Autumn is here and many of us are cleaning out closets, perhaps having a last-minute yard sale to get rid of things seldom used but perhaps useful to others. My neighbor said she goes by the sensible rule that if it’s in her closet and she hasn’t worn it for a year, she gets rid of it.

Goodwill, Salvation Army and other collecting agencies are good places to take the seldom-worn and in good condition coats, jackets, boots, sweaters and suits. Also consider blankets, quilts and the warming winter items. I can’t think of a better way to help yourself by creating more space, and helping others by providing necessary clothing.

Have you looked in your medicine cabinet lately? Or do you keep your medications on the kitchen table (visible for all to see) or in a cupboard in your kitchen – or perhaps on your dresser. Like most people, if you have a couple of pills left in a container, you may think, “Well, I paid for them. I might need them later so I’ll just hang onto them.” This isn’t a good idea. In Cumberland County, 20 percent of high school students (1 in 5) report having misused prescription drugs. The majority of them are obtained from medicine cabinets of family and friends, including grandparents.

You can help solve this problem by making sure your medications are locked up and please keep track of all your drugs. Most importantly, if you’ve got a few pill bottles with some leftover meds in them – get rid of it. Don’t tempt fate. You shouldn’t just flush those old pills down the drain or throw them in the garbage – think of the environment.

Fortunately, there’s a “Drug Take Back Day” planned for our area – and it’s free as well as convenient.

On Saturday, Sept. 29, bring your old, unused and expired medications to designated, safe places, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Following is a list of area collection points:

In South Portland, the South Portland Community Center on Nelson Road and The HUB, 580 Westbrook St.; and police departments in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, Gorham, Westbrook Windham, Biddeford, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Buxton; and Bridgton Community Center, 15 Depot Street, Bridgton.

Easy voting

Here in Maine, voting has become easier and easier every year, it seems. Last year, we called the town clerk and asked for an absentee ballot to be mailed to us. This year, with two different campaign mailings, we received convenient cards to complete, asking for an absentee ballot. They were already addressed to our local town clerk. What could be easier? Absolutely no excuse is good enough for not voting unless one is unable because of health reasons.

It makes me angry when someone says they aren’t going to vote – they don’t have time, they say, or there’s no one they “like” running for office. Oftentimes, these are the same people who complain the loudest about the results. Before you make up your mind to “skip voting this year” think about the young men and women from your neighborhood or town who are in the military, perhaps in another country, protecting your right to vote. Do it in their honor. Make their sacrifice worthwhile.

Got something on your mind you’d like to share? Send me a note or an email and we’ll see what we can do. Would you like some easy to use recipes for one or two? Information about saving money? I’ll tackle any subject – just give me the word.

Kay Soldier can be reached by email at [email protected], or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.

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