Dear Heloise: I live in a small home and have a few SPACE-SAVING HINTS:

1. The dirty clothes go directly into the washing machine. When it's full, I take the clothes out, sort and wash. I also store the detergent container in the washer.

2. A drawer will hold more by having a plastic tool tray to keep things organized. In the desk drawer, I fold papers in thirds and stand them up as in a file cabinet.

3. I like interesting-looking baskets (I get them cheap at yard sales). They are decorations AND storage space.

4. In the kitchen, trays, cutting boards, place mats, trivets, cookie sheets, etc., stand up together in the cabinet.

5. There was space going to waste in the refrigerator. Canned, bottled and packaged items go in it, even if they don't need refrigeration. The refrigerator runs more efficiently when fuller, too.

-- Jean F., Three Forks, Mont.

Wonderful! With the new year upon us, it's time to declutter and get organized! -- Heloise

UP AND DOWN

Dear Heloise: I have a wooden knife rack that my steak knives go into. For years, I put the steak knives into the slots with the cutting side DOWN.

One day, I looked at the rack and noticed that the knives were cutting into the wood! Now I put the knives into the rack with the cutting side UP. Why didn't I think of that years ago? -- Martie in Fullerton, Calif.

IT'S IN THE BAG

Dear Heloise: When I'm shopping for groceries, I may have errands to run before returning home. When I buy meat and other perishables, I'm concerned about them staying safe and fresh.

I have an insulated bag in my car, but to ensure that everything stays cold and protected, I also buy a couple of bags of frozen vegetables. This gives me peace of mind, and who can't use an extra bag or two of vegetables? -- Dianne in Masontown, Pa.

DID YOU KNOW?

Dear Readers: The corks on lots of Champagne bottles will be popping in the next few days. Do you know what cork is? Cork is a layer of tree bark, most commonly from a variety of oak tree. Cork is lightweight and nonporous.

Liquids and air typically can't get through cork; that's why it's good as a wine bottle stopper. What else is cork used for? The manufacture of shoes, bulletin boards and flooring, among other things. By the way, cork is flame-retardant. -- Heloise

P.S. Great news! The tree is not destroyed in the production of cork; it keeps on growing!

MAYO TAGS

Dear Heloise: Removing the inside protective cover from a jar of mayonnaise can be frustrating. These covers have small tabs that can be hard to get hold of and pull to remove.

I keep a pair of needle nose pliers in my kitchen gadget drawer for this task. They just grab those pesky little tabs and allow me to get that cover right off. -- Sharry, via email

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 Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.