I overheard someone in the post office ask the clerk how they could stop getting mail for someone who had died years before. The clerk told them to just throw it away. I cringed. That would never solve the problem- and it would waste resources, time, and trees! If you get things in the mail that you don’t want- STOP THEM! Don’t ever think they will eventually tire of sending things to an unresponsive house because they won’t. It is never the last time they will offer you some special deal even if they say it is the last time. And don’t think they won’t share your name with other companies or charities because they might. With junk mail, you have to play some offense and not just muster a little defense by throwing them into the recycling bin. According to 41 Pounds.org, “An average of 41 pounds of junk mail is sent to every adult citizen each year. Approximately 44% of this mail goes into a landfill unopened.” Not only is junk mail incredibly wasteful to the environment, but it wastes a lot of our time and effort to deal with something on a daily basis that we never asked for.
Have you ever made a contribution to a wonderful charity only to find that you now get requests from 83 other wonderful charities who think you have money to share with all of them? Are you drowning in mailing labels, notepads, and calendars that you could never use up in your lifetime? Do you get credit card offers on a daily basis? Do you get magazines you never read and don’t even remember ordering? Do you still get catalogs even though you do all your shopping on-line now? You have to do something about it!
I made up some address labels that say in large letters “Please Remove Me From Mailing List”. When I get something in the mail I don’t want to get again, I tear off their return form, place my sticker above my name (being careful not to cover any codes or info they need to identify me), circle the sticker and my name with a big Sharpie and mail it back to them. Sometimes the envelopes are postage paid, sometimes you need a stamp- but it is worth it! I keep a simple tracking list of the places I have asked to be removed from. It works really well for me and the mail stops coming!
If you don’t have the time or inclination to do this yourself, there are companies that can do it for you:
- 41 Pounds– for $35 they will contact 20 to 30 direct mail companies on your behalf to stop the majority of bulk mail that comes to your home for the next 5 years.
- To reduce unwanted catalogs and phone books, try Catalog Choice for free.
- DMA Choice and Opt Out Prescreen also offer ways to remove yourself from mailing lists.
Throwing away junk mail is not a solution. All that does is leave the door open for more. Be proactive about getting yourself off mailing lists so you can shut the door and windows on the junk mail that takes over our houses! Not only will you reduce waste and help the environment- but you will save time and frustration when you check you newly thinned out mailbox. Enjoy!