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Design Notes

> Novelty headboards

Looking for some unusual headboard ideas? Everything from picket fences to salvaged shutters can be transformed into headboards. The wall above the bed is "valuable real estate," write the editors at Ladies' Home Journal (www.lhj.com).

They recommend scouring flea markets, home supply stores, garage sales, craft supply shops, even old family photo albums to come up with creative ideas.

Vintage shutters can be transformed into a headboard, for example. So can a large grouping of photographs. One option: Choose eight black-and-white photos and have them enlarged to fit 16-by-20 ready-made black frames. Hang them in two rows, four on each row.

> Home tip

Always losing your TV remote? Here's a tip from Real Simple magazine: Use Velcro to attach the remote to the side of the TV when it's not in use.

> Donate responsibly

When donating toys and clothing your children have outgrown, make sure the items are clean and in good condition.

"It's important to teach your children that disadvantaged kids have feelings, just as they do," write Ed Morrow, Sheree Bykofsky and Rita Rosenkranz in their new book, "Put Your House on a Diet: Declutter Your Home and Reclaim Your Life" (Rodale, $17.95).

Some tips:

* Run dishwasher-safe toys through your dishwasher. Other toys can be cleaned in the sink with dish-washing soap and baking soda. Don't use cleansers that might sicken a child if she puts the toy in her mouth

* Wash doll clothing by hand in cold water, to prevent it from tearing or shrinking.

* Check toys for pieces that might be a choking hazard.

* Don't be tempted to give away toys with missing pieces. "How would you like to assemble a 300-piece jigsaw puzzle that has only 299 pieces?," the authors ask.

> And finally . . .

"Rugs are the clothes that make the floor." -- House & Garden magazine

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