Helena Nelson has recently posted an article about Buttons on her blog at Happenstance Press. She kindly included my poem "The Wayward Button" as an example of how buttons can pinpoint a memory.
It seems from the responses that many people love their old button tins, often passed down from Grannies, or mums. I had such a tin once but it annoyed me that - all those buttons! - and I could never find a suitable replacement button in it when I needed one, so I gave it to a friend who does craftwork.
However I did keep a bagful of very beautiful glass buttons. Which I'll probably never use....but I might.