Reducing incoming junk mail

Between having a family, working full time, and attempting to keep up the 2BB blog, I have little patience for needless things that take up my time.  One of the worst offenders?  Junk mail.  Ick.  One of my organizing goals for 2012 is to reduce the amount of unwanted mail that crosses the threshold into our home.

Not only does it take time to sort through the mail, it has to then be put in the recycling basket, and then taken out in buckets each week.  Plus, we get lots of junk mail that must be shredded, which is another added hassle and just takes way more time than I’d like.  So I’d like to nip this problem in the proverbial bud.

So how, exactly, does one go about reducing junk mail?  Turns out it actually isn’t very difficult–so easy, in fact, that I’m really kicking myself for not doing this sooner!  I used two websites to opt out of mailings.  The first, Optoutprescreen.com, allows you to opt out of those pesky credit card offers that must be opened and shredded.  Keep in mind that if there are two adults in your household, you’ll need to have both of you sign up (still need to get DH to do this!).

The second, dmachoice.org, allows you to avoid other types of mail.  This process is a little more involved, but worth the effort I think.  They recommend you gather all the mail you receive that you want to stop receiving, and then enter all the sources of the junk mail into your online profile so that you can opt out of receiving mailings from that place in the future.  You do need to create an account to use this system, but it is pretty straightforward and quick to use.  I’m still gathering things at this stage, but I have the account already and will update it soon.

So how will I know if I’m getting less junk mail?  I probably should have figured out some way to measure the pre- and post-opting out junk mail volume (especially since I work in research for a living…) but I’ve decided that what is most important is my perception of if there is less junk mail coming into the house.  And so far, the answer is yes–at least to credit card offers.  I signed up about 2.5 months ago and I haven’t seen any addressed to me in a long time (DH, on the other hand, is still getting them so we’ll need to do the same thing for him).  I’ve definietly felt the difference–especially in the amount of things I need to shred.  A few more minutes to spend with my family  or doing something else I love??  Worth it!

I’ll post an update in a few months to let you know how it is going after we’ve gone through the entire opt-out process, but I wanted to share these websites with readers now so that you can try it too–and regain your space and sanity.  Let me know how it goes!

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3 thoughts on “Reducing incoming junk mail

  1. This is really helpful, Gillian. Thanks! I’ve gotten rid of junk mail piece-by-piece by calling catalogue companies, etc. I’ve also managed to get off a lot of credit card lists by sending back the pre-paid postage envelope with the entire contents of the original offer inside with a note such as “stop sending me these” (or something less polite.) It works, too, and feels rather devient, but it’s not a single stop for ceasing all offers!

  2. Ooh, I like Joy’s idea of sending the credit card offer back! We opted out of credit card offers a long time ago, but unfortunately that web site does not opt you out of marketing for more credit cards from companies you already have a credit card with. We get at least two mailings a month, each, from citibank trying to get us to sign up for their travel rewards card. I’d really love to know how to stop those! Also on my go-away list: complex magazine and the cigars international catalog.

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