Is a Hope Chest a Thing of the Past?

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My daughter has enjoyed designing her future home since she was about eight years old.  She created little model rooms with the soft foam craft sheets and hot glued the sides together to make them three-dimensional.  A few years later, she discovered online programs which allowed her to design her future dream house on a whole new scale.  She still plays with this kind of stuff on and off, but not as much as she used to.Hope Chest


The beginnings of DD’s Hope Chest

During a recent trip to Dollar Tree, dear daughter discovered some really cute kitchen decor.  She found all of the matching items and told me that those were the sort of things she planned to use in her kitchen when she moved out and was on her own.  It made me think back to when I was young and started collecting things for my hope chest.

If you’re unfamiliar with hope chests, it means that you probably don’t live in the south or the midwest.  Historically, they have been referred to as a dowry or cedar chests.  Other parts of the world give them their own names as well, including glory box.  Table linens, towels, bed linens, quilts and dishware are among some of the items that may be found in a young woman’s hope chest.

We returned to Dollar Tree yesterday.  My daughter was a little disappointed to see that so many of the matching items were sold from the set she had picked out.  This time however, a set of her favorites came home with us.  My daughter was so excited to have the first items for her hope chest.  She even went to school today and told her friends about it.

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At the ripe old age of 16, my daughter has the first few furnishings for the kitchen of her first home.  She has no actual hope chest, but goodies to put away, small investments for her future.  It’s amazing how different a couple of placemats, dish towels, dish rags, and pot holders can make a mother and her daughter look at and hope for the future.

Obviously, I’m being a bit sentimental, but am I totally old-fashioned?  Did you have a hope chest?  Was it in an actual chest?  Have you started a hope chest for your daughter(s)?


  1. Laresa Staggs says:

    Dear friend, I too had a hope chest and I loved tucking little things for my future into my chest. Yes, I did have an actual chest. However today there are so many different things you could use for a hope chest. Be creative! Aunt Laresa, may just have to buy her a few things to put away as well. <3

    • You know that would tickle her immensely, Aunt Resa! My mom got all excited when I told her about the start of these things today. 🙂

  2. I had a hope chest when I was young. It was a large cardboard box with a hinged lid that I had decorated when I was like 11 or 12. I was all old school about it too, I hand-embroided napkins and placements and stored them away in there, among other things. I didn’t know anyone else among my peers that had a hope chest. This was back in the late 80s early 90s.

    • I’m a little older than you, so my hope chest was from the same time period. I had forgotten about a few little things that I too had embroidered and needlepointed. I had pillowcases with kittens that are in my linen closet and strawberry coasters. My hope chest was just a couple of cardboard tomato boxes from the grocery store where I worked and bought my dishes, but they served the purpose. 🙂

  3. nata edwards says:

    I have a hope chest. It was my Mom’s and her Grandfather built it out of cedar. My sister and her daughter live with me and as soon as my neice is old enough she will know what the chest is and what it is for. It already has family linens in it that will go to her when she is old enough.

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