Summer was  always my favorite time of the year for treasure hunting with the kids. And what kind of treasure were we after, you might ask. Answer: The treasures to be found inside our own house.

My readers know that I’m a big advocate of updating your life regularly so you stay current with yourself. One way of doing this is to explore your home to see what items no longer resonate with you, which is basically a clearing-out activity. Another way is to unearth items that you haven’t thought about in ages and experience the forgotten pleasures of reconnecting with something that still gives you joy.

I love doing this with children because their expressions of delight are so genuine. Watch their faces when they come across a forgotten book or toy that they loved and still love. My daughter, Lauren, was once going through an under-the-bed drawer and opened a box full of memorabilia from her grandfather who had passed away a few years before. I will always cherish the memory of the way she gently picked out his pocket watch and pressed it against her cheek.

Many of the wonderful things that we find have to do with special relationships with family, friends or pets. In my Organizing for the Spirit workshops, I used to have people bring in their treasures and was amazed at the variety which ranged from a collection of valor medals from World War II to a tiny china cup and saucer, to a picture of a very happy puppy. There was an audiotape of a band and chorus belting out, “When the Saints Come Marching In”, a wooden fish, an artificial orchid and a beach plum from Cape Cod.

In doing our family treasure hunting, I was also teaching the kids the value of revisiting their stuff regularly to assess how they’d grown and changed and how to understand how their stuff related to them today. This turned out to be an invaluable exercise in helping them prepare for the many moves they’ve undertaken since they left for college. I especially enjoy now seeing how they’ve decorated their own homes to reflect who they are at this moment in time.

So start when they’re young, do it regularly, and make sure that you, too, make time for treasure hunting. You’ll better appreciate the value and meaning of possessions that represent the best that life has to offer.

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