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Works for Me Wednesday: Hope Chests

The verb tense is wrong in my title. It's not "Works for Me Wednesday" today. It's "I'm planning for it to work for me Wednesday". Because I haven't actually done this yet. But I've thought about it, and it's a great idea, so I'm passing it along!

This week my oldest daughter turned 14, and one of my friends phoned me up to ask what to get her. Her preference was some kitchen stuff to go in her hope chest, which made me realize: I don't actually have hope chests for my girls. But isn't that a nice idea?

I do have two empty chests in the garage, and maybe for Rebecca's 15th birthday I'll pull one out and start it. Here's why:

I like the idea that kids are focused on the fact that ONE DAY THEY WILL MOVE OUT. And not just because I'd like my house back! (I'm actually dreading the days when my kids leave, because I will miss them!). No, it's because that is what is supposed to happen. Kids are supposed to move out, and become independent, and build lives for themselves.

And if there's a pretty hope chest sitting in her room, she can be focused on that. When she has extra money, she'll think that maybe instead of spending it frivolously, she should buy something that she's going to need. When we're in thrift stores looking around, and she sees some nice dishes, she can buy them and put them in there. It teaches her to think for the future and plan for the future.

It also encourages me to remember to put things away for the girls, instead of just tossing them out. Recently I had some tea towels that didn't match my kitchen and I gave them to Goodwill. If Rebecca had had a hope chest, they would have went in there, because they were perfectly good. So it helps me to help them, too!

And what sorts of things should go in a hope chest? In Laura Ingalls' day, it was mostly linens and quilts and china. And I think that's a good place to start. Kitchen utensis and pots and pans could also go in there today.

It can be very difficult to buy Christmas and birthday gifts for kids once they hit the teen years. With a hope chest, you have another option! And it does make the kids feel grown up.

So for her next birthday I'm going to start one. I wish I had done it this year, but it can't be helped now. Do any of you use hope chests? How do your kids like them? I'd love to know!

Thanks for stopping by! Why not stay and look around a bit? I have some great posts up right now on marriage and s-e-x, as well as some on kids & TV!

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At 7:58 AM , Blogger Sherry said…

What a great idea! I would love to do one for my daughter.


At 8:34 AM , Blogger Elouise82 said…

My sister had a hope chest (that her boyfriend made for her--convenient), and it was a huge help when they got married. I wanted one, but somehow most of my family and friends couldn't grasp the idea that someday I would be grown up, so I kept getting frivolous stuff for holidays, while my sister would get dishes and towels and other such items.

One warning: people's tastes change a lot between early teen years and adulthood, so some patterns and colors that girls may like when they first start collecting might not be to their taste when they are actually setting up a home. Sometimes it's better to stick with plain items--say, white or cream dishes instead of patterned, basics linens instead of fancy, etc. Just in case something she loves now makes her go "ick" in a few years!


At 9:37 AM , Blogger Condo Blues said…

My mom started a hope chest for me when I was in high school with items she found at thrift stores and garage sales. It was a great help when I went to college and needed some household stuff for my dorm/apt. My chest was nothing fancy it was a cardboard box in our garage. :)


At 9:55 AM , Blogger Carrie said…

Don't exempt boys! We did the same thing when our son entered high school: saving our old but still very servicable pots & pans for his some day apartment; purchasing simple flatware found at a bargain price; ditto bath towels, glasses, etc.
Believe me, he and his roommates were very grateful for his accumulation of necessary living items!! He's still using some of those things and is gradually replacing others. And still comes home to see what he can raid from our cabinets!! LOL!


At 10:27 AM , Blogger Frugal Finds said…

I had one when I was growing up and was very thankful for it!


At 11:22 AM , Blogger Sommer said…

This is my first time commenting here...and I really like your blog:-) How refreshing!

As for the hope chests...I have two daughters and my 4th(due in April)is a girl too. I would love to provide them with hopechests. I didn't have one as a girl but would have loved it! However, I still accumulated stuff because I had setting up home in mind.

If your girls are crafty(sewing, knitting/crochet, embroidery) they could also put household items they make themselves in there. Even if they grow out of a style, it will give them pleasure to see what they had in mind those many years ago!

Thanks for refreshing this idea in my mind..although I have a bit of time to do eldest girl is turning only 9(!) tomorrow:-)

Thanks for a great site!


At 11:41 AM , Blogger queenoftheclick said…

Sommer I love the idea. Maybe a photo album or a nice quilt would be nice to put in there - The first 14 years!


At 11:42 AM , Blogger queenoftheclick said…

Oh another idea for a gift - a few shares of stock. Someone gave me 10 shares of stock when I was a kid. It was a nice sum of money when I was 25! Stock is low right now so a reliable company would work.


At 11:53 AM , Anonymous Susan said…

I love this idea! My mom did a similar thing for me when I was young, and I second Elouise's idea about being careful about taste and trends ... mom had me make several quilts, all double size (and now our bed is queen size), also they were all in '70s colors - lovely! But with pots and pans, etc., I love the idea. I'm going to start for my girls, since the oldest is 11 already. By the way - I think I keep popping up at your blog on Wednesdays, which means I almost always love your ideas! Thanks!


At 5:45 PM , Blogger Wani said…

This is great. How do I adapt this since I don't have daughters? Should I make Hope ToolChests? lol not exactly the same!


At 1:04 AM , Blogger Laura said…

I had a hope chest (well, it was a cardboard box up until I got a real one for my college graduation). I am also putting ones together for my kids (DS 2yrs old, DD 1yr old, and DD#2 due in a month!). The ones for my kids aren't just things for their futures, their special things to treasure from their childhoods - a baby blanket I make for each one, baby book, their baptismal candle, cards from family and friends, pictures and projects they make, heirlooms they receive, ornaments they get (I try to make each one a new one each year so they have their own when they grow up!).


At 7:25 AM , Blogger Cherish said…

I had a hope chest. I'd agree with previous posters about the styles - I have some throw pillows that I'll never use. The casserole dishes, pillowcases, etc. are in use though.


At 10:53 AM , Blogger Storm said…

Great idea. I want to do this for my daughter. I had a hope chest growing up and still have the chest, a beautiful Lane cedar chest.


At 9:23 PM , Blogger Sharon said…

I love this! When I was about that age I wanted nothing more than a hope chest. My sweet sister couldn't afford to buy my a nice cedar chest, but she got me a wicker chest (I think it was from garden ridge). After a year or so when they saw I was serious my mom talked my grandmother into giving me a family cedar chest. That is my coffee table now. I still use many of the things I had filling my hope chest.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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