Eau de College


“What’s that smell?” I asked my son, wrinkling my nose as I hugged him hello. He had just walked in the door on break from college and my joy in seeing him was disrupted by something that didn’t exactly smell like roses.

“What smell?” he replied.

I pulled him in for another hug and inhaled.

Sign Up for E-News

“Ugh,” I exclaimed.  “It’s your jacket.  When was the last time you washed this thing?”

“You’re supposed to wash them??” he wondered.

I shuddered.  Apparently there had been a gap in his domestic training.  While he got the memo on washing his clothes, he missed the part about cleaning his outerwear.  And since there wasn’t any visible dirt and he had clearly gone nose blind to the smell, he never had any reason to think the jacket would need to be cleaned.  I was only surprised the jacket wasn’t so disgusted with itself it hadn’t tapped him on the shoulder and begged to be washed.

“Please tell me you wash your sheets and towels?” I pleaded.

“Of course,” he replied.  “I washed them when I moved in and I brought them home to wash them again.”

“THAT’S THREE MONTHS!” I exclaimed.

“I don’t see the big deal,” he said.  “I’m clean when I use the towels to dry off after I shower, and I shower before bed so I’m clean when I sleep.”

“It doesn’t work that way cowboy,” I told him.  “Towels get mildew and sheets get stinky.”  I was stunned that someone who sometimes took two showers a day wouldn’t think to wash his jackets and linens. I was also kind of shocked none of his college friends had come to his apartment, noticed the smell, and said something.  But then I realized they probably all lived the same way so who would know the difference.

I decided I needed to see just how pervasive the problem was.

“Let me ask you something?” I said. “Do you empty the trash?”


“Do you clean out the fridge?”


“Do you clean the bathroom?” I wondered.


“Okay, well two out of three isn’t bad,” I commented. “I think if we can just get a couple of things sorted out, you will be fit to live on your own without having the city condemn your apartment or the CDC quarantine your clothes.”

He rolled his eyes at me.

“Listen, wash sheets and towels once a week before they get up and walk away on their own.  Clean your jacket once a month unless you spill something on it and then wash it right away so you don’t attract bears. Clean the bathroom before it starts to look like there’s a rug growing on your floor. Clean out the fridge before the food becomes a science experiment.  And here’s the most radical concept:  Empty the trash when it’s full.  Got all that?”

He nodded. 

“Oh,” he piped up.  “One more thing?”

“What’s that?”

“When do I wash these?” he asked, holding up a pair of ratty, foul-smelling sneakers.

“You don’t.” I replied.

“I don’t?”

“No,” I said pinching my nose and taking the sneakers from him. “You throw them out.”

Note: Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyinSuburbia

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July 18, 2018

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Union County Honored for History Projects

ELIZABETH, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce that two national achievement recognitions for history projects have been presented to the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“Union County is rich in history, and this Freeholder Board is committed to engaging the public with ...

Union County College Foundation’s 3rd “Close the Gap” Campaign Surpasses Goal

CRANFORD, NJ – With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $55,000 at their 3rd Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held on July 11, in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the ...

ReNew Salon and Spa Welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo

GILLETTE, NJ - ReNew Salon and Spa welcomes Senior Stylist Joan Mormilo to their staff. Mormilo brings with her over 20 years of excellent customer service in the salon and spa industry.

She has extensive product knowledge, focuses on keeping up-to-date on industry standards and practices, believes in mentoring young stylists, and is a team player who strives to ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, July 21, 10:30 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Cuba: Observations of a Photographer

Arts & Entertainment Travel

Sat, July 21, 10:30 AM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Cuba: Observations of a Photographer at NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, July 22, 2:00 PM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Moths and other Pollinators

Education Green


Tue, July 24, 3:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant , Scotch Plains

Hear the Story of Amelia Earhart, America's Most ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness

Special June Episode of 'Berkeley Heights Here & Now' Features 6th Annual Street Fair

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The Berkeley Heights Communications Committee (BHCC) today announced a special edition of Berkeley Heights Here & Now is available on the Township website, www.berkeleyheightstwpnj.gov.


The special episode features the 6th Annual Berkeley Heights Street Fair held on June 24 and includes onsite interviews with attending residents/visitors, event ...

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...