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Is it a bargain?

Dear Readers: Many of us love vintage items and going to garage sales to find treasures, but there are some items that may not be a bargain. Here are some that are probably best to avoid:

• Painted items — this is especially true for older things that may have lead in the paint.

• Vintage toys — unless they are strictly for display and not to be given to a child. They can be a safety hazard or contain bacteria.

• Mattresses — it’s difficult to sanitize a mattress and it will more than likely contain skin cells, dirt and possibly insects.

• Bedding (sheets and comforters) — items that are also hard to sanitize.

• Beauty products — even if sealed they may have lost their moisture and effectiveness.

• Car seats and cribs — these can be unsafe, so check for any product recalls. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Lottery scammers are on the prowl for unsuspecting victims. They will try to convince you that the odds are better for playing other state or foreign lotteries. They will ask you for your credit card number or bank account information or ask that the money be wired to them. It’s illegal to mail or call to play lotteries across state lines or national borders.

Don’t fall for these scams. To be safe, play your own state’s lottery. –Harrison in Ohio

Dear Heloise: This is for the woman who said her husband does a sloppy job of vacuuming their home. Buy one of those automatic vacuums that run by themselves. You won’t believe how it cleans your floors. And you don’t have to push it. It even goes under beds. — Marianne A., Metairie, La.

Marianne, they can be a real time- and energy-saver, and from what I see on the internet, cats are especially fond of taking a ride on them. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: What to do with leftover bacon grease? I crumble old bread and blot it up. Crows and blue jays love it and it makes their feathers shine. Blue jays like it too. In the summer I save it for winter by storing it in the refrigerator. — Bobby B., New Hartford, Conn.

Bobby, I love hearing about different ways we all can care for our feathered friends. Thanks for sharing. — Heloise

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