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Dear Heloise: In this computer age, the best way to store documents and pictures is to scan them into files and place them on a thumb drive. You can put a lot of information in a 16-gig thumb drive. Two 16-gig thumb drives only cost about $8. If you have a safe or a safe-deposit box at a bank, it will not take up much room. -- D. Hansel, Houston, Texas


Dear Heloise: I read your advice on cleaning cutting boards this morning. While washing a non-wood board in hot water and bleach as described should be OK, I would not recommend doing this with a real wood board. These boards are laminated together with glue. Hot water will eventually break down the glue and the board will split. I clean ours by using warm water and a mild soap, such as Downy, scrubbing with a bristle brush. I then salt the board (it kills bacteria with no chemicals) and scrub again with the bristle brush, finally washing off with warm water and drying. I learned this when I worked in a meat market (scrubbing butcher blocks). -- Pete Husak


Dear Heloise: A few months ago, our hardwood floors were professionally refinished. The suggested method for protecting hardwood floors from chair leg damage is to use felt self-adhesive pads. You can easily find them at any home supply store, and they are available in different sizes and come in a light or dark color. The pads are also recommended to protect vinyl types of flooring as well. -- Mary Anderson, Vancouver, Washington


Dear Heloise: Recently you suggested saving the plastic utensils from takeaway food for use in camping or homemade lunches. I'd like to suggest that when you order, ask them not to give you plastic utensils. Instead, you can use your standard fork, knife and spoon and help save the planet from the scourge of non-recyclable plastic. And when it's time to buy disposable utensils for a party you are hosting, search online for bamboo or corn-based options. Thanks. -- Janet Borst


Dear Heloise: Like many others, I like to sprinkle baking soda in my cat's litter box to maintain a clean smell, which my cat also finds attractive. I buy big boxes of baking soda, and it's awkward to put the baking soda in the litter box. So I put the baking soda in a sugar dispenser -- the ones that you see on the table in diners and restaurants. I find it very easy to sprinkle the baking soda into the litter box using the dispenser. -- Stephen L. Finner in Vermont

Stephen, that's a great way to apply the baking soda so you don't waste any. -- Heloise

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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