Who’s on your shopping list and what will you get them? If you’re like many, you’ll be giving some gift cards and receiving some yourself. A 2019 article from the National Retail Federation said, “For the 13th year in a row, gift cards remain the most popular items on wish lists, requested by 59 percent of those surveyed…”


But, if you’re like many, some will wind up at the bottom of a drawer and never be enjoyed. An often-quoted Wall Street Journal article estimated $41 billion in gift cards went unspent between 2005 and 2011. So, how can you keep the cards you receive this season from joining that statistic?

Make a folder

Take a file folder and label it “Gift Cards.” Insert a few pieces of card stock and line the sides of each piece with four paper clips along the left and right sides. Attach the gift card. You’ll be able to see 8 cards at a glance on each side. If you have lots of cards, consider organizing them alphabetically. It will be easier to tell what you have later.

We all have sheets of coupons that come in the mail or newspaper and have expiration dates. Put the ones you want to use in the front of the folder. Organize them by expiration date. Include Groupon or Social Living certificates you have purchased.  

Put it in the Tickler File

Last week you read one use for the Tickler File. Today you have a second one. Take the folder you just made for your gift cards and put it in the Tickler File for the upcoming Saturday.

You have just given yourself a trigger to examine the folder. On Saturday, when I open the hanging file for that day, one of the items inside is the folder of gift cards. That’s my reminder to examine the contents with my wife and make decisions about what cards we might like to use over the next week. Put the events on the calendar. Pull those cards and put them in a wallet or purse. Refile the folder for the next Saturday. Done!

If you can’t find it…

I’ve often said, “If you can’t find it, you might as well not have it.” The lack of simple systems causes us to lose things. It allows clutter to expand, and the problem of losing things gets worse.

With the Tickler File, you have a place for the papers in your life you wish to resurface at a particular time. With a folder inside it for your gift cards, you’ll never lose nor forget about another one.

Most people are overwhelmed by the amount of paper and digital information in their lives. My weekly emails let you know about new content on this website, provides helpful information I don’t publish anywhere else, and lets you know about special events or promotions. As a thanks for signing up, you receive two free gifts.