Traditionally, young girls owned a wooden box (hope chest) that they would use to store treasures before marriage. These treasures would be accumulated from as early as childhood and she was expected to use them at her home after marriage. The name hope chest is based on the idea that the items stored in the wooden box give hope for marriage and future life. Sometimes parents designed these boxes for their children and in other cases they were inherited from grandparents.
Some of the items that were stored in a dowry chest include; blankets, utensils, bedsheets, linens and clothing. Normally, the chests were lined with cedar because of its sweet natural scent. Cedar was also considered because of its ability to protect clothes from moths and fungi. Although at some point the tradition of hope chests seemed to disappear, these boxes are slowly regaining their fame.
Today, hope chests are used by both men and women. Parents buy them for their young children so that they can store items such as toys and books. Adults use them to store sensitive things such as guns. Items such as memory quilts, blankets, towels, beddings, vintage jewelry, treasured gifts, tool boxes, letters, photos and beddings can also be stored in a hope chest.
There are different kinds of hope chest plans that can be executed at home conveniently. However, the best idea is to identify a high quality hope chest and buy it.