One memorable summer I shared a room with my two older sisters. For some reason or another as I recall, my older sister was in trouble for being untidy, and my eldest sister was in trouble for something else, thus all the three of us sibs were shoved into one space. As you might expect, things got… intense. The usual sibling squabbles were turned up to eleven. We had the usual parental cleanliness pressure, but with the shared space there was increased stress and I — cracked. That summer I became mildly obsessed with keeping things straight – from my possessions and the masking tape lines my eldest sister had put on the floor of our room to the sections of food on my plate. I lined up my shoes and organized my hair clips.
I hear people in jail can also become obsessively neat…
Let me tell you, that sibling experiment ended with a great sigh of relief for all involved.
“A place for everything and (put) everything in its place.”
Though the Oxford Book of Quotations notes this proverb from the 17th century, there’s no follow-up reference. The closest discovered before 1799 is included in a collection called A Century of Sermons, by one John Hacket, Bishop of Lichfield, in 1675 which simply states that “the Lord hath set everything in its place and order. The phrase exactly as we know it didn’t appear in print until 1842, and was in keeping with myriad other cheerfully didactic Victorian phrases that were taken as conventional wisdom and not authored by anyone in particular.