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Couple quibbles over how to pack carry-on

| Friday, March 28, 2008

Question: Fold or roll• That is what my boyfriend and I are arguing about. I know it sounds petty, but it comes up every time we take a short trip with no more than one carry-on bag each. I say folding flat means you can pack more and clothes wrinkle less. He says rolling is better. Who is right?

Answer: If you were sharing a suitcase and one of you was hogging more space than the other, I could understand why you disagree on packing methods. But since you each have your own carry-on bag, why the argument• If you can fold and fit all you need into your bag, and he can roll and fit all his stuff into his bag, I don't see the problem.

As for the wrinkling factor, provided neither of you demands the other do the ironing at your destination, why not stick with what works for each of you?

But since you asked, here's the opinion of most packing experts: Tightly rolling clothes makes them more compact and more effectively eliminates wrinkles than folding.

As for my opinion: Pardon my bluntness, but I think your fold-or-roll argument is just a bunch of folderol.

Q: You recently advised a reader whose supervisor's heavy perfume was giving her headaches to approach the problem as a health issue, an allergy, and ask for the office to be declared a perfume-free zone. I also get headaches from the overpowering perfume worn by one of my co-workers. I took your advice and asked our supervisor to ban perfume from the office. He just told me to take two aspirins and get back to work.

I have been popping headache pills every day since then, but they don't help. It might be my imagination, but the headaches seem to be getting worse. The only day I felt fine was the day the perfumed co-worker was out sick. Is there anything else I can do?

A: If something in your office is making you ill, your supervisor needs to address the problem with more than a "take two aspirins" response.

The fact that your headaches seem to be getting worse could mean you are having more than an allergic reaction. It is possible the headaches are caused by a neurological sensitivity to the chemicals in the perfume -- a sensitivity that could progress into a more serious condition known as "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity," or MCS.

I suggest you speak with your supervisor one more time, making it clear you have a real problem and are not just whining. It might help to have a note from your doctor supporting your position.

If your request to ban perfume from the office is rebuffed again, you might want to make a written request to your employer for an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If that doesn't work, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

But I do hope the problem can be resolved without going to those lengths.

Your stuff really is in the bag

Q: Every time I buy a new outfit, I buy a handbag to match. But I go crazy switching all my stuff from bag to bag. Half the time I leave behind something essential -- driver's license, debit card, etc. Another friend has a checklist of "bag essentials" stuck to her mirror. Do you have a better idea?

A: Here's what works pretty well: Gather all the small items you need every day -- driver's license, bank card, keys, phone, cash, tissues, breath mints. Stash them all in a small, zippered, mesh pouch from the cosmetics section of your local drug store. (A plastic zip-lock bag also works, but is not as durable as mesh.) When you switch handbags, simply transfer the pouch of essentials to the new handbag.

Of course, for this to work you must train yourself to always return the essentials to the pouch and not just toss them into your handbag du jour.

Lost and found

Lost : Amanda is trying to find a makeup foundation that completely covers acne blemishes and also withstands hot, humid weather. Suggestions, anyone?

Joann is looking for Spray & Wash stick.

Found : Good news for Longwood, Fla., reader Maureen, who is trying to track down the Oscar Blandi La Jasminetta Jasmine Travel Set. The trio of shine-enhancing hair-care products is available at Sephora stores.

Here's another suggestion for Shirley, the reader looking for a device for shaving fuzz off her sweaters. She can order a cordless pill shaver ($6) from Starcrest of California by calling 951-657-2793.

The reader wanting to purchase tube socks can find them at most Kmart stores.

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