Please remove me from your mailing list
Six months ago, I decided I was going to rid myself of junk mail. I was filling up a small recycle bin every week just from unwanted paper.
What set me off was what looked like a handwritten holiday card — except I didn’t recognize the return address. Sure enough, I opened it up and it was an ad for insurance.
I thought that over the course of a few months, I could decrease the amount of junk mail I received. It would allow me to take out the recycling bin less often, and might make moving easier someday.
I certainly managed to cut back on it, but it was a little more involved than I thought. Here’s what I tried.
Some of the mail I received wasn’t quite junk, but it was superfluous: paper statements of bills I had on autopay.
Most web sites have an area in “settings” where you can request e-mailed statements (sometimes called paperless statements). I find these much easier to organize, as all my receipts can be quickly archived. Most companies are happy to accommodate this, as it saves them money.
One company refused to send me e-statements, though, and there’s one company on my list that I still need to update to paperless statements (I tried but got lost in their complex web site).
To opt out of those annoying “pre-approved” credit card offers, go to https://www.optoutprescreen.com. I tried this and it seemed to work. I’ve only received one credit card offer in the last few months.
You can opt out of some advertising mail by going to http://www.dmachoice.org, but they request that you pay a fee. I didn’t do that, out of principle.
Instead, I contacted each company that sent me junk (most web sites have their contact information on them), included my exact address, and requested to be removed from their list. It’s time-consuming, but it works.
Catalogs and newsletters
These can really fill up my recycle bin. I use the same principle as above — contact the company and politely request that they stop sending catalogs or newsletters. Any information they contain is usually available online.
Mail for previous residents
Sometimes you get mail that belongs to a previous resident. You can write “Return to sender — not at this address” and send it back.
Sometimes, coupons are great. My grocery store can send me “$5 off $50” coupons as much as it wants. But sometimes we receive coupons for places we don’t shop at, or receive way too many coupons. Google “unsubscribe (company name)” and it will usually lead you to a link or a contact page.
For the occasional flyer, especially from a new company, I usually just ignore it, and don’t take action unless more arrive.
This is not quite mail, but it’s still unsolicited paper. I used to find those poor phone books on my front steps every year, waterlogged from snow or rain. You can unsubscribe from this one at https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com.
I’ve reduced the amount of junk mail I receive, but by no means have I eliminated it entirely. I don’t know who sold my information, but I get a lot of postcards about job fairs — sometimes from companies that rejected me as a new grad.
Part of the problem is that I’m not always diligent about contacting companies to remove my name. I can do it quickly from my phone, but sometimes I don’t think it’s worth the effort.
One problem I run into is when I do business with a company, but they send me junk mail as well. I don’t exactly want to be removed from their mailing list, but I do want to stop receiving some promotional offers. I’ll have to check my settings on those.
Sometimes, I get something that I really am glad I received. Today I got my first USA Philatelic (stamp enthusiast) catalog. Come to think of it, I am very particular about stamps — this probably comes from being particular about my mail in general.