July 19 2011

There’s No Smell Like Home

So the other day I was thinking about the houses of my childhood friends and how they all had a certain smell. Not necessarily a good smell or a bad smell. Just a smell that smelled like their house smelled like.

One friend’s house smelled like ammonia house cleaner. Another smelled kinda like milk. One smelled musty dusty. One always smelled like new carpet. Another smelled like pie. There were lots of cooking smells. Garlic, curry, or spicy weirdness. Also pipe smoke. Or cigarettes. Or tea. Or grandpa. Or wet dog. Or a combo of any of the above.

I wondered what happened to those old family smells when a new family moves in. Did the smell disappear after a week or so after the family moves out? And if the family moves into a new house does their smell follow– or do they have to start over again and do stuff before their house smells the same again. With the cooking and the cleaning and the cat litter or whatever..

Then it dawned on me that I never thought my childhood home smelled like anything in particular. We had a dog– but it didn’t smell like dog. My mom liked to make bake apples alot (we still don’t know why because nobody seemed crazy about them) but the house didn’t smell like that either. Our house didn’t have house smell. It didn’t smell like anything. Not that I could remember.

Then I realized that my house DID have a smell. I just never noticed the smell because I lived in the smell all the time. Just like people who lived in sour milk house or cat litter house probably didn’t realize the smell of their own house.

THEN I realized that although I can walk around and get hit with reminder smells of other people’s houses from time to time– I’ll never get a reminder smell of my childhood home because I don’t really know what my house smelled like. I never noticed. Certain dinners I can place. Thanksgiving or baked apples maybe– but not the on full house smell of the house.

Seems weird that although you can easily place specific childhood smells from home or childhood (the sea, wet canvas, wood burning) and it can bring back a rush of memories— but for the most part I think people can’t recognize the full-on smell of their actual house. Unless you totally can. In which case this whole post probably didn’t read right because you totally know what your house smells like.

ok bye!


Batman says:


Anonymous says:


Anonymous says:

Frankly when I go into someones house and it smells nasty like ass or dead animals I be sure let them know. It’s like telling someone that their breath smells like shit. They might be a little buthurt about it but in the long run they would appreciate you telling them what nobody else had the balls to.

Guest says:

Of course the obvious flaw in your little story is that we all know you have no friends and don’t leave your house so it is highly unlikely you would ever be invited into anyone’s house or have anyone want to engage in a conversation where you could smell their breath.

Guest says:

I feel kind of happy that I can read this and write a comment now, before all the retards show up and crap all over the place.

Anonymous says:


Angry Man says:

You know what stinks? This post!!!

Anonogirl says:

I love you todd

the REAL weeze says:


AK-57 says:

Why would I be JEALOUS of a loser like you again?

Anonymous says:

that’s actually really interesting.

Nicol says:

Sometimes when I eat other people’s food that they bring in to work (back when I had a job) it would taste like they smell. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

Anonymous says:

I know what you’re talking about. Whenever I sampled my female co-workers grub it smelled like rotting fish.

dear cat lady says:

you are gross

cb1 says:

when i cook meatballs in my apartment, it reminds me of my grandma’s house. i wish my meatballs were as good as hers.

tainted says:

i know exactly what you are talking about. if a friend or a relative left an article of clothing or something over my house and i smelled it, i would instantly recognize the house it came from. i hope my house smell was good at least..

Hawkeye says:

House smells are totally unsmellable… unless you leave for a few weeks and come back into a shut house where no one has been home for awhile. Then you can smell it. I don’t think mine ever smell that great. I don’t do enough cooking and I have dogs!

Krankor says:

My house usually smells like fart. So does my car.

Yellowdog says:

Agree with Hawkeye. If you want to get an idea of what your house smells like, shut the place up tight, remove all garbage from all receptacles, turn off all mechanical ventilation, and go on a 2-week vacation. When you come back and first open the door, take a number of deep breaths. Smell that? That’s basically your personal house scent, times about 10. If you find it disagreeable, then you can do something about it.

flowy dress waitress says:

maybe your house smell is the same as the smell of something you sometimes smell that you can’t name or place, but that creates a feeling of nostalgia.

Rae says:

I loved going to my best friend’s house. It always smelled so good, like a yummy dinner being cooked (even when nothing was in the oven). I’m sure mine smelled like cigarette smoke, cigar smoke and ass. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Anonymous says:

And incest. You forgot that one Rae.

Hey says:

What I find funny is how a house smell will travel with a person to the next place. My friends place smelled like stale smoke (his parents smoked) and cooked spicy hotdogs. When he moved out and got his own place, his new place had the same smell. Odd thing is that he didn’t smoke. Maybe the stuff he took with him held the odor?

Ex-Smoker says:

Once that shit smoke smell gets on and IN your stuff, it takes a LONG time to get it out. Trust me.

col hawk says:

mine smelled like musk, we used to raise muskrats.

and diarrhea.

jiggy says:

How do you raise diarrhea?

My house smells like mildew and stinky feet with an occasional waft of fart.

Pittsburgh Dude says:

The post was great, but the comments today had me laughing the most. I had an Indian friend, and his house always smelled like curry. They must have cooked a buttload of curry because we make curry 1-2 times per week, and our house don’t smell like no curry. It smells like feet.

Anonymous says:

As a young kid my best friend’s house had a terrible smell, indescribably bad. I suppose it was so strong I didn’t realize that all houses had a more subtely distinct smell. Eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I tried to ask my friend’s mom why the house smelled so different from everyone else’s, speculating that maybe she likes to cook a specific type of strong smelling food, but being four, all that came out was “it smells bad. Must be your cooking,” Much to the embarassment of my parents

Debi says:

My house smells like malted milk for some reason. I only notice it when I’ve been away for a few days though.

Anonymous says:

I know what you mean about childhood memories. I’ll walk into a corporate building and get maybe a whiff of some industrial cleaner or something and suddenly remember being in kindergarten (I’m in my late 30’s).

Ash-lay says:

We moved into a new house and it had the old family’s smell. It’s not a bad one, I can’t even put my finger on it. It just is a smell. It’s been two months since we moved in, and every time I come in the door, it smells like the previous residents. I wonder when our smell will kick in. Our smell is sadly probably something like dog, the wool rug that was crazy expensive, yet smells awful, and mac & cheese.

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