Dirt Collection

I collect dirt. Dirt is the perfect memento of an unforgettable vacation. It’s free, easy to find, fits in my suitcase and lets me take a piece of the world home with me. When I’m an old lady I will look at my shelf full of soil and sand from all over the world and remember what a full life I led.

They’ll call me “Crazy Dirt Lady.”

dirt collection


  1. Ariel

    That’s a cool idea! and those are cute little jars. At least you don’t eat it. A character in the book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” ate dirt and the the walls of her house. For some reason that is who I think of when I read about dirt!

  2. Wit & Whistle Post author

    Maybe when I am old Crazy Dirt Lady I will eat some! You never know. I wonder if they all taste different…

    1. Robert Walters

      Are you still collecting. I put mine in the country fair in Orange County and won first place in 2019.

  3. Linn Caine

    I absolutely love that idea. I have a tiny bit of beach sand that I collected from Kauai a few years back……I think I’ll start my own collection, if you don’t mind =)

  4. christy

    I am heading to Kenya on Saturday and we apparently have a mutual friend. I will pick up some dirt for you and get it to you this summer. Is that okay?

  5. Emily

    I love this idea, but I wonder if it’s actually legal… I know that my grandma, who compulsively travels to Ireland and is also a gardener, is only able to get back into the country with clippings and bulbs and such if she’s washed them of all soil. Spreading of blights and so forth. I desperately hope it is allowed though, because this is such a beautiful idea.

  6. Wit & Whistle Post author

    Emily – I never thought about that. I guess I’ll keep it up unless anyone gives me trouble! I think the amount of sand I collect from each place is about as much as would be stuck in my shoe treads anyway. ; )

  7. Bob Walters

    I have collected dirt from 56 countries during trips that started in 1958. I do have Alcatraz dirt and enough to share for your little bottles (mine are larger). By the way in Boston there is a huge dirt collection open to the public.

  8. Wit & Whistle Post author

    Bob – I actually just received a bit of San Franciscan dirt in the mail from another reader. Thank you so much for offering though! It’s a pleasure to meet a fellow dirt collector. : ) I will have to check out that dirt museum if I’m ever in Boston!

  9. Robin

    I too have been collecting dirt for about 5 years now. i have alot of the western U.S. and quite a few other countries. It’s very fun to collect, all my friends and family get so excited when they go somewhere to bring me home some dirt. My grandmother just recently went to Ireland anf brought home some dirt and rocks from the cliffs for me. It is a great conversation starter also, i have never met anyone else who collects this type of thing. it’s nice tho to see im not the only starnge person who gets so excited about this!!! i would love to keep expanding my collection.


    1. Pamela Walker

      OH Robin, I can totally understand what you mean about getting excited over dirt. When I got my dirt from the Gettysburg battle ground I actually cried!!! I also have dirt from my Grandma and Grandpa door step… the way I figure it, every single person in my family has stepped on that spot adleast 2 times, once coming in, once going out. It is my most precious dirt that is for sure.

  10. Rachel

    My mom does something similar with sand from beaches she visits. She’s a huuge beach person, and has the same thinking; she loves to take a part of her vacation home with her.
    I think I’m going to borrow you’re idea and start collecting my own dirt. I love traveling, and I hope to someday be rich enough to travel the world, and what’s a better way to keep memories of your travels than dirt?
    Thanks for the idea! :)

  11. Sandra Ingram

    I am also a collector…my first vial was from where my sisters and I attended High School. After that it just started growing. When my sister’s granddaughter got married, I poured a some into a little box wrapped with a white ribbon. A little note read…” Keep this box and you will always have a little dirt on your Grandma”. She loved it. I say Keep Collecting!

  12. Chris S.

    I collect sand/dirt too! (My wife thinks I’m crazy.. and she’s probably right) I think I got the idea from Saving Private Ryan, where one of the soldiers scoops up a bit of dirt from Germany. It’s something tangible that says, “I was there and here’s the proof” :)

    Anyway, I ordered a bunch of clear plastic 2oz bottles to display mine in. I’m a little scared of using glass – an earthquake or carelessness could shatter those bottles.

    Happy collecting, and if any of you need Chicago dirt, let me know. ;)

  13. Kristin

    Help! I would love to get my Mom some dirt from Germany (Hesse idealy)…does anyone know of people who sell dirt (leary of a scammer) from European countries? She would be so suprised to have dirt from the country her Grandmother came from. I thank you all for your help with this. Any direction would be appreciated…. :) Thanks, Kristin

    1. Pamela Walker

      Hi, I can send you a little Germany dirt. I just got some for a family friend who brought it back for me. I would live to give your Grandma a little piece of home. Let me know.

  14. Pamela Walker

    YEAH FOR ME!!!! I collect dirt, not gossip, real dirt! A family friend went across the pond (hehe) and brought me back some dirt. Rome, Austria, Stone Hinge, Paris, Switzerland, Germany and Monte Carlo !!!!!!!! I’m so dang excited :) It’s like Chirstmas in July. Any of you want to send me some dirt? I can return the favor :)

  15. Boo

    preparing to teach 20 Chinese students on dirt collecting in the USA. Came across your blog. Feel free to visit mine! I’ve been collecting for numerous years. Love the wood display case you show. Enjoy!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It’s an old letterpress drawer. You can find them at antique shops or on ebay.

  16. Holly

    so I’m not the only crazy dirt lady out there! Mine started with wanting to take a “piece” of my grandfather’s farm with me always when he passed, and has grown into a collection of dirt from every meaningful place in my life.

  17. Bob Walters

    We should have some way to meet once a year and compare dirt collections. It is fun. I have from 92 countries and 14 beaches such as Fiji, Tahiti , Hawaii, Florida, North Carolina. New Zealand, Australia etc.

    People do think I am weird for doing this but it is interesting to actually have a piece of Moscow, Paris, London , etc

  18. Josh Matthews

    I’ve just started doing this too!
    I’m trying to get hold of some sand from places I’ve already visited but didn’t collect at the time.

    Namely sand from Cairo, sand from the sinai in Egypt, sand from Tenby in Wales, Dirt from Rome and Berlin. Can anyone help?
    Willing to pay postage or swap some! :)

    P.s-great display Amanda!

  19. Annabel

    Hi there – love love love this post!! It’s so cute and amazing, my boyfriend and I have always wanted to do this so have just started our collection! I used this as inspiration!

    What do you use for the tags for each place on the vials?

    Thank you! :) x

  20. Couple of Sand

    Hello everyone, we are preparing DIY kits for all drit and sand collectors. We are sand fanatics :), travelling the world, collecting sand and dirt and we create jewellery with this material. You can use your own material and your own creativity. We will offer streling silver bezels and mini-epoxy packages. You can check our web or Instagram – coupleofsand and stay tuned.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Thanks, Jasmine! I printed the labels on paper, cut them out, and then glued them to some little brass charms normally used for jewelry making.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It’s just an old letterpress drawer. I think I got it on Ebay.

  21. David OBrien

    I stumbled upon your site. My wife has been collecting dirt/sand for over 40 years now. We have over 300 small vials now! We glue a hole punch with the number facing down on the bottom. We track them by number for where it came from, the date, and who got it. So many are willing to help. Expecting some from the Taj Mahal soon. Good luck collecting…we thought we were the only ones.

    p.S. She said if she dies before me, she wants me to poor them all on her grave. ;)

  22. Emily Saxer

    I have some dirt that comes from a meaningful place I want to preserve. Is there anything special you have to do to preserve it? I was worried about it getting moldy!
    Love the way you display your memories!

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