Dear Readers: If you inherit or have a cedar-lined chest with that awful mothball smell, here’s what you can do to eliminate it. First, open the chest and let it sit outside in the sunshine and fresh air for a several days. This can help, but you might need to take additional steps to get rid of the odor.

Lightly sand the wood inside the chest with a fine-grade sandpaper, which will release a fresh cedar smell. Then vacuum up the wood residue and wipe with a microfiber cloth to get rid of dust. And to revive the cedar smell, add a bit of cedar-wood oil on a small area of the inside of the lid. Make certain that clothes or linens won’t come in contact with the oil.

— Heloise

Where to write: Send your tips and tricks to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; or email