7 ways to tell if 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)...

1. Your bookshelves are colour coded

colour coding bookcase

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

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 colour coordinated spines is pleasing for the eye of a neat freak. And they get nervous if anyone moves any of the spines just slightly out of line.

Looking to add a key seasonal colour to your decor? READ: How to decorate with Dulux colour of the year; Heart Wood

2. You hear the phone ringing, but you can't find it anywhere

folder shelves on white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

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...

3. Your laundry is as well-stocked as the larder

laundry bags

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tara Fisher)

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 removers to cover any crisis. That's just the kind of people they are.

4. Your cat coordinates with the carpet

cat on stair carpet

(Image credit: Future PLC/Malcolm Menzies)

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.

Want style rules for children's rooms? READ: The 5 style lessons every child needs to learn

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 the reality is, neat freaks are fumbling in the dark, just like the rest of us.

6. You only have to scratch the surface...

storage place under staircase

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

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.

Need to banish the clutter and simplify your life? READ: 11 incredibly easy ways to organise your entire life

7. Your outdoor shoes remain outdoors

shoes remains outdoor

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Do you really need to ask?

Are you a neat freak? We'd love to hear how you keep your home in order!

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home.