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Warming up a chilly closet, forcing tulips, and recycling those old

Q. The walk-in closet in our apartment shares a wall with an outside storage room. Apparently there is no insulation in the wall, because on cold days the closet registers 40 degrees F. Is there a way to insulate the wall without damaging it? - J.L.B., Overland Park, Kan.

A. Adding insulation inside the closet won't help much, says Howard Clark, a construction supervisor.

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Even with enough insulation, you'd be stuck with the problems of getting heat into an unheated space and the closet chilling your bedroom. A frequently used walk-in closet should have been designed with its own supply of heat, so its temperature stays in balance with the adjacent room.

For heating, it's considered another room, not a closet.

But adding heat into your walk-in closet should be done with care. An unattended appliance heater among clothing is not a good idea, yet over-heating your bedroom to keep your closet warm is not a comfortable option either. The best way is to add heat to the closet by branching off the apartment's heating system.

Approach your landlord with the problem; explain it in terms of heating costs, safety concerns, as well as comfort for a good tenant, and the landlord may agree to look into solutions that may not be that difficult or expensive to implement.

Q. What do florists know about forcing tulips that I don't? Theirs stand erect, mine flop over. - R.Q., Wausau, Wis.

A. Tulips forced by professionals get light from the top, not from the sides, according to a spokesman for the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center.

But even at the florist, the plants will grow to the light if placed in a window. The solution: Just turn the pot one-quarter every day.

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Q. What charitable organizations recycle greeting cards? - V.M., Perry Point, Md.

A. St. Jude's Ranch for Children, a home for abused children, welcomes used holiday cards. Send to:

St. Jude's Ranch for Children 100 St. Jude's St. Boulder City, NV 89005 Or, for a list of places that reuse holiday cards, send an SASE to: Jack Early All-Year Christmas Cheer 134 Pfeiffer St. San Francisco, CA 94133

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

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