The Gratitude Box

Laurel Burch Gratitude Box


Have you ever heard of a Gratitude Jar? Well, I use this pretty wooden Gratitude Box. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and find it very rewarding. Keep reading to learn how I use it, and why you might want one too…


Gratitude is the antidote to mental clutter! Click To Tweet


Write down good things that happen to you on little pieces of paper and put them in your box/jar. Include whatever (or whoever) makes you happy and grateful, and date it. Examples include surprise gifts, accomplished goals, fun or touching moments, etc.


Start today — New Year’s Day, or your birthday, or whenever you read this. Do it throughout the year when you are moved to do so. (I’m grateful every day, but I probably only add a note to the box on average once a week.) Then, on the next New Year’s Eve (or your next birthday), open your box/jar and read all the amazing things that happened to you that year. I’m thinking of not saving it all up this year; who couldn’t use a little random pick-me-up during the year?


Why? Because gratitude is the answer to everything — loneliness, frustration, scarcity, fear, worry. Gratitude is the antidote to mental clutter! The more we notice good things, the more good things there will be for us to notice. Do you agree? I find that the box itself cheers me up, knowing what’s inside, and what’s surely to come. It’s probably even more effective to keep a detailed daily gratitude journal. But if you’re like me, and have not started that particular practice, this is a simple but effective way to become more mindfully grateful.

The more we notice good things, the more good things there will be for us notice. Click To Tweet


Keep your box/jar handy and visible, so you can use it easily, and so you don’t forget about it. Keep a notepad and pen right next to it. (Mine is actually inside the box.)


Anyone can do this. Start today. It’s easy and fun! I like to relax in front of the fire, alone, with a glass of wine, to reflect on these memories. If you like to party till midnight on New Year’s Eve, you can do it the next day. You could even start a new tradition, sharing with your family and/or friends (and their respective boxes/jars).

Do you have a specific gratitude practice?

Please share with us in the comments below!

And….Happy New Year!

Copyright 2013-2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Nancy J Ryan on January 1, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I love your idea of the gratitude box! This is something that I can actually follow through with, since I’m not very good at that. What a wonderful New Year’s gift! Thank you. A grateful Nancy

    • Hazel Thornton on January 1, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      I’m glad it feels do-able to you, Nancy!

  2. Sarah Soboleski on January 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Yes! I’ve been doing this for the last 3 years and we use a jar that we review on New Years too. The label I created for the jar reads “Year of Smiles.” Hope you enjoyed reading yours. Wishing you a blessed 2016, Hazel!

    • Hazel Thornton on January 1, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      I like that, “Year of Smiles”! Happy New Year, Sarah!

  3. Jane Severance on January 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I love the gratitude box as well! (to which of course I was turned on by Hazel!) Mine is a jar and just to perk it up I cut up a bunch of colored typing paper to write my good things on. What it has taught me is that, no, I am not going to remember those special little moments. Whenever I read the slips I am always amazed at how many good things that have happened to me that I have forgotten. I put the jar by my computer and enter my good things when I am having a non-writing moment.

    Thankful for my Christmas family!
    Thankful for my bestie!

    • Hazel Thornton on January 1, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      I completely forget most of them too! Thankful for you! (Well, I never forget that one.)

  4. Seana Turner on January 2, 2016 at 9:19 am

    I love that box! Such a neat design. I totally agree, Hazel. Gratitude is life changing… it completely shifts our perspective, and is a great antidote to “accumulation syndrome.”

    • Hazel Thornton on January 2, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      I love the box, too! My Tweetable says “Gratitude is the antidote to mental clutter,” but I think, like you, that it’s also the antidote to physical clutter. There are numerous quotes on being grateful for what you have… I can’t find the one I’m looking for right now, but I like these too: “If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” (unknown) and, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever, have enough.” (Oprah Winfrey)

  5. Janet Barclay on January 2, 2016 at 11:45 am

    I tried this once, but I misunderstood, and I put a scrap of paper in the box every day. After a while, I got sick of seeing all those scraps of paper and I chucked them. Now I’m thinking it would be a good place to tuck away thank you notes and mementos of special moments as well as handwritten notes would be wonderful to go through again at the end of the year.

