The GuardianThe Guardian

‘It’s a control thing’: Why are we so fascinated by super-organised homes?

By Amelia Tait

04 Feb 2023 · 11 min read

Editor's Note

The Guardian looks at one of modern society's obsessions: Extreme tidiness. This article explores the link between mental health and household perfectionism.

Strangers joke that Jacquelyn Rendall should stick a label on to Adam Rendall’s head. “Husband,” it would read, in the curved typeface Rendall designed based on her own handwriting, the Pretty Perfect Font. If Adam had a label on his head – some of the 400,000 people who follow Jacquelyn on TikTok say – then he would match everything else in the couple’s home in Rochford, Essex.

It starts at the front door, where the words “Thank you postie” are stuck on the silver letterbox, followed by a cartoon heart. There’s nothing too unusual about this, nor the drawers in the corridor that hold separated bits and bobs labelled “cables”, “batteries” and “tools”. It is Rendall’s six-doored pantry that has the power to inspire a thousand envious and incredulous comments online. Starting at the top left, there are nine transparent containers full of white, brown, pink and yellow powders, each marked by its identity: “sugar”, “hot chocolate”, “banana milkshake”. Below that are miniature acrylic drawers of stock cubes and tiered rows of spices. The word “cereal” adorns six canisters in the next cupboard; “tagliatelle”, “spaghetti”, “conchiglie” and “penne” are also spelled out on clear containers (use-by dates are written in chalk pen on the back).

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