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What is that Smell?

I knew a girl in college who was always cheerful, had a great sense of humor, and was perfectly nice. But her room, though well decorated and full of that Feng Shui crap, had an odd stink to it. Behind her back, my friends and I cracked plenty of jokes at the expense of her malodorous haven.

But we were all wondering to ourselves whether our own rooms came with their own "special" odors that we didn't know about. Your room might not smell like a Sumo wrestler just went to the bathroom after a Mexican food buffet. But it may have an unexplainable odor that, much like bad breath or B.O., can go undetected by the very person that lives with it (i.e., you.)

So what could that putrid smell be? Does it come from the pile of unwashed laundry in the corner of the room? The sweaty shoes sprawled on the ground? The stale smoke from the cigarettes you smoked last night? Perhaps it's the dead bird under the bed. Whatever the case, it must go away.

There are plenty of simple ways to keep your room smelling good, and they all have to do with being clean. Do your laundry and make sure it's completely dry before you put it away. Wash your sheets and towels on a regular basis. Don't smoke in your room. Always wear socks or use odor eaters in your athletic shoes or keep them in the hall. Don't keep any open food or food that has gone bad in your room. Empty your wastebaskets regularly. Take showers often. And just don't be a damn slob!

If that's too hard, there are other means of masking the stench from your workout clothes dangling from a hanger behind your door.

Use scented candles. They work wonders. There's a wide variety available, from the cheap kinds that you can get at your local Rite-Aid to the fancy ones with scents like Grandma's Blueberry Muffins or French Mountain in Fresh Rain and are only sold at specialty boutique places. Whatever the case, candles are a popular ?and effective ? treatment.

Heat cinnamon in an oven (or toaster, for those of you non-kitchen people) and leave the door open. The good smells will invade your room. Obviously, this is only a good solution if you're a fan of the cinnamon smell. The aroma can be nice, and hey, it's better than the scent of wet socks.

Vacuum with carpet cleaner. Believe it or not, carpets can stink, and vacuuming alone does nothing for your rug's odor. Carpet cleaners are more than abundant, as a trip to your local Super K-Mart would reveal.

Open some windows. It's amazing what good old fresh air can do to a room.

Put some pieces of apple in a particularly troublesome area. I know the thought of placing two slices of the apple from the dining hall next to your pile of dirty laundry may seem odd. But after a couple days, the slices will have dried out and turn brown, and the stale, smelly air will be filled with the fresh scent of apples. Unbelievably, it works. Whoever lives in your room next year can deal with the dead bird.

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