3 Ways to Reduce Junk Mail (and Why You Should)

3 Ways to Reduce Junk Mail

Let’s talk about junk mail.

And how to reduce it.

Is it just me, or does anyone else feel kinda violated when it shows up out of the blue? Whether it ends up in my email or my physical mail box, unwanted mail of any kind irritates me probably more than it should. Partly because life is too short, the last thing I want to have to do is deal with stuff I didn’t ask for in the first place! The other part, at least in terms of physical junk mail, is the impact it has on the environment. The Sightline Institute says each American receives an average of 41 pounds of junk mail per year. 41 pounds! This all adds up to an estimated 1 Billion Pounds of Landfill Each Year. Isn’t that completely insane? Especially when it’s junk you didn’t sign up for in the first place.

So, what can you do to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive?

Luckily, there are some things you can do to reduce the amount of physical and cyber junk mail.

1. Sign up for Catalog Choice

There’s a website called Catalog Choice that helps members opt-out of catalogs. You can search their database for known senders, and they will either be able to unsubscribe you via the website directly, or give you directions for how to unsubscribe if the company in question requires you do it yourself. I know it sounds almost too good to be true, but it gets even better: this service is free! Every time one of those random catalogs shows up in my mailbox, I head on over to this site to see if the company is listed on their site. Usually it is, but once in a while I have to submit it to be added. From the website:

Catalog Choice’s mission is to stop junk mail for good. For the past 8 years, Catalog Choice has been passionate about helping protect natural resources and helping you simplify your life. Use this free service to cancel specific catalogs and other types of paper mail you no longer wish to receive.

One of the issues with paper mailers and catalogs is that often companies will sell those lists to other companies, so even if you manage to get your name off one list, if that company has already sold their list to someone else, you may still get mail you didn’t sign up for. Catalog Choice also recommends signing up for DMAchoice.org in tandem with their service to take your name off of these lists, because many catalog merchants sell lists of personal information to other merchants.

2. Sign up for DMAchoice

DMAchoice is an online tool developed by DMA to help you manage your mail. It is part of a larger program designed to respond to consumers' concerns over the amount of mail they receive. DMAchoice offers consumers a simple, step-by-step process that enables them to decide what mail they do and do not want to receive. This service is available for a $2 processing fee (good for 10 years). The other services DMAchoice provides are:

3. Opt-out at OptOutPrescreen

OptOutPrescreen is a centralized service to accept and process requests from consumers to "Opt-In" or "Opt-Out" of firm offers of credit or insurance. I don’t know about you, but I get a mailer from a State Farm agent probably once a week, always the same 2 or 3 agents. On some level I know they are just buying up zip codes and sending mass mailers out, but I still get really irritated. We’ve lived in our house for about 7 years, and it feel like I’ve received enough offers from these places to fill our guest room! Not to mention the near constant offers of credit from random places. It’s enough to drive you crazy! With OptOutPrescreen, you can opt-in to these mails, opt-out electronically for 5 years, or opt-out permanently by mail.

And there you have it! Three ways to reduce junk mail.

Have you used other resources to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive? Let me know in the comments!