Filling A Hope Chest 101

Hello, Loves!

A little over a week ago I blogged about my hope chest that was given to me on my 18th birthday (you can read the post here) and in it, I briefly said that I might post about how to best fill a hope chest, and that’s what I’ll be doing today!

Below I’m going to list a few things that will serve well in a modern day hope chest and they will also be items that will stay with you through the stages of life. Looking back and also at other people around me, some things you put in a hope chest at age 13 or 16 just will not work for your future home! (Example: you may not want a zebra duvet cover in your master bedroom in the future and I doubt that your husband would, either!)

Looking back and also at other people around me, some things you put in a hope chest at age 13 or 16 just will not work for your future home! (Example: you may not want a zebra duvet cover in your master bedroom in the future and I doubt that your husband would, either!)

So without any further ado, let’s get to the list, shall we?

Family Heirlooms:

When I first started filling mine, I started with family heirlooms or things that had been passed down to me and were important. For you, this could be a family Bible, silver pieces, old photographs or photo books and maybe an old quilt that has a special meaning.

Family heirlooms often have a sentimental tie and meaning, and that makes them transcend time.

Another plus to something that is a family heirloom (besides the above) is that items made in the previous years, and especially something classified as vintage, is much better made than most of the things we have in this age. That is probably another factor that made it a family heirloom – it’s dependability.


Quality Sheets & Quilts:

While I do not advise that you stow an actual patterned duvet cover in your hope chest, a simple white or neutral colored quilt would probably be a good piece to place in your hope chest.

A good set or two of sheets would also be good, as you could save up for a good quality set over time and this would be a good investment.

Again, neutral colors would be the best advice I can give you because you do not know through the years how you design sense will change. Now if you are already older or are an adult chances are you may be more set in colors and patterns and it may be a good choice for you to get what you like and save it, but if you are a young teen or tween then neutral is the way to go.


Cloth Napkins:

This is a very practical item to stock up on, you do not need many sets of them, but it is a wise item to stow away in your hope chest!

Quality cloth napkins are so very useful and practical items for holidays and events, and if you enjoy being a hostess (or feel strongly that you will enjoy being one) then cloth napkins would be a thing to collect!

Now you may be wondering why I didn’t include tablecloths in this list, and I won’t. Unless it is a family heirloom or has some extraordinarily special meaning, tablecloths seem to be something common put in hope chests but then seem to just collect dust or sit there.

Want to know why? The simple reason is this: when you are planning for a future whether you are younger or even older unless you already have the tables in your possession for your future home you cannot accurately purchase sizes or shapes in tablecloths because you do not know what tables you will actually have!

Cloth napkins, however, are universal and if you are smart in color choices, they will go with any tablecloths you will buy in the future.


Picture Frames:

Picture frames are useful to start collecting and storing away, this is actually a tip I wish that I would have encountered in a blog or on YouTube because I am forever needing to buy picture frames!

Believe me – after you get married and start creating a life with your soulmate, even if you are not a picture person or photographer, sooner or later you will have special pictures that will need to be displayed and cherished.

I’m a person that does not always like to have their picture taken or be in a bunch of photos, but there are many photos that I have kept that need good frames so they can be enjoyed!


Quality Cutlery:

A good classic set of good cutlery is a must-have in your new home whether it is a good silver or gold set, you will use this either every day or on holidays or special occasions and there will be many spontaneous times you will use it, too.

I recommend a nice simple etched set or something with some detail that is still considered “classic” as odds are that is what you will need more than anything when throwing a holiday bash or family gathering!

Let your dishes do the talking, and have your cutlery be the echoes.


Something Handmade:

This is a way where you or someone else can make a family heirloom from your generation that can be passed on in the future, and it doesn’t have to be something complicated, either.

However, if you are not a crafty person or even like crafting then you could purchase a piece of local pottery or something unique that caught your eye like a wood carving or something of that sort.

If you know a craft like sewing, knitting or crocheting then the sky is the limit – even if your knowledge is very small. I only know a few basic stitches in crocheting, but through the years I made handmade dishcloths from stiff yarn and they were so fun to make!


Christmas Ornaments:

I think collecting special or unique Christmas ornaments is an awesome idea for something to store in your hope chest!

When I started mine, up to the time I met my husband, this thought hadn’t occurred to me but I think it would an amazing thing to start collecting if you need another unique idea! If you collected keepsake or handmade ones that would be very special, I started collecting Egyptian blown glass ornaments in 2013 or 2014, and I enjoy it because each one is different.

Starting a collection of these would be a unique and smart idea for when you have your very own Christmas tree, and you’ll be a step ahead because most newlyweds have to buy or go without pretty quality ornaments.


