#742 The smell of an old hardware store

A little bit of Old Spice hanging around, tooWalk into an old hardware store and take a big whiff. Come on now, just tip that head, sniff those fumes, and bring back a big brainful of love and memories with these gems:

• Hot, rubbery tires. Chinese chemical plants, hot vials of liquid rubber, and the musty stench of ocean liner storage bays combine to form this mind-altering buzz. And when you cruise on by, don’t forget to grab a free massage by rubbing your hand across all those tiny plastic hairy bits sticking off the tires in all directions. A classic.

Heads up!• Those tightly packed piles of soil. Flopped sideways and drooping in all directions, don’t these bags always look like they’re about to burst at the seams? Well, I guess the problem is that some of them do, leaking their sweet smelling brown-with-white-flecks dirtload all over the floor.

The key-cutting machine. If your hardware store is lucky enough to have a kid working away on a screaming key-cutting machine, then you’re probably sniffing in some hot, oily machine parts and a few metal scraps flying in all directions. Yes, that high-pitched piercing will wake up your baby and those smoky-metal fumes will wake up your childhood memories. Not a bad trade.

tree bodies• Stacks of lumber. Decades of sun, water, and carbon dioxide help build tiny seedlings in the sod into majestic giants of the forest. Now even though they’re diced up into bits, they’re still breathing out those deep woody, sappy-fresh scents.

• Assorted old spills. Somebody kicked a can of paint thinner under Aisle 3 back in 1987 and now its faintly toxic aroma is just hanging limply in the air along with metal nail dust, shiny tools, and plastic snow shovels.

Yes, as you walk those old hardware aisles it’s hard not to soak in the memories. So when you leave the store on the creaking wooden floor, through the dusty, sunbeam rays shining lazily over the dirty black floormat, let that jingle-jangly door clang shut on your great Saturday morning sniff down memory lane.


There you go

Photos from: here and here

8 thoughts on “#742 The smell of an old hardware store

  1. Yes! The smell of hardware stores will forever remind me of helping my dad with home improvement projects. The freshly-cut lumber smell gets me every time.

  2. The last time I was in an old hardware store, I was a teenager and went with my grandpa. It smelled of dust and old wood. NO other place smells like an old hardware store and places like that are always so full of memories!

  3. Hmm… Can’t say I relate. Although I do find the smell of fresh paint weirdly alluring. Must be something about the connotations of change and whatnot. :P

  4. I’d take the smell of an old hardware store over a new one anyday!
    This always reminds me of a trip to the old general store or nickel and dime in my Gramp’s Ford Mercury pick up truck!

  5. I used to live in a spit-end-to-end tiny town that had an old hardware store and it was so cool! The look, the smells, the sounds…always felt like I had walked back in time. I avoided those big box stores because nothing beats a small town hardware store.

  6. Wow that looks just like our Nichol’s hardware Store in Purcellville VA! Love going in there. They still write out your tickets by hand!

Comments are closed.