Thrift and Order

I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.  ~John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist, business magnate, and philanthropist

If John D. is correct, then that explains why I’m so naturally organized.

My late dad used to say he could send me to the store with a dollar, and I’d come back with 95 cents!

Some would argue I just didn’t find anything to buy. Truth is, I pinch pennies until they holler.

Always have.

My parents were little kids during the Depression years, and they passed along to me the value of thrift. As American religious leader Boyd K. Packer said, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

So this weekend — when the stormy weather forced me off my computer — I tackled a long-overdue project and came away feeling pretty pleased.

First, I had these tiny plastic bags in a dresser drawer:

I didn’t count how many, but there must have been hundreds. I took this photo after I’d been opening them for a solid half-hour.

Inside the baggies were buttons of all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Blue ones, red, purple, green, gold, white, black, tan. Large, medium, tiny. With four holes to attach them or just one on the back.

They’d been taking up space in a dresser drawer for years. You see, spare buttons used to be attached via a small bag to a price tag on clothing.

Manufacturers must have thought the buying public would rejoice over getting something extra, especially when the buttons had a unique appearance.

I obviously bought in. You never really know when you’ll need a button.

Sorting them brought to mind some favorite pieces of clothing from years gone by, too.

In addition to the buttons, I had this:

It’s a square tin box with a lid. My flute teacher gave it to me filled with homemade fudge one Christmas, and I figured it might come in handy for something once the goodies were gone.

I hated that it was simply collecting dust.

Then I got the idea of putting these two together — my very own button repository!

Sure, I could have bought a sewing box or something, but why, when I already had what I needed?

17 thoughts on “Thrift and Order

  1. I love this. My grandmother and mother kept their button collections in Mason jars, and one of my favorite things was to look through them. When I was very young I’d spend hours sorting them by color, “fanciness,” and texture. Most were common, like shirt buttons, but some were really fancy: black jet, leather, mother-of-pearl. I don’t know where those came from, because no one I knew wore the sort of clothes that would have had black jet buttons. Maybe the women back them swapped buttons like baseball cards!

    • Thank you, Linda. It wouldn’t surprise me if long-ago women swapped buttons like baseball cards! Perhaps they swapped recipes, too — more personal than searching on Google or Food Network, ha!

      If I’d had the time, this would have made an interesting, leisurely stroll down Memory Lane. Some of these buttons came from dressy suits I used to wear in long-past jobs; others were recognizable by their unique color. Still others, I had no clue how they ended up in my collection!

  2. OMG Debbie, you and I are soooooooooooo much alike! Not only am I OCD about being organized, but I too pinch pennies.

    Always have. I can stretch money like a long piece of bubble gum. I don’t ever buy what I don’t absolutely need.

    “You see, spare buttons used to be attached via a small bag to a price tag on clothing.” Yes, I remember that. Now I’ve noticed that manufactures actually SEW extra buttons on the lower part of an article of clothing, like on my dress shirts. So when I need one, I just cut one off and then sew it to where I lost one.

    I love your idea about using the Christmas tin to store all your buttons. GENIUS!

    Fun post, my friend! And keep being thrifty and orderly 🙂

    Have a faaaaaabulous week! x

    • HaHa! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only frugal one around, Ron. Domer inherited that quality from me, and he really pinches pennies. I guess it’s not such a bad trait to inherit, huh?

      Yes, you’re right. Manufacturers now sew spare buttons onto the laundry instructions tag that’s typically on the lower inside left of a garment like shirts or tees. Pants, I think, have those tags on the left inside as well. Works fine, but I find it more challenging to remove the spare button without damaging the instructions. Oh, well.

      Glad you got a kick out of this one, my friend. Enjoy your work-week! xx

  3. Haha! I have a stash of buttons in little plastic bags too for the same reason! I don’t think I’ve ever actually needed to sew one on. Not sure why I keep them but if I get rid of them, I’m sure I’ll need one the very next day… 😉

  4. Hi Debbie – years ago I started emptying those baggy buttons into several African baskets. Now there’s quite a stash & my ‘button collection’ looks cool in its decorative home. Button Blessings ! 🌸😎🌸

  5. I am amazed you had so many buttons. I have no clue to where one spare button is in the house and you had a drawer full. That shows also your organization skill.

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