Childhood Books:

My daddy saved some of his old books for me to read from his childhood, and I really was taken aback by this because it was so sweet!

I think saving childhood books would be a nice thing to store in your hope chest, and even if you don’t like to read, someone in your family may have a beloved book that they might give to you or perhaps you could buy the great classical works and keep those as well.

Growing up, reading was an important part of life and so I cherish and appreciate written word and the classic pieces.


A Childhood Toy:

Saving a childhood toy of yours is a good thing to keep, especially if it was a favorite or one that had been passed down or handmade for you.

Something I have kept, though not in my hope chest right now, are favorite childhood dolls and books, as well as old photographs and writings from my family. They are incredibly special and mean a lot to me, and so I one day hope to pass them down to our children – even if we happened to only be blessed with boys, still someone can pass down things like dolls and the like in hopes that they may have daughters.

Childhood toys are special and because of that, I think they deserve to be on this list of special and unique things to store in your hope chest.


Water Pitchers:

This might sound boring to some, but water pitchers are just one of those household items that are both practical and extremely useful to have.

You don’t need many of them, I would suggest at least two, but make sure they are good quality and that you like the design! Pitchers are a great way to display punch or tea at a family or holiday gathering in a thoughtful, more classy presentation.

If you are hosting a brunch you could display the orange juice or apple juice, and it would look so much nicer than just plopping down the bottle it came in!

I would say this is one of those items that has a better chance of being useful if you enjoy being a hostess or wish to serve others in your home, although even if you do not enjoy or wish to do those things odds are a nice water pitcher will probably save your life at least once or twice.



Crystal would have to be one of my favorite home pieces ever! I love its sparkle and shine and the way it single-handedly dresses up a space or tablescape.

It’s like a good pair or dark wash jeans – it goes with anything and serves its purpose well without needing too much embellishment or fuss, and it’s easier to get your hands on then you might think!

A lot of people see crystalware as something nice and beautiful, but too expensive to purchase for their pre-existing home or to carefully store away in their hope chest, however, this is not true.

Well, maybe it is if you only think you can buy your fine crystal pieces at specialty shops and Williams-Sanoma, but the truth is that crystal can be very affordable.

I’m talking about shopping the good sales at Belks or Macys, going to your local antique store and buying a nice piece or set for $8.00 and even visiting a trusted thrift store to see what they have!

You may have to dig a little bit but crystal, contrary to what most people think, is very doable with a little searching and effort.


An Old Diary:

We are nearing the end of this post and I decided to include this because it is unique to you and only you, and it is about putting an old diary of yours in your hope chest.

Growing up I kept a lot of different journals, diaries, and daily logs because I’ve always liked to write my feelings down and then go back and read them later because you always learn something about yourself from it.

Maybe you don’t have your old journals anymore or maybe you were never really into that kind of thing, but maybe you have some old notes or quotes you wrote down that still mean something to you.

Nestle these in your hope chest and look forward to learning something about yourself in the future, when you open or read your writings again.


A Letter To Yourself:

This is my last and final tip on how to fill the modern hope chest with pieces that will grow with you and your style over the years, and it is writing a note or letter to your future self for when your hope chest has been moved into your future home.

Place it on the top or near the top, so that when the day comes and it is finally in your own home you can read it and reflect back on writing it. You can do this with or without your future spouse, either way, it will be incredibly special and you will probably get a little emotional.

I know I did when my hope chest was moved into the room that Samuel and I now call our master bedroom, and it was a beautiful feeling. For me it was private, and it made it all the more special.

This letter could contain your age when you wrote it, where you were, how you were feeling and a piece of advice that you wanted to give your future self. You could place it in your hope chest the first day you received you hope chest or the day when you finally thought it was complete, there is no right way or perfect time to do this, so it is completely up to you!

You could place it in your hope chest the first day you received you hope chest or the day when you finally thought it was complete, there is no right way or perfect time to do this, so it is completely up to you!


So how about you, my friends?

Has somebody you’ve known had a hope chest in the past or do yourself have one? Are you interested in the history of this special tradition?

Are you a college-bound kid with one of these chests from your local Walmart or Target wondering what in the world to put in it? Or,

Or, perhaps you are someone that is older and remembers having their own hope chest when they were younger, do you have stories?

Comment below with questions and comments!


XOXO – Autumn Renae 
















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Hello, there! I'm so glad you stumbled across my blog! I'm passionate about striving to live the Proverbs 31 model, my Sweet Hubby, and blogging about Homemaking and DIY Crafts! Want to know more? Visit my business website or look at the latest blogpost!

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