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Smells

(Tue Apr 27 09:22:48 2010)

How I make my house seem cleaner

If you smell cookies baking, you think grandma. A roast cooking - you think of your mom. A clean bathroom - well, me, I think of Grandma again. Point is, your house is associated with it's smell. People forget how important smell is to a general impression. It has taken me a long time to adjust to the smell of my in-laws. For the longest time, their house just wreaked to me. It was the natural pheromoonal "Metzger" smell. I really didn't like it. I still tell Andrew that I dislike his natural smell. He smells like the oil from popping popcorn at the movie theatre, but as though it's just a BIT too old. And his whole family is a variation on that theme. Who wants that smell next to their pillow all the time? I swear I went against nature in marrying him. The theory runs that complementary pheromones attract. Also, you probably won't notice the smell. If I'm attracted to slightly rancid popcorn oil....um, yuck. So, I theorize that I must love my husband despite his biology, which at least strengthens another theory that keeps me on a higher plane of existence than guinea pigs and primates.

Anyway... when you walk into a house, it has a smell. Anything smaller than a mansion and more lived in than an executive and it will smell vaguely of the people and animals that dwell therein. Plain and simple: I don't like that. I don't like stale air, dog, cat, dirty dishes, wet towel, dirty laundry, dirty bathroom, little kid, dirt, dust or urine smells in my house. Those are the most common ones you'll find in a house that at least passes for clean, depending on the inhabitants. Anything dirtier and you will smell mold, mildew, rot, and decomposition. I may also be slightly put off by the reality of my chosen profession as a biologist who spent a year of my life growing microbes on plates that smelled like cows and beef broth that were in varying stages of rot.

How do I clean my house for company? Top to bottom - with good smells. I change out he sheets and clean the clothes, I vacuum the floors, sweep and mop with a lemon scent. I wipe down horizontal surfaces generously with 409, dust with lemon pledge, clean the bathroom with bleach, spray anything offensive with Odoban, then finally light scented candles (some variation on creamy or spicy scents) and diffuse essential oils. It's a hefty scent deterrent strategy, but no compliment strikes me more warmly than, "Your house always smells so 'clean,' 'nice,' 'yummy.'" And when I follow my regimen, I do get those compliments, regularly.

But this is East Texas, and the humidity and pollen do wretched things to the nicest of smells. I have 2 children under 3 - so urine keeps cropping up in unwanted locations. I keep their diaper pail in the back bathroom, where, despite frequent inundations with baking soda and essential oil, the sun baking the pail tends to win. I keep their dirty clothes in the closet in their room, which unfortunately houses all my hanging clothes. These things hold smell despite best effort. This is the root of my new effort, briefly known as "putting everything in vinyl bags."

It was a suggestion proposed as an organizational help on an Ambleside Online Eloop I'm a member of. Those vinyl comforter bags you get? They make great storage. For toys, clothes, overnight trips, anything you want contained, yet visible, and portable. MY mind also added, "and stink free."

So, yesterday, I purchased 2 dozen of these babies in 2 sizes. They will enclose my hanging clothes, and organize all of our off-season wardrobe into divisions rather than one huge blob. They have little pockets for labels to aid in my continued sanity. I will use them for overnight trips for the boys and for rotating toys. Oh, I have high hope for these smell-free bags of organizational bliss!

As a final note, by keeping his hair short and keeping him up on regular hygiene, and also changing out his pillowcase regularly, I manage to co-exist with my buttered popcorn oil headed husband quite well, thanks.

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This blag is tagged: 409, Cleaning, Organization, Vinylbags, All