My mother found a red, wool blanket that she’d bought several years ago. Finding it again, she was as happy as a child at Christmas. This surprised my sister. And I was surprised she was surprised.

Haven’t you ever packed something away, forgotten it, and then rediscovered it? I love that moment of rediscovery; twice the joy of acquisition from the same object.

When I was a child, our family moved every couple of years. We’d pack away our household goods and not see them again for weeks or sometimes (when we lived overseas) months. When the boxes arrived, we had such a thrill opening them. We felt both a sense of novelty and familiarity. Some things we’d forgotten and others we’d missed and were happy to be reunited with again.

As a teacher at a Montessori school, I learned to keep my shelves uncluttered, watching to see what toys were not used very often and putting them away. Put away a unused toy for several weeks and when you take it out again, the children are excited to see it, as if it’s something new.

When we display everything we own, surround ourselves with all our belongings, the individual things we love meld into a press of stuff. The beauty of a traditional Japanese room with its tokonoma is how it makes us focus on one or two things, rotating through them frequently.

The closest experience to this I can think of is my Christmas decoration, packed up for 11 months of the year. Putting them out each year connects me to Christmases past, especially to Christmas with my mom who loved both collecting and making ornaments, many of which have passed into my collection.

I also change out my clothes twice a year. I have a very small closet so I can only have my summer clothes or my winter clothes hanging. This seeming inconvenience forces me to examine and assess my wardrobe twice a year, to see what can be mended or given away.

I recently learned that the Japanese have a word for this: koromogae (衣替え) , the seasonal changing of clothes.

a  koromogae becomes an occasion to tidy up and sort out possessions, as well as being a time to contemplate and appreciate their own fashion style and tastes.

Forgetting provides the opportunity for rediscovering.