7 ways to tell you live with a neat freak

Worried your loved one is obsessively tidy? Here's how to find out (as if you didn't already know...)

It's a truth universally acknowledged by every homeowner that the world falls into two camps. Those whose homes are neat as a pin, clean as a whistle and organised with military efficiency. And others for whom life's too short to sort socks by colour group (or even into matching pairs). The first lot are the neat freaks. Ruthless cleaners, tirelessly efficient, a tad obsessive (but all in a good cause) with the rest of mere mortals just fitting in to the neat freak world (without messing it up too much). You may well have found yourself (accidentally, or willingly) shackled to a neat freak. Here's how to find out if you are (as if you didn't already know)...

study room with white walls and white wooden book shelves

(Image credit: TBC)

1 Your bookshelves are colour coded
You heard the one about not judging a book by its cover? For neat freaks,
it’s all about the spine. A uniform row of orange Penguin paperbacks
cuts a sophisticated dash, but a true neat freak would turn them the
other way round, so the sea of white won’t ‘spoil the line’. Who needs
to know the title anyway?

room with concealed cupboard on white wall

(Image credit: TBC)

2 You hear the phone ringing, but you can't find it anywhere
That's because it's tucked away in a cupboard. Neat freaks love order. Which means there's a place for everything and everything has its place. Preferably behind a door without a handle. Missed call? Follow the plaintive beeps of your little lost phone or simply walk around the room pressing gently against any flat surface. There's one thing you need to understand. Neat freaks don't see a blank wall, they see a push-click cupboard opportunity. It'll be there somewhere, hopefully with a Voicemail waiting...

room with wooden flooring and white laundry bags

(Image credit: TBC)

3 Your laundry is as well-stocked as the larder
Card carrying neat freaks go through detergent, starch and bleach like the rest of us do milk. Something to do with their love of cleanliness and crisp tailoring. Consequently, a neat freak is a good person to know in a crisis. Should you take a slide in some wet grass, become smeared in dark chocolate or accidently douse yourself in sump oil, a neat freak will have a full set of Stain Devils to cover any crisis. That's just the kind of people they are.

carpet on white staircase and black cat

(Image credit: TBC)

4 Your cat coordinates with the carpet
Pussikins only thinks he was the pick of the litter because of his cheeky personality and knack for personal hygiene. Those oatmeal markings that blend so seamlessly with the sisal? Nothing to do with it.

black sofa with yellow and grey cushions

(Image credit: TBC)

5 You have every mod con going, but still can't turn on the lights...
Neat freakery and hi-tech go hand in hand, so a fortune has probably been spent on concealing the sound system and its pesky wires. Controlling the whole house from one touch-sensitive unit feels so modern. But clapping to turn the volume up, basting the Sunday roast from your iPhone or texting the Sky+ is still but a pipe dream. The reality is, neat freaks are fumbling in the dark, just like the rest of us.

room with white staircase and plant in pot

(Image credit: TBC)

6 You only have to scratch the surface...
On the outside, everything's calm, tidy and ordered but, trust us, there will be a place, a hidden drawer, an unnoticed cupboard, some tiny corner of the loft, where chaos reigns. The neat freak won't want to go there, as it'll be stuffed to the gills with random tut that can't be thrown out but just doesn't look very nice anywhere else. But that will be where to find all that stuff the rest of us leave lying about. Although they hate to admit it, even neat freaks have to stash mess. They're only human.

coloured shoes in white shoe rack

(Image credit: TBC)

7 Your outdoor shoes remain outdoors
Do you really need to ask?

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Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.