Living in a condo means living with the occasional sounds & smells coming from your neighbours' unit. Being a largely Italian community, the smell of tomato sauce, onions & garlic is everywhere at lunchtime on Sunday, lol. That doesn't bother me much, aside from making me hungry, lol. We can smell the lemony scent of ammonia when the caretaker is mopping the ceramic tile floor outside the elevators, and the occasional smell of dryer sheets when we have the balcony doors open. We've also smelled the odd skunk outside, even though we're four floors up!
I never used to think of myself as particularly scent-sensitive. I used to love wearing perfume, and only gave it up when I started running into too many "fragrance-free" zone signs at work. I have pump bottles of Softsoap Vanilla Brown Sugar in all of our bathrooms.
On the other hand, my mother was never one for wearing perfume. She was an early adopter of fragrance-free laundry products (I use them too -- I had to run several cleaning cycles to remove the sickly sweet floral fragrance from our washer here -- clearly the previous owner used scented detergent). Mom has walked out of hotels where she's had reservations because the cleaning staff clearly used a scented spray in the rooms. She claims it bothers her sinuses.
I remember the day I realized I was turning into my mother. I was sitting at my desk at work when a very strong floral smell started wafting into my cubicle. My eyes actually started watering & I got a tickle in my throat. I started coughing. "Does anyone else smell flowers?" I called out. I heard footsteps and a door close. The scent died away shortly after that. I later realized it was one of our young interns who sat near me; she must have heard me and gone to wash off whatever lotion or perfume she was wearing. I felt badly if I embarrassed her, but it really was affecting me.
Since then, I've noticed my increasing intolerance of strong fragrances more & more. I rarely wear perfume these days, even though I'm no longer at work. I've had to roll down the window when we've been in BIL's car, because he has one of those air fresheners in it. Lots of my friends rave about Bath & Body Works; I can only spend so long in one of those stores. I do like some of their products (the White Citrus shampoo & lotion in particular), but I find the mixture of smells overpowering.
The other night, a strong, fruity/flowery smell started wafting into our unit. I was starting to get a headache. Dh finally opened the door & had a look outside. Someone -- we suspect the caretaker -- had installed one of those plug-in air freshener things into the outlet in the corner just outside our door. Dh noticed another one plugged in at the other end of the hallway, near the garbage disposal room (so it wasn't personal, lol). We have noticed they use these things in the main foyer & in the elevator space in the parking garage, but this was the first time we'd noticed one so close to our own unit.
Dh unplugged it & moved it further down the hall from our door. It's not as strong now, but we can still smell it. I'm thinking of emailing the property manager about it. I can't believe that in a building of 120+ units, I'm the only one who's bothered by this. I'm a little surprised, actually, given the increasing awareness of scent-sensitivities and fragrance-free zones.
Are you scent-sensitive? Do strong smells bother you?