14 tell-tale signs you've taken home austerity too far

Worried you've gone overboard with the pared-back minimalist look? Here's how to find out...

sock drawer grey and white coloured and stool
(Image credit: TBC)

Taking the pared-back approach has its attractions. Who wouldn't want to live a simple life, reduced of all clutter? Trouble is minimalism aka home austerity can become strangely addictive. Here's how to tell if you're cutting things back too far.

bedroom with pillows on bed and greener outer side

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adrian Briscoe)

1. You'd happily live the rest if your life with just a futon and a iPad.
Because that's all you need right? Somewhere to rest your head and something offering a world of information at your fingertips.
Why clutter your space with all that personal stuff? That's what the Cloud is for.

three piece legged and chair

(Image credit: TBC)

2. When friends come round, they bring their own chairs.
That moulded masterpiece you traded the three-piece for and have angled according to precise feng shui principles? Newsflash: it ain't that conducive to conversation. And an evening cross-legged on the tatami matting is only for the very open of hip. So don't hate the mates who comes round bearing with their own floor cushions. Get the message (and a squishy sofa).

grey wall and three recycling bags with ball

(Image credit: Future PLC/Debi Treloar)

3. There are more Persil bottles in your recycling bin than red wine.
White is your go-to palette, which means keeping things pristine requires industrial-sized quantities of chemical intervention. And Merlot just destroys everything it touches, so has no place in your home.

kitchen with white colour and dining table

(Image credit: TBC)

4. The phone's ringing but you can't find it anywhere.
The ‘everything has a place and everything in its place'
mantra is all very well, provided you can remember where that place is. (Hint:
usually tucked away in a drawer or a push-click cupboard).

5. You describe
'tidying up' as your ‘decluttering journey'.

Essential if you're not going to succumb to the very 21st
syndrome - stuffocation.

bathroom with attic ceiling and basin

(Image credit: TBC)

6. You'd love to live in a monastry one day.
Polished concrete is a trend you find utterly compelling.
The lumbago you get from sleeping on a shelf made of it may irk, but what price style, eh?

brock wall and three alto bin

(Image credit: TBC)

7. You are on first name terms with your bin men. And have the Council refuse department on speed dial.
Home austerity is all about getting rid. And since you operate a strict ‘one in, one out' policy on all household goods, while your interior inside is a temple, chances are the footpath outside your house is piled high with refuse, just waiting to be collected.

white mantelpiece goods

(Image credit: TBC)

8. You think the dirtiest word in the English language is ‘ornaments'.
They're nothing more than gatherers of dust (another banned substance). Your mantel is a hallowed, shrine-free zone. And that's the way it's staying.

Sock drawer with black white and grey coloured

(Image credit: TBC)

9. Your sock drawer is colour sorted into black, white and grey...
Which happen to go with every outfit you own.

hidden storage cupboard and stool

(Image credit: TBC)

10. Lean against any flat surface it may well pop open.
If there's anything minimalists love more than an expanse of surface, it's a push-click cupboard. Concealed storage is the not-so-secret trick beloved of all of the pared-back disposition enabling you to have way more stuff that anyone need every know.

white background with black coffee table

(Image credit: TBC)

11. The three books you own are arranged in an artful stack.
Just because...

hanging cloths and pillows on wardrobe

(Image credit: TBC)

12.Your wardrobe consists of 10 white shirts, 5 black jumpers, 20 grey t-shirts and 3 pairs of black trousers, preferably Japanese. Or Belgian.
It's called a capsule wardrobe, okay? Some people swear by them. You're one of them.

13.You make weekly visits to your Self-Storage center. Usually in disguise.
Quality storage is key for all tidy souls too, but minimalists in particular hate anyone knowing quite how they do it. Dark glasses and a fake moustache help maintain the illusion.

green colour smoothies with white background

(Image credit: TBC)

14. You have considered a raw juice cleanse.
After which you might go raw vegan. Might.


Ginevra Benedetti
Deputy Editor (Print)

Ginevra Benedetti has been the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home magazine since 2021. With a career in magazines spanning nearly twenty years, she has worked for the majority of the UK’s interiors magazines, both as staff and as a freelancer. She first joined the Ideal Home team in 2011, initially as the Deputy Decorating Editor and has never left! She currently oversees the publication of the brand’s magazine each month, from planning through to publication, editing, writing or commissioning the majority of the content.