Why do we say "A place for everything and everything in its place"?

Well-Known Expressions

A place for everything and everything in its place

Meaning:

Things should be kept in order.

Background:

George Herbert’s 1640 collection records a proverb that comes close but, arguably, not close enough to be considered the first recorded use of this expression.

"All things have their place, knew wee how to place them."

A Century of Sermons (1675) by John Hacket, Bishop of Lichfield also tiptoes around the phrase:

"The Lord hath set every thing in its place and order."

But, according to the usually reliable Phrase Finder (phrases.org.uk), the first known use of the exact expression appears in The Naughty Girl Won, a story published by the Religious Tract Society in 1799.

"Before, however, Lucy had been an hour in the house she had contrived a place for everything and put everything in its place."

Other early expressions are found in nautical works such as Frederick Marryat's Masterman Ready; or the Wreck of the Pacific, 1842:

"In a well-conducted man-of-war every thing is in its place, and there is a place for every thing."

Alphabetical list of expressions

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