I have a closet in my home office space that is a disaster.  It is bulging at its seams with old coats, tax returns of the past decade, boots, and boxes of memorabilia and photographs. I finally had enough and decided – in honor of Spring – I would clean out this closet!

As I began going through boxes and files, little gems began to catch my attention.  A book beautifully inscribed by a friend I had not seen or spoken to since high school. A ticket stub from a Rolling Stones concert, when we were all much younger, in which Prince was the warm-up band!  And a plastic bag full of keys.

Where the heck are these keys from and what do they unlock?  At first, I tested them to see if by any chance they unlocked any doors in my house but to no avail.  I then took a closer look at the key rings they were on that indicated Michigan businesses. Ah yes.  Michigan.  Suddenly, a myriad of memories rushed back to me.  These were the keys to a Michigan get-away cabin by the Lake that a friend and I purchased back when it was easy and affordable to invest in real estate in Lake Michigan properties (yes, it was a long while ago).  Those keys reminded me of the care-free days of having no other major obligations that would prevent us from saying YES to such a purchase!  Those keys reminded me of the many reunions and friend get-togethers that took place there. Those keys reminded me of the headaches of being a first-time home owner…

As a speech coach, I work with clients to help them uncover their little gems from their life’s story.  There are many exercises and activities that can help surface stories, but I am thinking that none may be as rich as Spring housecleaning.

Sifting through our past can be nostalgic and energizing along with providing tangible reminders of the people, places, and moments that have shaped out lives.  In a world that is constantly changing, discovering elements from the past can provide a sense of continuity and a deeper appreciation for the journey that brought us to where we are today.

Jog your memory, find fresh material, and get your house clean!