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Homes and Scent

by Nikki Willhite

Have you noticed the last few years how many products have entered the marketplace to make our homes smell better?

First there was potpourri, then came the scented candles. We moved on to plug in aerosol scents, wicks, and finally the electric candle warmers that melt scented wax that can be left on 24/7.

These weren't items our ancestors or even parents used. So why now?

Our sense of smell is underrated. We are all so focused on sight and sound, that we don't think about how wonderful it is to have a sense of smell.

I was watching The Food Nanny a few weeks ago. The Food Nanny is a show about a woman who comes into homes that are struggling with getting dinner on the table. She tries to help them get back into a routine of family dinner time and homemade meals.

In this particular episode, she was working with a single dad, whose life had become cold cereal and fast food.

She helped him make a pot roast, with a delicious sauce. They got it going in the crockpot, and then left to do some shopping.

When they returned home, he walked into his house, smelled the delicious aroma of the cooking pot roast, and he broke into tears.

His home had never smelled that good, and it brought back happy childhood memories.

I remember years ago being in a shopping mall, and going into a little store full of scents. I was overcome with something I smelled. I had not smelled it in years, but I remembered exactly where I was when I use to smell it.

It was a scent from my grandmother's house. It reminded me or her and all the fun times we had together. It was an emotional experience for me.

Such is the power of scent.

So why is it that our ancestors didn't have as many scented items in their homes?

I think the answer to that is that they already had plenty of scent from their normal lives. They usually had something cooking, whether it was a piece of meat, beans on the back burner, or cinnamon and apple pies cooking or cooling on the baking rack.

Their houses were often heated with wood, and the smell of rough lumber mingled with smells coming from the kitchen.  When it comes to our ancestors, spices and herbs from the garden often hung from the rafters to dry.

So their homes were rich with wonderful smells.

Today, with the microwave, fast food, and even the gas fireplace, we live in homes that are devoid of smell.

Add to that the fact that lots of pets now live inside our homes, and do not smell good, and you can see why there is such a need to make our homes smell better.

There is synergy in smell plus taste.  Buying a bag of chocolate chip cookies may be convenient, but it does not compare to the smell of chocolate baking in the oven; and then eating them.

Cinnamon is known to be a favorite scent of most men, and the smell of bread baking in the oven  is appreciated by everyone.

Remember the importance of scent and smell when it comes to making your family feel nurtured and happy. Bake  those cookies and bread, and make homemade meals.  Fill your home with wonderful smells and let your family enjoy them.

Scented candles are nice, but a poor substitution for the smells that truly make a house a home.

About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!



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