I’m 98 years old, so he figured that it might be important. I love your hints every day in the Pekin Times. — Nelda M., Pekin, Illinois

Nelda, this is a good system to use for safety’s sake. Hugs to you and your son! — Heloise

Internet desert

Dear Heloise: Some of us live in an “internet desert”: We can’t afford the equipment or the coverage. “We the People” who helped companies succeed for decades (pre-online) are getting treated terribly.

Any company that no longer has a human answering the phone no longer gets my business. — Joy E., Lake Milton, Ohio

Joy, I understand, and you’re not alone. Read on:

“Dear Heloise: I do a lot of writing to companies when I have questions. Would you please ask companies to put their street address on the package?” — A Reader in Ohio

Easy dip

Dear Heloise: Low-fat sour cream, yogurt or cottage cheese mixes nicely with a packet of onion soup mix to make a delicious dip for veggies, pretzels or chips. — Ann H. in Texas

Text mess

Dear Heloise: What do you think of texting while walking? — Camilla G., age 12, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Camilla, it may seem harmless, but walking while looking down at your cellphone can be dangerous and can lead to serious accidents.

Fact is, we’re not wired to focus on a phone and the road at the same time. A study shows that people looking down at their phones are more likely to do something careless — like walking into the street without looking.

Always think “safety first.” If you need to text your friend or your mom, stop, sit on a bench, send your text and then put your phone away. — Heloise

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can 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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