It’s a funny, potentially embarrassing, thing that people’s homes can smell so vastly different. Cooking spices might rule the aroma. There may be the scent of plug-in air fresheners or chemical cleaners. Pet smells can be prominent. Diapers can do some serious damage. Cinnamon rolls baking in the oven could be calling us in.

The variations are seemingly endless, and within those interminable deviations there lies an array of avenues into aromatics of an unfortunate nature. That’s life. We only have a few senses, and smell is one of them. Our noses are bound to flaunt their talents as often and outwardly as possible, no matter if the scent is good or bad.

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So, just as we like to see beautiful paintings on the wall, just as we want food that tastes delicious, we choose music we like, and we want sheets that feel nice, we ought to make enjoy what we are smelling. There is a vast palette of (natural) perfumes from which we can pull. We can make our own potpourri!

It starts with the sniffer.

While most of us agree certain bouquets—burning plastic, busted plumbing, broken wind—are unpleasant, our favorite scents can vary a great deal. The first step to putting together a personal potpourri is identifying those smells we most enjoy—cedar, cinnamon, citrus—and capturing ways to harness them.

What smells do you most enjoy? Additionally, what smells do you most enjoy that seem to be the consensus? Catching a whiff of skunk whilst driving can be pleasant to some, but others abhor it. Choose wisely when concocting a potpourri for visitors to enjoy.

Just play matchmaker.

Source: Amber Kelley/Youtube

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Having devised a list of nostril enticers, it’s time to start thinking about combinations we know and love. Apple and cinnamon are a winning team, tried and true. Citrus and clove are Christmas classic. Rose and vanilla might be an interesting new play. The point is to think through which of these aromas (and it can be more than two) exist in harmony, creating an enjoyable interplay as opposed to one being overly dominant or too subtle.

What flavor combinations are typical? Chocolate and coconut are both aromatic. Vanilla and orange is a familiar pairing. Pumpkin and allspice, i.e. pumpkin pie, is an annual autumn revelation. Rosemary, sage and thyme, when together, could have songs written about them. If they taste well combined, they are likely going to smell good together.

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Preservation is paramount.

Ironically, the French word potpourri translates into something akin to “rotten pot”, which doesn’t suggest all that fantastic of a fragrance. One of our main goals when making potpourri at home is to avoid any rotting, and the way we do that is by drying the wet materials, such as fruit peels or flower petals, prior to putting them in the mix. This can be done in an oven with low temperature. (It’s a great activity for when the weather is called because it warms the house as well.) After being dried in the oven, let them sit out in a dry place for a couple of days to finish off.

Once the ingredients are preserved, they should be combined as planned then put into sealed containers, like a repurposed mason jar. Be sure to squeeze and agitated the components as they go into the jar, releasing their hidden aromas. After a couple of weeks, the smells will have combined well and it’s time to make the magic happen.

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Powerful Potpourri

Source: Homestead Corner/Youtube

The main idea with potpourri is to create an underlying base smell that makes a house or a room grand upon entrance. This can be achieved by simply opening the jar of prepared potpourri and letting it permeate. It can stay in the jar, or it can be dumped in a decorative basket on the back of the toilet. Spot them around the house as you wish.

For more severe issues, where the idea is to overpower a perpetual stink, a spoonful of potpourri can be put into a pot of water on the stovetop and allowed to simmer throughout the day. The heat and steam will give it a more potent effect, helping your home achieve sweet-smelling bliss.

It’s that easy! So, forget about chemically concocted imposters. Don’t settle for a “clean” home that gives off the scent of ammonia and bleach. Instead, make your own potpourri and make your nose—and your guests’ noses—happy.

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