Other People's Houses

@owlwings (39218)
Cambridge, England
January 31, 2016 2:28am CST
I remember, when I was a child, that the first thing I noticed about other people’s houses was the smell. Each house had a characteristic smell and my like or dislike of the household and the people in it was very much decided by this. I can still recall the characteristic smell of some of the houses we visited. The ones which smelt of lavender or furniture polish or tobacco smoke were the most friendly (I suppose, because that’s what my own home smelled of, though I don’t remember that our house had any particular smell) and the ones which had an odour of rice pudding or cabbage or something else odd or foreign were the ones I didn’t feel comfortable in. Did you also rely on the smell of a house when deciding whether it was a ‘nice’ house or not and, if so, what experiences and incidents do you remember and can you even describe the smells?
34 people like this
30 responses
@Platespinner (16492)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
31 Jan 16
I grew up with houseplants, and I feel most comfortable when walking into houses with a houseplant smell--unfortunately I have a reputation of killing houseplants so I don't keep any myself. Our current home exudes a vague smell of old carpet. We'll be replacing that carpet with hardwood in the next couple of years--I'll be SO glad to get rid of that stuff! Houses that exude a heavy scent of air fresheners are a nightmare for me since that will almost always trigger a migraine.
4 people like this
@owlwings (39218)
• Cambridge, England
31 Jan 16
Fortunately I have no known allergies (although I probably did have mild asthma when a child but in those days doctors didn't diagnose it). Aerosol air fresheners hadn't been invented and people relied on natural things like lavender and pot pourri and beeswax polish if they did use them. Yes, musty carpets do have their own particular aroma and I'm sure that you'll feel all the better for hardwood flooring. When I was a child, our house was all wood floors (stained bright black around the edges where the carpet didn't reach) except in certain rooms which had linoleum (another smell I remember well).
3 people like this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
31 Jan 16
@owlwings I wish it was just aerosols. I can tolerate lavender in very small amounts, though it doesn't actually smell good to me. But geranium (which is often used as in inexpensive alternative for attar of roses since most people can't tell the difference) I can't tolerate in even the smallest amounts and it is a frequent ingredient in potpourri, scented candles, perfumes and the like. The smell of fresh baked cookies--that I can live with .
3 people like this
@owlwings (39218)
• Cambridge, England
31 Jan 16
@Platespinner Lavender is often recognised as a sleep-inducer and I have certainly experienced a slight headache after smelling it in some concentration. Although I like the smell in small doses (and tend to associate it with sunny summer gardens), I can't say that it's always an entirely pleasant smell. I can also understand your dislike of geranium which always smells bitter and somewhat metallic (like brass being cleaned) to me.
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (157088)
• Switzerland
31 Jan 16
Yes, I also rely on smells. I remember that I loved the smell of bee wax that was used to make the wooden floors shiny. I hate the food smell, this is the reason why I always wide open my kitchen windows after I have finished cooking, except for bread and cinnamon cakes.
4 people like this
@dianadee (1727)
• South Africa
1 Feb 16
The cobra wax on the floors I loved as a child, too!
2 people like this
@jaboUK (53920)
• United Kingdom
31 Jan 16
I suppose I only noticed if a house smelt horrible.
4 people like this
• United States
31 Jan 16
When we bought our current home it smelled of sickness. The male owner had a stroke and was in bad shape, which is why they were selling a two-year old home. Thank goodness he didn't die here, but he did leave this earth about 8 months ago.
3 people like this
• United States
31 Jan 16
I notice smells , my neighbors house always smells like food, she cooks all day long. My other neighbor, I don't go in her home, I prefer to stay outside to talk to her because it smells of smoke.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Feb 16
@CookieMonster46 In the 15 years and 4 homes we've lived in down south I have only been into two neighbor's homes.