    I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal on my iPad for about 9 months. Every night I create an entry with one photo (sometimes it’s one I took that day, but not usually) and list three things I’m grateful for. It may be something good that happened or something broader (like “my family”), or just the fact that I had a productive/profitable/pleasurable day. It’s starting to get stale but I will go through all my entries and see how it makes me feel, then I’ll know whether it is a worthwhile exercise.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 2, 2016 at 12:20 pm

      Some folks do advocate every day notes. Not me. This is one of those things you need to do however you think best. I do include thank you notes and small mementos. As for gratitude journals, I am hearing that it is even more effective to pick ONE thing per day to write about and really go into detail about it, partly as a way for it to not get boring saying the same things repeatedly. My defaults for days I’m not feeling especially grateful are kitties, refrigeration, running water and the use of all my limbs. But think about your family….what if you picked your sister one day and listed ALL the wonderful things about her?

      • Janet Barclay on January 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm

        Yes, that would be much more meaningful. I’ll have to give this some more thought!!

        • Janet Barclay on January 4, 2016 at 3:20 pm

          I’ve started! I found a nice white box (it’s probably a photo box) I wasn’t using and today I handprinted an excerpt from a testimonial I received by email, on a pretty piece of paper.

          I’ve also found a blank notebook and have recorded my first gratitude journal entry. I don’t know yet if I’ll make it a daily practice or just write in it when I have more to say than would go on a slip of paper. I’m going to put scrapbook paper on the cover to make it more attractive.

          • Janet Barclay on January 1, 2017 at 10:30 am

            I gave up on the notebook pretty early and ended up ripping out what I’d written and adding it to the box. Also, transferred the box to a drawer – just easier! Maybe this year I’ll go back to the notebook, and tuck mementos like the cards I receive in there too.

  6. Ellen Delap on January 2, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Just read a similar post and love this idea!

    You are so right – gratitude is the antidote to all things negative, sad or upsetting. I appreciate having this post to remind us all.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 5, 2016 at 10:49 am

      My Tweetable says “Gratitude is the antidote to mental clutter,” but I think it’s also the path to being satisfied with what you have and not always wanting more.

  7. Sue West on January 4, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    I am so doing this. Thank you, Hazel.

    I used to keep a special butterfly print covered box with client compliments which had come to me through emails. I’d print out the email, fold it up, adrop ot in the box, and on difficult days, I’d reach in and pull out an email. Felt great.

    I like your idea. It would work better for me than a gratitude “list.”

    • Hazel Thornton on January 5, 2016 at 10:45 am

      Client compliments and printed out emails totally count as Gratitude Box worthy!

  8. Sabrina Quairoli on January 5, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Great idea for a gratitude box. My sister-in-law gave me a wishing ball and gratitude globe. You place a wish inside and every time you also deposit a gratitude note. It’s so pretty. It says, “every time you give thanks you also make a deposit at the bank of good luck.” so sweet, don’t you think? Thanks for sharing. This is great to share with kids too.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 5, 2016 at 10:47 am

      It is sweet, yes. And a good formula for keeping wishes for what you don’t have (yet) balanced out with gratitude for what you do have!

  9. Deb Lee on January 18, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Just a quick note to let you know that thanks to you, I’m now using a Gratitude Box. It has been a lot easier to use than a journal … not sure why, but it doesn’t matter. I love it! So, thanks. =)

    • Hazel Thornton on January 18, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Yay! I mean, I have nothing against a journal, but if it wasn’t working for you and this does work for you, then yay! Thanks for letting me know, Deb. 🙂

  10. Nitya on April 2, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Hey buddy, I started putting good things in my Gratitude Box a few days ago. It is the best thing that I have ever done. However, since I read my memories on a weekly basis and I have a limited space, how can I dispose off my old chits (to make way for new memories) without feeling sad or guilty about it ?

    • Hazel Thornton on April 2, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      I have an idea for you: Since you read them once a week, and have limited space, what if you chose one favorite per week, and stored that in a separate location? You would end up with 52 per year, and then you’d have to decide what do do with those, but it’s a start. Another way to do it, without taking up any physical space at all, is to photograph your one favorite per week. What do you think?

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