How to Stop Junk Mail
Two years ago, I started trying to reduce the amount of junk mail I receive. Junk mail is annoying because I have to sort it and then carry it to my recycle bin. It comes every day, so if I don’t stay on top of it, it can clutter up my kitchen counter quickly.
This time of year, junk mail can be really irritating, because companies will leave off their name and try to make their mail look like a legitimate tax form. I end up having to open it up, confirm that it’s actually trash, and recycle it. What a waste.
But for the most part, my efforts have worked. Here are some of my tips for cutting out the junk.
Use a service
PaperKarma is an app that lets you snap a photo of the offending mail; submit the photo, and the app will try to unsubscribe for you. You do have to pay to use the service. A subscription wasn’t worth it for me, but if you’re just starting out with a lot of junk mail, it may be worth it to save you time.
Opt out, en masse
To opt out of those annoying “pre-approved” credit card offers, go to https://www.optoutprescreen.com. I tried this and it did work. I haven’t received a credit card offer in at least a year.
You can opt out of some types of advertising mail by going to http://www.dmachoice.org, but they request that you pay a small fee. I didn’t do that, out of principle.
Ditch the phone book
This is not quite mail, but it’s still unsolicited paper. I used to find a phone books on my front steps once every year, waterlogged from snow or rain. The last time I looked at one, I flipped through it and found listings for businesses that have long been defunct.
If you’re still getting phone books delivered, you can unsubscribe at https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com.
For a long time, I contacted each company that sent me junk mail. Most web sites have their contact form on them, so I sent a message, included my exact address, and politely requested to be removed from their list. It’s time-consuming, but it works.
If you can’t find information to unsubscribe (and some shady companies will hide it), contact the company via Twitter or Google “unsubscribe (company name)”; it will usually lead you to a link or a contact page.
You can do the same for company catalogs, but this can be hit or miss. One college I graduated from still dutifully sends me a course catalog every semester. I keep reminding them that I graduated a decade ago, but they don’t care.
A lot of bills can be done online, but will send you a paper copy unless you opt out. Opting out usually can be done quickly, and saves you a lot of time sorting through mail.
Overall, junk mail is like death and taxes: inevitable. But you can definitely cut back on some of it.