Saving Buttons

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 163 Posts

One of the things I remember from my childhood is my Mamaw's button box. She must have had a billion buttons in it. She kept a large tin box about 10 inches high full of buttons. When something was too old to use again, we cut off the buttons and strung them together so we wouldn't have to sort out the whole bunch looking for a set of buttons for something she was making. I still love collecting buttons and I also thread them together to keep them sorted.


Saving buttons was a thrifty way to have on hand something that was needed. We never threw anything away that could be used for other things. We had to be frugal in order to live. I loved the button container. I would sit for hours going through it and picking out buttons I liked. There were so very many buttons in the can it was just like a treasure hunt for me. Life was simple and laid back back then. Makes you wonder what happened to change all those wonderful days to hectic and unorganized lives that we live.

Buttons back then were expensive and they are more so today. So next time you start to pitch a shirt or something that is no longer usable, be sure to cut off the buttons and string them together with thread, so the next time you need a button you'll be able to find them easily and save you some money.


By gem from Gordonsville, VA

assorted buttons

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 519 Posts
August 20, 20100 found this helpful

Ha! I just cut off all the enameled metal buttons off a slightly moth-eaten knit jacket I was donating to the thrift shop last week. (Sometimes it would be worth it to buy a thrift shop item just for the buttons & I have bought items without buttons cheaply & replaced them myself!)

August 21, 20100 found this helpful

Have to thank you for bringing memories back this morning, of grandma, aunts and mom. I have button boxes, tin ones, that belonged to my mom, mom in law and grandma (no one else wanted them), and of course, I cut and put ones in, also, they can be used on cards and scrapbook pages.


I do both, and children's clothing ones can be used to decorate their pages, to make them special. Ive even changed an entire set of buttons on an outfit when I've lost one, because of my stash, and I'm 66, and think our days of being simple were the Best!

August 21, 20101 found this helpful

My mother also had a can filled with buttons. As a child I loved to go through it and look at all the different colors and shapes. In my 30's I had a business "Button Boutique" in a flea market till the market went out of business. I loved it. I still have an 8 draw metal cabinet filled with buttons and appliques. When I get a spot I cannot remove from a blouse an applique often comes to the rescue. I like your tip of threading a set of buttons together when they are in a container.

August 21, 20101 found this helpful

Thank you for your story as it brought back fond memories of my childhood. I was a sickly little kid so spent many days in bed when I was ill. My parents didn't have much money so one of the things my mom would give me to play with was her button tin. I spent many hours pouring through the collection of buttons which even included ones from my Grand Mothers clothes.


When my mother passed away I kept her button bin and felt very selfish doing so as my sister in law wanted to give it to her church for the kids to use with crafts. I just couldn't part with that little bit of my family history!!


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August 21, 20100 found this helpful

Add me to the list of those who remember playing with my grandmothers' buttons! I did the same things, finding matches and oohing and awing over those with rhinestones and the like. I passed many hours playing with simple buttons! I now have my own button tin that sure comes in handy for odd projects and for a quick fix!

August 22, 20100 found this helpful

I, too spent hours on rainy days sorting buttons. It is a small, but sweet pleasure even now that I am 57. It is relaxing and it takes your mind off worries. I also make buttons from clay-Fun!


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 163 Posts
September 14, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for all your comments. It means a lot to me that something as simple as a button can be dear to ones heart.
I am so glad I brought back wonderful memories for you and that you stuck by me.


Big hugs to all and God Bless!

September 21, 20100 found this helpful

I would like to say that your buttons are wonderful!

September 10, 20170 found this helpful

I sort my black and white buttons by color and size since I have so many of them. I put them in clear baggies. All other buttons are sorted by color only and in little baggies. Then all baggies are in a big clear container for easy access.

September 10, 20170 found this helpful

Hi I collected buttons in a tin and it weighed really heavy a lot of buttons one day I had a car boot and took the buttons along my Daughter said mum don't take those no one will want them she was wrong a girl at the car boot said to me how much do you want for your tin of buttons I said I don't know what they are worth. Then a lady ( The girls mum ) said they would mean a lot to her she is a student and is studying design Oh then I said in that case have them for free she was so grateful they will be so useful she was happy and so was I because they were going to a good cause who would have thought saving buttons all those years never knowing where they were going paid off so to speak

October 15, 20180 found this helpful

You have brought back memories for me as well,only my fondest memory was when we went to visit my Aunt. She collected the most unusual and beautiful buttons I had ever seen as a child! She sewed them to a hanging tapestry which made them even more amazing to me, I often wonder what ever happened to that tapestry. --- I still love buttons to this day.I didn't have mine in a tin, however.


I have my loose buttons sorted by color and put in clear jars sitting on my window sill. My carded buttons are in a shoe box, plus I have others in plastic containers with dividers. I guess I have them everywhere!!! With some of them I make button flowers then make little flower arrangements in small vases.


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September 22, 20180 found this helpful

Thrift stores here wont even try to sell a garment with buttons removed They sell it off as rags

October 10, 20210 found this helpful

i was going to say that, if you're going to remove the buttons there's no sense in donating the garment. i work in a thrift shop and people just don't buy things without buttons. they might buy something missing one button but not something buttonless.

October 10, 20210 found this helpful

Your post brought back many memories. My grandmother and mom sewed most of our clothes and kept all the extra buttons. However, my dad (originally trying to find a hobby for my mom) started collecting antique buttons and joined the local button club. Many early buttons were truly works of art, meant to show status. My dad started by asking about buttons at every garage sale. (He once brought home a barrel of buttons from Goodwill!) Later, he traded or bought additional specific buttons as he started entering competitions. He loved calico buttons (most of white china with tiny patterns--over 300--applied). He had beautiful enameled buttons, many from Japan and fancy black glass. My dad spent many hours happily sorting, cleaning, and mounting his buttons on special display cards. We each received framed examples. He even got me interested. I have a small collection of carved mother-of-pearl buttons from the Colonial era. For more information, check the National Button Society site. See "Resources" for information and ideas for use or find state and local organizations. You may already have some treasures in the button box!

October 10, 20210 found this helpful

I have inherited my mom's, 2 grandmothers, and numberous other family members button collection. All saved in tins from years and years ago. So interesting to just sit and look at

March 11, 20220 found this helpful

I could have written your post myself. In the D.B.T. (Days Before Television) I watched my mother sew by the hour and make pies, and I'd play with her button box -- by the hour! I still have most of them, have used some over the years. That's almost 80 years ago.

June 27, 20230 found this helpful

I sorted and looked at my Mamma Riggs button box for hours. I loved it. She had a woven basket with a lid, but no handle full of all kinds of buttons. I did this on really Texas hot afternoons or rainy days. She did have cable before we did. My granddaddy loved to watch westerns and wrestling. LOL I still love westerns, but dont watch wrestling.


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