destroying containers

I'd like to destroy a container widget (like a window) but keep in memory
all the childs. I tried the approach using gtk_widget_ref before
destroying, but I can't map the child back to the screen. 
 This is how the program works: I click on a button and I open a window
with a clist in it. If I close the window or iconize it, I destroy it (I
catch the "unmap" signal). Clicking again on the button I create a new
window and i would like to show the clist back in it : I use
gtk_container_add, gtk_widget_show, and I get a lot of
warnings (no gdk_window, no style, etc, etc) and it doesn't display or seg
 I repeat: I'm using gtk_widget_ref(child) before destroying the
container. It doesn't work for me, what's the right way?
 Any hints?

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