Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A good smelling house is next to godliness

I'm a clean freak; I always have been. I have memories as a little girl begging my mother to teach me how to do the dishes so that I could do them myself. There are few things that can fill my heart with feelings of warmth and contentment like a freshly vacuumed floor, or a newly mopped kitchen. If the sinks are shiny and the mirrors streak free then Heidi is a happy woman.

Though I am a stickler for cleanliness, I am even more sensitive about how my house smells; to me, if my house is clean but it smells stale or stinky, then I've failed at my j-o-b. Have you ever walked into a house and the first thing you noticed was the way it smelled; good or bad? I have vivid memories of visiting friend's houses or even the houses of my extended family members, and whether their houses were clean or not, the first thing I always noticed was how it smelled. If their houses smelled good and were clean, then most likely I adored their house and never wanted to leave. (However, even at a very young age I seemed to be aware of the beauty or lack thereof of home decor and as such, I would also judge by how cute I thought their houses to be. But that's a whole other post entirely.) Back to my original point: Every morning shortly after I wake, rain or shine, heat or cold, I throw open all the windows in my house as to air it out. Naturally, I am obsessed with candles and air fresheners. I am very picky about how my house smells though as I don't want it to smell as if I'm trying to mask any odors. I have two lovely kitties whose cat box is a constant challenge to keep fresh and scentless so I always try to buy air fresheners that give off a clean scent (my personal favorite being clean linen, such as is made by Febreze) or no scent at all, like the Oust air sanitizer candles.

However, if I am to have a scent in my house I always choose something like Apple, or Apple Cinnamon. Bath and Body Works makes an excellent line of candles and plug-in 'wallflowers' that I think are really worth their cost. They last for a long time and aren't overpowering at all.

Another option for keeping ones house smelling home-y is to make a homemade potpourri soup and boil it through out the day. I found a really great recipe for such a thing on Martha Stewart's website. Basically, it's just star of anise, cinnamon, lemons and water, although I am sure you could substitute apple cider or juice for the water. When I first tried this, my husband loved it so much, I found him replenishing the pot with more water when he thought it was boiling low. (You know you've made it when your significant other likes how you make the house smell; men are notorious for hating scented anything.)

I live in an apartment so I don't have the option of tearing up the carpets and putting in hardwood floors, but if I could I would. Carpet has a bad reputation for holding in odors, especially when one owns animals such as myself, and can prove difficult to keep fresh. I found though that vacuuming once a day (excessive for some people I know, but remember, I L-O-V-E the way it looks and makes me feel...) and sometimes using baking soda sprinkled on the carpet before you vacuum can freshener it up a bit.

Obviously one can only go so far in making their house smell nice, but why not go off your rocker like I have and hide your gently used dryer sheets in your underwear drawers and under your pillows so that you get an extra burst of freshness every time you're near it? I've also been known to use the body sprays (also found at Bath and Body Works) as bed sprays; while I'm in the process of making my bed, I do as follows: I spray the bottom sheet, pull up and spray the top sheet, pull up and spray both of my blankets and then finally, I lightly mist my pillows. My favorite scent for this is 'Juniper Breeze' as it is the least overpowering of all the scents offered at B&BW. I'm telling you, there is nothing more comforting or luxurious than laying one's head down on a fresh, crisp, lightly scented pillow at night.(Also, you should know, I iron and starch my pillowcases, yes, I am that crazy) It's really quite lovely. :-)

If any of y'all happen to share in my obsession with scent, then let me know, otherwise, happy housecleaning!

No comments: