Much like the love of a mother knows no bounds, neither does her collection of sentimental things. When raising a family, everything feels sentimental.
Time seems to slip through our fingertips and we desperately want to hold on for just a little longer.
But we can find a balance in our sentimental things. This means passing along our beloved stuff to those in need, and then creating an intentional space to preserve the most precious pieces.
I fear that without this collection of things, I may not be able go back and taste every drop of sweetness and joy that these children have brought into my life. And according to Marie Kondo's rules—these items most definitely bring me joy.
So why would I let them go?
It's the outfit he was wearing when we brought him home from the hospital.
It's the first rattle she grasped.
We can't forget the bowtie he was wearing in his first birthday photos.
This list will continue to grow right along with our children.
But here's the thing.
I simply don't have a place to put all the stuff. And I also want my children to learn an important life lesson: that giving is better than saving. That means we can make the most of our things while we need them and then breathe new life into them by passing these items along to another family.
When we think towards the future, we often dream of passing these things on to the next generation of our own family. Yet if we are blessed with grandchildren...the smells, habits, and hugs of these small beings will undoubtedly bring us right back to the memories of our own children.
Those feelings and love will remain intact. We don't need to provide heirloom clothes and toys to feel this connection between the generations.
The items that your own children have outgrown are always better served in the hands of a new family than spending 30 years in a box in your basement.
Therefore, we have to let most of it go. Instead of saving it all, we can create an intentional space for a select number of heirlooms.
Rather than buying new bins and totes when one fills to the brim, we can limit the size of our collections by limiting the space that contains it.
For my own children, that means a Hope Chest.
Growing up, I distinctly remember my mother having a Hope Chest. If you aren't familiar with the tradition of a Hope Chest, it dates back thousands of years to the Egyptians. The chest was a space to keep the most precious belongings for a child in preparation for married life.
But instead of filling it with silverware and handkerchiefs, my own mother filled it with memories.
As tradition has it, parents would save and slowly fill these chests with essentials for their children. But here's the thing—that chest is only so big. All the things must fit inside of it.
When we have a designated space to collect our most sentimental possessions we are forced to cull this collection with great care and intention.
That means I am finding a way to fit 18 years worth of memories into one chest.
Over the years, this chest will be a way to revisit the past. Rather than storing away an overwhelming number of life's big moments in the back of my closet, the collection is smaller and more accessible.
I imagine my children visiting this chest often as they grow—and then gladly welcoming it into their own home once my time here on earth is complete.