2 people like this
• United States
3 Feb 16
@AbbyGreenhill There are some older people on this street, a few are in their 90's when I walk by with my dog the are sitting on the porch and invite us in, they just want company, they love the dog.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Jan 16
i've a diff'cult time recallin' schtuff from my growin' up years. 'course, back then folks homes usually smelled'f fresh baked bread 'n pies sittin' 'pon a windowsill :)
3 people like this
@nanette64 (17610)
• Fairfield, Texas
31 Jan 16
My grandma was from Czechoslovakia @owlwings and she was constantly baking. Apple strudel, pies, cakes; you name it. The scent would even float outside. Just walking up to her house was pure heaven.
3 people like this
@sharon6345 (125449)
• United States
31 Jan 16
Not really that I know of as a child. As an adult it is sad to say but it will keep me from drinking even a glass of water from you.
3 people like this
• United States
31 Jan 16
Yes, and the same holds true of businesses. If a store or restaurant smells bad, I don't stay.
3 people like this
@maezee (32260)
• United States
31 Jan 16
Oh yes! I am the exact same way. For some reason I associate the smell then with the person. Hopefully no one feels the same way when they come into my house though, lol.
3 people like this
31 Jan 16
I think I remember minor, individual smells, rather than a whole house smell. Maybe like the smell of just one room. I do remember a friend saying their mum said our house smelt, and being really hurt by this. To me it just smelt of home!
3 people like this
@hora_fugit (5442)
• India
31 Jan 16
Well I never associated smell with houses, but there are some particular deodorants the smell of which still makes me crave for computer games; as that was a cue for me - my brother is going out, I can sneak to his computer and play!
2 people like this
@owlwings (39218)
• Cambridge, England
31 Jan 16
I understand. Your brother would only use deodorant (liberally!) when he was going out, so that became a signal for you that you could use his computer!
2 people like this
• India
31 Jan 16
@owlwings Hmmm, yes. And each one meant different games. I can still visualize the scenes....
2 people like this
@Morleyhunt (19750)
• Canada
31 Jan 16
I really disliked the musty smell some houses had. Now I understand this is something the residents can't control.
2 people like this
@Jessicalynnt (47854)
• Centralia, Missouri
31 Jan 16
I think we as humans often use our senses to form opinions on all kinds of things, different never bothered me, but there were places that did, and I didn't know why. A sound, a smell, who knows
2 people like this
@paigea (22197)
• Canada
31 Jan 16
I notice smells in houses. But one of my favourite people has a house with a smell I don't like. I can ignore the smell to spend time with her!
2 people like this
@JudyEv (123170)
• Bunbury, Australia
31 Jan 16
I really hadn't thought about this but my grandmother's house always smelt a bit musty. She and I didn't get on so I was never terribly comfortable there.
2 people like this
@amnabas (10282)
• Karachi, Pakistan
31 Jan 16
You are so true I am so possessive about these smells and I judge my relatives through these fragrances or smell that whether they're are neat and clean or not
2 people like this
@scheng1 (24801)
• Singapore
31 Jan 16
For Chinese who are Taoists, you can smell the incense. if they are using the cheap incense, the smell is really of chemicals. If they are using good incense, you can smell the woods that go into the making of the incense sticks.
2 people like this
@GrannyGee (1768)
• Louisburg, North Carolina
18 Feb 16
I'm amazed to read something that affects me ... I don't like to visit other people's homes. Of course, at times I have to ... and I am very aware of how it smells. I love when a home has just been cleaned .... or baking, cooking is going on. Homey scents.
1 person likes this
@SHAMRACK (8384)
• India
4 Feb 16
It is known that the blind people are more sensitive towards smell. Those babies during their tender come with that smell of mother. Even is mother is nearby they could find out. I feel there are many animals who recognise other beings through body odour....
1 person likes this
@much2say (39159)
• United States
2 Feb 16
Our friend's apartment had a certain smell to it - can't explain it except to say it was like a cleaning chemical smell. Then when he and his mother moved to his grandmother's house, it had that same weird smell. So over a decade ago when Hubby and I were searching for apartments to live in, once and a while we would take a tour of a place that had "that" smell . . . that weird smell . . . and we just couldn't dare to consider living there.
1 person likes this