(BPT) - When blossoms appear on trees, daffodils poke up through the ground, and birds start to chirp, it's time to start your spring cleaning. Though this annual tradition comes from a time when people had to clear the sooty build-up that collected in their homes over the winter, most modern-day dwellers simply consider the change of season a good time to give their homes a deep clean and a decorative refresh.
Since the need for spring cleaning has changed, perhaps the focus of it should as well.
In 2022, here are five things you should edit in your life on an annual basis:
- Unused Gift Cards. Blackhawk Network reported that 30% of consumers purchased more gift cards during the 2021 holiday season than in years prior, so chances are you have a few gift cards to spend. Shelley Hunter, spokesperson for Giftcards.com, says, 'The longer you hold onto gift cards, the higher the likelihood you'll lose the cards or forget to use them. Plan to redeem gift cards immediately or within a couple of months.' With spring in mind, she suggests using gift cards to purchase items you'll likely buy this time of year anyway such as a new pair of sandals, fresh towels for the guest bathroom or a potted plant for the patio.
- Social Media Accounts. According to Datareportal.com, the typical social media user engages with 7.5 different social media platforms each month and spends about 2.5 hours a day using social media. To decrease the amount of time spent scrolling (when you could be outside enjoying the warmer weather!), reduce your social media connections. Unfriend, unfollow or unsubscribe from content that no longer serves you. Better yet, take a complete break from the most distracting platforms.
- Online Passwords. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from identify theft is to use strong and different passwords for each of your online accounts. If you aren't doing so regularly, at least audit your passwords annually or consider setting up a password manager. As you review each account, activate dual authentication where possible or follow the site's other recommended settings to safeguard your credentials.
- Home Inventory. Homeowners insurance covers loss or damage to the contents of your home when a disaster such as a fire or flood occurs. To get compensated, however, you must provide a detailed list of your belongings - a task that is hard to do if you don't remember exactly what you had. Once a year, take pictures or video of every room, drawer, and closet in your house (including the garage). Store the images offsite or in the cloud to ensure they are available in the unlikely event you need them.
- Digital Pictures. Taking photos has never been easier, so it is not unusual to have thousands of digital pictures on a device. To free up space and make it easier to locate favorite photos, cull through your images once a year. Rename and organize the pictures you want to keep. Discard the ones you don't. You might even print a few new pictures to hang on your walls as part of your spring refresh.
Unlike the spring cleaning of yesteryear, you don't have to wait to perform these tasks at a particular time of year. As Hunter suggested, you should plan to use gift cards immediately and it's always a smart move to ensure your passwords are protected. However, if these items aren't already part of your routine, at least be sure to put them on your spring cleaning checklist.