The annual “spring cleaning” ritual dates back to ancient times, but in America it became popular in the 19th century. Prior to the advent of the vacuum cleaner, March was often the best time for dusting because it was getting warm enough to open windows and doors (but not warm enough for insects to be a problem), and the high winds could carry the dust out of the house. This time of year is also when coal furnaces wouldn’t run and you could wash all the soot from the walls and furniture left by the furnace. For the same reason, modern rural households often use the month of March for cleaning projects involving the use of chemical products which generate fumes.
In addition to this household deep cleanse, many experts recommend organizing the household as part of spring cleaning. It’s a great way to uncover the unused gift cards you may have stuffed in drawers or the back of cabinets.
“Summer is more fun when you’re organized! So, fling into Spring,” says Amy Fisher, a.k.a. Ms. Efficiency. “One tip – keep your gift cards (and coupons) in a colorful plastic envelope that can be tucked into the side door of your car or in the glove compartment. That way you’ll always have them when you need them!”
In fact, organizing is an essential component of spring cleaning. As you go room-to-room with your vacuum, mop and dust cloth, focus on going through your closets and drawers, and donate items you know you won’t use again, but other’s might find useful. You can even make it fun by inviting friends for a spring-cleaning swap! So channel your inner Marie Kondo and get ready to clean and stay organized.
Along the way, you’re likely to come across forgotten gift cards, because $3 billion in gift cards are going unspent each year in the U.S. Once you’ve re-discovered your gift cards, you have two choices: use them or organize them in a way that you will use them in the future, and not bury them again.
Early spring is a great time to use your gift cards because you can get winter items at rock-bottom prices in clearance sales. It’s also a perfect moment to refresh your wardrobe and add a few key pieces for spring.
If you choose to hold off on using your gift cards, make a plan for when and how you will use them in the future. For example, if you know you’re going camping in June, make a note on your calendar to use your gift card when you stock up on gear in the weeks before you leave on your trip.
Did you find a dining gift card or one for a special experience? Consider which of your friends of family members has a birthday coming up and make a plan to use your gift card to celebrate.
The best part of spring cleaning is getting a fresh start. Make it a moment to take a fresh look at your gift cards too!