There are few things more annoying than junk mail. I can’t count the number times I have gone to my mailbox only to pull out pounds of envelopes where EVERY single one was junk. Can anyone else relate? So depressing – not to mention wasteful!
I did some research and over the past few months I have been taking steps to completely rid my mailbox of junk. I compiled a list of all of the steps I have either taken already or am still in the process of taking.
Step by step instructions to get rid of junk mail:
- Visit dmachoice.org to opt out of direct mail
- Visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com/ to opt out of credit and insurance offers
- Each time you receive a catalog visit http://www.catalogchoice.org/ and remove yourself from the mailing list
- On 1st class mail do not open – write “return to sender” on the front and “remove from mailing list” on the back and place it back in your outgoing mailbox (source)
- Contact your bank, credit card companies, credit union, and mortgage company directly and tell them not to release your name, address, social security number, email address, or phone number to anyone else for marketing, mailing, or promotional purposes. (source)
- If you move, don’t fill out the Post Office’s permanent change of address (COA) form. Make it a temporary (10 month) change and then notify companies and friends. This way, the information will not be entered into the permanent COA database and released to others. Permanent COA information will be provided to third parties, but temporary COA information won’t. (source)
Over the next couple of months contact any other companies that send you unwanted mail directly and make them remove you from their mailing list. Be patient as it can take 3-6 months before these changes become effective.
- Avoid the “return to sender” option – that will likely do little good to reduce waste as the recipient of those returns will just throw them out and continue sending to you in the future
- If you need help organizing the mail that you do end up keeping, it might be worth checking out my post on paper file organization
Best of luck!
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