Shining some light on outlets in a new apartment

Dear Heloise: We just helped our daughter move into her first apartment. We bought her a really cute table lamp (including the light bulbs). She called later that day, disappointed that we would have to return it because it didn’t work once plugged in.

We suggested she try the light bulbs in another lamp, and yes, they worked. We then asked her to plug the lamp into a different outlet that already had something plugged into it that worked. The light bulb came on, and the lamp worked!

We had to explain that some plugs work only when the light switch is flipped on. She was shocked! We think this hint is worth mentioning to others moving into a new place who may not realize it’s a matter of plugging the item in and flipping the switch to get lamps, etc., to work. — Gina D., Knoxville, Tenn.

How exciting to move into a new place! Really, how would she know to try different plugs and switches? — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Recently, I decided to update my powder room by removing the wallpaper and painting. Because I wasn’t replacing the toilet, I had to figure out how to scrape and paint behind it.

I used a long-handled spatula from an old barbecue set to scrape the wallpaper I couldn’t reach. I angled it against the toilet for leverage. To keep the paint off the toilet, I covered the toilet tank with a plastic clothing bag, like the ones that are put over hanging clothes at clothing stores. A dry-cleaning bag also would work. Then I found a 1- to 1-1/2-inch fabric roller with a long handle at my local hardware store that fit behind the toilet. The bag is disposable, and the toilet is still clean! — Camilla S., via email

Dear Heloise: I read your column every day in The (Youngstown, Ohio) Vindicator, and have used many of the hints printed. I also have been fortunate enough to have had a couple of my hints published. Thank you.

My recent dilemma was with my new Bible case. The zipper pull kept getting stuck inside at the bottom of the opening. I took a nice key chain and attached it to the zipper pull.

Problem solved — no more struggling with the pull. — Janice F., Youngstown, Ohio

Dear Heloise: I don’t buy paper gift bags anymore. Now I purchase only reusable cloth bags, which can be found at most stores year-round. Drugstores, grocery stores and even a lot of retail stores sell many different designs.

I keep an eye out for sales all year long, and pick up one or two to have on hand. And it’s an added gift that they can use for many things or pass along when they give a gift. — Marie P. in Miami